After a ten year journey, two consoles, several push backs, and a delay of the final product, Final Fantasy XV has finally gone gold and is in the hands of players across the globe in a first ever world wide release of a Final Fantasy game. Aimed at Final Fantasy players of both old and new, Final Fantasy XV stars new character Noctis and his brotherly group of best friends Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus. Players control the former working together with the latter to crawl dungeons, hunt monsters, grow, and go on one hell of an adventure as the Prince looks to reclaim his throne.
Final Fantasy XV is an 2o16 open-world, action RPG. It is developed and published by Square Enix, it is available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
Having never played a Final Fantasy game prior to the announcement of XV (unless Kingdom Hearts counts?), but I was instantly intrigued by its initial re-introduction like many. The warp system has Noctis using his unique weaponry to travel from enemy/point a to enemy/point b almost immediately giving him time to back off of large groups, do extra damage, and more. The game also features the usual Final Fantasy gameplay mechanics.
THE GOOD: Final Fantasy XV had a lot to live up to after so many years of delays and push backs, and for the most part it certainly delivers. While some may say the open world hurts the game, I felt that the expanded map really helped bring out the best of the game, and it works extremely well with Noctis’ long range style of attack, almost as if the two compliment each other. The unit of Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto are a fun bunch, often throwing unique banter at one another regardless of being on foot or in the Regalia. It truly feels like the group belong together and they’re some of the most likable characters in gaming.
The level system is classic Final Fantasy with players gaining experience as they progress through the game doing main and side quests in the supposed 60 hour core story. As players traverse the road in the Regalia they’re greeted by tracks from past Final Fantasy games from theme music, to battle songs, and more. Summonings is perhaps the most visually stunning part of the game, if you’re in a pinch and hear a certain track playing, after hitting the prompt you’ll set your eyes on an absolutely beautiful looking Titan of some kind or another. Wait Mode is also a nice treat that aides players in strategy as the game pauses for a certain amount of time to allow you to choose your next move wisely, while also seeking out an enemy’s weaknesses.
The story while interesting did suffer a bit from pacing, at least in my opinion, however its overall direction is satisfying enough to keep players invested in it long-term. One of the interesting challenges in Final Fantasy XV is night time, in a bit of a Dark Souls like style night time shows players no mercy by throwing extremely high level monsters and daemons at them, often times twice or more the player’s own level. The beautifully crafted soundtrack composed by musician Yoko Shimomura brings the entire game world to life as it plays appropriate songs throughout the different atmospheres of the plot from danger, to action, to light hearted scenery and others.
THE BAD: Some characters within the story could have been fleshed out more honestly, it’s one of the few, but most powerful issues with the story telling. It’s also a bit unfortunate that the car was limited to a degree.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Final Fantasy XV is a fantastic open world experience, though with some issues. The unique Warp Point mechanic and other aspects of the game will make it hard to not find enjoyment throughout your play through.