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Lots of potential but rushed and cut

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    Final Fantasy XV

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    Lots of potential but rushed and cut

    The hype — 5/5

    Many fans and gamers were hyped for Final Fantasy XIII Versus or what it later turned into; XV for many reasons. It was a game presented through many trailers with amazing visuals, giant enemies, dramatic fights where the main character teleports around in combat, and lots of dramatic story sequences and cinematics.

    Announced in or really close to 2006, and finally released in 2016, the wait is a very common subject. Many people pre-ordered, and thought it was a dream come true when the game was released. This was supposed to be record breaking, and it was going to change many things in the gaming world or Final Fantasy world.

    Like it or not, I include the hype into the final score because.. well, in my mind it’s part of the game. Even if it’s up to our imaginations how the game should/could have been. Lots of unused cinematics and storytelling left out, definitely check the old trailers out. I didn’t watch them because I wanted no spoilers, but now I kind of have to if I want to see what amazing things have been left out, example the 2013 trailer. None of that made it into the final product, and that trailer made the game look awesome.

    I’m still hyped and if they did a sequel, they have so many untold possibilities such as exploring the world through Aranea or Iris’ viewpoint. Maybe even a prequel as Regis, and a whole new set of characters.
    Pre world of ruin, during it, and/or after it as well. At the very least make a Episode Luna, as of this review nothing of the sort has been confirmed as far as I’m aware.

    Now for the actual game;

    The visuals — 4/5

    I’d have to say the game is very beautiful. Amazing, with many photo worthy shots. Some things however, not so much. I find sometimes photos taken by Prompto feel like PS2/3 quality screenshots. Also some glitches were suuuper weird. I went outside and everything was just pure White one time, but went back into the diner and was normal. Or when fighting Adamantoise, half his body disappeared so I only was able to see a portion of his body, the bottom side. Kinda made the experience less cool, but overall satisfying. The photo system is also fun, and lets you take more than just your own screenshots.

    The music and audio — 5/5

    I absolutely loved the soundtrack for Final Fantasy XV. Never a tune that made me want to mute the TV. Lots of music that goes really well with the moment. I won’t list them all, but the battle themes, emotional themes, hammerhead theme were all great and fitting.

    I also liked the song Stand By Me for this game. I think it’s a nice cover and the lyrics fit the game and theme perfectly as well, as it does talk about the light and the dark, standing by each other. When I reached the end of the game, the song had a new meaning and it resonated more with the game. Part of me does wish they made a new and original song, but this one is fine.

    As for the audio and voice acting, I’ve only played with the English voice acting. The cast was brilliant, in my opinion. Never had an issue asides from when characters do repeat the same thing over and over sometimes, but much of the game is voice acted. Never a time when a character is just standing there talking but no voice and just text.

    The gameplay — 3/5

    I think the combat system was average. ARPG style isn’t the issue, but there didn’t seem to be as much variety in combat. Magic to me didn’t feel like it was important to use as I barely used it in over 80 hours gameplay, and when I did I just ended up hurting my friends. It’s maybe exaggerated but the truth to some people; pressing O is the only button for attack. You have Triangle otherwise, for warp-strike with R1, and then techs. But you yourself don’t have any actual abilities like in the Duscae demo. It’s a fairly simple combat system, but it gets the job done and is flashy.

    I think in the very beginning, they tried to implement stealth. I mean, veeeery little. When hiding behind something, press square, or when trailing the behemoth avoid getting detected. Also infiltrating the Imperial bases.. which stealth failed horribly as the spotlight was on me but didn’t alert anyone. Things like that, but it just didn’t work out in the end.

    My favorite part of combat is the summoning. The epic music that starts playing, the cinematics. The after-effects like with Ramuh having turned everything around you into ashes and fire. That however comes with a downside. Not very many summons in the entire game, and the ones you do have rarely appear. This is very disappointing as I’ve never actually summoned Titan before, in over 80 hours.

    Exploring the world; for what part of the world we do get to explore, it’s generally easy to. Chocobos are great, the car is great for fast travel. We can upgrade our car to fly or drive on the dirt. However a huge huge drawback to exploration is how Noctis is unable to just warp where he wants to, and climbs very slowly up anything. Can’t climb a tiny little cliff if you can’t jump high enough. In the Kingsglaive movie, or in certain cinematics, you can find characters warping to wherever they choose in any direction. They have flying in this game, I’m just really disappointed they missed out on this cool feature. You should be able to warp in any direction you want to. Pan the camera, hold Triangle, and it warp! It’s not difficult.

    City exploration is also a bust; there’s nowhere interesting. No huge city central, the biggest place is Lestallum and Altissia. Getting around is also a mess as the minimap doesn’t help much, and there isn’t much to do asides from shopping or doing some side quests.

    Speaking of side quests, and hunts for that matter.. Side quests often don’t contribute to the lore or the story of Final Fantasy XV. A few do, but most do not. Hunts are copy and paste, as well. Few have story relevance, and all of them say "for habitat destruction". Maybe because of Monster Hunter they didn’t even bother with story for the hunts, but they have no excuse for making us look for frogs by the water. That has absolutely zero importance and relevance. For a reputable scientist, Sania doesn’t do anything interesting or say anything interesting.

    Few of the other side quest givers give anything interesting, and are mostly boring side quests like go fetch vegetables, or look for a broken down van carrying supplies. I wish they did more to present the world, rather than these quests that don’t really do us anything.

    Maybe it’s nitpicking or complaining, but the presentation of side quests was just very simplistic for a huge game like Final Fantasy. By the end of Sania’s storyline, I didn’t feel any more appreciation for her character. All I remember is her saying "Hey you’re back! Well here I’ve got another 5 frogs for you to look for. Let me know when you’ve got them, bye!". The Lestallum quest givers were also very uninteresting.

    The story and the world of Eos— 1.5/5

    Why? For the sole reason that it’s incomplete. NOT because the story itself I didn’t like, I loved it. But it’s like someone turning a project to the teacher when he only did 1/5 tasks, sorry Square Enix but your project was unfinished. What you handed to me, I either loved it or liked it, but there was so little it’s like trying to get full from a small bowl of delicious cereal.

    __Let’s start with the good:
    I think the main premise of the game is interesting; a prince whose mission is to reclaim his throne from a country who took it from him and his family. The film Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive sets us up really really nicely for what we could and should expect story-wise; as it introduces us to literally every story character except for Noctis and his 3 friends.

    Alongside his 3 friends, he sets out for a way to reclaim his throne as well as to join his wife-to-be. There are definitely some emotional scenes (for me) in the game, and by the end I liked the characters and teared up a bit during the final camp scene, and the farewell / take care scene.

    I think the main villain did a great job at making the main characters miserable, trolling them as well. We’re unsure of who he is until the end of the game, and his backstory of being the hero at one point makes us think of what it takes to make a good man and savior become the evilest person you’d ever meet.

    A few side characters were interesting and mysterious, such as Gentiana. I found her character interesting as she seemed to not age and is always has a calm and quiet personality.
    When she turns out to be the entity Shiva with a pretty badass entrance if I must say, it really brings out more of the FFXV lore especially compared to other Final Fantasy games, where summons are just little spells you spam to defeat enemies who have no backstory or emotions.
    Aranea is also mysterious and her character design is fun and traditional compared to other Final Fantasy XV characters who only dress in normal clothes.

    __Here’s what I think are the flaws in the story and world which contributes to the 1.5/5 story score:
    Just way too incomplete. We don’t get enough background on most characters, and LOTS of the trailer content was completely cut out from the game. There’s a very huge lack of presence of practically every single character in Kingsglaive, barring Noctis and Ardyn.

    The list of primary characters that are mostly left out and didn’t get explored despite having much potential as protagonists and/or antagonists is endless. To name a few; Lunafreya, Ravus, King Regis, Emperor Iedolas. The character Libertus also could have had an interesting role, but was forgotten after Kingsglaive.

    Also, adding onto the point of an incomplete story.. they still haven’t released all of the DLC. Just the 3 short 1-hour story DLC for Gladiolus, Prompto, Ignis. Even if Square Enix were to make.. let’s say, Luna Episode, or Ravus Episode. Don’t expect it for another year or so.

    To summarize each character’s story, and instead of re-telling all their backstories, it’s almost as if each primary character other than Noctis’ group, Ardyn just didn’t exist in this game. It’s as if you’re watching a movie, but skip 80-90% of it and just go straight towards the ending.

    The world was unsatisfyingly incomplete as well. We do not get to visit Galahd, home of many Kingsglaive members. We do not get to explore Tenebrae. It’s easy to say the same with Nifleheim and Insomnia. Altissia only has a small area explorable, and is very obviously unfinished, which is sad. It’s a very beautiful area. The world of Ruin also had untold and also endless possibilties with the world, characters, and story.. but they just passed it up and send you off to the final boss fight.

    Never in a Final Fantasy game have I been locked out of main story areas and characters to this degree, from what I can remember.
    I also can’t remember any characters from the Empire other than the Emperor (not counting Ravus), and there were zero Tenebraen characters outside of Luna’s family. The characters and world are just very poorly executed.

    All in all, despite the fact I do want to like the characters and the world of FFXV and I do like the story given/shown through the trailers and the main game, they didn’t give more than maybe a few seconds or a few minutes of screentime for every main character and world areas outside of the Lucian continent.

    I literally might as well have been playing a Final fantasy game where the main goal is that you’re a mercenary, just trying to have fun, going on a road trip. That’s what this game was, going on road trips, camping, taking group photos with silly faces, doing silly side quests that are not fit for a prince to be doing.

    Overall score of 18.5/25 which is 3.7/5 which I round down to 3.5/5.

    I just can’t give it the rating it deserves, and I know it could have been more. It deserved to have been better. I might have missed a few points, made a few spelling errors. Might have repeated some stuff once or twice. I feel like the overall fits what I feel the score is for me.

    I know the team still worked really hard on this, I do have to give them a thanks for what they were able to do that I did like. I still recommend giving the game a try if you have patience and an interest in the fantasy genre of games.

    The story is the weakest point and there are some gameplay elements they could have done better but I still enjoyed the game overall and think it’s worth the score I gave it, especially since I invested about 80 hours in it.

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