Final Fantasy XIII

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Cocoon--a utopia in the sky.
Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever.
Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie.
The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse--the feared and detested lowerworld -- awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.

Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth game in the ball-crunchingly popular Final Fantasy series.

The fal'Cie are a race existing beyond humanity. Those marked by the fal'Cie for a greater purpose are named the l'Cie (pronounced "luh-see"), each one given a special mission known as a Focus; failure to accomplish the Focus leads to the l'Cie transforming into a hideous monster. Success, on the other hand, leads to "eternal life" -- as a crystal statue.

1300 years ago, the Creator-God of this world instructed the fal'Cie to construct a paradise for humanity. The floating shell of Cocoon was created, floating high above the world. Pulse, a source of lurking menace, stretches out below Cocoon.

Cocoon's fal'Cie provided for every want for its inhabitants, from light to food, and humanity flourished. However, several centuries ago, a war between Pulse and Cocoon erupted. The Pulsians did not successfully penetrate the inner core of Cocoon, but their assault left a gigantic crater in the planetoid's outer shell.

Centuries later, the Sanctum, in a paranoid action, now quarantines anyone who has been influenced by Pulse, and exiles them from the city.

A young woman known only by the codename of "Lightning" and a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are chosen by a Pulse Fal'Cie to become l'Cie and given an unclear Focus. They must overcome their rage, sorrow, regret, and guilt to decide if they will bow to the Destiny handed them by the fal'Cie, or carve their own path.

Final Fantasy XIII is part of a "ten year project" called Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy (a recent interview removed the XIII to avoid confusion over Type-0's name change and inclusion in the compilation), which is a Pretentious Latin Title meaning "The New Tale Of The Crystal". The other games of this project are Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, which are set in the same universe, but are not related to each other directly. It is also the first offline game in the franchise to be initially released on multiple platforms, set to arrive on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 in international markets. It was released in Japan on December 17th, 2009 and was made available worldwide on March 9th, 2010. A direct sequel was released on January 31st, 2012.

Tropes used in Final Fantasy XIII include:
  • Action Girl: Lightning, Fang, Lebreau the NPC, and even Vanille. Lightning, in particular, is arguably the most Badass RPG heroine to come out in a long time.
  • Adrenaline Time: One of the many reasons why Army of One is a Game Breaker.
  • Aerith and Bob: Perfectly normal names like Serah and Claire Farron come from the same town as Snow, Gadot, and Maqui. In fairness, it's a pretty big town, but still.
  • Amusement Park: There is one inside Nautilus. It also holds a farm where series-favorite Chocobos and adorable smiling lambs live.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Although each of the characters is The Jack thanks to having up to 6 roles they can shift between, each role fits neatly into an archetypal class role.
    • Sentinel - The Damage Sponge
    • Medic - The Healer
    • Ravager - The Nuker (increases Break Meter on enemies)
    • Commando - The DPSer
    • Saboteur - The Debuffer, with a hint of Mezzer thanks to skills like Pain
    • Synergist - The Buffer
  • After Combat Recovery: Your party is restored to full health after every battle -- which is good, because some of the bosses and enemies are seriously hard.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The 'Lindblum' and the 'Palamecia'. The 'Palamecia' looks like the big brother of the Aigaion in Ace Combat 6, and it even has a docking guidance system that resembles the ERS from H.A.W.X.
  • All There in the Manual: The datalog, which is required reading if you want to have a full understanding of the backstory and terminology. The plot summary in said datalog even fully explains the characters' motivations that are either implied or vague in game. In other words, you'll find yourself reading the datalog after nearly every cutscene.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English version of Final Fantasy XIII changes the Japanese theme, "Kimi ga Iru Kara", to "My Hands", by Leona Lewis. This is because the dubbers weren't able to translate the whole song into English.
  • Always Save the Girl: Fang outright states numerous times that she'd tear down the sky if that's what it took to keep Vanille safe. Same for Snow, but in more of a self-sacrificial way. His sole focus throughout the entire game is getting Serah back and marrying her, even if it means abandoning the group, after he said they should stick together.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Throughout Orphan's Cradle, but then averted for the final battle.
  • Ambiguous Robots: So the military creates biological weapons from wild creatures, but it's difficult to tell whether the resultant...things are metal, meat, a combination, or neither. Then you have the fal'Cie...
  • Anachronic Order/In Medias Res: The first half of the game (up to Palumpolum, at least) flows this way. Flashbacks to the thirteen days prior to the Purge help to develop the characters and the plot. The flashbacks themselves are done in Anachronic Order, and often plot elements set up in one flashback will be paid off in another (like the real story behind Lightning's hunting knife that's in the inventory).
  • And I Must Scream: If you are turned into a Cie'th, your body is twisted and covered in crystals, and you're barely recognizable and unable to interact with anyone. In more advanced stages, you turn into a Cie'th stone, which is the same, but you're an immobile Living Statue. Never mind that the rate in which you turn Cie'th only increases the more panicked and distressed you are on your Focus. Cie'th are practically the game universe's equivalent to the undead, with names like "Ghoul", "Ghast", or "Vampire".
  • Anticlimax Boss: The final form of Orphan is...less than impressive when compared to its monstrous and extremely powerful first form, arguably due to the absence of Barthandelus and its unintimidating voice. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat challenging, especially when compared to other examples.
  • Anti-Grinding: The Crystarium levels are literally blocked off from you until you finish certain chapters (and beat the game). This was likely done to encourage players to beat bosses and King Mooks with their brains rather than minmaxing, but most people just end up spending hours spamming Death on Adamantoises to max out their CP totals anyway. It also doesn't stop people grinding anyway, and just saving up CP so that when the next tier unlocks they can make instant good progress with it.
    • It also doesn't stop anyone from grinding weapon and equipment upgrades, which can in some cases be more important than a few more Crystarium levels.
    • The most CP you can store at one time is 999,999.
  • Anti-Villain: Yaag Rosch is sympathetic to the fate of the Pulse l'Cie, but feels that protecting Cocoon is more important.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your party will move closer to one another just as an enemy is about to unleash an area-of-effect attack. Your designated ravager also tends to alternate between physical and magical attacks, which takes about twice as long to execute as as straight-up physical or magical assault, although alternating between them does charge up the chain gauge faster.
    • AI-controlled Saboteurs start by casting the left-most debuffs (like Deprotect and Deshell) on an enemy's Libra screen and working their way toward the right (like Pain and Fog), provided they know those skills. This is more of an inconvenience, given that most battles end quickly. Fortunately, Snow only learns the debilitating defuffs, making him a very useful Saboteur.
  • Artificial Brilliance: On the other hand, they'll automatically adjust to the needs of the current battle: Synergists will buff you with the right elemental when they know the enemy's weakness, and use special protection spells if an enemy specializes in a given element. Ravagers will never use something an enemy is strong against or absorbs, and will even follow your lead on whether to use single-target or area of effect attacks; if the enemy's strengths and weaknesses are unknown, they'll experiment with different attacks to formulate a strategy. Medics will adjust healing based on how bad everyone's hurt/what statuses there are, etc. The battle system gives you very little direct control, but the party's smart enough to do its part without you needing to micromanage it like in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Oh, and Synergists always make casting Haste on everyone, staring with themselves and other Synergists, their first priority.
  • Attack Its Weak Point For Massive Damage: Most things that don't die in one turn must be staggered first to actually take hits properly, or in the case of Eidolons, a special battle order must be filled. The exception tends to be things with excruciatingly high or slow charging stagger gauges like later Behemoth line enemies -- these will probably be slain with a lot of attacking in a paradigm like Aggression, with Instant Stagger weapons, or by ambushing them.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Chapter 10 spoiler: Cid Raines and Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus. You'd think this would apply to PSICOM, but Lightning explicitly notes (after easily dispatching a whole squadron in the first chapter) that PSICOM's only real advantage is their superior equipment, and that the majority of PSICOM is made up of inexperienced recruits. As the game progresses, though, you fight more experienced troops until you're eventually fighting the Home Guard: the last line of defense who -- because they're hardly ever needed -- spend all their time doing combat drills and training. That said, the Homeguard isn't there long, since PSICOM replaces them again. Even though the Homeguard has been supposedly prepared for a Pulsian invasion of Eden for centuries.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Pretty much all of the tier 3 weapons, due to requiring an extremely rare component that can only be bought for obscene amounts of Gil or won off the Adamantoise-type enemies. Since most Adamantoise varieties are stronger than the final boss, this means the tier 3's are only really good for killing more turtles and wrapping up the last few marks. In fact, several players have posted videos on YouTube showing that a sufficiently leveled party with well-developed Tier 2 weapons can get a five-star rating on the final Bonus Boss.
    • Said components, Trapezohedrons, can be multiplied by using it to build a particular few types of weapon, level it to maximum, and then disassembling them. So for roughly the same price as it costs to buy one (up to 30% less if you do some cost/benefit experimentation beforehand), you can turn one Trapezohedron into three. Still does not mean they're actually that useful...
    • Another limiting factor on the Tier 3 weapons is that as you and your weapons become stronger, the time limits for fights and missions are tightened. In some particular cases, it becomes next to impossible to 5-star a particular mission because a strong party would have mere seconds to finish the fight.
    • On another note, some of the Full ATB Skills (a.k.a. Limit Breaks) can be seen as this. While these moves certainly look pretty, may do a lot of damage, and fill up the chain gauge quickly, it has to be considered whether this is more effective than having six separate moves instead of this one, as it takes up every ATB point available. However...
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Fang's Highwind Full ATB Skill. The area and damage of the attack actually makes up for the cost of an entire ATB gauge.
  • Badass: Lightning, Snow, and Fang.
  • Badass Abnormal: The entire party, post l'Cie-ification.
  • Badass Crew: Obviously. But incredibly evident when the group assaults Eden in Chapter 12.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sazh is a pretty standard play. Snow takes this to the next level -- his coat is the source of his weapon, via the use of special embroidered patches.
  • Bait and Switch Boss: At the end of Chapter 9, Jihl Nabaat steps forward to face the party in battle...only to be unceremoniously killed off by Big Bad Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus.
  • Bag of Sharing: No matter how far apart the split parties are or what they are doing, they all have access to the same items.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Vanille, Fang, Lebreau, and Lightning (although it's not as obvious).
  • Batman Gambit: Barthandelus' plan to manipulate the l'Cie into fulfilling their Focus and destroying Cocoon amounts to pushing them past the Despair Event Horizon and letting nature take its course.
  • Battleship Raid / Colossus Climb: While you do not fight the entire structure, Anima was actually the entire Pulse Vestige. This is most apparent in one of the flashbacks when the face of the Vestige roars. The boss that the game and Datalog call "Anima" was actually just its core.
    • Also, the entirety of Chapter 9, which fits the trope more closely, but no boss that can be fought is actually involved with the ship itself.
  • Beehive Barrier: The protect spell manifests as this when a player is hit, and Galenth Dysley has one.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jihl Nabaat in her initial appearance.
  • BGM Override: Most notably the "Dust to Dust" segment, but the game uses this on many other occasions.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Sazh's guns, Fang's spear.
  • Big Bad: Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus acts as the primary antagonist throughout the game. It is revealed that he is actually in a Big Bad Duumvirate with his fellow fal'Cie Orphan, whom he collaborates with to ensure the destruction of Cocoon.
  • The Big Guy: Of all the fal'Cie seen in the game, the aptly-named Titan absolutely dwarfs them all. He can swallow an Adamantoise whole.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Lightning's real name being Eclair, which is French for 'lightning'. It was later changed to Claire, which is French for 'light'. Despite this, both are referenced very frequently in-game.
  • Bishounen: Cid Raines is the youngest and most attractive Cid so far. Hope will qualify in a couple years, if he doesn't already.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the upside, Cocoon is saved, Dajh and Serah are freed of their crystal stasis and reunited with their loved ones, and the party are no longer l'Cie. On the downside, Fang and Vanille are turned to crystal after they become Ragnarok together and stop Cocoon from falling. The bitterness is slightly sweetened by the knowledge that they're at least in crystal stasis together, but it's still a Tear Jerker.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The fal'Cie all appear to be biomechanical in nature, but are separated into two groups based upon their world of origin: Cocoon fal'Cie and Gran Pulse fal'Cie. Cocoon fal'Cie (like Eden and Carbuncle) are distinguished by their smooth, statuesque designs. Gran Pulse fal'Cie (like Titan and Atmos) are distinguished by their rough mechanical and utilitarian designs. Motomu Toriyama calls them "god machines surrounding the crystals". Whatever that means.
  • Blatant Lies: "...I knew that would happen".
  • Blessed with Suck: Becoming a l'Cie -- chosen of the gods. You leave your family and home to carry out your god-given task. Your options are to A: be continuously crystallized and uncrystallized as the fal'Cie feel like using your services again, for eternity or B: turn into a Cie'th stone and spend forever not only trapped in one place but constantly awake and thinking only of your task, unless someone finishes it for you. It's totally possible that your task will involve killing a loved one who has become a Cie'th. A major theme in the story is why most l'Cie still choose to continue on despite the risk of a much worse fate.
  • Bond One-Liner: The characters occasionally have a voice response after killing an enemy. They range from charming (Sazh's "Tough times, huh?") to outright disturbing (Fang's chuckle).
  • Bonus Boss: Most of the Undying, most notably Attacus and Vercingetorix. Also, the Oretoises, with the exception of the Adamanchelids.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: "Oh hey, I just got to Gran Pulse. There's one of those Behemoths I've been killing this whole time, except it's called the Behemoth King now. This should be easy... Okay, this is kinda tough. Damn that thing's got a lot of Hit Points. Wait, it just stood up?"
  • Break Meter: Beat enemies down to put them into Stagger status, which makes them take more damage. Every enemy has its own break point, after which damage jumps from x1 to whatever the combo chain percentage is. The bonus caps at x9.99, and it is occasionally possible to reach the cap.
  • Breather Episode: The way that the plot comes to a screeching halt, to show us a parade, and put us into a petting zoo, you know something bad is going to happen...
  • Brick Joke: Menrva, the robotic owl. It first shows up at the end of Chapter 3 when the heroes are leaving Lake Bresha. It appears repeatedly, and then sits on Dysley's shoulder for the remainder of Chapter 9. It is later revealed that Dysley is the Big Bad that has been watching over the heroes the whole time, and Menrva is an extension of his true form, Barthandelus.
  • Butt Monkey: Both Sazh and Hope have shades of this.
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: Experience Points are renamed "Crystal Points" (JAP) or "Crystogen Points" (NA), but otherwise function identically to similar systems in God of War and Devil May Cry -- specifically, you trade in EXP for direct rewards.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Boy howdy is there a lot of collateral damage when Vanille remembers her focus, but feigns ignorance to keep both Fang and Cocoon safe.
  • Can You Hear Me Now?: On a Super-Encrypted Military Phone no less -- but to be fair, it was being jammed. In true Plot-Driven Breakdown fashion, it happens just as Lightning is trying to tell Snow that Hope wants to kill him/Hope not to kill Snow.
  • Cap: For those who have been playing for a while, you will notice that many enemies after a certain point, especially bosses, have something on the order of millions of Hit Points. Thankfully, these large numbers are irrelevant, because the game has no defense stat, and careful manipulation of the Break Meter means your characters can deal damage in excesses of 50,000 damage per hit (and you can chain up to six attacks, more with Sazh and Fang.) As an example, the final boss has six million hit points, but can be beaten in less than five minutes. The normal damage cap is 99,999, which can be reached in normal playthrough through Stagger-ending abilities (Smite and Scourge), Fang and Snow's character-specific attacks with a Staggered enemy and a full break meter, or liberal use of positive and negative status effects. A hidden item allows you to break this cap, allowing damage up to 999,999. With Fang's Highwind, 1.5 million damage is far from unheard of. Summons can also occasionally break this cap.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Literally in Lightning's case. Her superior officer, Lt. Amodar, tells her to stay away from fal'Cie business, but Lightning almost immediately sets out to kick ass and ask questions later.
  • Catch Phrase: A drinking game for how often Sazh says "We're L'Cie! Enemies of Cocoon!" could result in alcohol poisoning. If you focus on Snow talking about Serah or being a hero, you will get it.
  • Chained by Fashion: Many of the enemy designs.
  • Character Development: The plot of the game really isn't that much worth mentioning, but the Character Development is what's really driving the narrative. It shares a similar narrative structure with Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted: Snow's NORA buddies turn up for the first time since The Hanging Edge (at the very start of the game) during the siege of Eden (the very end of the game) and do...absolutely nothing important.
    • Rygdea, on the other hand, plays it straight when he reappears for the first time in ~10 hours and puts a bullet in Cid's head upon his request.
  • The Chosen One: As mentioned above, the game deconstructs this trope, as humans that are "blessed" with a fal'Cie's power are doomed to become either slaves or zombies, and the power also helped lay waste to an entire civilization.
  • Class and Level System: Outside of Summons and Full-ATB moves, characters do not have their own skillsets, nor do they even level up as per traditional JRPGs. Instead, you level up your Roles, and role combinations in battle (aka Paradigms) determine your effectiveness in fights.
  • Colony Drop: The fal'Cie's plan to destroy Cocoon is to have it fall and crash into Pulse. They believe that this mass killing will summon The Maker.
    • Ironically, this does happen, but the killing is on the fal'Cie side: the game ends with Cocoon perched atop a crystal structure, at the cost of Fang and Vanille becoming Ragnarok and then turning to crystal.
  • Colour Coded For Your Inconvenience: The Palamecia's colored security codes in Chapter 9 don't make any sense. First an intruder alert causes Code Red, which later escalates to Code Green, and after the prisoners escape to Code Purple. Hope wonders aloud what the heck it all means, and then it's completely lampshaded when Jihl Nabaat starts having her epic Villainous Breakdown, shouting "This means we have a Code Blue! Or maybe Code Yellow. Or maybe Code Orange. If it was Code Orange that would mean...?" But then Primarch Dysley puts an end to it and remarks that "Desperate times demand flexibility: [[[Beat]]] Code White!"
  • Combination Attack: Part of the entire basis of the gameplay is coordinating attacks, since combos boost attack strength and enemies after Chapter 5 or so start packing millions of hit points.
  • Cosmic Plaything: L'Cie are this to the fal'Cie.
  • Cover Drop: The logo spoils the ending. It all depends on your interpretation of it, though, and if you don't know what it represents it won't actually spoil anything anyway.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The world of Cocoon is a very happy and beautiful place to live... as long as you're not a l'Cie and you don't know the real reason the people are being kept happy and complacent.
  • Creepy Child: Orphan, a several-thousand-year-old fal'Cie with abandonment issues and a death wish.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Snow finds out that Barthandelus was pretending to be Serah in Chapter 11, his response is a very pissed off "You son of a-!" Per Running Gag, he's cut off before he can finish.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: During the FMV interlude between final bosses, when the two of them are combined together, one of your party members knocks them right down with four Fire spells. From off-screen, no less. (Possibly justified in that the two bosses might never have combined before, and were quite clearly preoccupied with evil gloating at the time. Still, when they have millions of HP, you'd think...)
  • Dance Battler: Enemies of the Daemon subtype seem to be this.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: Most of the bosses and quite a few of the regular enemies can take a lot of damage before they will die.
  • Dead Little Sister: Serah for Lightning, Dajh for Sazh, Hope's mother...
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: The game doesn't even have a "flee" command, because you can just as easily "restart", which, like dying, just takes you back to before the battle, as if you never engaged the enemy. This, however, is essential because unlike other Final Fantasies, you lose very easily, and because the world is full of these one bosses and demonic spiders. Eidolons, anyone?
  • Death World: Gran Pulse. While not quite as dangerous as the Sanctum claim (if only because they claim it's Hell), it is still full of creatures that would be quite happy (and fully able) to make you their next meal.
  • Demoted to Extra / Trailers Always Lie: Jihl Nabaat was given a lot of focus in the trailers and amassed a following prior to the game's release. Unfortunately, she is killed off rather unceremoniously by the Big Bad about halfway through the game without making much of an impact.
  • Deal with the Devil: Snow offers to become a l'Cie if Serah gets turned back into a human. It's not clear whether the deal is accepted, or if Anima just curses him out of hand. After all, he did just help beat the crap out of it not two minutes earlier.
  • Despair Event Horizon: If a l'Cie descends too close to this point, they conjure an Eidolon subconsciously to either snap them out of their funk or kill them off quickly. Every party member does this without exception -- Sazh's method of invocation is covered in Mood Whiplash, listed below.
    • Lightning has one right after Serah gets crystallized, and gets even worse before she has to fight Odin.
    • Fang careens right over the Despair Event Horizon during the final cutscene, only for an equally epic 'You Are Not Alone' moment from her friends.
  • Despair Speech: Most of the l'Cie just before their Eidolon battles, notably Hope at the beginning of Chapter 11.
  • The Determinator: The Undying Cie'th. They were so angry at the fal'Cie that forced them into servitude that instead of eventually turning to stone like other Cie'th, they have managed to continue existing through nothing but pure hatred.
  • Deus Ex Machina: The ending sequence is full of these. Lightning, Snow, Sazh, and Hope get turned into Cie'th (or trapped in an inescapable illusion) but manage to turn themselves back into humans through willpower. Moments later, they fight and destroy Orphan despite the knowledge that this will doom Cocoon and that they have absolutely no plan to avert this. The only reason that this doesn't become a Downer Ending is because Vanille and Fang pull a double Heroic Sacrifice to turn into Ragnarok, erupt a lava flow, and then crystalise the whole thing to stop Cocoon's descent.
    • Fang's initial Ragnarok rampage being stopped and her and Vanille being put in crystal stasis 500 years before is implied to literally be the result of divine interference.
    • Confirmed in XIII-2 that stopping Ragnarok was divine doing. As well as Etro behind XIII's entire ending: being able to turn into Ragnarok, stopping Coccon's fall, turning back from crystal, etc.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Move your character side to side real quickly, see what happens.
    • You know that fancy little thing Lightning carries around to help her survive ridiculously long falls? She also doesn't take damage when falling in battle.
      • It may have been broken for a while, and so not count.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Several times, in fact.
    • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Every time the party beats Barthandelus, he simply reappears, puts on a trollface, and tells them they're doing exactly what he wanted them to do. And EVERY time, Snow tries to attack him and ends up either stumbling through an illusion or slamming into a magical barrier. You'd think by the third time this happens, he'd have learned.
  • Difficulty Spike: Chapters 12 and 13 can be rather hard if you didn't grind a lot in chapter 11, as almost all the enemies are suddenly much harder than what you're used to. Moreover, you can't go back to the chapter 11 area until right before the final boss, and there's basically no indication at the end of chapter 11 that things are about to get really tough. Yes, you're going into the home stretch, but that doesn't usually coincide with this level of random difficulty spike.
    • There's also one mid-chapter once you get halfway through the final dungeon and the bosses you fought minutes ago start showing up as regular enemies.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Just when it looks like Pseudo-Big Bad Primarch Dysley is a puppet of the fal'Cie, he reveals himself to be the puppet master, collaborating with his fellow fal'Cie Orphan to destroy Cocoon.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Is Vanille having The Immodest Orgasm on her Eidolon? Judge for yourself. Or not... They even cuddle at the end!
    • Fang and Vanille's gasps together during their saving of Cocoon.
    • Related, but neither sexual in context, nor fun at all: Undesireable people getting herded at train stations, put on trains to an unspecified far away destination, and told they get their personal stuff back once they get there? Thankfully, Lightning and Snow got the hint.
  • Dual-Wielding: Lighting does this during Odin's Gestalt mode. Sazh does this normally, and also hits twice for every attack he makes. Fang gets in on the action with the fifth attack in her attack combo.
  • Dungeon Crawling: This game is the series' take on that genre, possibly as an "antidote" to the Quicksand Box that made up most of Final Fantasy XII's gameplay.
  • Dungeon Town: Palumpolum, the mall area of The Nautilus, and Eden, in a notable case. Justified, as you're fugitives who are feared by practically everybody in the world. Later, there are the ruined cities on Pulse.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The fal'Cie, and many of the Undying.
  • Elemental Powers: As always with the series, in this case the notable example is the Eidolons: Fire, Ice, Lightning, Earth, Holy, and non-elemental.
  • End of an Age: The game ends with the remnants of humanity abandoning the now-dead Cocoon and emigrating to the surface of Gran Pulse.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Yaag Rosch relinquishes war zones and gives orders to fire at will in order to destroy the l'Cie, just about every soldier protests because civilians are still evacuating.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Once you get to Pulse, like you knew you were going to eventually, you can come across the somewhat large turtles known as Adamantoise. If you engage it in battle, it will step on you.
    • Lampshaded in a skit done by Snow and Lightning's voice actors.
  • Evil Old Folks: Dysley is considerably older than most other main antagonists in the series. Of course, considering that he is the leader of the fal'Cie, he is likely even older than he appears.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Taejin's Tower. It's made even more creepy by the fact that most of it has fallen over.
  • Expy: The obvious being who Lightning is; A special soldier, with angst that comes off as being cold-hearted, and is named after weather. She fits in perfectly with Cloud and Squall. She even has the former's face, and the latter's weapon.
    • Gadot looks like Wakka's long lost twin.
    • Yaag Rosche bears a striking resemblance to Miles Edgeworth...but also Luneth from Final Fantasy III DS.
    • Hope has father issues and angst much like Tidus and also wants to follow and learn from the others to acheive his goals, like Vaan.
    • Fang wields a spear and is voiced by Mabuki Andou in Japanese, just like Balsa.
    • In addition to being Female!Cloud, Lightning has marked similarities to a twenty-something Uma Thurman.
    • It looks like Aragorn now calls himself Rygdea and serves as Cid's underling. Alternatively, Sawyer from Lost (a show which the developers have acknowledged taking inspiration from, incidentally).
    • Snow looks just like Beat and Seifer. In fact, Snow basically IS Seifer, "romantic dream" and all, except he uses all of his energy for doing good, as well as having the rebellious aspect of Locke, even wears a a long white coat like the former, and a head rag like the latter. His anarchic streak is evidenced by his leading an organization called No Obligation, Rules, or Authority; it's just that his brand of anarchy is less wantonly evil than Seifer's.
    • Dysley's true form has been compared to the King of All Cosmos.
    • Jihl Nabaat looks like Quistis with long hair.
    • Cid's boss form looks like Seymour.
    • Lightning, Snow, and Serah are all slightly reminiscent of, respectively, Celes, Locke, and Rachel. The Farron sisters are also a physical/personality match to Faris and Lenna, except they are not pirates/royalty.
    • Lightning's manner of dress is also reminiscent of Ashe's.
    • She also bears a striking resemblance to Nel from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, from her outfit to her hairstyle to the way she wears her weapon.
    • Anyone who's played through Persona 3 will know exactly where the plotline with Hope and Snow is going -- situation for situation, it matches the plotline with Ken and Shinji. Hope himself is an expy of Ken (considerably younger than the rest of the cast, joins the main party for revenge against the one who killed his mother, wears an orange jacket and shorts, etc.) while Snow is an expy of Shinji -- they even have similar hairstyles and clothing.
      • Hope even has roughly the same elemental affinities as Ken (Holy/Light - though they work differently), and Alexander resembles a machine with spinning features - much like Ken's Personas Nemesis and Kala-Nemi.
    • Not a character, but Oerba plays just like Zanarkand did in Final Fantasy X. The city itself is in ruins, the same sad music plays throughout the entire town, said music remains during battle, and at the end of battle the victory theme doesn't play and the characters don't say their usual victory phrases.
    • Also not a character, but Gran Pulse itself. Put it this way, it's a vast, beautiful world underneath the one you came from, and it's filled to the brim with incredibly dangerous animals that will kill you as soon as look at you. It's Alefgard! Fang and Vanille's accents are a big hint too.
  • Fake Difficulty: Certain enemies will never give you a preemptive strike opportunity unless you are shrouded, even if you're practically rubbing their butts in your face. This is particularly noticeable with large enemies.
    • Some enemies also have the Death spell, which when cast on your party leader has a chance of instant game over. Note that the accessory to prevent that spell from landing, even when you spend a good amount of cash fully upgrading it, only gives a 60% prevention by itself. The whole "instant loss from party leader death" rule in general may also qualify, since enemies often decide their One-Hit Kill targets randomly -- on a member you can recover in about 3 seconds, but on the leader it's game over.
      • One of the only few enemies in the game that casts Death are susceptible to fog, which bans the spell from being casted.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: At the start, half the playable cast is at each other's throats. Originally Hope wants to kill Snow because Snow caused his mother's death, Sazh almost shoots Vanille (albeit at her request) because she was responsible for Dajh becoming a L'Cie, and Lightning's antipathy for Snow is obvious from the beginning. By the end, however, all of these things are forgotten as the group unites.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foil: Lightning and Fang, right down to the Eidolons -- which transform into a white horse and a black dragon.
    • Yaag Rosch and Jihl Nabaat.
    • Lightning and Serah.
    • Lightning is the foil of every main character for at least part of the game, although she becomes less of one as the group's purpose becomes more unified. During the section with her and Hope, her strength contrasting his doubt and fear is the driving force of the plot. For a while later, Vanille's optimism is constantly clashing with Lightning's anger and cynicism.
  • Foreshadowing: After the party crash lands in the Vile Peaks, Sazh asks Vanille (about her ignorance) "What, did you sleep through history or something?" Vanille laughs and answers, "More or less."
    • The vision that the party has of their Focus at the beginning of the game essentially shows what happens at the end of the game. Whether this is foreshadowing the events of the game or is simply a generic representation of Ragnarok destroying Cocoon is up to your interpretation of the dream.
    • Each character starts the game with two ATB slots, gaining a third when they are turned into l'Cie. Vanille, on the other hand, already has three long before the party is transformed.
  • Free Rotating Camera
  • Funny Afro: Both Sazh and his son Dajh.
  • Funny Background Event: On the Palamecium, when Fang is checking Vanille's brand (it's on her thigh), you can see Snow, Sazh and Hope in the background pointedly turning away and not looking at her.
  • Fusion Dance: Between the two final bosses, there's a section of Cutscene where the they combine together (Orphan and Barthandelus. ...Orphandelus?).
  • Gag Dub: Two of them, based on early cutscenes (Snow and Vanille and Lightning and Sazh).
    • Another gag dub was performed by Ali Hillis and Troy Baker themselves.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Subverted with Vanille. Each character starts the game with two ATB slots, gaining a third when they are turned into l'Cie. Vanille, on the other hand, already has three long before the party is transformed.
    • It makes sense when it's revealed that Vanille was a l'Cie long before anyone else.
    • Though played straight at other times, particularly in Palumpolum when Snow and Hope fight together. It's odd seeing Hope contemplate killing Snow during a cutscene and then heal him in the very next battle.
    • Sazh and Vanille's friendly chatter during the former's Eidolon fight.
    • When Sazh gets his Eidolon: After a heartwrenching scene between him and Vanille, his Eidolon is summoned and they have to fight it. Now, when you beat an Eidolon, the battle ends with the summoning animation for it. In Sazh's case, he couldn't look happier jumping into Brynhildr. This is in stark contrast to what just happened and what happens after the battle is over, in which smiling looks to be the last thing on Sazh's mind.
  • Genre Savvy: Everyone except Lightning act happy as clams after Barthandelus has been beaten once and for all, even though even they really should understand that maybe something much worse is on the way.
    • Sazh has this from time to time, especially how he correctly guesses that the Sanctum is not being entirely honest about Pulse.
    • The entire group gets genre savvy after the Big Bad's villainous monologue -- the only reason why he'd tell them his evil plan is to manipulate them, and it's not like they can believe a word he says anyway.
  • The Ghost: Eden. You do see an avatar in Orphan's Cradle (three of them, in fact), but the fal'Cie itself remains unseen.
  • Ghost City: Hanging Edge and the city seen near Lake Bresha in the cutscene where Sazh escapes PSICOM jets are both devoid of citizens. There are four cities that are visitable on Gran Pulse, one for each corner of the Archylte Steppe, and all of them have been reduced to ruins in various states of decay, thanks to the War of Transgression. The city in the southwest area is so far gone, it doesn't even have a name, and all that's left to remind people that civilization used to be there is a couple of archways and spires.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Eidolons will come to snap their masters back into sense when they fall into desperation and doubt, give them helping hands if they can get back on their toes, kill them if they fail.
  • Glass Cannon: At maximum stats, Hope has the best Magic and worst HP. Lightning has the second worst HP but the second best strength, and ties for second best Magic with Vanille.
  • Global Airship: Sort of; you can briefly ride mechs that will keep you safe.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy / Have You Seen My God?: The Maker leaving Pulse is the ultimate reason for everything that happens in the game.
  • Good Bad Translation: A retroactive subversion (inversion?) is thrown in -- a humanoid giant mech named the "Proudclad" makes an appearance. After all these years, we know what Scarlett and Heidegger's ultimate weapon was meant to be translated as.
  • Gotterdammerung: The intended outcome of Barthandelus's Batman Gambit. And it actually works -- just not in the way he intended it to. Eden, Barthandelus, and (possibly) all the other Cocoon fal'Cie die right along with Orphan, but humanity survives Cocoon's (literal) fall.
  • Gratuitous Latin
  • Guide Dang It: Elixirs fully restore the party's HP and TP, and they are so valuable that only four can be found in the entire game. Only one of these Elixirs can be found in a treasure chest. At no point does the game tell you that the other three Elixirs can be found by dismantling a maxed-out Doctor's Code, one of the most useless accessories in the game.
  • Gun Fu: Used by Lightning in some of her fight animations.
  • Hammerspace: Most of the characters' weapons are kept on their in-game models. The exception is Hope. It's especially obvious on his battle-ending animation, when he shoves a collapsible boomerang as long as his arm into his back pocket. Somehow.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
  • Heroic Willpower: The game beats you over the head with the concept of free will being the key to ending the fal'Cie's power and saving the world. Certain humans, when manifesting extreme amounts of independence, can even become something that is stronger than an ordinary human, but not quite a l'Cie or a crystal being either, such as Cid Raines.
  • Hollow World / Floating Continent: Cocoon is this and (according to Word of God) is roughly the size of the United States. The fal'Cie Phoenix serves as its sun, and the it is essentially floating in the upper Pulsian atmosphere. In addition, the floating city of Eden is located high up in Cocoon's sky, being a floating city in the center of a floating continent.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: To the extreme with Snow and Serah. Serah's about average height (5'5"/164cm), but Snow is over a foot taller than her (6'7"/200cm).
  • Humans Are Special: According to the fal'Cie Orphan, this is why the fal'Cie use l'Cie. fal'Cie are created for a single purpose and can never rise beyond that purpose or act outside it. Humans, on the other hand, have limitless potential for growth and adaptability, so the fal'Cie seek to borrow that power to do what they cannot.
  • Human Resources: All of Cocoon's population is either a slave or a sacrifice to the fal'Cie.
  • Hurricane of Puns: It's hard to talk about Hope and not have them sound like this.
    • Snow is also an offender.
    • Concerning the Eidolons, Sazh has a hot rod and Snow has a Cool Bike.
  • HP to One: The final boss has an extremely annoying attack that reduces everyone's HP to 100. When coupled with the poison status ailment he loves casting, this spells nearly instant death for any party member so afflicted.
    • The attack with the blade? Put a Sentinel in your team before the light orb reaches Orphan. To add insult to injury, this attack also resets its stagger meter.
    • Side note: Unless you actually have good armor equipped, that attack will deal Over Nine Thousand damage easily. You can lower this by equipping magic resistance. Also, enter the battle with a Sentinel and two Medics to recover fast.
    • An enemy in the final dungeon has one too.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: To become free of the fal'Cie's strings, Cid Raines asked to be shot by his right hand man, Rygdea.
    • Orphan's entire motivation.
  • Immune to Fate: White l'Cie brands manifest from extreme displays of free will, and with them, they can take as long as they want to complete their Focus. Fang has hers because she held back from vaporising Cocoon like the Pulse fal'Cie wanted (although wiping a third of the planet off the map satisfied her fulfillment for "destroying" Cocoon). The rest of the party gets theirs from breaking Bart's illusion and their belief in wanting to save the planet in the face of all else that was occurring at the time.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Snow uses his coat and fists against automatic weapons - and is specifically powered-up by the patches sewn or ironed on his jacket. Vanille uses a multi-hook 'fishing' pole.
    • Gunblades and giant boomerangs would probably be considered exotic in any other game series.
  • In a Single Bound: Some of the jumps you make whilst moving around maps are ridiculous. Or ridiculously awesome. If you thought Super Jumping was silly...
    • Potentially justified, however, by the technology Lightning uses in the first chapter to make that preposterous dive with Sazh. The blue circle jump-markers are also similar to the effect given when this is used.
    • Justified for that chapter. The device becomes useless after it breaks shortly after in a cut-scene and vanishes from your Key Items list.
  • Indy Ploy: As Snow says, "Heroes don't need plans!" The rest of the party really take this to heart in the last few chapters.
  • Infinity-1 Sword: The final weapon of each characters' set is NOT their ultimate weapon; since weapons can be augmented, it is best to constantly upgrade weapons that come with some form of stat benefit (such as Vanille's Belladonna Wand).
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Subverted, as mentioned above, due to augmentation in this game. You build your Ultimate Weapon from roughly six to eight different templates, each with their own plusses and minuses, and suitable for different playing styles. Thus, you can also choose not to build an Ultimate Weapon, and complete the game with everyone's starting equipment. It isn't as hard as it sounds.
  • Ink Suit Actor: Not invoked for the English dub, as the actors were chosen well after character design was done, but a few coincidences. Georgia Von Cuylenburg is short, cute, cheerful, and skinny. Ali Hillis is slim and classically beautiful. And Troy Baker is a tall blonde guy with plenty of enthusiasm.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Very nearly -- the packaging for the 360 version winds up having the ESRB rating box in-between Lightning's thighs. If only the game had gotten an M rating...
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Although it's less obvious thanks to the fact that the party can jump over numerous obstacles, given the ridiculous heights and lengths the characters can jump, there are many obstacles they really should be able to go over and areas they should be able to reach that they can't.
    • Reaches levels of ridiculousness with insurmountable waist-high sheep in Nautilus's chocobo farm area.
  • Interface Spoiler: A first time player might wonder why cute little Vanille would have three ATB gauges, as opposed to battle hardened Lightning and Snow, who only have two. The answer? She's already a l'Cie. Another hint comes with the fact that Vanille has 350 HP, whereas Lightning only has 200. When the l'Cie transformation happens, Lightning gets a boost of 100 HP, but Vanille's HP stays the same.
    • The game's manual flat-out states you'll be going to Pulse eventually.
  • Interplanetary Voyage: The first time the plot has you doing this in a Final Fantasy title since Final Fantasy IX, and the first time you could travel between planets at will since Final Fantasy IV.
  • Interservice Rivalry: PSICOM has one going on with not only the Guardian Corps, but the Cavalry AND the Sanctum Homeguard too (which are both under the Guardian Corps). Given who their leader is (Jihl Nabaat), it's no wonder they're a bunch of dicks.
  • Jack of All Stats: Lightning. She is considered the best Ravager, arguably tied as the second best Commando, has access to the Medic role for most of the game, is an adept Synergist (she is only missing Veil, Bar-, and the two -Ra), and can fill the roles of a Sentinel and a Saboteur. She has both the second highest strength stat and second highest magic stat (which she is tied for with Vanille.
  • Jerkass Gods: Although they are not technically gods, the fal'Cie are pretty large and in charge, and largely regard humans as either pets or tools, as Hope cheerfully mentions later on in the story.
  • Justified Trope: Say what you will about the lack of "traditional" towns, and not being able to really interact with the NPCs, but from a thematic standpoint it makes sense. The party members are basically fugitives and the general population is terrified of them.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Barthandelus takes a long time to lose the goodwill he earns by killing Jihl Nabaat.
  • Land Down Under: Gran Pulse. It's a world of unending wilderness, and powerful beasts and dangerous creators roam around it. It lies underneath Cocoon, analogous to Australia's geographic location being southwards, literally being the "Land down under" from the above world of Cocoon. Throughout the storyline, Gran Pulse is also depicted as being an inhospitable Death World full of danger and horrible monsters. Fang and Vanille also have Australian accents. As they are both the last remaining survivors of Gran Pulse, it can be assumed the people who once lived there also had similar accents. Notably, the ruins of Gran Pulse's cities depict modern technology and buildings, with concrete, steel, and oil rigs.
  • La Résistance: The heroes. Team NORA, too, and The Cavalry.
  • Lazy Backup: Even worse than most games with an Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Not only will the non-active party members not lift a finger in battle, but if your lead character dies, it's game over. No matter who that lead character is or whether or not any of the other party members know any revive skills.
  • Leaked Experience: All characters gain the same amount of CP, regardless of whether they are in the battle or even in the party at the time.
  • Leap of Faith: Many. Sazh and Vanille do not like these.
  • Les Yay: Fang and Vanille come very close to crossing the border between subtext and text. They're not even trying to hide it. If you try really, really hard, you can say they're "like sisters" or simply a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship (despite both of them being well past the age at which such things are common), but the Yuri angle is clearly intentional -- even if, for some reason, it's never stated outright.
    • There is a short scene where Fang wants to take a look at Lightning's brand. She turns her back to the camera and unzips her jacket, leading to Fang leaning over to take a close look, telling Lightning not to be shy about it.
  • Level Five Onix: Every other mook in each chapter alternates between this or being a Demonic Spider.
    • The Manasvin Warmech, technically the first thing you fight in the entire game, fights like a lame duck the first time. Later subverted when he shows up the second time.
  • Level Grinding: Actually referenced to some extent in the game. The entirety of chapter 10 is an actual training center designed to help Pulse l'Cie become stronger. A bit odd, since Chapter 10 is actually one of the worst CP grinding spots in the game.
  • Lighter and Softer: Well, compared to Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and Final Fantasy Type-0.
  • Limit Break: Changed in this game, instead you get "Gestalt Mode," where you pilot a vehicle/summon around to do heavy damage.
    • Characters also have true limit breaks, which use an entire ATB bar. These either sharply raise the chain meter (Sazh and Lightning), nuke a wide area and moderately raise the chain meter (Hope), deal heavy damage while clearing the chain gauge (Fang and Snow), or have a chance to cause instant death while dealing damage that increases the more you spam them (Vanille).
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: The European edition comes with a soundtrack disc, artbook, and a l'Cie temporary tattoo, so that you too can impress your friends with your totally bitchin' Mark of the Beast!
  • Literal Genie: The party saves the world on a technicality: Anima, Bart, and Orphan simply tell the l'Cie to "destroy Cocoon." They never made mention of what they should do after they accomplish this...
    • Didn't Think This Through: Anima's plot may still be partly uncertain, but Bart and Orphan planned on summoning the Maker with the apocalyptic fall of Cocoon. Ragnarok's suspending Cocoon via a massive crystal pillar could be seen as a hundred middle fingers aimed at the two of them, courtesy of Vanille and Fang.
  • Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: All of Gran Pulse, but Taejin's Tower in particular.
  • Lost Forever/Broken Bridge: With the exception of the ones on Gran Pulse, every single treasure chest in the game is lost once you leave the dungeon it's in. Fortunately, most of them don't give out things that are all that rare. There are a few weapons and accessories you can't buy in stores found in chests, though.
    • There is also one point in the game where if you don't fight an optional boss that is way too strong for the party at normal progression, you'll have to choose between two treasure chests. The one you don't pick will be lost.
    • The final dungeon won't allow you back into its main bulk after you reach the end, so much for the level grinding.
  • Low Fantasy: Believe it or not, the story fits most of the criteria listed on that trope page. Humans take center stage in the plot, no Five Races other than the Fal'Cie, natural magic is treated as the ultimate evil and artificial magic is largely used as a military weapon, war is largely depicted as pointless, all-out destructive, and waged for an unclear goal, etc.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Getting five stars on the Gigantuar fight. Either you get a lucky instant stagger (with very low odds) or the battle takes too long, regardless of your stats.
  • Magic Skirt: This game plays with this trope quite a bit, at least in regard to cutscenes.
    • Lightning does all manner of acrobatic things, and the camera doesn't care. This is because she wears black modesty shorts.
    • Serah's miniskirt always protects her modesty, regardless of what she does. Interestingly, in FFXIII-2, we learn that Serah also wears black modesty shorts.
    • Fang and Vanille, during many events where they should give people a view, have their skirts still cover themselves. However, they are many quick blink-and-you'll-miss-it examples that don't follow this trope.
  • Magical Security Cam: The "security camera" footage from inside the Euride Gorge power plant showing how Fang and Vanille's actions turned Dahj into a l'Cie is made to look like video with noise and scanline effects, but features dramatic camerawork shot from angles that would be impossible from the viewpoint of security cameras (even the floating ones seen elsewhere in the game, as they are not evident on wide shots of the same scene).
  • Magitek: All fal'Cies are a mysterious combination of magic and tecnology. Members of Cocoon's military also have access to equipment that lets them use magic (before becoming a l'Cie, Lightning uses one such device to fly through the air). PSICOM also uses "militarized" monsters like a cyborg behemoth.
  • Mana Meter: Almost completely averted. While you do have the fast and powerful Techniques that use Tech Points, everything else is based on time.
  • Mark of the Beast: The l'Cie brand may as well be a triple six or a five-star.
  • Meaningful Name: The l'Cie's plain English names and their meanings may be obvious, but there are other examples. The Undying, for instance, are all named for people who commanded armies against ancient Rome.
    • Hope spends a lot of the game battling between holding on to hope or giving into despair. Lightning even lampshades this at one point.

Hope: There is no hope. Not for l'Cie.
Lightning: There's you.
Hope: It's my name, not who I am.

  • Melee a Trois: This game allows you to join in three-way battles. Depending on whether you're spotted doing so or not, both sets of enemies may join forces to wipe you out, or not notice you're even there and continue to fight each other while you annihilate all parties. Regardless, you need to be the victor.
    • And then there's the awesome three-way fight you can perform on the Archlytte Step with a Behemoth King and a Megistotheran. Both of them are extremely powerful, and even Hope comments that it's awesome to watch them duke it out, on top of this being a very good grinding spot.
  • Morton's Fork: If you're branded a l'Cie, you've got two possible fates in store for you: complete your focus and turn into a crystal forever, or do nothing and turn into a Cie'th zombie forever. This is your first hint that the fal'Cie are nothing but a bunch of pricks. Your second hint is that focuses are only ever about as clear as half-remembered dreams anyway.
    • According to some dialogue from the sequel, turning into crystal isn't as bad as it seems. Serah sometimes mentions the happy dreams she had while she was crystallized, which isn't as much of a punishment as turning into a Cie'th.
    • And even if you do complete your focus and turn to crystal, that doesn't necessarilly mean you can rest for eternity either. If the fal'Cie decide they have further use for you, they can de-crystalize you, essentially drafting you into another round of service for them, as was the case with Vanille and Fang.
  • Mood Whiplash: Holy hell is chapter 8 a shining example of this. A carefree festival scene gets interrupted by PSICOM. That might have been expected, but the mood keeps going down from there once you defeat the boss and Sazh's toddler son wanders onto the scene, apparently completing his Focus and getting encased in crystal. Terrible secrets are revealed when Nabaat punts the dog into orbit and poor Sazh can't decide whether he should kill Vanille, who had been trying to keep his spirits up the whole journey. By the end of the entire scene, Sazh has a summon and a gun to his head.
  • More Dakka: Sazh's method of using Guns Akimbo seems to be "spray enough bullets in your target's general direction and maybe some will hit". Particularly, see his version of Blitz and his Limit Break, Cold Blood.
    • His Blitz's unique mechanics (he sprays bullets forward instead of doing a Spin Attack like everyone else) make it pretty powerful against larger enemies. Each bullet does half to three-quarters what it would in a normal attack, but he fires each gun a half-dozen times at least; if you're facing an enemy large enough to get hit by most or all of them, or if a moderately sized enemy is right in his face, it'll do considerably more damage than just having him Attack.
  • Morph Weapon: When Sazh gets his fourth ATB level, make him a commando and have him attack. On the fourth hit, his handguns leap into the air, transform, then merge into a rifle before he takes a shot -- for no reason, apparently, but style. Also, Lightning's gun-sword-whateverthehellitis.
  • Multi Platform: The news of this being the first game in the series to do this (and the first for the Xbox 360) was a big announcement.
    • Although the advent of a Play Station 3 price drop has cooled off some of the initial fire from earlier on.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Fang gets quite incensed at Lightning referring to Gran Pulse simply as Pulse. The game's on-board database (which had also been referring to it as Pulse) updates itself after that.
  • Mythology Gag: See the trivia page for a full list.
  • Nakama: If you doubt that the group will become this by the end, you are sorely Genre Blind. Not to mention, you also didn't see the last trailer, where the word is explicitly used by Hope and Lightning.
  • Naked on Arrival: When a l'Cie awakens from crystal stasis, he or she is naked for the first few seconds.
    • Averted during the ending, when the camera stays on Lightning as she awakens from crystal stasis already clothed, as you might imagine.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Deconstructed. l'Cie are labeled somewhere equivalent to a terrorist in-game, so the heroes have to avoid going into towns due to the potential of causing a riot. The reason for this labeling is because the fal'Cie are the ones giving the orders, and the l'Cie must follow their orders or be paid the consequences, making them literal walking time bombs. These orders can be drastic, ranging from killing a wild monster to leading someone straight into the thick of the plot, regardless of the relation to the l'Cie. On the plus side, l'Cie gain power not normally obtained by regular humans, so enjoy it while it lasts.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Numerous examples and one subversion:
    • Subverted:Vanille feigns Laser-Guided Amnesia in order to protect Fang from the truth of their past as well as keep Fang from completing their Focus (so she could save Vanille from becoming a Cie'th). This results in Dajh becoming l'Cie. Dajh ends up finding the Vestige — which leads to the Purge. However if Vanille never lied and told Fang the truth from the beginning, Fang would have attempted to complete their Focus (destroy Cocoon) which would would be much worse if it succeeded.
    • Cid attempts to free himself of his Focus and save the world by killing the party, only to end up defeated and ripe for ressurrection by the Big Bad as a puppet that goes on to fuel discord and destruction on the streets of Cocoon.
    • Snow doesn't bother covering up his Pulse l'Cie tattoo, so he ends up causing the exact kind of panic that the party went back to Cocoon to prevent!
    • The party defeat Barthandelus, causing him to be assimilated by Orphan. Which does...something bad. Something about redemption.
    • This game really lives and breathes this trope. Pretty much everything the party does for the whole game, up to and including killing the final boss, is exactly what the Big Bad (said final boss) wants you to do.
  • Nobody Poops: Specifically, that chocobo chick never seems to make a mess in Sazh's hair.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The act of Cocoon dropping had to have killed a hell of a lot of people, especially everyone on Eden. But no deadly aftermath is ever shown, so it can be assumed everyone on the planet had parachutes or teleporters.
    • Justified. There was an evacuation, going on for at least two chapters. Especially if you take the option of going through a certain portal to level grind...
  • Nominal Importance: Even if you haven't been spoiled going into the game, you know damn well Hope's mother is doomed when the game's subtitles only refer to her as "Mother." Semi-aversion; she has a name, Nora, but it's not revealed until long after she's dead. Also, revealing it too early would have ruined some of the symbolism (Snow's gang is also called NORA.)
  • Not So Harmless: Prior to the game's release, many people suspected that the aged Galenth would be nothing more than a powerless figurehead. Then he started frying masses of people with lightning blasts...
    • The chocobo chick, as one unfortunate soldier finds out.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Entirely true until very late in the game, when the sandbox opens up a little for sidequests. There is no backtracking except to one specific area, and there are no towns to visit. This is a big change from earlier installments, even purely linear games like X. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.
    • The last chapter of the game is this (though with warps to the free areas) and is reminiscent of Final Destination from Super Smash Brothers.
    • The linearity was explained to be influenced from first person shooters. Make that of what you will.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: The game likes to teleport you into an area after a cutscene, with a hallway behind you that you supposedly just came through. Backtracking will often get you a treasure sphere.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: MIHI NOMEN ORPHANUS! OR! PHA! NUUUUUUS!!! Par for the course for final bosses in this series, really. Overlaps awesomely with Orchestral Bombing.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Ragnarok combines this with Ominous Latin Chanting. Also, there's an organ right at the beginning of Born Anew, but it's a bit drowned out by the choir. You can hear it much more easily in the instrumental version, though.
  • One-Man Army: Lightning and Snow start out this way, and everybody else grows into it in short order. l'Cie are powerful. Also, Lightning's Full ATB Skill is called "Army of One." (It's also a Game Breaker.)
  • One-Winged Angel: Cid Raines' l'Cie form. He gains actual wings when he loses half of his HP.
    • While Barthandelus is always a giant monster, the last fight throws on some angel wings to go with his built-in angelic choir.
  • One-Woman Wail: Some of the background music, such as that of Oerba, Fang and Vanille's Doomed Hometown.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Vanille's accent has a tendency to be a little...flighty. (Fang's is thankfully more consistent.) Ironic considering Vanille's voice actress is Australian. Comical considering that Fang's is not.
    • This is more of a situation from the American audience perspective as for them natural accents do not sound "authentic" to them, and need to be done over-the-top in order to sound "real" or "authentic". Another victim of this is Leliana of the Dragon Age franchise, whose voice actress Corinne Kempa (like Georgia van Cuylenburg (Vanille's voice actress) in regards to using her Australian accent) was accused of her accent being "unauthentic" and "fake", was merely using a native Parisian accent.
  • Organic Technology: Cocoon has amazing wonders such as iMac-styled Behemoths, snake mechs, cyborg dragons, and tree beasts with radiator grille faces.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Cie'th. They're zombies who grow crystals (and bigger) and eventually turn into statues, or fall apart.
    • Or live forever fueled by pure spite.
  • Outside the Box Tactic: Most bosses are immune to Death... except the final boss, when it's staggered.
  • Panty Shot: If Fang does a jump when the battle ends, if the camera focuses on her victory pose, you can catch a glimpse of her panties. They are black. Also, during the Highwind move, there's a fair chance of it.
  • Palmtree Panic: Sunset Beach.
  • Papa Wolf: Sazh, as well as Hope's dad.
  • Parental Abandonment: Many of the characters, including the Big Bad Orphan, have issues with either their parents or children.
  • Party in My Pocket/All in a Row: Both are played with, the party members generally just do their own thing and act like NPCs while on the field. However, only the active party members are visible in the field, any not participating in battle play the pocket trope straight.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: On Gran Pulse, there is a specific area on the Archlyte Steppe where a behemoth and a giant wolf are fighting next to a canyon. (It's unavoidable because the plot steers you towards this area.) Engage them (the encounter will almost always be a Pre-Emptive Strike), kill the behemoth, kill the wolf, run into the canyon until the spot they stood in scrolls off the screen, come back to the spot, and they're there again. Doing this gets you about 13000 CP (with the Growth Egg, which doubles CP) in roughly two minutes, and almost a million within an hour. As you get stronger, the minutes can become seconds.
    • Once you know the Death trick, Mission 63 becomes one for both CP and gil. (Adamantoises give 40000 CP and have a 25% chance of dropping Vendor Trash that sells for 150000 gil, and you get a guaranteed Gold Nugget (60000 gil) every time you complete the mission)
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Two types: Your party, who use their powers to defy their Foci and battle the fal'Cie, and The Undying, people who resented their fate as l'Cie, ignored their foci, and became immortal superbeings kept going on nothing but pure spite.
  • Planet of Hats: Every single one of Cocoon's uncountable number of fal'Cie are evil and in on Barthandelus and Orphan's plan to summon the Maker via mass sacrifice, even though it would also mean their suicides. Even the ones in charge of operating the automatic doors.
  • Post End Game Content
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The name Orphan seems to be a deliberate subverted reference to this trope.
  • Power Tattoo: The l'Cie brand. It also serves as an abstract Magic Countdown to Cie'thdom. It goes through thirteen stages, becoming more complex each time until it fully develops and the bearer becomes a Cie'th. If the l'Cie manages to complete their focus, they get a cool "ruined" brand like the one Fang sports for the entire game.
  • Practical Taunt: This exists as a Senteniel skill. The default tank, Snow, just waves the enemy forward and says something like "Well? Come on!!" or "I can take it!"
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: A few, usually said by Lightning or Sazh. Example: "Been looking for you, Nabaat!"
  • Programming Game: Paradigms are more or less simplified Gambits, only the AI isn't as rigid (mainly because they have less options to choose from all at once.)
  • Randomly Drops: Thanks to the game's aversion of Money Spider, the only ways to accumulate large amounts of Gil involve fighting enemies that drop valuable components designed to be sold, but which often drop at rates of 25% or worse. You will need millions of Gil to upgrade weapons, and millions more if you want to go for the trophy for having all of the equipment. Enjoy doing the same 5-10 minute fight three or four times without getting anything.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Vanille and Fang and Dysley.
  • Recurring Riff: A melodic line from one of the vocal tracks appears in several other pieces throughout the game.
    • Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, only one of the classic FF tunes appears in its entirety, the insanely catchy vocal J-pop rendition of the Chocobo theme. The series Prelude can be heard briefly in the game's original prelude, and the Final Fantasy theme (the one that usually plays during the credits) can be heard in the track "Miracles". Then again, this is somewhat typical of Masashi Hamauzu, who very rarely if ever pays tribute to Nobuo Uematsu's old musical cues. See: Dirge of Cerberus (scored by Hamauzu), which is bereft of any of the original Final Fantasy VII leitmotifs, compared to Crisis Core (scored by Takeharu Ishimoto) which borders on Continuity Porn in its reuses of FFVII melodies.
    • On a more minor note, Blinded By Light can be heared in Lightning's theme, and it gets a Dark Reprise later.
  • Recurring Boss: Many bosses are fought at least twice during the game. The Proudclad (piloted by Yaag Rosch) and Barthandelus stand out.
  • Redheaded Hero: Lightning, Serah and Vanille. All three of the pink variety.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The military career Lightning with her cold and professional demeanor, and the tribal Fang who is flirty, hot-headed, and impulsive. The colors are inverted though - it's Lightning who wears the red, while Fang wears the blue.
    • It's not a complete inversion, though; at their first meeting, it's Fang who tells Lightning that she should cool that head of hers. Fang is in the end more easygoing then Lightning.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Yaag Rosch, although his sacrifice only takes out a couple of monsters the party should have been more than capable of taking on at that point.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Some of the party members' relationships are forged this way. Lightning (replaces Hope's mother, Nora) and Hope (replaces Lightning's sister, Serah) to each other, and Vanille (replaces Sazh's son, Dajh) to Sazh.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Inverted, concerning the final boss.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Sazh's chocobo chick and the sheep.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: At one point, Lightning realizes that to the fal'Cie, humans are nothing but pets whom they keep for amusement and some housekeeping chores they don't care to do themselves. It is eventually revealed that humans and fal'Cie are related species in the sense that both were created by the same creator deity but fal'Cie were made infinitely stronger, so when the creator has left the building, things went south for the humans.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: There's hints of this scattered all over Gran Pulse, but it really hits home once you make it to Taejin's Tower, and more importantly: Oerba.
  • Say My Name: "SERAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"
  • Scenery Porn: Detractors would be hard pressed to find anything bad to say about the graphics.
    • Lampshaded by Sazh in the Sunleth Waterscape. "Where's a camera when you need one?"
  • Screw Destiny: The party, naturally, which in turned inspired Cid Raines as well, but that wasn't a good thing for the party. Or Raines.
    • Indeed, it's practically the theme of the game's story. Our heroes are told over and over again that as l'Cie, it's their destiny to fulfill their focus or suffer a Fate Worse Than Death. In the end, however, they all decide they're going to make their own fate.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: After the prologue chapters, Anima says hello.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Dysley tries pulling one of these on Snow and Lightning by taking Serah's form, even using Lightning's real name (Claire) on her. He gives up after about a minute and puts his trollface back on because he knows he's got the party wrapped so tightly around his finger they're going to do what he wants anyway, so why waste the energy screwing with them?
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Lightning pulls one of these on Orphan before the final fight.
  • Slave Brand: The l'Cies' brands.
  • Slave Mooks: L'Cie are only motivated to do their boss' job by the threat of being turned into one of the zombie-like Cie'th.
  • Sliding Scale of Fate vs. Free Will: It is stated that fate is undefeatable. However, later, it is not only revealed that can fate can be fought, but that humans are the only ones with true free will —- something not even the fal'Cie had. Hence the reason fal'Cie create l'Cie, to use their unlimited potential (free will).
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Level 2. The game's linearity created a huge amount of controversy, not only about whether it was good or bad, but whether it was true to the series.
  • Sole Entertainment Option: Nautilus, a huge entertainment city on Cocoon that is full of little spherical transports, the Pompa Sancta parade, lots of lights (of course), an amusement park, and a chocobo and sheep petting zoo, among other things.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Getting pummeled by monsters to the sound of vocal trance or bossa nova has never been so much fun!
  • Stripperific: Lebreau, Fang, and Vanille join a long tradition of these.
    • Lebreau, easily the worst offender of the three, actually receives commentary from Lightning in the novella.

If the blue-haired man could be said to have a lot of decorations, this woman could be said to be showing a lot of skin. Either one was not wearing clothes that someone who uses a gun would normally wear. All of those decorations hanging down would just get in the way of a gun fight. And a large gun like that heats up easily. With that much skin showing, she wouldn’t be protected from burns. Amateurs, she decided.

  • Spam Attack: Lightning's Army of One and Sazh's Cold Blood full-ATB moves. Also, what happens naturally when you're queuing up five or six Attacks or Ruins in a row during the late game.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Orphan, despite all the references (name, the changes between its forms, its music, its dungeon, thirteen orphans, etc) is called Ophan often (even on this page), because it also alludes to the type of angel, Ophanim. Of course, the English release confirms "Orphan" as canon.
    • Galenth Dysley's true name is another matter of contention. Most agreed that he was named Baldanders after the mythological creature, but they Latinized it to Barthandelus in the English release.
    • Some of the names in the Spanish translation are slightly different, like Baldanders instead of Barthandelus (as referenced above), Paals instead of Pulse, and luCie instead of l'Cie. Whether they're truer or not to the original Japanese is arguable.
  • Taken for Granite: L'Cie who fulfill their focus skip the zombie part and go straight to being a paperweight.
  • Take Your Time: Although the plot largely tries to avert this -- the entire story takes place in the time frame of about two weeks (one month if you include the Thirteen Days), and makes an explicit point that ignoring their Focus runs risk of the party turning Cie'th -- once you get to Gran Pulse, you can spend as much time as you want killing King Mooks and riding chocobos around.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Fang and Lightning.
  • Tears From a Stone: Serah, with the aforementioned Taken for Granite "reward" for fulfilling her l'Cie focus, sheds a tear that turns into a crystal.
  • Tech Points: Two Types: Crystal Points (CP), which are similar to Final Fantasy X's AP, and are given out at the end of combat. CP are how you move along the crystarium level up system. Technique Points (TP), which are a form of Mana, are rewarded at the end of combat if you finish combat quickly, or during combat if you wait until your action bar is full -- essentially, wait to do a full Beam Spam type attack.
  • Tech Tree: A variant. The game uses a system called the crystarium, which is most similar to the AP system seen in Final Fantasy X. However, each character has 1-3 out of 6 different crystarium boards open initially, and each one has a different progress bar and different unlockables -- they are basically this game's version of a character class. Skills and spells are only usable when you are in that tech tree, but passive bonuses to HP, Strength, et cetera are permanent. All the areas of the boards are locked out until you progress far enough into the plot.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: "We'll be safe in Edenhall!"
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Characters have a habit of lapsing into this, where they'll talk about their emotions and epiphanies rather than just, ya know....emote.
  • Theme Naming / Stellar Name: Sazh's weapons are all named after individual stars or star systems, except for his last weapon, although it is named after a celestial event.
    • Hope's weapons count as well; they're all named after some kind of winged mythological beast or deity. (Or is capable of flight in general)
  • Theme Park Version: Parodied in-game. With The War of Transgressions re-enactment during the Eidolon parade. Which happens at Nautilus, which is one big theme park.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Vanille is the child, Fang is the seductress, and Lighting is the mother (especially once she takes Hope under her wing).
  • Title Drop / Bilingual Bonus: Barthandelus, in the pre-Final Boss cutscene makes mention of a "new crystal legend."
    • The title of the last Analect in the Datalog is Fabula Nova Crystallis. Fittingly, said entry makes mention of the goddess Etro.
  • Token Non-Human: Averted for the first time since Final Fantasy VIII. Or subverted if you look at it in another way: the game could be the first in the series to have no human playable characters, as everyone in the party becomes a L'Cie. Which means in the first two chapters of the game Vanille is the Token Non-Human in the group.
  • Token Yuri Girls: Fang and Vanille.
  • Touched by Vorlons: L'Cie are created when humans come into contact with a fal'Cie. The l'Cie then gain abilities that transcend that of normal humans, such as the use of "natural" magic instead of "artificial" magic produced by a Manadrive and the ability to summon Eidolons. Basically, they become Player Characters, or in the case of Cid, Bosses.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted. When you paradigm shift, the combat doesn't pause, leaving you open for attacks.
    • On the other hand, savvy players who need to conduct a Paradigm Shift can use launch periods to circumvent this flaw. Enemies will attack whether you're shifting or not; why not shift when they're done attacking?
  • Transformation Sequence: When a l'Cie is crystallized (i.e. Serah and Dajh). Or uncrystallized, as Vanille was -- complete with magically appearing clothes.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: Most, if not all, of the Eidolon battles will need to be retried at least once unless you're using a walkthrough or guide. Fortunately, the game included a convenient retry feature for every battle.
    • The first time you fight Barthandelus at the end of Chapter 9 also comes down to this. There's no hints or mentions of what you should do when he's preparing to pull off Destrudo, an instant-kill attack that can be subverted if he's lost enough HP while charging up, making this a Guide Dang It moment for the ill-informed after they've had their asses handed to them on a silver platter a few times or so.
  • Time Limit Boss: Eidolon Trials, although they are in reality tests to see how savvy you are about the gameplay systems.
    • An interesting note is that the Doom Timers are relativly short, (around 3 minutes max) yet the target time for Eidolon fights ranges anywhere from 20 minutes to half an hour.
    • Orphan's final form.
    • Unfortunately, all fal'Cie appear to be this in a way. If you do not finish them within the alloted time, they will cast Doom on you.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Everyone, to some extent. Vanille might just have the worst of it, though, especially during the last few boss fights.
  • The Unfought: The players never get the opportunity to give Jihl Nabaat a thrashing. She was more than happy to oblige, but the Big Bad had other plans.
  • Useless Item: The debuff protection accessories the game throws at you. Subverted when it comes to Death protection accessories and the final boss.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Being a recent game, this is a huge aversion; There are two roles that add buffs and debuffs. They're also the most important roles, since you may not even be able to survive bosses' attacks without being hardened by a Synergist, and some bosses you can't even touch without softening them up with a Saboteur. (Saboteur spells even deal damage and the effects stack!) There's also the Death spell, unlike the all or nothing versions in earlier games, Death actually hits pretty hard even when it doesn't score a One-Hit Kill.
    • Orphan is susceptible to Poison. The easiest way to beat him is to let Poison tick away at his health while the party keeps itself alive.
  • Use Your Head: The chocobo chick's favorite method of attack. Powerful enough to knock down adults mooks (and Sazh)! Beware: this bird is a freakin' monster !
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The motivation of Barthandelus for destroying Cocoon and killing millions. Also Rosch's reason for participating in atrocities like the purge.
  • Video Game Geography: Square Enix attempted to make its world map of Cocoon conform to the shape of a true sphere, resulting in a kind of exploded map when laid flat. It's interesting to note that almost every pocket of human civilization is on an island, thousands of miles away from the crater in the map's center; an indication that they are that scared of Gran Pulse.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: When the party leader dies, the game ends, regardless of the state of your other party members.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Deconstructed in Gran Pulse; what would have been NPCs who stand in one spot and repeat a single line of dialogue over and over are literal stone statues that are doomed to repeat the same sentiments for all eternity. Played straight with the human NPCs, however.
    • On a lighter note, an NPC in Nautilus references the original line as a Mythology Gag.
  • Wham! Line:

Galenth Dysley: I am fal'Cie. My name is Barthandelus; voice of the Sanctum, and Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon fal'Cie.

    • Also:

Barthandelus: That girl ({{[spoiler|Serah}}]) did nothing but assemble the tools for Cocoon's destruction!

    • Before that:

"I'm from Gran Pulse. The world below you all hate so much. My partner and I had turned to crystal there and gone to sleep. The reason Cocoon's in such an uproar is the same reason you're here now. Vanille and I woke up."

  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Rygdea mercy-kills Raines on his request, he promptly vanishes from the game. Unfortunately, since the rest of the Cavalry became Cie'th before they could reach Orphan, things probably didn't end too well for him.
    • Lightning's real name, Claire, is never mentioned in the game after Serah (read: Dysley) says it. None of the party members call her, deciding to call her 'Light' instead. Not even her own sister Serah calls her that in the ending.
    • Also, what happened to Hope's dad? You would've expected him to show up in the ending, but he doesn't. However, in the novel, PSICOM appears and tells Hope that his father is with them.
    • And Lightning's commanding officer, Lieutenant Amodar?
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Barthandelus qualifies, but Orphan's first form reaches record levels of unsymbolism.
  • What Kept You?: Sazh and Vanille orchestrate their own escape by utilizing the distraction provided by their rescuers, meeting up with the rest of the party just as they were running into trouble.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While Hope and Lightning are in the underground of Palumpolum, they find the fal'Cie Carbuncle, the source of nourishment for the city they are in. The latter actually considers destroying the fal'Cie and starving all the citizens of the city, including military personnel "and" civilians. This even prompts Hope to ask her "I think people hate us enough already, don't you?"
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Hope and Rosch.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: You may wonder why Vanille and Fang are voiced in English with an Australian accent, while everyone else speaks in your bogstandard American dialect. It's because they're from Pulse, the world that is literally 'down under' Cocoon.
  • Worst Whatever Ever: Lightning says "Worst birthday ever," in response to Serah announcing that she and Snow are engaged on her birthday. It's hilarious the first time around, but in recalling it after chapter, say, 2 or 3...
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Enforced as a gameplay mechanic. There are two types of damage-dealing roles: Commando (fighter) and Ravager (black mage). The only way to deal damage effectively (in most cases) is to use Commandos and Ravagers together. Likewise, upgrading weapons and equipment has a similar "use two opposites together for maximum effectiveness" system.
  • You Have Failed Me...: Cie'th, l'Cie who didn't finish their job on time and got turned into zombies.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Hope, Vanille, and Sazh begin the game with the attack command, then lose it pretty early on when they become l'Cie. Sazh gets it back automatically, the other two have to train to regain it when they unlock the Commando role late-game. Particularly jarring in Vanille's case, since she was a l'Cie to begin with.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Most of the party is quick to rejoice after Dysley has been defeated, but Lightning isn't so convinced. Cue shocked expressions and ominous chanting when his owl flies in...
    • The looks on the party members' faces, especially Lightning's, when Dysley reveals his fal'Cie form for the first time on the Palamecia pretty much reads "Oh Crap".