Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13

The uneven Final Fantasy 13 trilogy comes to a close with its most innovative, and best, instalment.

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 review

We've been here, mere hours away from the end of the world, before. World-saving has been the defining theme of video gaming's first 30 years, from fending off shuffling space invaders to skewering ideological threats in Civilization or Call of Duty. But it's rare that a game set on the eve of the apocalypse manages to elicit any real sense of urgency. Japanese role-playing games are the perfect example: the world may be perilously close to extinction and our band of heroes will be off racing giant chickens or pursuing a side-quest to upgrade a leather coat. We understand that the world is in danger and that we are instrumental in its salvation, but we also know that ours is an appointment which cannot be missed.

Lightning Returns, the third entry in the uneven Final Fantasy 13 trilogy, fixes this inconsistency. You are seven days from the apocalypse. A clock counts down in the top right hand corner of the screen, pausing only when you enter a menu screen, engage in a battle or return to a celestial waiting room at 6am to signal the end of that day. Other than these brief moments of respite, time in the game is finite - and the truth is that there isn't enough time on the clock to complete every quest and storyline before the endgame.

The world's inhabitants work to their own schedules and appointments; some missions are only available at a specific time on a specific day. The question then becomes: on what or whom will you spend your remaining time? And will your choices avert the impending disaster? As one of the game's later boss characters quips, "In this dying world nothing is more precious than time. Why do you waste it on me?"

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 E3 gameplay demo showcases flappy coat

An E3 2013 gameplay demo video of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 has flashed up on YouTube.

It shows our coincidentally attractive heroine acrobatically slicing through monsters and navigating her way through a level, all the while accompanied by some grating synthesised music from yesteryear.

There's no HUD on display so it's not clear exactly what's going on during battles. Based on the evidence in this video, fighting is an action-packed affair.

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New Square Enix boss promises "fundamental review" of the entire company

New Square Enix boss promises "fundamental review" of the entire company

Ex-president Wada to remain employee "as a way to pay my debt".

The new boss of troubled Japanese publisher Square Enix has pledged he will hold a "fundamental review" of the company.

Incoming president Yosuke Matsuda was named Square Enix boss last week after the company announced it would suffer an "extraordinary loss" this financial year.

He replaces long-term Square Enix leader Yochi Wada, who will officially step down in June.

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