Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII New Game Plus and Hard Mode


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII offers a ton of ways to test your mettle. With 3 basic difficulty options to choose from and the New Game Plus, the game will put you to the ultimate tests.

These four difficulty options have completely different experiences to offer, and I would recommend at least trying them out. In this guide, I will be explaining the key features of Hard Mode and New Game Plus.

For more help on Lightning Returns, read our Schema Character Builds, Side Quests and Garbs Costumes Guide.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII New Game Plus and Hard Mode

Hard Mode
The basic difference between Hard Mode and Easy Mode is that your HP will not replenish during the battles. As for enemies, they spawn with 3x and 5x modifiers applied to their statistics.

The EP-gain after the battle is greatly reduced. Taking out large enemies yield 1 EP, medium-sized enemies yield 0.5 EP, and small enemies yield 0.06 EP per enemy. However, you will be able to obtain all items that enemies will drop.

While we are talking about loot, you should definitely keep an eye out on the Gil gain. Taking out an enemy will provide you with 50% more Gil than Normal Mode.

On the down side, some Abilities will cost you more EP than Normal Mode or Easy Mode.

A major change that you will notice is that using EP ability Escape will return Lightning to the same stat as it was before the battle started, but it will consume one hour for the current day.

Hard Mode has some exclusive Weapons, Shields, and Garbs that are NOT found in other difficulty settings and finally, if you wish to play the Hard Mode, you must complete the story and defeat the final boss on either 13TH or 14TH day.

New Game Plus
Other than the three primary difficulty settings, the New Game Plus is another difficulty setting, which can be played by:

  • Do not complete the game and let the days run out.
  • Take out the final boss of the game and complete the game.

Once you begin playing the New Game Plus, you will completely start a new game but you will keep some of your items. The items that will stick to your character are:

  • Every item excluding Quest items
  • Every Weapon and Shield excluding Ultimate Weapon and Ultimate Shield
  • Every Head and Arm Accessory
  • Hard earned Gils
  • Every Garb and Adornment Costume
  • EPs

Another important thing is that in New Game Plus, you can update your Head Accessories; if you have collected them in the Normal Playthrough.

While playing the New Game Plus, you will gain the ability to upgrade your Weapons and Shields, which will cost you Gils and upgrading material. Not only this, but you will also be able to downgrade your Weapons and Shields.

Like I have mentioned above, Head Accessories can be upgraded in New Game Plus but when it comes to Arm Accessories, you will not receive an upgrade but a cash bonus.

While playing the NGP, you can increase Lightning’s Strength and Magic to 9999 instead of 5000 and HP can shoot as much as 99999 HP. The only downer for me is that each time a battle ends; you will NOT be graded.

And just like the Hard Mode, you will receive much higher Gil bonus after a Quest, but the rewards are less appealing.

If you have any queries regarding different game modes, comment below and we will get back to you!

By Arslan Tufail

Arslan is a competitive Tekken and Call of Duty player and crushes pretty much everyone at the office in these games. He loves reading and writing about games and is deathly allergic to half-boiled potatoes.

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    • Deano

      My new game plus isn’t working. On my second play through, first new game plus, hopes gifts are Gil only. I can’t upgrade any accessories or weapons. And never recieved the limits present from hope either. What’s wrong with my new game plus?

    • JX

      Can I play New Game + on easy? I asked because I started on Normal and am thinking I should just lose the game and start new game + on Easy.