I got a hunch that once we go on ahead, there's no turning back.
The point of no return refers to the in-game point a little before the final boss from where it is impossible to turn back, and, as such, the only way to go is to complete the game by defeating the final boss. Usually, a save point can be found right before it.
The player is commonly notified about the point of no return, e.g. by the main character questioning if the party is ready to continue. In several remakes there is no point of no return because once the final boss is defeated, the player can save their game and return to the world map where they can access version-exclusive bonus dungeons.
The point of no return should not be confused with unrevisitable locations or with missable things, although strictly speaking nearly everything in the game becomes unrevisitable once the point of no return is crossed. The game might also have lesser "points of no return" in the middle of the game, such as if the game world changes drastically during the story and it is impossible to return to the previous state of the world.
While entering the Chaos Shrine of the past can be considered the point of no return as the player cannot walk out of the dungeon, the party can still return to the world map by casting Exit. Assuming a party member has that spell, the player only passes the point of no return when they speak with Garland at the end of the dungeon.
Similarly to the original Final Fantasy, in the original version entering Pandaemonium may be considered the point of no return as the portals only allow the player to enter, but do not allow the party to leave. The party can still return to Jade Passage by casting Exit, and from there to the world map. The true point of no return is initiating the final battle. There is no point of no return in the remakes since the PlayStation release; after the party defeats the final boss on the top level of Castle Pandaemonium, the player is returned to the world map. All progress is saved and the player can fight the final boss again.
A temporary point of no return occurs aboard the Dreadnought: after Princess Hilda has been rescued, the Dark Knight blocks the exit, preventing the player from leaving until they have destroyed the Dreadnought. Another point exists in Castle Palamecia where the player cannot return to the world map by any means once they have entered the castle using the airship until they have talked to the Dark Knight on the dungeon's top floor.
The point of no return is the top of the Crystal Tower where the party walks in front of the center mirror right before fighting Xande. Following that battle, the party cannot leave the room, and must enter the World of Darkness to battle the final boss.
The point of no return is after climbing the stairs and confronting Zemus on the final floor of the Lunar Subterrane in the Red Moon core. This will lead to the final confrontation. In the Advance and Complete Collection remakes, there is no true point of no return, as after the party kills the final boss, an all-clear file can be saved and the bonus dungeon, Lunar Ruins, can be accessed.
The game is entirely linear: after being flown to a new location the previous region and nearby locations are inaccessible.
After traveling to the True Moon in the final Tale, the player cannot return to Earth. Within the Depths and Bottommost Depths of the True Moon, however, the player can turn back any time until the final battle.
Earlier Tales have individual points of no return. In Rydia's Tale, after going to Agart the player cannot return to the Underworld. In Yang's Tale, after boarding the ship to Baron the player cannot return to Fabul, but when the Tale is reloaded after completion, they will be back at Fabul to explore Yang's Challenge Dungeon. Likewise in Edward's Tale, the ship to Baron is the end point, but reloading it after it is completed puts the player at Kaipo before boarding the ship. In Kain's Tale, the point of no return is Damcyan; after the events there, the player flies to Baron.
Porom's Tale is divided into three parts over different periods of time, and the player can only proceed through the first two points once. Similarly, Edge's Tale is divided into five parts, and the player can only explore each area once. The last area in both storylines can be explored freely as the player wishes.
Palom's Tale and the Lunarian's Tale have no points of no return.
The point of no return is in the narrow path between the party and Exdeath's tree form at the final area of the Interdimensional Rift. After the Warriors of Dawn break the player party out of the Void, if the narrow path is approached, Bartz will leap towards Exdeath and start the final battle.
If the player exits the zone just after the cutscene before the final battle, and returns to the zone where Exdeath is fought, the music changes from "Ahead on our Way" to "In Search of Light." This could be considered an error due to the music event being switched off when the player leaves. This could have been fixed if the developers removed the event that allowed the player to leave the zone.
In the Game Boy Advance, mobile and Steam versions, after the ending credits, the game will return the player to the world map from where they can continue playing. The Sealed Temple will be unlocked, and the final bosses can be fought again.
In the mobile and Steam versions, exiting the Interdimensional Rift immediately before the point of no return earns the "Forget Something" achievement.
The point of no return is in Kefka's Tower, at the latest possible point before triggering the final battle by stepping on the switches behind the Warring Triad. This point of no return is removed in the GBA, mobile and Steam remakes, where defeating the final boss allows the player to save the game and resume outside the tower.
Once the player approaches the Warring Triad on the Floating Continent after defeating Ultima Weapon, the player can no longer return to the World of Balance—the player must proceed to the World of Ruin. At a point before fighting Ultima Weapon, the player can return to the Blackjack to continue to explore the World of Balance. This can also be used to trigger the airship glitch.
The point of no return is within the Northern Cave right above the Planet's Core. The exact spot is the room where the party regroups after splitting up.
The room of the Northern Cave where the party first splits up can also become a point of no return due to the Save Crystal glitch.
Before then, the Temple of the Ancients is a minor point of no return, as once it is entered, it cannot be exited until it is completed. The game warns the player about this when they attempt to save within the temple. It is also the last time Aeris is playable, as she leaves the party after the boss battle against Demons Gate.
The point of no return is a large door in the Banora Underground, which requires seven Goddess Materia to open. Beyond that, lie only the final battles.
Since the game is largely linear, once a player completes a chapter they can never return to that location, and any treasures found there are lost. Once the player finishes Chapter 8 and proceeds to Nibelheim in Chapter 9, Midgar and all missions unlocked by doing sidequests in Midgar cannot be revisited. Up until this point, most of these sidequests carry over between chapters and can be done at any time until the player leaves for Nibelheim. The final chapters, like the rest of the game, take the player to areas that cannot be revisited once left.
The game is entirely linear, so there is no special point of no return. Old battles can be replayed by returning to that chapter and selecting the point at which one wants to start the game up again.
The fight with Seifer atop Lunatic Pandora is considered a point of no return, as once he is defeated the player must fight Adel next, and time compression happens after she is defeated. While the player can still access the world map in the time compressed world, nearly all locations are inaccessible, with only Chocobo Forests and bonus dungeons containing Guardian Forces free to explore. The only means of shopping after this is via the Call Shop ability, or CC Joker's general shop aboard the Ragnarok (the player needs a chocobo to get to it on the Kashkabald Desert). The point of no return to the final battle is when the party enters the Master's Room of Ultimecia Castle.
The point of no return to the final battle is after defeating Deathguise. The player can leave after defeating it, but a second trip in the room in will start the boss fight with Trance Kuja. Defeating Deathguise is the final advancement point for the lost family sidequest in Lindblum.
The player passes the point of no return when they approach the Tower of the Dead and enter the Nucleus inside Sin by examining a glyph on the side of the tower. There are still various treasures the player can obtain before the final battles, but as the player cannot return from here any weapons and armor obtained here can only be used in the final battle.
The point of no return occurs right after crossing the portal in the Farplane to fight Vegnagun. The player is forced onwards after Rikku warns of the point of no return, yet it is possible to backtrack to the save point even after defeating the lesser parts of Vegnagun. Once the party faces the main part, they must proceed to the end of the game.
The point of no return is entering the Sky Fortress Bahamut. The game helpfully warns the player while saving in locations they cannot leave before defeating a boss, such as the Dreadnought Leviathan.
The point of no return is in the Narthex of Orphan's Cradle. At the end of the Narthex is a door; upon approaching it, Lightning will announce, "Let's do this", and the door will open. Passing through the doorway is the point of no return. However, completing the final battles unlocks the final tier of the Crystarium and the player can keep playing by loading their save. During the post-game, the door will always be open and Lightning will give no warning prior to entering it.
The point of no return is reaching the final platform and approaching the Academy's headquarters in Academia at 500 AF. Triggering the following cutscene will mean the player has passed the point of no return. However, after the ending credits the game will bring the player back to the Historia Crux menu and they can continue playing.
Advancing to the last day is considered a point of no return, as only the final dungeon is available then, the rest of the game's locations being cut off. The final point of no return occurs when Lightning enters the distortion formed at the middle of the fifth corridor within God's Sanctum in the Luxerion Cathedral.
Upon reaching Hammerhead in Chapter 14, the game warns the player that leaving for Insomnia, the final dungeon, will commence the final battle. The player is taken to Hammerhead automatically when they cross a certain junction after leaving Galdin Quay. The final point of no return is in the throne room of the Citadel when Noctis must point-warp to Ardyn Izunia, triggering the final battle.
The player can return to both past Lucis and Altissia by talking to Umbra at a lodging upon reaching Chapter 9. Once the game is beaten, the player is brought back to the last lodging they stayed at in Insomnia. The player can still return to the past, but Insomnia is the only location accessible in the present.
The final point of no return is entering the Orbonne Monastery at the end of Chapter 4, as if a location is home to a series of battles, the player cannot leave until those battles are completed. Since the Orbonne battles lead directly to the final confrontation in the Necrohol of Mullonde, the player can never return to the world map again.
To my warning you must give ear: if into Pandæmonium you choose to go, the luxury of returning you shall not receive.
The point of no return is advancing to Mission Day for the Capturing the Imperial Capital mission in Chapter 7, as the player will be forced to accept the mission and transition to Chapter 8, which leaves many locations unrevisitable and is a linear sequence leading to the final mission. After the "Capturing the Imperial Capital" the cadets are left on the world map to make their way back to Akademeia, but the party's airship is unusable, and the only towns they can visit are Azurr and Cetme.
In Chapter 8, Celestia warns the party that they cannot return from Pandæmonium once they depart. The final relic terminal is right before the final battle, but the player can get the bad ending earlier by accepting the Vermilion Bird Crystal's request for the cadets to become l'Cie.
Like all dungeons, the player can leave Mount Vellenge and return to the world map by traveling back through the entrance. Thus, the real point of no return is when the player confronts the Meteor Parasite as the first of the game's final battles.
The game contains four temporary points of no return in Story Mode.
The first one occurs after the party defeats the Coelacanth, the boss of Rela Cyel. Once the players are transported to the Crystal room, they cannot go back to the bridge and into the dungeon area. To leave, the player takes control of Yuri and must talk to Gnash to make him press jump up and press a button hidden from view. The player must talk to Alhanalem and Meeth about Yuri's past and eventually Gnash will come back, having pressed the button. A portal then appears and the party can leave, allowing them to free-roam again. The room and the bridge that leads to it cannot be visited from that point onwards or in multiplayer, and instead a portal appears directly after defeating the boss.
The second one occurs when the party is sent to Sinner's Isle. The party is unable to leave until they beat the Dragon Rider and his Dragon. Artemicion and his moogle employees decided to take a vacation at Sinner's Isle, and replace the shopkeepers for the duration of the area. After beating the boss, an earthquake sends the party falling into the ground.
The third point of no return is in Shadowland, which takes place directly after the earthquake with Artemicion and his moogles again replacing the shopkeeper, having fallen with the party. After the player defeats the Lich, a Carbuncle allows the party to travel to his father's memories of Rela Cyel's past, the fourth point of no return.
Once again, Artemicion will sell items, having attempted to loot the castle before it collapsed. After defeating the Coelacanth again, they leave the memory and are transported back to the world, being allowed to free-roam again.
The game has no point of no return; all levels can be challenged freely both before and after the final boss.
Following the cutscenes at Victory Monument Hill and Cid's Workshop in Bridge Town, Layle must return to Alfitaria Capital City and board a shuttle to see Althea and obtain the third Crystal Idol. Boarding the shuttle (which carries a warning of there being no return) will begin the cutscenes leading to the final battle.
The point of no return is the bridge atop Dime Tower. When the player defeats Garude at the top they can no longer exit and return to the world map. Attempting to do so will have Marcie inform they can't leave while the tower is unstable. The player can still save the game beyond this point.
Venturing through the Temple of Mana and reaching the Mana Shrine means one can no longer return to the Temple of Mana and revisit prior sections of the area. The player should always bring plenty of keys to this section, because not having enough and saving the game here means they'll be permanently stuck, since they can't turn around and buy more.
Depending on the player's current situation, there can be a point of no return. Paradise won't have an exit, but if the player has the Door item, or a monster with the Telepor ability, they may warp out of the area and to another floor of the tower itself. The player will be out of luck if they do not have the item or ability, and saved their game while in Paradise.
The point of no return is the battle with Apollo inside the Central Shrine, after which the player is forced to descend and fight the two Arsenals. Simply entering the Final World can be hazardous, as Apollo will strip the party of its MAGI after the battle with Minion permanently hampering the party's combat abilities and access to the Pillar of Sky.
There are two points of no return. The first is when the player defeats Maitreya on Floatland, whereupon the entire Floatland will no longer be accessible. The second one is after the player warps to Pureland, at which point the player cannot warp back to the original world, nor explore the Past, Present, and Future of that world any longer.
Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008)Edit
Dissidia Final Fantasy does not have a point of no return. During encounters in a board system it is impossible to escape the battle or use any skill, but the player can still quit the current progression.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy does not have a point of no return as the player can quit a gateway at any point. During Chapter 8 of "Main Scenario 012: Treachery of the Gods" at Floor 3 in the Last Gateway, some of the back stones for the player to walk on disappear, giving the impression of a point of no return, but the player may still exit the gateway.
The point of no return is the point beyond which one must continue on his or her current course of action because turning back is physically impossible, prohibitively expensive or dangerous.