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E3 2013: The Future of Final Fantasy

There's a lot of Final Fantasy on the way, but is it the Final Fantasy people want?


So, you played Final Fantasy XIII, but you didn’t like it. You heard decent things about XIII-2, but you decided to skip it. But you’re going to play Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, right?


Well, even though you’ve probably already made up your mind on the third (and thankfully final) installment of the Fabula Nova Crystalis saga, you might want to reconsider. That’s because, by all accounts, Lightning Returns is pretty darn good.

It’s a hard sell, not only coming off of two very polarizing releases, but the fact that this game has a single character, as opposed to the multiple party members, sets this apart from other games in the series. The game still uses a version of the speedy Active Time Battle system, and the Paradigm shift system has been replaced with a number of different fighting stances that Lightning employs to change up her abilities on the fly. With the one-on-one combat and emphasis on defensive moves, Lightning Returns recalls some of the more interesting parts of Parasite Eve and The Granstream Saga for the PlayStation. I’m a little concerned about the environments, as gameplay trailers show Lightning once again running through what appear to be very linear corridors, but I’m hoping that she’s able to roam around at least a little bit.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has been delayed until next year, and will be released on February 11. Will it redeem the fractured Fabula Nova Crystalis series, or is this a cracked crystal? Only time will tell, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

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06/21/2013 at 12:12 PM

My only interest is in XV and the X remake.


06/21/2013 at 02:55 PM

For now I'm going to have to abandon my plan to get a PS2 and build up the old library of games I used to have for it. I was planning to get FFX to play it for the first time on a PS2 but I'm going to get a PS3 instead, as a bonus these remakes are coming and I'll play them instead. Since I spent all my time on a 360 this generation, getting a PS3 will feel fresh and fun, and there's a huge library of exclusive games I haven't played for it yet.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/21/2013 at 03:00 PM

That's awesome to hear. Looking back, I really think that the PS3 had the better library of exclusives. I've had a lot of fun with my 360, but I missed out on some amazing PS3 games like the Uncharted series and Valkyria Chronicles.

FF X is a great entry point for the series. The combat is way different than most of the other Final Fantasy games, but for you it will feel totally unique, especially since turn based combat has gone the way of the dinosaur on consoles.


06/21/2013 at 03:33 PM

I love turn based combat in RPGs and in turn-based-strategy games. You can't find those tyes of games as often as you use to. One of my favorite RPGs ever is LOTR The Third Age and you mentioned it used a lot of the mechanics from the FFX battle system, so it should be pretty fun.

One of the things I didn't appreciate about the PS3, until now since I'm planning on getting one, is all the HD remasters and especially the collections they've done. I've heard some are better than others (I'll probably need advice on ones to avoid), but the ones I want to get are the Ico&Shadow of the Collosus collection since I've never played either of those, the Killzone 1-3 collection, the God of War 1-3 collection, that  one with Journey/Flower/Flow, FFX and X-2 remakes collection to name few. There's even an HD collection of the first 3 Splinter Cell games on PS3 I think, I'm a total fanboy for Splinter Cell so I'll have that. I don't know about the Resistance collection, it's a shooter and there's aliens so I'd probably like it but I'll have to do more research on that series before I get it.

All these collections are perfect for somebody like me who will be getting into the PS3 near the end of the console generation and wants to get as many games as possible without piling up game-discs for every individual game in a series. It's quite a boon and I can practically get entire series' of games for way less than the price of a single new game. As an RPG lover, looking around on Amazon at all the games is like looking through a chest of new loot.

Those are just the remakes and collections too, outside of all that I'll be able to finally play Demon's Souls, The Last of Us, Heavy Rain Director's Cut, Beyond Two Souls (I still have a big crush on Ellen Page...and maybe David Cage too, I'll be excited to finally see the games they made after Indigo Prophecy), Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2 Sigma, plus there's more weird games and JRPGs that I've never seen in the PS3 library.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

06/25/2013 at 12:57 PM

I hear ya man. I got FF X brand new about 4 or 5 years ago, and never got around to opening it. Maybe I'll just wait and buy the Final Fantasy X & X-2 game. I'm a sucker for compilations!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/21/2013 at 03:37 PM

I don't know about XIV yet....  I tried it the other day but I couldn't get into it.  I'm going to try again though. 

I'm mostly excited for X and X2, which I'm going to buy a Vita for.  I'm down with XV and Nomura's designs, I can live with them, but if I could get that IX look back I would be happier. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/21/2013 at 06:37 PM

As someone who's been playing FF XI off and on for 9 years, A Realm Reborn fixes pretty much every complaint I had about that game. Been playing it all day and can't get enough.

I'll be buying all of these on day one, but I have to say that XIV and the HD remakes are the ones I'm most excited about. While Lightning Returns sounds great, I'm just tired of a game set in that universe that isn't centered around Sazh.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

06/21/2013 at 04:06 PM

With all the positive buzz coming off of Lightning's Return, I may give that game a shot.  I haven't played a game in the FF series since X, but mostly because the aesthetic hasn't been my cup of tea.

Cary Woodham

06/21/2013 at 07:09 PM

I was really into Final Fantasy games back when I was in high school during the 16-bit days.  But I kind of got out of the loop in college during the 32-bit era.  I wish FF games were more like the 16-bit ones today, but I guess I'm just being a crotchety old fart.


06/21/2013 at 10:08 PM

As far as I'm concerned Final Fantasy IX was the last real Final Fantasy. FFX was pretty and all but by the time a beat I was just pissed, everything since has been down hill. FFXII was a mixed bag for me. There are some things about it that I really loved and there are some things that just suck. But at least it still felt like a Final Fantasy game. FF13 and 13-2 are not horrible, but they got some serious issues, mostly being that they just don't feel like true FF games. They are so far removed in everyway from the roots that it just seems like they are simply trying to milk the name for every dime they can.

Obviously they won't get Sakiguchi back, but they need to let someone else take control before Nomura runs in clean into the ground and beyond. People can talk about all the changes in the original 9 games as justification for the last handful. But there was a consistancy in those original 9. Also they were not afraid to take old ideas and rework them into the next new game. I'm all for innovation and progress, but if you are making cars you don't just suddenly start making speedboats, you make  different cars. FFXV is a is a damn speedboat.


06/21/2013 at 10:42 PM

What's interesting about all the games you listed is that the only game thats actually closest to classic final fantasy, excluding remakes of course, is A Realm Reborn. Large open world, lots of NPCs to interact with, interesting story, classic job classes, materia system, art style, etc. The game playes really well on PS3 with a gamepad, but how many people are willing to pay a monthly subscription in our new free-to-play filled world? At least we have Final Fantasy 12 remake to look forward to. Where is Agito by the way?


06/21/2013 at 11:21 PM

I'm looking forward to FFXV, but I'm not as down on recent Final Fantasy games as a lot of other people. My favorite Final Fantasy is VII. My second favorite Final Fantasy, however, is XII - a game I feel combines the best of old and new in the series and a game I would have been quite fine with being the template for the future of the FF series. That said, I'm also looking forward to the FFX HD collection.


06/22/2013 at 01:58 PM

I want another game like Final Fantasy 6 where you can have 4 people in your party and there's lots of characters to choose from.  I liked the parts where you had to split everbody up into groups too, that was always cool.


06/22/2013 at 05:55 PM

I can't wait for 10 HD.  Hated 10-2 though.  I have been an FF fan since I got the first FF on nes for Christmas as a kid.  I played FFXI for 6+ years.  I am intrigued by 14, but not sure I want to commit to another mmorpg.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed 11, and still have friends I talk to regularly that I met in game.  It just took a massive time investment.  I am one of the few that liked 13.  I loved the battle system and once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.  I hated 13-2.  I found it pretty linear also.  I couldn't give a shit about the characters either.  It was the ending of 13-2 that destroyed the last bit of goodwill SE had remaining with me.  To be continued?  WTF?  At that moment, SE became EA.  I have no interest in 13-3.  I will give 15 a shot eventually.  I hope SE gets their mojo back.  But I am a bit skepticle after this last gen.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/22/2013 at 06:25 PM

I know what you mean. I'm in love with A Realm Reborn. But after playing it all day yesterday when I should have been playing things for review I remembered how terrible an MMO can be for someone that wants to play other games, too.


06/24/2013 at 03:38 PM

I'm one of those people that hasn't played FFX yet, so I'm excited to give it a go in glorious HD. I haven't played any of the FFXIII games yet either and I'll probably skip Lightning Returns because I'm hoping they'll put out a trilogy box at some point. I would like to play them. As for FFXIV I just can't bring myself to pay for the same game every month (the only MMO I've ever been able to really get into is Guild Wars 2, so there you go lol), so I'll be skipping that I guess, though I do like that it's coming to PS3. And FFXV? Man, that game is still probably so far out from release that I have a hard time caring much. Show me progress in a year, Nomura, and then we'll talk.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/24/2013 at 04:13 PM

I wonder how long XIV can stay pay to play. FF XI has maintained a steady (and very profitable) number of subscribers, but I feel like the audience for XIV is all people that still play XI, and you can't expect all of them to play both at the same time. I'd see XIV go free to play at some point, but XI will probably stay subscription based until it finally shuts down.


06/26/2013 at 07:36 PM

I'll pick up Lightning Returns simply because I like the character and have a soft spot for strong & sexy female protagonists. My only fear is I'll be confused with the story-line. Aka, I haven't fully played FF 13 & FF 13-2. I still have time to do that though.

Ryan Bunting Staff Alumnus

07/05/2013 at 07:22 AM

I have no interest in any of these, as I'm your standard Final Fantasy fan that hates pretty much everything after FF6 (7 was great, but hasn't aged very well.) I have to 150% agree with the fact that Nomura's character designs are tired. I swear, he must think "Okay, this characters name is _____, how many belts and zippers can I fit onto their clothing?" I'd do anything to have some classic Yoshitaka Amano character designs (whom Nomura lists as an "inspiration" yet doesn't seem to use any of his techniques or stylings). Also, the FF13 storyline is ass. I made it to Gran Pulse and couldn't help but laugh at how pathetic the storyline for 13 truly was. And the gameplay is horrendous - run down a hallway, fight a boss, watch a cutscene, run down another hallway, fight another boss, another cutscene, fight a- oh wait, the game's over. I hate to be such a naysayer, but Square Enix has shown that they have no interest in making good games or making money, because if they did, they'd make new entries in all of the Enix IP's like ActRaiser, Robotrek, Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma (the Blazer series, of course), E.V.O., or even well established series' of their own. When are they finally going to make a new entry in the Chrono series, not just ports of Chrono Trigger? I loved Chrono Cross, and anything new in that universe would be fantastic - they'd be literally printing money. It's whatever, they got rid of the Active Time Battle, and instead of making choices as to how to take down enemies, FF13 has "Auto Fight" - it literally decides what attacks would be best FOR you. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

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