Who among us dared to imagine that after playing the miserable corridor that was the first Final Fantasy XIII, we’d be lining up for a third game in the series a few years later. The sequel, XIII-2, eased up on the linearity, but was still a mess on the battlefield. It’s baffling to think that of all the great Final Fantasy games in years gone by, the almost universally slated XIII series is now a trilogy.
But throughout my time spent playing the previous two games, there remained a streak of perseverance. The ongoing story of sacrifice, family and loss always deserved a better game to be a part of. The cast have always been one of my favourites in a JRPG too, despite being a bit on the broody side a times.
Lightning has been the star of the show, with the wry hints of emotion on her face usually telling us more than the dialogue ever could. So I’m delighted to see her return to a leading role after her brief cameos in XIII-2.
Essentially, time has frozen for the last 500 years while Lightning slept in crystal form. She awakes to find herself sent on a mission by God to save as many souls as possible before the end of the world in a few days time. Because time has frozen, nobody has aged in the last 500 years, allowing for the appearance of many familiar faces. Some of their personalities have changed though, as they might if they’ve spent half a century grieving.
The world ending is nothing new in games, but here the threat is made all the more foreboding by imposing an actual time limit for the player. Lightning begins with just a few days, but can extend this up to thirteen days by completing missions and saving souls who will be reborn on the new world that God is creating on the side.