One Easy Tip For Playing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

One Easy Tip For Playing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

I might not have recommended Lightning Returns, but I’m not going to let those grabbing the game anyway enter the fray unarmed. Though it goes against the hardcore role-playing game fan’s pride, I’d highly recommend playing the game on Easy Mode first.

Boo! Hiss! Easy mode is for newbies and communists! Sure it is, but sometimes it just works better. Maybe Normal Mode difficulty was determined by some gaming mastermind. Perhaps they meant to say Normal, Hard, and Nightmare, but changed their minds at the last minute. Whatever the case was, this is one of those times.

Even Square Enix thinks so. From the reviewer’s guide that came with my copy of the game:

Please note that as the game features a more challenging and strategy-oriented battle system, we highly encourage the first play-through to be played on the “Easy Mode”.

I did not read the reviewers guide when I first played through the game, and my experience was worse for it. Dealing with a story that wasn’t capturing my attention was worsened by struggling to master a combat system weighed heavily on trial-and-error, especially considering the consequences of the ‘error’ portion.

What does Easy Mode change?

Battle Difficulty: Enemies won’t hit quite as hard, won’t resist damage quite as much in Easy Mode. This encourages exploration, as travelling to new areas in Normal Mode almost guarantees a few deaths as you adjust to the local fauna.

Escape Penalty: Early on in the game, Lightning gains the ability to escape battle. In Normal Mode there is a catch — escaping advances the in-game clock by an hour. The clock is frustrating enough as it is, without worrying about losing large chunks of time retreating.

HP Recovery: In Normal Mode you’ve got to heal between battles. Since Lightning only has a set number of slots for healing items (6-10), this makes long treks through new areas especially dangerous. In Easy Mode, your hit points refill between battles.

Of course the difficulty you play at is a personal choice. I found it was a lot easier to overlook some of the game’s more glaring flaws without dying every 15 minutes, or getting into the latest in a long string of battles with the same creature that takes forever to take down.

So maybe give Easy Mode a try. You can always call it a dry run before diving into a more challenging New Game+.


    • ha ha. Obligatory and patronising “Are you ok” pop-up that really means “dude you suck to I need play the game for you?”.

      Now gamers are either “casual” and not worthy of the title of “gamer” or they’re “insane” and have played through Dark Souls with their feet.

      Needless to say despite my gaming time averaging about 30 hours a week – I’m yet to finish Dark Souls (at all) and am therefore unworthy.

    • Back in my day, there were no difficulty options and you just got reamed by unreasonably powerful enemies until you learned their patterns by rote.

  • Unpopular opinion time – I’ve started playing most games on Easy. I’ve got so many games in my pile of shame (thanks PS+!) that I decided that I’d rather play through and experience the story of as many of those as I can, as opposed to spending any free time I might have throwing controllers across the room. I’m not a good game player by any means, and sometimes I don’t want a challenge, I just want to experience a story.

    • I’m the exact same. I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to games as I used to, so when I do play it’s on the easy setting so I can just focus on the story.
      Very rarely will I choose to play on the higher difficulty unless I really feel like it would be a good experience. The Last of Us on survival mode is a fine example of this.

  • Normal mode sounds like the most interesting mode given the game seems to be more about the combat and costumes than anything else (Or at least the parts worth playing the game for). If those are the only differences, it’s really not that different to pretty much any other time sensitive action game.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!