Lightning Returns gameplay - Ask me anything

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APZonerunner

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#1
Not too long ago I got to play two uninterrupted hours of Lightning Returns, from a section supposedly around a third into the game - so with a decent slice of abilities and things.

So -- I figure rather than a traditional preview, I might do this - ask me anything on here, and if I saw or experienced an answer to it in my extended hands-on, I'll answer to the best of my ability & memory. This can be simple, generic stuff like what I thought of the game and how the combat moves to more specific stuff if you like, but remember I'm largely quoting from memory (and some very limited notes I made). Go! :D
 
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APZonerunner

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#3
I had access to a few different jobs and roles with different abilities. I actually noted a good chunk of them down, but this wasn't all of the ones that were available:
  • The Savior - Thunder, Guard, Attack, Spark Strike
  • Dragoon - Lancet, Beat Down, Steel Guard, Slow
  • L'ange Noir - Frost Strike, Thunder, Mediguard, Imperil
  • Black Mage - Elementa, Counter Spell, Rapid Fire, Quick Freeze
  • Red Mage - Blizzard, Light Slash, ATB Charge, Buster Ruin
  • Heart Stealer - Leaping Rush, Evade, Punt, Thunder
  • Splendid Admiral - Fira, Guard, Attack, Frost Strike
  • Crimson Bloom - Firsts(? I feel like the iPad autocorrect screwed up whatever this note said. Maybe Fists.), Gale Strike, Heavy Guard, Magnet
  • Nocturne - Aero, Guard, Attack, Deprotect
You could obviously only take three roles into each battle, but you could rejig abilities in cool ways, too.

A side note - I felt quite surprised by how fast the timer felt like it was moving. In addition to generally feeling a bit quick, if you run from battle you actually lose an hour - should make the game an interesting speed run!
 

Maz loa

Balamb Garden Freshman
Oct 2, 2013
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#4
What part of Nova Chrystallia were you in? Did you see anything, aside from abilities, not seen in trailers?(new enemy types, areas, etc.)
 

APZonerunner

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#5
I doubt it. I played the opening of the game for a bit, and I also played the big section the wide open area whose name escapes me - the stuff that all the recent previews came about from with the Chocobo Eater, the injured Chocobo, etcetera. Since I was focused largely on gameplay, I really didn't pay much attention to cutscene or world stuff and actually skipped a few cutscenes to avoid spoiling anything particularly interesting. I did play a lot of battles, though. Behemoths... wow, bloody tough. God, I had an awful time.

Off the back of the same preview event I produced this preview for one of the Eurogamer family sites: http://www.vg247.com/2013/10/28/paradigm-shift-blending-action-and-rpg-in-lightning-returns/
 
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APZonerunner

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#7
Yeah, I was. I think the biggest challenge is actually in that it's quite difficult, once staggered, to keep up the pace and keep an enemy juggled in the air. You launch them with a command, and then the attacks you do to keep them juggled and make the most of the staggered state all are triggered manually as well. There's a sense of rhythm you need to try to find to keep an enemy juggled.

Behemoths were particularly hard to stagger, and it came as a shock after fighting flans and other enemies who I could just use any attack on. They're weak to Thunder, so you had to use thunder as much as possible to get the stagger and then go mental with normal attacks. That said, it's difficult - the ATB bar, ensuring you switch quickly on the fly, etcetera - it's quite challenging when you get a big, tough, high HP enemy. I'm intrigued to see if it was just me being green and rubbish or if it'll remain that hard with some more experience of the game.
 
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Jaundré

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Nov 8, 2013
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#8
In terms of the combat, to what degree could you move lightning around the field freely? Does her moving around actually allow for more strategy under the new action paced ATB system?
 

Storm2356

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Oct 4, 2013
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#9
I had access to a few different jobs and roles with different abilities. I actually noted a good chunk of them down, but this wasn't all of the ones that were available:
  • The Savior - Thunder, Guard, Attack, Spark Strike
  • Dragoon - Lancet, Beat Down, Steel Guard, Slow
  • L'ange Noir - Frost Strike, Thunder, Mediguard, Imperil
  • Black Mage - Elementa, Counter Spell, Rapid Fire, Quick Freeze
  • Red Mage - Blizzard, Light Slash, ATB Charge, Buster Ruin
  • Heart Stealer - Leaping Rush, Evade, Punt, Thunder
  • Splendid Admiral - Fira, Guard, Attack, Frost Strike
  • Crimson Bloom - Firsts(? I feel like the iPad autocorrect screwed up whatever this note said. Maybe Fists.), Gale Strike, Heavy Guard, Magnet
  • Nocturne - Aero, Guard, Attack, Deprotect
Bolded and italicized everything I haven't seen before. Interesting stuff, looking forward to it.
 

dmysta3000

Stiltzkin's Apprentice
Oct 31, 2013
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#10
So what did you think of the outfit customization? Any favorite garbs so far through either how they play or their design?
 

Storm

Warrior of Light
Oct 26, 2013
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#11
What's your opinion of the game after playing it for 2 hours?

The world felt alive or empty?
 

APZonerunner

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#12
In terms of the combat, to what degree could you move lightning around the field freely? Does her moving around actually allow for more strategy under the new action paced ATB system?
As far as I experienced, Lightning will always remain locked on to - by which I mean facing - the enemy. Or a enemy, whichever one you last targeted, it appeared. Moving towards enemies is actually rather swift, but because she'll be walking backwards (because she's always facing them) Lightning actually retreats from enemies quite slowly. There is a level of strategy to moving her around in the sense that you can avoid attacks. The Behemoth, for instance, has some attacks with a lengthy, telegraphed animations to tell you they're coming. If you're not locked in an animation from an attack you've already executed, I had just enough time to walk far enough backwards that the attack would miss. However, he did have distance attacks that could reach me anywhere on the battlefield.

There's a degree of strategy, then, but I will say that I feel like Lightning's movement is quite slow and plodding and in a sense you could likely ignore the character movement entirely if you wanted. From interviewing Toriyama, Kitase and Abe a fair bit, I'm under the impression that perhaps they didn't want to make positioning too big a part of battle because the speed, twitch reactions LR asks players to have might already be 'too much' for JRPG enthusiasts to handle. I love action games, so it wouldn't have been a problem for me, and as a result movement felt slow and a little lacking.

So what did you think of the outfit customization? Any favorite garbs so far through either how they play or their design?
The outfit customization is pretty nice, I felt. You can change pretty much any and all of the colours, and on a gameplay side you can customize some of the moves attached to each outfit - so you can start to 'blend' the skill set of different outfits once you've mastered them. I'm not entirely certain, but the way this was explained to me it was almost like how you could master materia in FF7 and keep the move - under certain circumstances you'll be able to replace an outfit's move with a move from elsewhere, etc. Can't say I had any particular favourites - it was a short enough session that I really just blasted through everything!

The colour customization specifically reminded me of the same feature in Street Fighter X Tekken:
The execution is almost identical.

What's your opinion of the game after playing it for 2 hours?

The world felt alive or empty?
The area I was in was decently populated with enemies and friendly NPCs, though I do have to give a nod to the fact that it was a very wide open area indeed, as well. It feels like a more exploring-friendly game than either FF13 or FF13-2, and that means some areas were quieter and more sparsely populated than others. There are knocks, though - the NPCs just feel a little flat. The way things look when you talk to them and stuff could be more interesting, I felt; it's rudimentary canned animations and on-screen text outside of cutscenes and such. It's a more active world, for sure, but I can't help but feel like that hasn't come at the cost of perhaps some of the visual flair and polish. I hope with FF15 they nail both.

Keep 'em coming, guys!
 

Jaundré

Balamb Garden Freshman
Nov 8, 2013
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#13
Thank you for your replies to my previous comment :). As an action gamer full movement over the battle field would have been fun. Anyhow, another question, did you use Lightning's signature army of one attack? And how do you execute it? Is it just another animation scene in battle or can you play a part in the execution of each attack? I seen players switching schemata during the scene, so I wondered if you also input the attacks.
 

dmysta3000

Stiltzkin's Apprentice
Oct 31, 2013
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#15
Did you encounter any frame-rate issues while playing this (or do you care at all about that kind of stuff?)

Also anything that you specifically didn't like about the demo?
 

APZonerunner

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#16
Thank you for your replies to my previous comment :). As an action gamer full movement over the battle field would have been fun. Anyhow, another question, did you use Lightning's signature army of one attack? And how do you execute it? Is it just another animation scene in battle or can you play a part in the execution of each attack? I seen players switching schemata during the scene, so I wondered if you also input the attacks.
I remember using it, but I don't remember how I executed it! It just plays out like any other attack, though - but it has some more cinematic camera angles and a bit more flair to it, that's all.

My final question:

LR in your opinion have potential to be a high quality title?
I think so. I think some things - the visuals, the story - are evidently perhaps not going to be as polished or as natural as they could be. But I'm very, very positive about the gameplay.

Did you encounter any frame-rate issues while playing this (or do you care at all about that kind of stuff?)

Also anything that you specifically didn't like about the demo?
The frame rate hitched a bit during the most stressful bits of battle. I saw both versions, but the one I played extensively was PS3. Moment to moment it's generally smooth, but if a lot is going on in battle it can definitely hitch, slow up and chug a bit. It's not locked, which is a shame.

I know I'm different to most, but I can't connect to this story any more. That was my biggest negative take away, really. Doubly so when cutscenes that aren't major are rendered more simply - textboxes, canned animations, voice laid over. It looks a bit dated already. But, to reiterate, I'm very interested in the gameplay.