Lightning returns and solves some problems from Series XIII, but can’t really provide anything special. Tasked with saving the souls of as many people as possible in 13 days – before the end of the world – this setup removes much of the usual JRPG fat while remaining open, unlike the first game in the series. After a short tutorial, the four beautifully designed main sites of the game will be explorable. You need to switch between them and complete as many quests and side quests as possible to save souls before the end.
Due to the mechanics of time, multitasking is prioritized. Some areas are open only at certain times of the day, so the player has to organically immerse himself in the plots and leave them. Unfortunately, most side quests involve retrieving things, but you can complete most of them if you approach the main objectives. Your stats increase with each completed quest, rather than action, decreasing the Grind – although you will hit the odd difficulty spike.
Instead of switching between characters, they alternate between costumes – so-called schemes. Initially, it feels like a tough excuse to sell DLC, especially since some of the outfits make Ann Summers’ small look modest. But as a action system, it really works. Each face touch is one skill, and all schemes can use all of them, allowing you to switch between three configurations on the fly, juggling with 12 skills. Even the Protection against strikes must be coordinated. It’s frantic, jerky and excellent.
Although most have not asked for another Final Fantasy game in The Lightning universe, the fictions of this story end well and this is the most interesting entry in the series. On the surface, it’s a cute curiosity, but underneath all that fancy dress and kicking of the cat shit, there’s a complex and entertaining, if not a brilliant, JRPG.