I am not excited about FFXIII: Lightning Returns. It feels like Square Enix has taken a bad iteration in the Final Fantasy franchise and made it worse. Now, we get more details on the game, where battles are not integral, but rather the “icing on the cake”.
Battle design director, Nobuyuki Matsuoka, explained to Polygon that battles were different in Lightning Returns because she is fighting by herself:
“Instead of taking the essentials of the gameplay from FF13 or FF13-2, we thought about how to rearrange the system now that Lightning is by herself. So we enhanced the graphics so the visuals never look too lonely or desolate. Also, we set up this game so that the battles are sort of the icing on the cake — you can advance through the story without having to go through a lot of trouble. That’s why, instead of fighting battles to earn experience and raise your level, you become stronger by finishing quests.”
So, battles in FFXIII: Lightning Returns will not be about grinding. However, they will be dynamic – monsters will adapt if Lightning repeats the same behaviors, and will also take different actions during the day vs night. Defeating monsters will earn Lightning new abilities which can be combined into overpowered combos. Coming February next year to those outside of Japan, Matsuoka says a regular play through of the game will take about 20-30 hours, with an OCD completist approach taking about 50 hours.
Okay, call me old school, but this is not what Final Fantasy is about! I want to grind. I know, it’s crazy, but I want to be rewarded for killing of tons of monsters. I want to spend 100+ hours to complete a Final Fantasy game, and still not feel like it was long enough. I’m not interested in jiggle physics in my Final Fantasy – I want hours and hours of gameplay! Oh well, at least when Geoff makes me review this game I won’t have to sit through 100+ hours of disappointment.