Lightning is a playable character in Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and its downloadable scenario, "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess", and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The trilogy has become known as the Lightning Saga.
Lightning is a soldier who wields a gunblade, a sword that can transform into a gun. Her fighting style is fast and she is equally good as a physical and magical fighter, easily able to gear toward either role via equipment choices. She specializes in Lightning-elemental magic, and her Eidolon is Odin. Her trademark attack, or "Limit Break", is the Army of One, and her signature weapon is the Blazefire Saber.
Out of my way!
Lightning has balanced stats, making her versatile. Her outstanding trait is her speed: she may not hit the hardest, but she strikes the fastest. The player can emphasize either Strength or Magic in their equipment choices so that Lightning would focus on either strikes or spells when using auto battle; with balanced stats she may use them interchangeably slowing her down, as either constantly casting magic, or constantly attacking, is faster than alternating between the two. However, having balanced stats ensures Lightning can still perform well against enemies who are Halved/Resistant/Immune to physical/magical damage.
Lightning majors in the Commando, Ravager, and Medic roles. Compared to most of her companions she has high physical and magical attack stats (the second highest attack stat behind Fang, and tied for the second highest magic stat with Vanille), making her able to use both Attacks and Ruin effectively, although her weapons give the lowest stat boosts. As her weapon transforms, Lightning can do both long range and melee attacks as a Commando. She learns every skill except for Adrenaline and Deathblow.
Magic-wise, Lightning is utilitarian, able to use all four elemental "-strike" attacks, all elemental magic to the "-ra" rank, as well as Thundaga. Lightning's full ATB skill, Army of One, builds the target's stagger gauge based on the current chain count. It is not the best at staggering enemies, but is very effective to boost an already staggered enemy's chain gauge to 999%.
As a Medic Lightning learns Cure, Cura, Esuna and Raise, allowing her to heal HP and ailments as well as revive, but her lack of high level curative spells puts her behind other Medics in the team. She is an offensive Synergist, learning all of the basic protection spells save Veil and learning the "En-" series of spells. As a Saboteur she learns Deprotect, Deshell, Imperil and Poison.
Despite her low HP, Lightning can be a good Sentinel, as she learns all of the role's passive abilities, and when pairing the Elude ability with the Nimbletoe Boots, she can avoid a large amount of damage from enemies.
The storm is here!
Lightning's Eidolon, Odin, is a large armored knight with a two-bladed sword joined at the hilt. In Gestalt Mode he transforms into the horse Sleipnir, which Lightning rides while wielding Odin's sword, Zantetsuken, split in two. When not in Gestalt Mode Odin uses a combination of Thunder spells and physical attacks while acting as a Sentinel and drawing in enemy attacks. Lightning can help as Ravager to boost the enemies' chain gauge, and as Commando to keep the gauge high.
Lightning's initial weapon, Blazefire Saber, has inscriptions that read "Invoke my name - I am Spark" and "blinding instant" written in the Pulsian alphabet. In Cocoon writing, her name, Lightning, is also engraved on the weapon. Blazefire Saber is her balance weapon befitting her jack-of-all-trades role.
Gladius boosts her Strength, augmenting her physical attacks at the cost of her magical attacks, which is not a handicap considering she has access to all elemental strikes. Edged Carbine is the counterpart that boosts her Magic. These are commonly considered good weapons for upgrading as their stat boosts outweigh special abilities from her other weapons. Having Lightning favor either physical or magical attacks reduces the amount of time she spends switching between attack types when AI-controlled or when using Auto-battle.
Axis Blade is her speed weapon with "Attack: ATB Charge" and the ability to synthesize "ATB Rate". It transforms Lightning into a speed demon and allows one to abuse Army of One and "Random: Instant Chain", as each of the 11 hits in Army of One has a chance to instantly fill an enemy's chain gauge while simultaneously allowing Lightning to gain ATB segments at the end. However, if upgraded into Omega Weapon it will not synthesize the "ATB Rate" ability, and it maxes out at low stats.
Lionheart has "Quick Stagger" that allows Lightning to stagger enemies in "near stagger" status when they are flashing red with their chain gauge filled to 90%~92%. "Quick Stagger" is situational, and the weapon has balanced yet average stats. It has the benefit of instantly staggering enemies in a preemptive strike.
Lightning is briefly controlled during the prologue where she fights Chaos Bahamut. She wields a new gunblade given to her by the goddess Etro that has engraved writing in Etro script: "Gladius in turba aetern a induratus vincula inseparabilia rum", which translates to "The blade forged in everlasting chaos shall cleave the unbreakable chain".
While her previous weapon was kept in a holster slung from her belt, Lightning's new gunblade can be summoned and dispelled at will. She can use Snipe as a physical attack; Lightning Strike, an electric attack; Ullr's Shield to heal; Focused Bolts and Graviton Mines. She has six ATB segments and the battle works as a tutorial to familiarize the player with the battle system.
Requiem of the GoddessEdit
Lightning returns in the downloadable episode "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess". She initially has four roles: Paladin, Mage, Shaman, and Knight, and unlocks the Conjurer role at level 3 and the Sorcerer role at level 6.
The roles are enhanced versions of existing paradigm roles: Paladin of Commando's, Mage and Shaman of Ravager's, Knight of Sentinel's, Conjurer of Synergist's, and Sorcerer of Saboteur's. Paladin inflicts status ailments to staggered enemies and she also has access to the abilities learned by Serah and Noel as Commandos except for Meteor Javelin, while also having two new devastating attacks, Smite and Scourge. Mage and Shaman grant Lightning increased physical or magical damage using the element of either Wind or Thunder. The Knight's unique ability allows her to mitigate damage and resist status ailments. Conjurer grants Lightning several status enhancements, although it makes the ATB charge much slower and removes any previously placed buffs on her. Finally, Sorcerer allows her to inflict numerous status ailments at an opponent with a single attack. Lightning can perform Legion of One as a Feral Link.
Lightning has a different method of development than Serah and Noel; after gaining enough Crystogen Points, she will level up and upgrade her stats and learn new abilities or roles, similarly to older Final Fantasy titles. She gains Crystogen Points whether she wins or loses.
Lightning appears in downloadable content as a Paradigm Pack "monster" who joins Serah and Noel after they defeat the Lightning boss at the Coliseum, appearing in her Guardian Corps attire from Final Fantasy XIII. Lightning joins the party as a Ravager, and has the Feral Link ability Army of One, her full ATB skill from Final Fantasy XIII.
Knight of EtroEdit
Lightning has a second recruitable monster form in her Knight of Etro armor, obtained from the "Requiem of the Goddess" downloadable scenario. Unlike her Coliseum counterpart, she is a Commando with the Feral Link Legion of One. She is obtained by defeating Chaos Bahamut with a five star rank with Lightning's level at 9 or lower. Occasionally, when this Lightning defeats an enemy, it may burst into feathers when turning into crystal.
A copy of Lightning is fought as a downloadable boss in the Coliseum alongside Amodar. Once defeated, she can be recruited as a Ravager into the Paradigm Deck. Lightning comes complete with an arsenal of Ravager spells, and physical variations of the spells she would normally have. Her Feral Link is Army of One, a special attack that was her full ATB skill in the previous game.
Lightning is the sole playable character. In the field, she can crouch, jump, climb, and perform other actions akin to those featured in stealth adventure games. In battle, Lightning can change her garb, weapon, shield, accessories and equipped abilities on the fly via the Schema system, similar to the paradigm system from previous games. Lightning can dodge, block and counter enemies' attacks, and levels up by completing game events and side quests.
Lightning starts with 2,000 HP, 200 Strength, 200 Magic, 100 ATB, and 100 ATB Speed. She can expend Energy Points inside and outside of battle for various effects, and recharge her energy meter by winning battles.
As part of the Schema system, Lightning can wear various outfits, called garbs, which have different stats and abilities. The player can further decorate her via adornments. Each type of garb has its own victory pose.