Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns. Don’t just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree.
In one of the last issues of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. 1up.com gave the game an A- rating. Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that Final Fantasy XIII was a good game — not a perfect one, by any means — but a good one. The same was true for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I’ll admit Lightning Returns reviews were somewhat more mixed — not everyone enjoyed the game’s peculiar mechanics and structure — there were still a lot of comments about how interesting it was, despite its flaws.
Which is why it’s so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy’s history so overwhelmingly negative.