Lightning Returns Spoileriffic Story Discussion Thread

#1 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

If you couldn't tell by the title, there be spoilers here! Avast, watch your step and all that.

I just beat the game and watched the ending, and man, I love it. I won't deny that the ending gets really crazy at points, and a little sappy, but there's only so many satisfying ways you can ended a story that concludes with the end of the world and punching God in the balls. And the post credits scene, with Lightning (or maybe Claire?) getting off the train to seemingly start a new, peaceful life free of all the bullshit she's had to live through, from the fal'Cie to Valhalla to being conscripted as Bhunivelze's Valkyrie, seems like a fitting way to bring her story to a close. She deserves a rest.

Especially after the body of the game. Because man, Lightning Returns is set in a very strange, depressing world. Everyone knows the world is about to come crashing to an end, and yet all they can do is live the lives they've led for five hundred years, whether that be as a child with a mindset unable to mature, or a man who's suffered such tragedy that he forgot years of his life and lives in happy ignorance. It's a blessing that Lightning Returns can be silly at times, whether as part of the story itself or through player action (like some of the goofier adornments), because Nova Chrysalia would otherwise be a soul-crushing place to be.

I'll try to write more at length on the game once I've had a chance to let everything sink in. But for now, I just couldn't be happier. How about you all?

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#2 Edited by SteadyingMeat (1110 posts) -

I definitely think the ending has flaws (like Sazh being mostly ignored to the point where his Eidolon is even given to someone else, Snow and Serah having zero interaction, etc), but all in all, it it was a pretty satisfying way to end the trilogy. I mean, I still think the story was just fine ending with XIII, but if it has to be this way, then I'm fine with that I guess. Also, I may be one of the only people who think so, but I really liked the interaction Hope and Lightning had with each other during the whole ending. I don't " ship " them or whatever you'd call it, but it was nonetheless pretty sweet. :P .......Still kinda curious as to why he never gets his adult form back, though.

But yeah, overall, really good game. Time limit was maybe a little annoying, though that most mostly because I had no idea how forgiving it was when I started.

Also, I really liked Caius and the gang's endings.

#3 Edited by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

@steadyingmeat: Yeah, I think that the ending of XIII was good, as well. But despite how unintended XIII-2 and Lightning Returns were at the beginning, they built a trilogy that was well worth it.

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#4 Edited by bigjeffrey (4771 posts) -

The ending was soooo dumb, i think i may have blacked out.

#5 Posted by Petiew (1328 posts) -

@bigjeffrey said:

The ending was soooo dumb, i think i may have blacked out.

Agreed. It was so dumb, and not really in the way I was hoping.

#6 Edited by TheBlue (314 posts) -

Yeah, considering they basically threw out the entirety of XIII's story and went bat-shit crazy with the plot, the ending was suitably bat-shit crazy. I'm still miffed at the lack of Sazh during the ending and throughout the latter 2 games in general (also wtf giving Noel his eidolon), but whatever. I really liked this game to the point I really couldn't stop playing it, but I hated the way the characters acted as if they barely knew each other. Like I know the focus was on Lightning the whole time, but you spend the entire game listening to her go on and on about saving Serah, and she has like one line at the end? Did they not want to pay the other voice actors too much?

#7 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

@petiew said:

@bigjeffrey said:

The ending was soooo dumb, i think i may have blacked out.

Agreed. It was so dumb, and not really in the way I was hoping.

What were you hoping for? I pretty much prepared myself for just about anything, because I seriously had no idea how the story would resolve itself.


Also, I really liked Caius and the gang's endings.

Yeah, the way that they tied up Caius, Yeul(s), and Noel's arc was really fitting. After playing through the Caius main quest, I wasn't sure how he would play a role in the end, but if anyone needed to stay behind in the chaos, it might as well be someone the chaos refuses to let go.

@theblue said:

I really liked this game to the point I really couldn't stop playing it, but I hated the way the characters acted as if they barely knew each other.

I'm not really clear what you mean by this point.

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#8 Posted by TheBlue (314 posts) -

@hailinel: I mean, I get the whole "God took away my feelings and emotions" thing for Lightning and Hope (which ended up being not true for Lightning), but it's been 500 years. I guess I wanted some dialogue to reflect that? Maybe it bugs me because they spent all of XIII-2 thinking that she had died and that was never resolved, and then 500 years pass and no one seems all that surprised to see her there? I suppose the whole "500 years dulled everyone's emotions" could explain that away and I think the Fang sequence was okay, but ultimately, I think I just wanted more dialogue between the characters reflecting their history together.

#9 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

@theblue said:

@hailinel: I mean, I get the whole "God took away my feelings and emotions" thing for Lightning and Hope (which ended up being not true for Lightning), but it's been 500 years. I guess I wanted some dialogue to reflect that? Maybe it bugs me because they spent all of XIII-2 thinking that she had died and that was never resolved, and then 500 years pass and no one seems all that surprised to see her there? I suppose the whole "500 years dulled everyone's emotions" could explain that away and I think the Fang sequence was okay, but ultimately, I think I just wanted more dialogue between the characters reflecting their history together.

So which scene with Serah are you actually talking about? The one from just before Bhunivelze snatches everyone away, or during their reunion as spirits?

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#10 Posted by EXTomar (4491 posts) -

The story was clearly framed as "the end of the world". Not to mention that "the world" is a psuedo-magical/sort of sci-fi world. Clearly there was going to be something akin to "punching god in the balls" and other grandiose thematic things floating around in it where I'd be kind of surprised and disappointed if it did not.

#11 Edited by TheBlue (314 posts) -

@hailinel: The one at the end where she is actually "back". I know there were the scenes with her previously, but I just wanted longer reunion scenes with Lightning and actually something with Snow. One of the reasons I liked XIII a lot was the character interactions and dynamics and I was missing that in this one. I really enjoyed this game for its gameplay and mechanics, but I just wanted more in regards to the characters. It's really just my personal preference when it comes down to it.

#12 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -
@theblue said:

@hailinel: The one at the end where she is actually "back". I know there were the scenes with her previously, but I just wanted longer reunion scenes with Lightning and actually something with Snow. One of the reasons I liked XIII a lot was the character interactions and dynamics and I was missing that in this one. I really enjoyed this game for its gameplay and mechanics, but I just wanted more in regards to the characters. It's really just my personal preference when it comes down to it.

Yeah, I can understand that. Though I think by that point, when all of them are essentially spirits, I can also see how getting proper character moments of a particular length for everyone can be a challenge. So while it is disappointing in that, I think it was also not a bad idea for them to keep the focus on Lightning.

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#13 Posted by Aetheldod (3509 posts) -

I also really liked the ending and this game basiqly sets in my mind that they were heavily inspired by gnosticism..... also Im glad for Claire that she got her life back , altho I did wanted her to be a death goddes :( but of course beng her complete self. That would´ve been a bit of a heart break. Also I still think if they made better npcs this would´ve been a great game.

#14 Posted by Petiew (1328 posts) -

@hailinel: To be fair my issues with the XIII games are more about what I wanted the series to be, rather than what the creators set out to do so I can't bash it too much.

My main issue is that the series feels more like 3 seperate games loosely linked by a bunch of characters that were never fully developed. There were a lot of threads I was actually interested in (Noel, Snow, Caius and Yuel), but they were solved by a battle, a 10 minute cutscene and then readdressed for a few seconds in the ending.I felt like the ending was just a checklist of happy endings that they needed to quickly tick before they could finish.

The character interactions were also severely lacking throughout the whole game. No one seems to really acknowledge or care that they haven't seen each other for hundreds of years. They didn't even spin this in an interesting way, no one seemed that happy to see Lightning, but no one seemed that pissed at her either. Everything was just kind of indifferent and most of the characters just felt thrown in because they needed to be there.

#15 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

@petiew said:

@hailinel: To be fair my issues with the XIII games are more about what I wanted the series to be, rather than what the creators set out to do so I can't bash it too much.

My main issue is that the series feels more like 3 seperate games loosely linked by a bunch of characters that were never fully developed. There were a lot of threads I was actually interested in (Noel, Snow, Caius and Yuel), but they were solved by a battle, a 10 minute cutscene and then readdressed for a few seconds in the ending.I felt like the ending was just a checklist of happy endings that they needed to quickly tick before they could finish.

The character interactions were also severely lacking throughout the whole game. No one seems to really acknowledge or care that they haven't seen each other for hundreds of years. They didn't even spin this in an interesting way, no one seemed that happy to see Lightning, but no one seemed that pissed at her either. Everything was just kind of indifferent and most of the characters just felt thrown in because they needed to be there.

The series is always going to be sort of odd in the way it came about. There was never even supposed to be a XIII-2. Final Fantasy XIII ended with a satisfying conclusion on its own, but all of the criticism toward it urged them to continue on. It's actually pretty interesting to see how well it ended up working in the end; it could have been another Final Fantasy X-2, reducing the characters and world of the original to near parodies of themselves, but they did manage to latch onto something that worked, even if that something isn't necessarily appreciated by everyone (not that that should be expected, given the internet's vocal disdain for the original XIII).

Though certain aspects could have been given more detail, I think that a lot of what the game presented was sufficient. After five hundred years, I could understand that the characters would react to Lightning in the ways that they do. It's an unfathomable amount of time for any person to live. And it's evident that the characters have all had their own issues to deal with, or knew that Lightning would reappear sooner or later. How long had Noel been plotting his trap, for example? He wasn't doing it out of anger; he was doing it because he had a glimmer of hope that he could be with Yuel again, as false as it was.

Ultimately, Lightning's friends are like any other NPC, in that she's trying save them by putting their hearts at ease. She obviously can't do that in all cases (Hi, Caius!), and when it comes down to the ending, when the world has completely fallen apart, there's little that any of them can do save making peace with each other and going on their way. Caius and Yuel recognize that, and they give Noel what he wants if only to spare him from the same fate.

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