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Famitsu weighs in on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, gives it a 37/40 By Erren Van Duine on November 12, 2013 at 9:59 PM

This week’s Famitsu has quite the scoop on Lightning Returns this week, including their expected four-person review. The team at Famitsu ended up scoring the game a 37/40 or 10, 10, 8, 9 individually. In comparison, Final Fantasy XIII was rated at 39/40 and XIII-2 a 40/40 in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

According to the reviewers, the battles in Lightning Returns are interesting and the feel for speed is great. They are “extremely entertaining,” but if the player fails to pay attention to an enemy’s weakness even trash mobs can prove difficult. As a result, it’s important to make split-second decisions during battle. Even on Easy mode, Lightning Returns can be surprisingly difficult. The time constraints don’t appear to factor into that difficulty too much though, and didn’t stress the reviewers out much at all.

lightningscan

It’s not all about the battles, though. Clearing quests is obviously the goal here and the amount of freedom given to the player is so high it’s easy to get lost in it. Hints for each quest are actually fairly scarce and as a result, it might take casual users a bit to get used to. Players can become absorbed in trying to complete a large number of quests, as well as customizing and strengthening Lightning. The level of uniqueness you can achieve with her appearance and ability setups is said to be “entertaining and stunning”. The reviewer also states that the game is quite beautiful.

The translated material was provided by TensaiShojo.

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  • Cyniac

    I thought it would be 41/40. It’s SE we are talking about.

  • KryptonianAvenger

    oh oh. If Famitsu (who are known for being much more generous with their scores than western magazines) would only give it 37/40, which happens to be one of the lowest scores ever given by them for a console FF game and is a significantly lesser score than XIII and XIII-2 than we should seriously lower our expectations for this game…

  • Sapientia

    Famitsu gave FFXIII-2 a 40/40 and FFXIII a 39/40.
    So, uh…no.

  • XYFEIR

    Scores don’t mean jack. Edge gave XIV: ARR a 6/10, but that game was phenomenal.
    Not to mention I thought personally XIII was superior to XIII-2.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Actually, 37/40 is still a pretty fantastic score. This is the same score given to Final Fantasy VIII, and both Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy VII received 38/40- just 1 point higher. Only Final Fantasy XII and XIII-2 have ever been awarded a perfect sore among the series, with FFX, FFXIII, and FFXIV:A Realm Reborn coming in at 39.

    For reference, Final Fantasy X-2 got a 34/40.

  • stevenm281

    only our own opinion matter after experiencing the matter ourselves.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Yes, Famitsu is a bit of a soft touch. I’m genuinely surprised if I see a score below 36 from them, no matter the game or series.

  • XYFEIR

    Exactly! ;D

  • XYFEIR

    Ehren, I just want to say I f*cking love you! XD

  • Storm

    I was expecting a 38/40 actually, but its fine.

  • Jean Paiva

    I’m without words….but 37/40 is not bad at all.

  • Storm

    37/40 is equivalent to 9.25, its a really good score indeed.

  • Jean Paiva

    Cool! There’s a complete review already?

  • Storm

    No, I don’t think so. πŸ™

  • Pekola

    So they reviewed the game and three people gave it a high score, while another gave it a less high one?

    Is that supposed to be bad in some way? Lol.

    I don’t know if I’ll even care for reviews. There’s always a hate brigade trying to exaggerate everything into bad news and if that’s what this game will get then, do not want.

    I mean, okay you don’t like the game. We get it. We’ve gotten it since XIII came out. But honestly, a 37/40 review from Famitsu, I don’t see how it can be construed as bad.

  • Somber

    Score low? – there are haters.
    Score high? – there are still haters.

    That means scores aren’t important since players can be the only people who love it or not. 37/40 is still excellent.

  • William_Spike

    thats exactly my point. They gave those two a higher score than LR, therefore its very likely that LR wont be a better game than those two. Ergo – concern.

  • William_Spike

    well FF VIII and IX were in a much different time. You cant really compare this with how Famitsu rates games 15 years later. Thats why I rather compare it to the Famitsu scores of the last 5 years or so.

    Also can I say how unfair it is that my posts get voted down just for speaking my honest opinion. Its like the second you say something bad about LR you get dislikes. Very fair.

  • Ehren Rivers

    I didn’t invent the downvote system, and honestly I don’t really like it either. I think it creates unconstructive popularity fights. Were I able to do anything about it, we wouldn’t even have a downvote system. That said, Nova Crystallis has seen its share of trolls and baiters in recent days. There have been several instances of negative comments about Lightning Returns being worded to incite responses, which is followed by the original poster becoming very aggressive and even abusive. I don’t condone the downvotes and when people get out of hand I do step in, but I understand why it happens.

    And no, not really. Famitsu hasn’t really changed at all, and if anything you should be comparing its scores to games that actually share some gameplay systems and genre archetypes. Open-world games (along with many more action-oriented games) tend to get lower scores from Famitsu- Case in point being Xenoblade Chronicles, a game that is wildly popular in the US and yet only score a 36 from Famitsu.

    Finally, as I’ve mentioned a few times now in various places, you really need to look at the individual scores. 10/10/9/8. It’s just 2 points lower than XIII- from what I’ve heard, both of those points seem to be from a single person who enjoyed this game less than they enjoyed both XIII and XIII-2.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Better is completely subjective, though. There are metric tons of games Famitsu has given ACTUALLY low scores to that are critical successes both in the west and elsewhere in Japan. By the same token, Famitsu gave XII and XIII-2 both perfect 40s- These two games are given an immense amount of flak in the West, not to mentioned the original XIII has received some of the most divided and polarized opinions the international Final Fantasy community has ever seen.

  • Adamantium Avenger

    Sounds like you have a lot of faith and confidence in LR. I really hope it delivers but like many FF fans I have become cautious when it comes to the XIII-saga. I like the two previous games, I even thought that XIII had some of the greatest moments in the series but both games were certainly not on the level of VII – X. And many FF fans (me included) would love a game on that level again. A game that unites the FF fans in joy and celebration again instead of dividing them into flaming wars πŸ™

  • Sapientia

    And…suddenly two points behind FFXIII’s 38/40 and three points behind FFXIII-2’s 40/40 suddenly makes it a worse game by default because of four reviewers (scoring 10/10/8/9 apparently)?
    If you’re that big on reviews, be my guest and feel free to think it’s “very likely” a worse game than the first two, but that doesn’t make it fact that LR won’t be a better game. It’s all just subjective.
    I don’t know about you, but I myself am not going to lower my expectations because of four people’s reviews. At the end of the day it’s still a good score – a 9/10 (9.25, is it?).

  • Sapientia

    Far as I know the FFXIII fanbase throws a party every day that LR comes closer to release in Japanese and the English release next year.
    It’s been a New Year’s Eve-level of party with FFXIII fans, honestly. xD

  • Ehren Rivers

    I do have confidence in Lightning Returns, but that’s not really what this is about. All I’m saying is that rather than reviews, people should really rely on their own experiences to decide their opinion on the game. I mean, the original XIII received a near-perfect score and yet in the West is saw massive hate. The reviews pointed at it being an amazing, definitive gaming experience and yet a fairly large group of people didn’t like it. Some even outright hate it.

    Really, I just think it’s better for people to form opinions on their own. Even though I do reviews, they’re more for people that have already played the games than they are for people on the fence about purchasing them. It’s just one viewpoint, and that should never be taken as fact. Even in this situation, with 4 separate viewpoints to look at, there’s obviously some disparity. Two people thought it was perfect, one person thought it came pretty close, and one person said it was good but basically has some flaws that prevent them from enjoying it.

    People are different, and fans can’t assume a reviewer can accurately speak for everyone.

  • Somber

    Just remember that 2 people gave LR 10 marks plus one with 9 and one with 8. There might be some points that they don’t like.

    XIII got 39 but because of its linearity, it was seriousy bashed. XIII-2 (which featured a very enjoyable battle system) got perfect score but it didn’t impressed those who loved XIII. So, scores cannot impress.

    BTW, your faith and confidence are low. Just kidding. LOL

  • Ehren Rivers

    Update: Apparently, reviewers found the game to be very difficult even when on easy. Translations are still cursory and being revised, but it looks like the reviewers got lost a lot and it’s really hard to find in-game hints for quests.

  • Raos

    Edge’s reviews only made me to stop caring about edge

  • Raos

    you can’t break the scale only because a company makes better games than all the others

  • Somber

    Generally Famitsu give Open-world and action-oriented games low scores. No problem. Those are scores. But predicting game quality by their scores is not very good.

  • Somber

    Yeah I really wish that too. But it won’t be possible to satisfy every people πŸ™

    I wish LR or perhaps XV will unite us once again.

  • Somber

    Oh god, that means good for us πŸ˜›

  • Ehren Rivers

    Also I’d like to take a moment just to say that we at Nova Crystallis take ban evasion very seriously. It’s come to mine and Erren’s attention in the last few weeks that some people who were banned for very destructive or abusive behavior have managed to make new accounts or otherwise slip through the net. Make no mistake- we don’t shrug that kind of thing off or look the other way. Whenever a suspicious account comes up, it gets discussed and investigated. If you’ve been given a permanent ban, it’s really best to just walk away.

  • Dark

    THIS!

  • Sean Hayden

    Wait what… I thought you two were the same person…

    THERE’S TWO EDITORS?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Erren is the site owner, and editor-in-chief. I’m mostly a writer, but I’m also largely in charge of the comments section and help out where possible with translations. The Nova Crystallis family of staff is larger than just the two of us, of course, but we’re the most active and in-contact with the community for the time being.

    I think the confusing thing comes from the fact that her name is Erren and my name is Ehren- both fairly unique takes on a common name.

  • Erren Van Duine

    Inception.

  • Pekola

    You got downvoted. Probably by the person who made the alt account.

    The plot thickens.

  • SazhKatzroy

    Does by chance the Doomsday clock have anything to do with this?

  • Ehren Rivers

    All right, article updated with the information our translator found out!

  • Ehren Rivers

    Apparently not! I just finished the update, but apparently it’s not the time limit but the need for strategy with enemy weaknesses that tripped them up.

  • SazhKatzroy

    This is good news! It’s been my one fear with LR since I like to sidetrack to check for hidden details around the locales or to simply appreciate the art direction. Thanks for the update too!

  • miss chel

    Lmao it’s the best game in the XIII series then. Can’t wait!

  • SazhKatzroy

    One of the rare gems XIII and other FF games had was the family aspect. Each character was pulling for one another, or helped someone overcome their dilemma, or simply listened to their story to reassure them that everything would be ok. XIII did this very well, and it seems LR will do the same as Lightning meets up with her past team members since the final boss fight of XIII

  • miss chel

    It gave FFX a 6/10 as well. Whatever Edge.

  • miss chel

    That’s the aspect of the game I’m mostly excited for! I do hope we get to see them like that in LR.

  • JaundrΓ©

    The irony is that if someone actually set up a “we hate ffxiii and LR” forum nobody would comment there. Whenever people engage in provocative behaviour I dont even downvote them -ignore them and flag their comments as inappropriate. If you dont give the fire any fuel its going to burn out…

  • Wassim Mokhtar

    Thats an interesting score…… pointing out that the same Famitsu gave XIII-2 a perfect 40/40…… But personally I adore XIII more than XIII-2 and also from what i’m seeing from LR footages….. it deserves more, but whatever. Reviews ain’t gonna stop me from buying LR.

  • i387

    Lol famitsu. Nothing to add.

  • FFFan

    Wow the same score as the 3rd Birthday, another Toriyama and Kitase master piece?
    In the end, the dynamic duo’s combined efforts produced the two lowest scored FF games of the last 20 years… Maybe they should get a promotion?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Rumor has it that this week’s Famitsu actually contains a report that’s over 10 pages long on Lightning Returns, some of which is very spoilery. The translated information from above is just a summary, with a longer interview on the way. Apparently, there is at least one new render of Lightning and possibly some other new artwork.

  • Mateus.E

    “They are β€œextremely entertaining,” but if the player fails to pay attention to an enemy’s weakness even trash mobs can prove difficult. As a result, it’s important to make split-second decisions during battle. Even on Easy mode”-Oh,so it ain’t spam X to win,eh?Well,well.this won’t stop the fans,though.They will most likely complain about difficulty and say how great a battlem system that only requires you to press a button is.
    Only thing I didn’t like with his review is that he gave ammo to the haters.Oh well.2 points,to us,is dirt,but to them,well,it1s like the distance between the 1 floor and the 20 floor of a building.

  • Mateus.E

    Well well.Interesting.When is famitsu out and this news here in this page?

  • SykraS

    the complaints they had are all great things IMO, it should be difficult, as a player i should pay attention to every important aspect such as enemy weakness. it should to prove challenging to me. I achieved platinum trophies for both XIII and XIII-2 and i still wanted more. So a lot of quests is more than welcome. 37/40 is still a great a score, i can’t wait to play this game.

  • Jean Paiva

    So, the complain is just about the difficult and the hints? Actually, that’s good! XIII-2 was too, too, easy!

  • Sothe Zephyr

    HOORAY! I actually invite spoilers, all but spoilers that affect…..effect….whatever, the ending dramatically πŸ˜›

  • Sothe Zephyr

    Well id give it a higher rating, 13-2 got a 40!?!?!?!? Too easy for me, 35/40 lol πŸ˜› Omg this game is going to be GREAT! Going to be looking for people to post videos, if permitted, of the imported version!

  • Felix Trotter Pando

    And the story?

  • Sothe Zephyr

    Is a small factor when regarding gameplay πŸ˜›

  • Ellis

    Famitsu’s scores seem a bit too generous, I don’t think XIII-2 was worth a full score…
    The fact that LR got a lower score than both of its predecessors worries me. I loved XIII, but XIII-2’s story, characters, and time traveling didn’t interest me that much, so I’m not too thrilled about this game supposedly being inferior to it.
    But it’s only one review, and it’s close to a perfect score, so maybe I shouldn’t take my worries too seriously.

  • Hope Fantasy

    The game being more difficult is just my type of challenge! πŸ˜‰ Challenging games is are more fun no?!?!? πŸ˜›

  • Noctis Caelum

    40 for XIII-2??
    Okay I personally give a 36…
    XIII 39 and LR looks already much better than the previous titles.

    So much things to do, find interesting places, awesome gameplay, exciting story, cool characters, impressive “open” world and an epic soundtrack.

  • Somber

    New scan! Spoilers Alert -http://lightning-returns-news.tumblr.com/post/66867780866/new-v-jump-scan-spoilers

    Kitase said NORA won’t be in LR http://www.siliconera.com/2013/11/13/nora-wont-return-lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/

    I hope Hope’s mom Nora to get revived in LR. :/

  • Jean Paiva

    I’ll stop read the news about the game. Too much spoilers…….but I can’t resist……what do i do?

  • OathkeeperSoraXIII

    There’s a new v-jump scan released over on the lightning returns news tumblr. It goes over the return of some characters but i wont spoil who. I cant post the link on my phone but i’ll edit this post later if its not already on the site πŸ˜›

  • XYFEIR

    Edge would give something a low score if the sky wasn’t their favorite shade of blue. They’re picky and dumb like that. O3O

  • XYFEIR
  • Storm
  • XYFEIR

    His makeup is quite fab ;D

  • Jean Paiva

    What they talked about the plot?

  • Somber
  • Erren Van Duine
  • Somber

    okie okie πŸ˜›

    I just found that article recently. πŸ˜›

  • Erren Van Duine

    Sorry, I don’t like the guy who runs that site.

  • Somber

    Okay, I won’t post links from that site next times. πŸ˜€

  • soulluos

    Understandable.

  • Mark

    A 37/40 from Famitsu is like a 3/10 from a normal gaming review.

  • Somber

    uh….you again.

  • XYFEIR

    Lol, Just ignore him.

  • apdyckman

    Do you know if the reviewers liked the game’s story in the article?

  • Ehren Rivers

    That info hasn’t leaked yet to my knowledge.

  • Mark

    Anything constructive to say?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Please, stop replying to Mark. These arguments are getting out of hand, and if they continue I’ll be taking action. Walk away.

  • Mateus.E

    well,they never said Nora wouldn’t be in it,just that NORA wouldn’t.get it,lol?

  • Mateus.E

    that is called character interaction and caracter development,sthings that only recently started to appear in FF.I say that X was one of the first to do it.

  • Mateus.E

    perhaps this was why they took some grade from the game…

  • Mateus.E

    to some people out there,30=0,31=1,and so on.

  • Mateus.E

    man,the game was worth a 8-8,5 . It was great.Oh well,I don’t read it,and never will.

  • Mateus.E

    not every page has such an efficient and dedicated staff member and mod.

  • Anime10121

    Just submit like the rest of us. The only thing I seem to be able to abstain from are gameplay trailers :/

  • Sean Hayden

    Both start with an E and have Ren in them…
    That’s what got me.

  • FinalFantisiac

    Not bad at all.

  • Sapientia

    Clearly one is Rin and one is Len.
    Wait, what?

  • Ryuukishi

    Dat new render.

  • Erren Van Duine

    Downvote me all you want, but there’s a reason most fansite owners avoid him and that site.

  • Sapientia

    Err…I don’t use Square Portal very often, but is this something that people should know?
    Other than the watermarks. -_-

  • Ehren Rivers

    Well, it’s relevant at least when it comes to linking on this site. We’ve got people we work well with and there’re plenty of sites we’re friendly with, but the relationship between us and that site is strained to say the least. It’s understandable that Erren would want to ask people to refrain from linking images and articles coming out of that site.

  • Sapientia

    Oh, got you. I was thinking something completely different. Thanks, I’ll be sure not to mention/link the site then (not that I would ever need to.)

  • Lowe De Leon

    It is always by perception. May it be 37, 38, 39- if its a 40 for me…these reviews will not matter. Good insight though from the people who have come to play it against a “standard.”

  • Sean Hayden

    You don’t understand.
    Both names start with an “E”.
    Both names end with “ren”.

  • Ryumoau

    They gave 13-2 a perfect score? really? Its hard for me to take Famitsu too serious.

  • Sapientia

    It was a joke. Rin and Len are two Vocaloids, twins.
    I definitely know which one is Ehren and which is Erren, haha.

  • Ehren Rivers
  • Sapientia

    xD As Noel would say, “exactly.”

  • Storm2356

    Even though Famitsu is apparently pretty soft when it comes to rating something, it’s nice to know that it got received well by someone already. Not that it matters to me, I already like what I see enough to buy it.

  • FΓ‘bio Henrique Arosti

    ’cause today the new cool is to bash a game. Except for COD and FPS. They’re always PERFECT. LOL, gaming websites. LOL.

  • Storm

    well, XIII-2 is not better than FFVII, FFX, or FFVI only because it got a higher score.

  • kansasborn2314

    Not sure why you had downvotes on your comment. I loved XIII and XIII-2, but they were by no means a perfect game. I’m quite infatuated with the story, and I’m extremely looking forward to Lightning Returns. From what I’ve seen and heard, Lightning Returns seems to be the best game in the XIII trilogy. It’s confusing to me how the past two games have a better score than it.

  • Gust

    Personally, I liked the Final Fantasy XIII, my only gripe was with the limited set of attacks you had

  • Jermo48

    Because story is fairly subjective, and that was FFXIII-2’s only real flaw (in my opinion). If you just happen to love the story, the game could be considered pretty nearly perfect (no game ever created is perfect, so unless you intend for 10/10s to be non-existent, it doesn’t mean perfect). It’s pretty easy to justify a 40/40 if the story worked for you.

  • pablopete

    XIII was so on rails and automated it bored me to death. It was about as much of a “game” as watching The Spirits Within but having to press x-x-x-x to keep it playing. Especially coming off the huge engrossing world of X and the great combat, gambits and leveling systems in XII – XIII was just such a disappointment that I never played XIII-2.

    So yeah, I agree, if Famitsu gave XIII a 39/40, I really don’t care what they have to say about Lightning Returns.

  • Alex Ellison

    So it’s going back to something like the difficulty level from the original XIII, except you have to play with only one character….this game is going to be hard as hell for me but my policy is always to play on Standard/ Normal mode. *lol* I really hope you can at least make Lightning powerful as hell.

  • Mhammad Yehya

    i my self love sooo much the whole story of final fantasy 13 from the begening, this 3rd chapter its too fantastic too.but i hate the limited time you to play the whole game following time before pass away and finishing it in time .its very hard game really i wish theres no time to play free and take my whole time watching outstanding grafics and play all mission in the game . other than that , i love it so much.

  • Ryumoau

    aww…the old ‘CoD’ argument. Anytime you butthurt weaboos use that as a way to somehow discredit western reviews, i can’t help but laugh at your desperation. Those FPS games still have more polish than the lazy recycled garbage japan has been crapping out the last couple years.