Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 demo hits Xbox Live, later today on PSN in North America

Tuesday, 21st January 2014 12:47 GMT By Dave Cook

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 has received a demo on Xbox Live. It comes ahead of the JRPG’s launch on PS3 and Xbox 360 next month.

You’ll find the demo page over on It weighs in at 1.14GB.

DualShockers reports that the demo gives a taster of the game’s battle mechanics and social features, which enables players to post fight scores to Twitter and Facebook.

Those posting scores will receive a Siegfried costume for Lightning as a reward.

Here it is:

I recently posted my hands-on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 preview, and found that it’s got a few problems. Hit the link to see what I thought.

The demo will be made available later today for PS3 on PlayStation Network in North America, and tomorrow in Europe. Downloading the demo through PSN will also net you the Utsusemi Samurai garb.



  1. Hcw87

    Never played a single FF game in my life. Should i play this? Will i understand anything that’s going on?

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 Nope. It’s my favourite series and even I had trouble following it.

    Start with 7 or 8 on Steam. Go from there.

    My favourites are 7, 6 and 12, but the core games are mostly all great.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. FoureyesZero

    Anything before 13 is great.
    The series took a massive step backwards with 13 and it hasn’t gotten any better with the crappy sequels.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. feopoli

    @2 You’re forgetting FF X!

    #4 11 months ago
  5. pablo2008jedi

    What I need is a PS3 demo!

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @2 Can’t fault a man who loves 6 and appreciates the strengths of 12.

    Your lack of 9 in that list is blasphemy though, and you shall be beheaded as punishment for this heinous oversight!

    #6 11 months ago
  7. CycloneFox

    As with the older Star Trek Films, the even numbers and 7 and 9(which is not the case for StarTrek) are mostly worth playing/watching. But you might have a hard time, getting used to the graphics prior FF 7, if you are not a really big fan of 8/16 bit graphics. And if you don’t like early PS-One era semi-3D games with prerendered graphics, everything prior FFX is also not a good idea for you.

    So you are quite stuck with FFX, which gets an HD remake soon. But every FF-fan would recommend all the FFs between 6 and 10 of course.

    If you find the graphics of FF13 so appealing that you want to try it out, I wouldn’t recommend FF13, itself but its successor FF 13-2. It did a, by far, better job as a game. The story is still very confusing, but you can watch everything, you need to know about FF13s story and plot in the main menu of FF 13-2. And it only takes minutes instead of wasted tens of hours. Lightning Returns – Final Fantasy XIII, actually looks quite promising and, as FF XIII-2 did too, seems to continue to fix what FFXIII destroyed. In my opinion it might get good.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. jomac3db

    @1 ff is the best RPG franchise ever and I agree with @2 except my favorites are, 7,8,9,10, &12

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Hcw87

    I don’t really agree on that, if it was that good i’d have played it allready. The combat has really put me off before, turnbased just isn’t my style (KOTOR and Dragon Age 1 i liked though).

    The story also seems very confusing and random.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. fihar

    I like to chime in by stating that if you don’t like lengthy battles with ridiculously long animations, you might as well skip the three PSOne classics, 7, 8 and 9.
    And you could probably skip the first three, they don’t age very well.

    4 is the first one to have well-written story and characters, and as such is a classic.
    6 is in my opinion, the best in the series and I still have trouble finding something bad to say about Kefka.
    10 has my favorite battle system, as it doesn’t use ATB and enables you to switch party members during battles, which I thought was brilliant.

    The complete edition of 4 is available for the PSP. 6 is available as a PSOne classic on PSN and 10 is about to receive the HD makeover in March.

    If you like Dragon Age, then you should like 12, as both have similar battle systems.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. deathm00n

    @9 Then yeah, you don’t really know much about the series. Let me explain the basics to you, as I’m a fan since 8.

    Every game has a different combat system starting from 6 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 all had turn based gameplay) 7 uses a system where every action must load before it’s done, 8 uses the same principle but magic works different, you don’t have mana, you need to draw magic from your enemies to use it (so you draw fire from a weak enemy for example to stock and use it on harder enemys). 12 (I didn’t play 9 and 10, 11 is an mmo so nevermind) made the most drastic change in gameplay, you don’t have a overworld where you stumble in enemys, they all appear to you and you can atack them anytime while exploring the map. 13 shows the enemys on the map but you need to run into them to enter the battle and the gameplay uses an auto battle, just spam x to kill everything, but in harder enemys you need to use Paradigm Shifts where you change your party classes middle battle (from 1 warrior and 2 mages to 1 warrior, 1 mage and 1 medic for example).

    And the story ins’t hard to follow since every new game happens in a new world with a totally new background. Just get one you like and drive into it. I recommend 8 or 7 like dave said.

    EDIT: And don’t hear people saying that 13 is bad, it’s bad for Final Fantasy standards, still an amazing game despite it’s flaws.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. salarta

    @1: If you really want to get started on FF games, pretty much any of FF4-FF10 + FF12 is excellent. And if you enter into them with the right mindset, FF1-3 can be good too. Personally, I only beat FF1 when it was ported and upgraded to PS1 (which made it much easier), and I never got far past the beginning of FF2 and FF3.

    I left out FF11 because it’s an MMO and therefore not a proper gauge to the franchise proper, and I leave out FF13 because it’s not Final Fantasy. It’s a new IP with the Final Fantasy name and perversions of Final Fantasy concepts slapped in to sell it, same as much of the heavily promoted garbage Squeenix has been making for over 10 years now. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest are literally truer to being Final Fantasy than FF13.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. deathm00n

    @12 Now you are going too far. The Spirits Within more FF than 13? Why do you say that? 13 is more true to FF than 12 to me, 12 did way more changes and no one complained, in 13 everybody boarded the hate train. After you finish the linear part in 13 you arrive in a big world full of things to do , monsters way harder than the last boss. You spend more time in this part of the game than in the hated linear part. And what about the story? Everyone I see complaining about 13 never talk about the story, I thought it was amazing, the mistery not knowing what gran pulse is like, humans relying everything to deitys they know nothing about.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. salarta

    @13: No, I’m really not. The Spirits Within didn’t have the concepts expected of Final Fantasy, but it did have the atmosphere and themes associated with the franchise. There was a mix of technology and what is essentially that world’s version of magic, with the magic being the core focus. It couldn’t provide a ton of exploration or grandiose detail about enemies because it was a movie, but it did provide a fair amount of both (there were many kinds of phantoms). By contrast, FF13 is all about technology and corrupts what were mystical concepts like magic and summons by turning them into mechs and the like.

    I’ve seen the argument people make that “technology you don’t understand can be considered magic,” and that’s bullshit here. It may be true but it’s not Final Fantasy. In FF4, you don’t call the Giant of Bab-il a summon. For FF8, you don’t call the cannon that sends Squall and the rest to the space station a “teleportation spell.” They’re blatantly pieces of technology, and nobody tries to pull the “but they’re magic because technology is magical if you don’t understand how it works” line. People only try to pull that with FF13 because they want to defend the notion that it in any way deserves to be called a Final Fantasy game, and a main entry at that, when it’s not.

    You reach a big area full of things to do? So what, if The Spirits Within was a video game, the city where Aki was found would’ve been the same way, the dome city would’ve been full of chances for exploration. There’s nature? Yeah, The Spirits Within has that too.

    The only thing about FF12 that could count as a complaint about not being enough like Final Fantasy is how the gameplay is modeled after a more action-oriented MMO style with gambits, and FF13 is worse in that regard.

    You may have thought FF13 was “amazing,” you may have thought it was the best game ever, but that still doesn’t automatically make it a Final Fantasy game, in the same way that taking Resident Evil 6 and renaming it Devil May Cry 5 and switching out all the characters with Devil May Cry franchise characters and names but keeping the zombie and bioterrorism elements doesn’t make it a Devil May Cry game.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. deathm00n

    @14 I don’t get your logic as to what makes FF. Please elaborate. Is it gameplay, is it story, is it magic mixed with tech?

    What makes FF in my vision: a world in danger of ending by the hands of someone crazed by power; this world has magic and magical beings; a group of people that are the only ones capable of stoping the evil, each one with a unique personality; combat system that makes you act fast and smart at each battle.

    But 13 had magic mixed with tech by the way. The fal’cie are deitys created by a goddess, they choose humans to do their purpose by cursing them, if they don’t complete their mission they become zombie-like creatures, if they do complete they rest forever in crystal, being cursed also give access to magic. If this isn’t a magic world I don’t know what is.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. salarta

    @15: The emphasis on the “goddess” and how her nature was in any way mystical came later, after tons of complaints about FF13. Stuff like FF13-2 and the like started adding more emphasis to such things in the same way as changes were made to make towns and exploration more robust than what FF13 provided.

    My understanding of what makes Final Fantasy into Final Fantasy is simple. Every game in the series takes place on a world that has a mix of technology and magic, and the magical elements serve as the central focus. That is the overall atmosphere. The themes are different depending on what entry is the focus, but the themes are ALWAYS focused on the mystical, magical aspects of the world, and those parts always take greater importance to the story than technology.

    In FF4, a world that has technology like a spaceship and a giant robot, the focus is on mystical crystals and ultimately Zemus’ spirit of hatred (FF4:TA ruins the crystals, which is one of several reasons I consider it an cheap officially-licensed fangame and not real continuity). In FF7, Shinra may have cars and TVs, but the emphasis is on the Lifestream, materia made from the Lifestream, WEAPONs, etc. In FF8, we have space stations and spaceships, cars and moving Gardens, but the focus is on the Sorceresses, able to wield immense magical power that makes them feared by ordinary humans. Even in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, we may have modern barrier cities and space stations and people toting ghost busting guns, but the emphasis of that world is on the spirits of aliens, a mystical phenomenon that also leads to Aki receiving dreams from them.

    FF13 turned summons into mechs. The final boss of the whole game is essentially mechanical. In every prior main entry, you have villains turned into full-fledged gods or half-angels, gods that possess summons to become roving terrors, a member of an alien species turning into an embodiment of hate. FF13? You have a mech.

    Even if we take the “god” as being definitely confirmed as a mystical entity in FF13 itself (everything I’ve seen suggests it was open-ended enough that the “goddess” could’ve been nothing more than a member of an alien species like they pulled on the “Creator” for FF4:TA), the “goddess” not being mechanical doesn’t change the fact that the whole emphasis of the game is on a world where technology is the focus. It would be the same thing as FF8 approaching the Sorceress concept by having anyone that becomes a Sorceress turn into a half-cyborg and claiming that the original Sorceress is a goddess that provides magic as a power source. It’s still technology.

    The Alexander summon in the franchise is a mech too, and we call it what it is. We don’t pretend it’s a mystical, magical being like entities like Shiva and Ifrit are in anything that isn’t FF13 just because it’s a summon.

    I focused most of this post on magic and technology in the franchise, but there are obviously other things that need to be present in each game. Exploration is critical. An actual story is another. I want to say that each game needs to have the common dynamic of “a great powerful nation is doing nefarious things, but there’s some evil schemer within the nation only using it as a puppet for his/her own grander nefarious goals,” since that trope is consistent across almost every Final Fantasy game that isn’t FF13 (FF4: Baron and Golbez, FF6: The Empire and Kefka, FF7: Shinra and Sephiroth, FF8: Galbadia and Edea which is later Ultimecia, FF9: Alexandria and Kuja, FF10: Yevon and Seymour, FF12: Archadia and Vayne), but that could be way too limiting and unnecessary, especially given not all FF games had that.

    A Final Fantasy game doesn’t necessarily have to be turn-based gameplay (though I can definitely understand people that support such a view), it doesn’t need to be in a medieval setting, it doesn’t even need to have a world map like every game did until FF10 (though I want that back, badly). It just needs to have a mix of magic and technology with magic taking the emphasis, themes that cater to that magic emphasis, plenty of exploration, and gameplay that is generally RPG style in nature.

    This is why I’m actually looking forward to FF15 and plan to buy it even though I’m currently not buying anything from Squeenix. By the time it comes out, it’ll be the first real Final Fantasy game I’ve seen come out of the company in ten years. Sure, I’d vastly prefer if the game was in a medieval setting, I’d vastly prefer a turn-based system of gameplay, I’m not excited about a modern setting, but the fact of the matter is, it STILL covers all the things that make Final Fantasy what it is. It’s a world that has a mix of magic and technology, the core theme is going to be on that magical side of the world, we know it’ll have exploration because the team has at least tried to make a world map (even if it eventually gets cut), and the gameplay we’ve seen so far may be more action-oriented but it’s still got the RPG side included as it’s action-RPG.

    Straight out, what Squeenix released as “Final Fantasy XIII” should have been, if I’m being generous, Final Fantasy Versus 13. At least with that much, it would’ve gotten across the idea that while it may have some elements of the franchise, it’s going to do them completely different.

    #16 11 months ago

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