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Lightning Returns Battle Report in Famitsu

July 31st, 2013 by Tony Garsow

Courtesy of the newest Famitsu, we have another report about the gameplay of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Eariler today, we heard from the game’s battle team about combat and other features of the game through an interview at Dengeki Online. (You can read that report here.) We’ve prepared a summary of all the major details below.

You will encounter enemy “symbols” out in the field just like in the previous two Final Fantasy XIII games. If they attack Lightning first, she’ll start out battle with a disadvantage — less HP. In Easy Mode, this feature has been removed. Accent enemies are special challenges where you can upload and share battle score to Facebook and Twitter through a built-in SNS feature. You’ll also be able to share in-game screenshots through this feature.

The game’s battle system is called Style-change Active Time Battle (SATB) because you will be able to switch between three different Styles with their own ATB gauge. These styles can be customized by equipment to have various passive abilities, and four combat abilties can be mapped to the face buttons.

In Easy Mode, the difficulty of combat is easy, Lightning’s HP recovers slightly as she travels in the field map, and there is no penalty for escaping battle. In Normal Mode, the game’s combat is at it’s default difficulty, but Lightning will be penalized if she runs from battle by subtracting an hour of time from the game’s countdown clock. Her HP does not recover by moving on the field map in this mode. To battle efficiently you’ll want to block and evade incoming attacks with precision to mitigate the damage they do, ensuring Lightning has more HP to endure even more fights as you explore. The Datalog will also be a great tool to use for cataloging different enemy weaknesses so that you can take them down expediently.

Lightning will start out the game with five Energy Points. This resource is used in several ways — you can use a Curaga spell to restore your HP, create a decoy of yourself in battle, or activate a special offensive maneuver called Lightspeed. She will also start with the capacity to hold six restorative items, but over time she’ll be able to gain more slots.

When you visit the Ark for the first time, you’ll meet Hope face to face. This place is used like a base for Lightning and she’ll have to return here every day at 6:00am. Here, Lightning will be able to replenish her health and Energy Points as well as take on quests from Hope to restore power to Yggdrasil, a holy tree which extends the countdown before the end of the world. Once you arrive here after the game’s tutorial section in Yusnaan, the game’s systems will open up to you. You’ll be able to increase Lightning’s stats by completing quests, as well as earn spending gil and special decorative adornments. NPCs that offer sidequests are denoted by a Talk icon with stars set under it.

While the game features a constantly-ticking countdown clock, you’ll be safe during cutscenes, in-battle, talking with NPCs, in your main menu. Time does not flow in the Ark, so you can consider it a base at which you’ll regroup for the day ahead.

Different Schema you assemble by equipping various weapons, armor, and accessories will have different amounts of ATB capacity, meaning some will run out faster than others when you use abilities that correspond to them. There are some abilities attached to certain Schema that you can’t remove, likely passive ones that give each set different characteristics. To make the most out of a Schema, you’ll need to equip every slot with an item — a full set will reward you with certain bonuses.

Out in the field, Lightning will have something of a stamina bar that will decrease if you use the dash feature or if you strike enemy symbols in the field. There are also destructible objects in the field that Lightning can break open to scavenge for treasure chests. If your action meter fully depletes, you won’t be able to dash or swing your weapon, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it. If you’re in town with a bunch of people around, you’ll be able to sheathe your weapon as some NPCs will be frightened by Lightning swinging her tools of war every which way.

It’s not just monsters that Lightning will have to be wary of. In Luxerion, a highly religious city whose inhabitants wait for the end of the world in a very pious fashion, a cult has been murdering women with pink hair — people who resemble Lightning in some fashion. Named the Salvation Council, Lightning will have to track them down through a series of tracking and stealth missions to discover their objective. One interesting note — it seems that Vanille has some connection to this group, possibly due to her hair color. In the latest trailer, we see the Salvation Council with a presumably-female hostage before intervenes in their proceedings.

Lightning Returns will feature a multitude of shops — over 100 in fact. In Luxerion you’ll be able to shop for equipment at a Blacksmith, buy restorative items at the General Store, or recover by eating at a Restaurant or sleeping at an Inn. Abilities like magic will drop from slain enemies, and you can bring them back to a magic shop in town to combine similar types into stronger forms. Instead of using Librascopes items to reveal enemy information like drops and weaknesses, you’ll need to buy information from special merchants in town. You’ll also be able to take on many fetch quests to curry favor of the world’s remaining residents and Chocolina through the Prayer Canvas. A wandering black market merchant named Tenio will also offer Lightning a limited stock of items that you can supposedly get nowhere else.

As you complete more quests in the main scenario, there are different changes the world will go through. One such change is the appearance of a Zomokku monster in Luxerion. This monster is highly difficult and engaging it is not recommended the first time it appears. Chaos Infusions are places in Lightning Returns where the destructive energy gathers thick. Here, tougher monsters will gather, and you’ll find them through the world of Nova Chrysalia.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII releases on November 21st in Japan, February 11th in North America, and February 14th in Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Pre-ordering the game from select retailers will net you the Final Fantasy VII-themed SOLDIER outfit and Buster Sword.

What aspect of Lightning Returns gameplay are you most excited to get your hands on? Are there any parts of the gameplay direction in today’s reports that you like or dislike? Leave us your thoughts in a comment below!

Via: Famitsu
Thanks: Goli


  • e-

    holy shit this game sounds really good so far.

  • Tony Garsow

    I’m looking forward to playing around with the mechanics myself — especially with managing my resources while I explore and getting the hang of the action part of combat.

  • Seyra

    Hey! Our friend Coincounter escaped from Aurum Vale!

  • AnimaMagna

    My interest has been aroused as to what role Chocolina plays in this tangled mesh of tragedy, divine will and sisterly love transcending death and time.