Look at how far you've come, Final Fantasy 13
Final Fantasy XIII was released December 17, 2009, and marked the start of the Final Fantasy XIII series. The game was developed and published by Square Enix. Final Fantasy is a roleplaying game, meaning you take the role of the characters as you play through the game.
In Final Fantasy XIII you are given six different characters to play as: Lightning, Snow, Vanille, Sazh, Hope, and Fang. Though you are given six playable characters, you can only take three of them into battle with you at a time. During battle, you have an active time battle gauge, which is how you use your attacks. The gauge starts with just two bars, but as you level up you character you unlock more. The bigger the gauge is, the more attacks you can use in a sequence, but it also takes longer to charge. That being said, you don’t have to use the whole gauge and can use less of it so you land attacks quicker. The better you chain your attacks together, the more likely you are going to be able to stagger an enemy, which means they will take more damage. After completing a battle, depending on what you fought, you gain crystarium points, which you use to level up your Crystarium. The Crystarium contains six different crystals that represent the six Paradigms. The first is Synergist, which allows you to give a wide variety of buffs to your allies. Then there is Sentinel, which puts a character in the role of a tank allowing them to aggro enemies and then protect themselves, taking less damage in the process. Next is Ravager, which is the mage role and allows you to cast a wide range of spells. Commando is next, which is the combat role that relies on strength and uses your melee attacks. Following Commando is Saboteur, which puts debuffs on the enemies and makes them easier to fight. The last one is Medic which allows you to heal and revive allies. Combat in the game only allows you to control the character you have in the lead position while the other two are controlled by AI. Combat does allow you to use something called role switch, which allows you to switch what role your characters are in; for example, you can switch a character from the Commando role to the Sentinel role mid-battle. You are also allowed to equip different accessories and weapons onto you characters to make them stronger in battle. You can increase the power of these weapons by using monster drops on them and leveling them up. There are a few different groups of enemies, including humans, feral creatures and cie’th. Many of the bosses are Fal’Cie.
On November 21, 2013, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII came out featuring many notable changes compared to its predecessors. The first big change is that there is a time limit on the game. The clock is counting down in the top right corner, and if it runs out, it’s game over. There are side quests in this game, though, and once you complete a certain amount you are given extra time to continue playing the game. In this game, the only playable character is Lighting, so you are always alone in battle. Though you are alone, you have three loadouts that you can use, each with its own stats and Active Time Battle Gauge. With that, it is important to learn how to switch between them. Since you are only playing with one person, you have more freedom to move in battles and the ability to block and evade attacks. Different outfits and weapons can be either bought or unlocked throughout the game as well. A new feature in this game is the ability to make monsters go extinct. This is done by beating so many of a particular monster that a final version appears, and once you beat this final version you no longer see that enemy. Also, unlike the past games, health is not regenerated after battle. You do, however, replenish Energy Points, which can be used to preform special abilities, such as the ability to freeze time for a brief moment. This game was also not as linear as games in the past, as it allowed you some freedom as to which part of the story you wanted to complete next and allowed you to move from one story line to a different one when you pleased. Though this game was very different from ones in the past, it was something of a breath of fresh air as you were able to play as a character form the past but in a very different way. The timer counting down gave a since of urgency that the last two games did not provide.
These were all great games, each offering unique mechanics that made the games feel new. Also, it provided you the opportunity to see characters from the old games, which gives it a since of nostalgia when playing. These games were great, and we can only hope they use ideas from these games in the new Final Fantasy games in the future.