Who would’ve thought that FF franchise would go down this way. But here it is - Lightning Returns, an example of a complete catastrophe which tries to combine original fighting system, that is completely useless, and the time limits with unimaginative side quests that turn the world exploration experience into a headache.
The story couldn’t be more incoherent and forcefully stretched. Characters are uninspiring and mostly strike as fanatical and neurotic. The mood constantly jumps by being either too pompous or falling into ridiculous sentimentality. However, some side stories come together quite well but most of the side characters don’t.
Dialogues, which seem to go forever, in addition with emotionless facial expressions of the characters, make playing/watching Lightning Returns unbearable. There are only few really meaningful scenes but they lose any significance in the vast sea of useless chatter.
Lightning has to accomplish five missions in order to postpone the coming of the god which turns into an apocalypse. If you failed – start over again. You simply run out of time. But the time element is not the only annoying element of this JRPG.
You get no exp. points for killing enemies, the only way to get them is to accomplish the side quests, which all have almost the same pattern and get tiring very quickly. At the same time your clock is ticking, so you can’t relax and run around in order to diversify your adventure at least a bit, but no, there is no pleasure in exploring.
On top of all this you have an inexplicably inadequate AI and camera behavior. Although, fights make things interesting for a while by giving a chance to use varied multiplicity of costumes, weapons, shields and combinations you can interchange within the fight in real time. But again this “bright” side of the game shortly falls under its own weight.
Visual effects during fights look great, of course, but become a serious obstacle if you want to figure out which next move your opponent will make, there’s just too many of them creating a thick layer you simply can’t see through. Plus, as we said before, you gain no experience by fighting the enemies, but they spawn everywhere and do nothing meaningful but stutter your walkthrough.
And as always the design is fantastic. Bosses, monsters and main characters look great. Cathedrals, ruins, spaceships are amazing. But everything else is just a mess.
In conclusion, the game is a senseless jumble of different elements that interfere with each other. Despite the interesting combat system, time restrictions put an end to the atmosphere of a great adventure. The story may provoke a few deeper thoughts, but unexciting. So, Lightning Returns is not recommended, unless you are a devoted fan.
RFR Score - 1.5/5
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