Square Enix today released an extended look at the gameplay for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The video (above) is narrated by game design director Yuji Abe and it takes place in the open spaces of The Wildlands. To many, this may seem like every other Final Fantasy game in recent times. But there some key features in this game that I consider to be a big deal. The fact that these features are in this game shows that Square Enix is clearly listening to fans and giving us what we want. I believe we'll be in for a treat within the next few years, especially once we receive Final Fantasy XV. For now, let me explain why I found this video to be a big deal.
Equipping weapons & shields separately in each hand.
Around 5 minutes into the video Yuji Abe begins to explain the ability to change Lightning's weapons. Previous Final Fantasy games have indeed allowed us to equip and customize weapons, but what I found satisfying about this was that instead of just allowing us to select from a per-determined weapon set, you can actually equip Lightning's right and left arm separately. This in turn gives you more control over stat benefits and buffs. This is something that has been missing from the more previous Final Fantasy games (not including XIV).
Customizing the clothing.
Besides the MMO iterations, Final Fantasy games tend to be extremely limited with cosmetic customizations on their characters. Sometimes you may be given the option to equip a new outfit on the character, but even that's limited. By now we already know that Lightning Returns would give us the opportunity to select different costumes for Lightning, however I had no idea they would go as far as allowing us to kit Lightning out in whatever colours we please. What's even more impressive is that it's not just a case of selecting one colour for the entire outfit, no.. you'll literally be able to colour individual parts of the costume. There's even a colour wheel that allows you to select a specific shade of your choice. When was the last time we were given this level of customization in a Final Fantasy game?
The Army of One special ability is more effective in Lightning Returns.
The Army of One ability appeared in Final Fantasy XIII and it was unique to Lightning. Although it looked impressive in XIII - it was slightly underwhelming as the attack really wasn't that powerful. However, as you'll see in the video, Yuji demonstrates how you can take out a boss by using the attack following an overlock. Not only does it now look like something out of Dragon Ball Z, but it's clear that the ability is now as effective as it should be.
There are more reasons why you should be keeping an eye on this game if you enjoy Square Enix titles, such as the new exciting battle system. Be sure to check back with more coverage in the weeks ahead. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is set for release on February 14th 2014.