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    Final Fantasy XV

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    Car full of boys

    Much has been said about Final Fantasy XV. Its finished state after the decade-long wait seemed to have disappointed some hardcore fans of the series and game critics, making them diss it to no end. Others found the wait worth it and received the game warmly. There are also those who found FFXV flawless.

    I got FFXV (standard) as my first game for the Playstation 4. Having FFX HD remaster on the Vita as my first and only FF experience ever (does World of Final Fantasy count?), I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed that I’d be taking on a much bigger world in "a fantasy based on reality".

    The game’s story is expansive and has a lot of twists and turns, though some are open-ended and welcome to theories. Watch the movie "Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV" if you wish to have a better grasp of what really happened in Insomnia while the guys were away. You can also watch the anime, "Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV", if you wish to know the back story of the guys. Other expansions that take a closer look at the characters (like the recently released Episode Gladiolus) are in the works. There’s also an 8-bit style DLC game for the PS4, "A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV", if you’d like to discover King Regis’ exploits when he was younger. He narrates it as a bedtime story to young Noctis.

    In the FFXV game disc is the story from Noctis Lucis Caelum’s point of view. He is the crown prince of the kingdom of Lucis. Noct was sent by his worried dad, King Regis Lucis Caelum, to meet up with his childhood friend and would-be bride, Oracle Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. Along with him are his trusty pals and guardians, Prompto Argentum, Gladiolus Amicitia and Ignis Scientia. Their ultimate goal unfolds as it is abruptly revealed to Noctis that his home city, Insomnia, was ravaged by their eternal rival kingdom, Niflheim. It cost King Regis his life. The Lucis family heirloom, The Ring of the Lucii, is missing and Niflheim will do eveything to possess it. Guarded by Lunafreya, the ring must reach Noctis, its chosen king, whatever the circumstance with what little time there is left.

    STORY – The plot is a clear snapshot of reality. We all know that such political and territorial feuds are very much real even in this day and age, making the story’s fictional politics accessible and truthful. It could have been more refined, though. The game was too focused on the warring kingdoms and its lore wasn’t really explained much, granted the supernatural holds significant story elements. I do think an explanation of the astrals and their connection to the Lucii can further expand and add more depth to the game’s narrative.

    GRAPHICS AND SOUND – The game’s audiovisual presentation is a masterpiece. I can literally taste, feel and smell every bit of the game’s world! Every little detail from food, the cast’s in-game character models, dirt and grime on the guys’ face and garb, getting soaked when it rains, slipping and sliding down a slippery ice cave, the sweltering heat of the sun at high noon and sweat on the guys’ shirts, blinding sandstorms, mossy caverns, ancient shrines, the mountainside, back alleys, farms, shacks, lakes, marshes, sewers, beaches, lamp posts, campfire, machines and their burnt or blown up state, flora and fauna, etc. were masterfully rendered and have their own sound effects! Every terrain also has appropriate, awesome and soaring background music playing that adds even more to the overall look and feel of the game’s environment. Heck, even the bestiary looks superb despite being palette swapped at times, but there’s a wide variety! I don’t think I’ve experienced this level of realism and detail in any of the games I’ve played prior. I found myself stopping every now and then just to chill and enjoy the sights and sounds.

    GAMEPLAY – The game features a massive open world with SO MUCH to do. It will take me forever to write this part of the review if I were to go into detail with everything the game has to offer. Simply put, it’s up to you if you want to finish one major event after another to reach the end game, though I highly doubt a low level will get you far. There’s a certain part in the game that will temporarily strip you of your freedom to travel for a few chapters. One of the latter chapters is the most suffocatingly intense experiences I’ve had. I felt the urgency in every step, and I can’t imagine bringing myself to play that chapter again. I highly recommend doing ALL the hunt/fetch quests for insanely neat rewards. The battle system is straightforward and easy to learn. Battles occur real-time, so don’t expect them to be the same each time. Don’t forget to rest as experience will only be applied once you do. If you can hold up on resting, do so until you’ve racked up a ton of experience and find accommodations that grant x2-x3 experience for easy leveling.

    You can also learn new recipes, brave the night and travel while being chased by nasty creatures, pimp your ride, destroy enemy strongholds, do possible upgrades on certain weapons, please your pals by doing a photo op or helping cook breakfast at camp, formulate magic spells, explore every inch of the world on foot, drive here and there while enjoying previous FF soundtracks, refuel at gas stations, earn loads of money, gather and stockpile on items, build your strength and weaponry, hone your fighting abilities, perfect your photography, cooking, survival and fishing skills, train your chocobo, obtain all your ancestors’ aid (The Armiger) and make lots of new friends. You can also take on the hellish post-game dungeons, find the best gear and make your car forget it ever needed fuel and fly!

    OVERALL – Final Fantasy XV isn’t perfect but it’s not bad either. The presentation is superb but the plot suffers from a serious lack of important story details. There’s also too much testosterone in this installment, most male players will get turned off. The best way to approach it is to not let anyone tell you how you should play it. I went with the flow, did all my recommendations and just thought about having fun, unknowingly spent and dedicated 120 hours to it, ugly cried because of some events and got the Platinum trophy.

    It has a lot of haters but your experience with the game is guaranteed to speak for itself, and I think it’s more than enough reason to pick FFXV up and conquer it.

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