The first hour of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII detailed

Today Square Enix held a Play Community Event in Tokyo showcasing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII for a number fans – the bulk of which were originally reported on here.

Those invited to the event were treated to a one hour play time – which isn’t too uncommon for these types of previews. However, instead of simply having access to the demo we saw at E3, it seems fans got to see a bit beyond that – essentially starting from the beginning of the game. The demo starts off with Lightning arriving in Yusnaan – the first area in the game where she’ll pursue Snow for a bit while players get a taste of the game’s battle systems. The following contains spoilers, so please advance at your own risk.

Following the confrontation with Lumina, Lightning can advance further into the castle before being stopped again. Although the door she approaches is open, it’s filled with Chaos on the other side. There is a conversation saying Snow is not of sound mind if he’s staying in a place like that. Snow’s royal guards then start coming after Lightning, so she has no choice but to return to the Ark. Here she says something like, “I’ve already come so far. How can I retreat just like that?!” Hope stresses that it would be troublesome if she were to be defeated and that she must take care of herself.

Returning to the Ark is similar to that of the Historia Crux from FFXIII-2. Every time you return, Hope will greet Lightning with the words: “Welcome back, Light.” After the scene where Hope asks Lightning to return to the Ark, Lightning begins a monologue explaining the events that happened in FFXIII and XIII-2 – including some additional scenes following the Requiem of the Goddess episode. It’s here we learn that Lightning blames herself for not being able to rescue Serah. She also gives us an overview of the world of Novus Partus (Nova Chrysallia in the English version) and its four continents – Yusnaan, Luxerion, Wildlands and the Dead Dunes.

Lightning herself has become the servant of Bhunivelze – having awaited the day of her resurrection since she became a crystal. The world of Nova Chrysallia is falling into ruin and as a result, Bhunivelze wishes to create a new one. Because he is unable to create human begins, Bhunivelze tasks Lightning with the job of the Savior. Souls of humans from the existing world must be gathered and transferred to the new one; souls Lightning fails to save will be destroyed forever when the old world ends. Because of this, Lightning takes on her role as servant of the god in hopes of rescuing her sister.

Of course, there is a possibility the world will end before the 13th day is reached – depending on how much time is extended by the player from the initial seven days provided to them. If Lightning fails to extend the world’s life to the maximum 13 days then her mission is considered a failure and she’ll not be able to rescue Serah. Despite her new position, Lightning doesn’t seem to feel anger at the fact that Serah has essentially become a hostage in all this. While she still retains memories from the past, she has become void of most emotion. Hope finds himself in a similar situation as well.

The world of Nova Chrysallia is the remnants of Pulse consumed by Chaos 500 years ago when the gate to Valhalla was opened onto the visible world. Because of this humans are immortal, although they can still suffer illness and other disasters. Worshiping god (Bhunivelze) has become popular amongst the people – particularly in the city of Luxerion.

169 years ago, it seems Hope went missing. When he woke up in the Ark, his body has reverted to his teenage form for some mysterious reason. The Ark is actually the artificial Cocoon seen at the end of FFXIII-2 and is controlled by Hope. Time doesn’t flow here – it’s essentially Lightning’s home base where she’ll receive outfits (such as her Sorceress outfit, weapon and shield) and other goods from Hope while at the same time the location she’ll use to restore time to the world.

Having entered the Ark, Lightning wishes to continue her pursuit of Snow, however the timing isn’t quite right as she’ll only be hunted by Snow’s guards if she goes back now. Hope suggests that Lightning visit a different area instead – the city of Luxerion. It’s here we learn that Lightning must return to the Ark at 6am every day for a specific reason. Using a warp spell, she ends up on the train – as seen in the trailers – where she departs. At the station a human figure bearing Noel’s appearance can be seen. Vanille is also present here – it seems she’s being sheltered by the religious group called the Salvation Council, which keeps a tight grip on the city of Luxerion.

Serial murders have started taking place in Luxerion as someone aims to kill Lightning. The city of God has been filled with blood – three people dead in three days – and Lightning on the hunt to find the culprit. So intent are these detractors, that they’ve hung an effigy of Lightning near the town’s clock tower. The group responsible is a bunch dressed in white. Their goal is as much as a mystery as the story itself.

The demo is prefaced with a bit of an adventure. Lightning takes to the streets, questioning those in her path while following the advice from Hope Estheim – a familiar FFXIII character who operates elsewhere for the time being. By moving around the city, Lightning can collect evidence and in turn traverse through many shortcuts to get to where she needs to be.

Via: Eternal Light.

About the Author

Erren Van Duine As a self-professed Final Fantasy fan, Erren created Nova Crystallis in 2009 as a place to collect the latest information on her favorite series. As owner and Editor-in-Chief, she also spends her time as a freelance illustrator.