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Overall, the game is not quite a complete immersion into the role-playing genre but offers plenty of resource management and discovery. It’s enough to change up the pace of the sometimes-endless combat.

What always stands out is the insane plot minutia as well as the impressive, lifelike animated scenes familiar to the Final Fantasy franchise.

I’ll describe the latest effort as a plunge into a complex Frank Herbert novel, loaded with its own vocabulary and heavy-handed mysticism, and starring characters bound to a fashion sense appreciated by Andy Warhol and Puffy Ami Yumi.

Further immersing the player in to the Final Fantasy universe is an in-game encyclopedic resource filled with background on the characters, history and lore of the lands with even a bestiary to identify creepy crawler behemoths through 360-degree views.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a time-consuming, often-draining escape into an incredible universe meticulously crafted by director Motomu Toriyama and his team. It’s a fitting end to the series and filled with surprises, wonderful characters and battles.

However, don’t spend too much time appreciating it. Remember, those minutes talking to the locals or checking out some cool ruins can have apocalyptic implications.