If you haven’t been lucky enough to attend E3, San Diego Comic Con, Penny Arcade Expo, or the other shows that have hosted Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, we have good news. We’re excited to announce that you can get hands-on with it in a playable demo that’s dropping TODAY.
From now on, you don’t have to take our word for it that this game is unlike anything Final Fantasy has ever done before, because it’s finally time for you to see for yourself.
First off, downloading the demo scores you an exclusive piece of DLC that we’re giving to you PlayStation fans — the Utsusemi Samurai garb — that you can use in the main game (it’s not in the demo itself, so don’t panic if you don’t see it). Again, this offer is exclusive to PlayStation owners too, so right off the bat you’re getting something not everybody’s going to get, JUST for downloading it. You can’t tell, but I’m winking at you, especially at all you Final Fantasy XI Ninjas.
So what’s in the demo itself? Of course, you’re playing as Lightning, but you’re now mysteriously tracking down her old friend Snow Villiers in the city of Yusnaan. As Lightning, it’s going to be up to you to fight through the chaos to see what happened.
And the battle mechanics? No Final Fantasy is without battles, and this demo gives you just a taste of the real-time elements incorporated into both the field and the battle system, and it includes but a fraction of the ways you can customize Lightning.
Your default equipment sets (or Schemas, as they’re called in-game) are The Savior, Dark Muse, and Black Mage, but three battles into the demo you’ll unlock some Final Fantasy series favorites — Dragoon, Red Mage, and Heart Stealer, which may remind you of a certain thei–treasure hunter.
Once in battle, you’ll notice how the battle system has evolved from the traditional paradigm shift party system into strategically using Schema. Each Schema has its own ATB gauge, allowing you to attack relentlessly with commands mapped to corresponding buttons. Then you’ll switch to a new Schema, and all of your attacks change too, allowing you to pummel the enemy with different elements and attacks. Lightning is a one-woman army.
Finally, one of the features that the demo shows off is called the “Outerworld,” a way for other players to communicate their progress via social networks like Facebook and Twitter to post their battle scores. While in the demo, this is all you can do with Outerworld. The full game offers much more Outerworld functionality, including buying and selling items your friends may have.
While sharing your game scores with 9,999 of your closest Facebook friends may not appeal to everyone, we’re excited to give you even MORE free stuff. If you can beat the Zaltys monster at the end of the demo and you post your score via Outerworld, you unlock the Siegfried Garb in the full game. Who is Siegfried, you ask? Play Final Fantasy VI, and all will be revealed.
Okay, so we’ve thrown a lot of information at you, so let’s recap, shall we?
The demo is available. For free, of course.
Just for playing, you get the PS3 exclusive DLC — Utsusemi Samurai garb. Again, for free.
Just for posting your score after the final battle, you’ll get more free DLC. As a note, this DLC will never be available aside from doing this.
If you’ve forgotten, just for pre-ordering, you unlock Final Fantasy history with Cloud Strife’s SOLDIER 1st Class Uniform.
Another awesome tidbit we wanted to share with you guys is that if you have save data from Final Fantasy XIII and/or Final Fantasy XIII-2, you get up to two more garbs based on Lightning’s outfits from each of those games — both Guardian Corps and Etro’s Guardian garbs.
We’re so excited over here to have you check out the demo and tell us what you think about the new battle system and gameplay. So what are you waiting for? You can pre-order Lightning Returns here to get free stuff, and of course download the demo later today.