Alongside the previously posted Dengeki report, Famitsu has their own report on the systems of Lightning Returns.
The first nugget of information is a comparison of the Easy and Normal battle difficulties. We already know that on Easy Mode you recover HP on the field and your GP consumption and taken damage are reduced, but apparently there’s more. In Normal Mode you can escape battle with a penalty of one (1) in-game hour from your time, but on Easy Mode there’s no such restriction. Furthermore, when you get struck by an enemy before battle in Easy Mode you don’t lose any HP as opposed to Normal Mode, where you also are unable to auto-recover your health anywhere. The game’s battle system is now revealed to be called “Style-Change Active Time Battle”, or “SATB”.
When you start Lightning Returns, you have 5 EP (Energy Points, a multipurpose resource) and can only hold 6 items. Back at The Ark, Hope will give you items, restore your GP, and even give you valuable hints. Once you visit The Ark for the first time you gain access to the customization of Lightning’s abilities and equipment, and this is also where the game’s systems open up to you. For those who don’t remember, you return to The Ark after the Battle Tutorial section that was shown off as the E3 Demo.
In older Final Fantasy games, there was often an “optimize” option for equipment that gave you the equipment with the best stats. This took on a different form in XIII and XIII-2, where you could optimize based on balanced, offensive, and defensive equip sets. In Lightning Returns, this function becomes the “auto-ability” option, which slots a Schema with spells and abilities that fit well with that Schema’s stats and abilities. Although it wasn’t really elaborated on, Famitsu mentions that if you wear “complete sets” of Schema and accessories their overall effectiveness will increase. Different Schema have different starting ATB values you have to pay attention to, as well as differences such as ATB recharge rates, strength of knockout attacks, or the duration of knockouts that you have to keep in mind. Finally, some Schema have “characteristic abilities” that you cannot remove from them.
Next up is shops. There’s a large number of shops in the Luxerion area, near the North Station where Lightning first arrives in the city. There are varying kinds, and of course different shops of the same variety may contain different items. Here is a short list of the kinds of shops you can expect to see around the town, and a short description of what you can find there.
- Equipment Shop: You can buy Schemas and accessories/decorations at these kinds of shops.
- Blacksmith: You can buy weapons or shields here.
- Magic Store: You can strengthen your abilities at this shop by combining the abilities you obtain from enemies. Synthesizing abilities of the same kind and level produces more powerful commands. It wasn’t mentioned, but it seems likely this is where you will also buy battle commands.
- General Store: Recovery items such as potions are stocked within.
- Restaurants: You can eat different meals at different prices to restore HP.
- Inn: You can sleep or rest for chosen amount of time to recover a proportional amount of HP.
- Information Shop: Here you can purchase secret reports, which detail things like enemy weakspots and knockout methods.
- Prayer Canvas: The board seen in some of the earlier trailers, which give you quests to fullfill for people across the city. Many of the quests found here are item retrieval or “fetch quests”, and it’s said that completing them will earn you Chocolina’s gratitude.
- There’s a wandering ‘black marketeer’ merchant named Tenio who you can find all over the world, but his item supply is fairly limited.
Anyone you can talk to will have a white speech bubble over their head, and NPCs will have a small stars underneath that. As previously mentions quests award you with stat gains, but they can also provide you with items, decorations, and gil.
When exploring the field or cities, monsters may appear even in populated areas. If you ignore them they might even start attacking NPCs, although supposedly they will not attack quest-givers. Extra-strong monsters can be found in various places out in the world, referred to as “accent monsters”, which (along with boss creatures) are part of the group of creatures you an upload victory scores of to social sites/SNS. (You can also upload screenshots via SNS, although they make no mention of how you take said screenshots.) One of these monsters is called “Zomokku”, and readers might recognize it as being the green dragon in the header image for this article!
The Famitsu writer (who got a chance to ply the game) said the fight with Zomokku was so hard that he eventually had to escape, losing time and precious EP. He recommends only fighting the creature later in the game once you are prepared, although luckily this dragon only appears once you’ve cleared one of the main-story quests (a tailing mission in Luxerion).
Upon reaching Luxerion you’re set on a main-story quest that involves investigating the murders of women with “rose-pink hair” (like Lightning), but you can also take part in side quests revolving around the religious cult and the murders. These involve investigating and interrogating people. While it’s not mentioned where it is exactly, there is also an area where Chaos has spread more profusely near Luxerion. Sources have translated this area as “Death Border” (or something like that), but there’s no official English name as of yet. In this place, though, enemies are much, much tougher.
Also provided by the report were a list of places and things that halts the progress of the in-game time, and a list of some basic actions Lightning can use on the field. Time stops when you are:
- Talking to people.
- In a cutscene.
- In battle.
- In menus.
- In The Ark with Hope.
The basic actions you can take are:
- Dashing: Consumes the “action meter”, which is the ATB Gauge of whatever Schema you’ve set as your default for battle. It allows you to move faster while you’re dashing, and when you stop your action meter slowly recover.
- Jumping: As far as we know it doesn’t cost from the action meter, but it seems pretty much identical to jumping XIII-2.
- Strike: You can attack enemies in the field for an advantage in battle, but you can also break objects which might hide goodies for your journey. You can’t use strike when your action meter is empty, but it doesn’t seem to actually reduce the meter.
- Sheathe: If you don’t sheathe your weapon in towns or in the presence of civilians, they will become scared of Lightning.
In the datalog you can find battle tips, such as when to guard, when to perform a counterattack, or how to battle more efficient. One of these battles tips is instead of button mashing during fights, use an attack or guard skill when the attacks connect. For example, if you like to use spells the best time to press the button to do the next magic attack is when the first one actually hits your enemy.
The rest of the article was mostly recapping things we already know, but if we discover any new tidbits we’ll be sure to post them for you here!