The epic conclusion of the most recent epic (and then less epic) entries in the Final Fantasy series, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is one of the games I cannot wait to sink my teeth into next year.

Final Fantasy XIII holds a very large and special place in my heart. I hated the game out spite for years without ever had played it, because it took 5 years to come out and diverged so very much from where the series had been, but mainly because during those 5 years all the trailers Squareenix put out were so obviously not actual game play I was insulted. It was like trying to sell a movie ticket by showing a trailer of what you wish the movie was. But after seeing a beloved YouTube personality play it on his channel I saw how amazingly fresh, fast paced and challenging the game was and I got a hold of the game for myself. And I loved it. I felt silly for shunning it for so long and was so happy it was in my life. Cut to me playing the sequel and being very, very let down by the terrible character design, overused anime tropes and HORRIBLE ending that 1) was locked away as paid DLC and 2) felt like it had negated everything the player accomplished in the first two games.

But then previews for this finale started to show up and I was once again ready to let Lightning into my heart. Creators at Square promise it will conclude the XIII storyline and satisfy loyal fans while welcoming new ones. I am, however, slightly more interested in all the fanservice the game will provides. Combining the Paradigm Shifting battle system of the first two games, which allowed party members to, essentially switch Job Classes mid-battle, with the Sailor Moon-tastic Dress Spheres of FFX-2, LR:FFXIII introduces us to the Schema System.

Lightning will have access to over a dozen Garbs or costumes in the game, each with a particular skill set and purpose that she can assign to the face buttons to use during battle. As you complete an skill you use up actions for that Garb and when depleted you can do nothing but walk around. To regain those points you’ll need to spend time in one of the other two Garbs you have equipped – for a total of 3 Garbs at a time. So the tactic becomes constantly moving and switching Garbs so you always have action points when you need them.

More fanservice comes in the form of being able to edit and color each Garb as you see fit as well as Light getting access to some very famous threads from the Final Fantasy series:

Lightning as Locke
Lightning in a Garb based on FFVI’s Locke

Lightning as aeris
Lightning as FFVII’s Aeris

Lightning as Yuna
Lightning in Yuna’s formal wear from FFX

Light compensating with Cloud’s Buster Sword and dress from FF7

And….a catgirl from FFXIV >___>

I look forward to destroy all the fal’cie in February 2014 when Lighning [finally] Returns.