April 30, 2019 at 10:53 PM #1028
Final Fantasy XV
Rating: 4.0 – Great
New Yet Familiar
Final Fantasy XV introduces itself as an installment for “A Final Fantasy For Newcomers and Fans Alike,” and I feel this is an entirely accurate statement. The game is so different from other titles they have ever had, yet still has most of the charm and features that hardcore fans expect. By the end of this experience, you will fall in love with Final Fantasy all over again, even if it isn’t the same turn based experience you remember from 15 years ago.
Unlike Final Fantasy titles of the past, where you start the adventure and gather companions as you go, this iteration starts with the full party already intact. The tale is of Prince Noctis and his band of Kings Guard/best friends, heading out on a quest to bring the Prince to his Betrothed, Lady Lunafreya and to unite the Kingdoms!. Unfortunately 99% of the game is spent trying to reach his bride to be and there isn’t much in terms of romance to hold onto in this story line. On the bright side, the brotherhood and regular commentary shown between the four characters in the party is funny and impactful enough to make you forget about the lack of a constant presence from Luna.
Fistful of Action
In this newest installment, they have changed the combat system from turn based, to a form of action based combat that is very unique. You have the ability to hold buttons to have your character perform and maintain the function you would like, while being able to sit and read the enemies upcoming attacks to decide how to handle each threat. The biggest problem I had with this new style, is it was overly simple. You can dodge, attack or block. The problem is that it doesn’t always work the way you had planned. In my experience, the game would be obviously warning you about rather large attacks coming your way, and they are avoidable and able to be parried by following easy QTE button presses, but it doesn’t always work the proper way even if you hold the correct buttons. You can also dodge attacks from monsters, but you will still be hit by them more often than not. One thing of note, you are actually able to change a setting to turn on Wait Mode. Wait mode turns the game over from an action game, to sort of a Tactical…..action game. It allows you to take a few moments to pause the game and make decisions or gear changes in the heat of the action without taking any damage or putting yourself in harms way.
One things players will recognize from previous installments, is the fun, and extremely large scale devastation that can be caused by summoning “deities” to help you defeat the harder enemies. The techniques system is incredibly useful as well. You are able to build up “Tech Points” and store them in a bank, per fight, and use them between all of your party as the battle ensues. Using this function can truly save the day in a tough battle, you can push out the remaining bit of damage you need to vanquish foes, or you can exploit the system, by using it at a very risky moment with a lot of heavy incoming damage, to negate anything that would happen to you.
The equipment and gearing section is everything you would expect it to be from a Final Fantasy Game. There is an unbelievable amount of customization available. The only negative I would have in regards to equipment would be that you do not really start getting any worthwhile equipment rewards from side quests or hunts until nearing the completion of the game or even post story.
How does it look?
One thing that long time fans of FF games will all be able to tell you, is that visually, the games are incredible. Final Fantasy 15 is no different. The cut scenes are vibrant, gorgeous and smooth. During game play, horizons are vast and distant, and there is never a dull moment looking at all the scenery. The monsters you face are just as you have grown to love. The new Antagonists are every bit as evil and intimidating as you would expect, with a little bit of FF flair to their outfits. There are very minimal load times with anything at all, which is incredible for how big this open world is. The only negative I have for visual aspects of this game is the hair. Just as it did back on Playstation 2 on Final Fantasy 12, the hair is somewhat see through at times, and looks like a glued on texture, rather than seamless like the rest of the game and characters.
The soundtrack for this game is incredible. The FF music will draw any new, musically inclined gamer to love the series, and it will allow previous fans to fall even deeper. They definitely did fans a service with the cars and Chocobo in this title, by allowing players to choose and listen to nearly any song that has ever been in any FF game….EVER!
Final Fantasies Batmobile?
Honestly, there isn’t a lot wrong with this game that I haven’t already mentioned. The biggest negative to the game play that I can think of is the amount of time you spend in the Regalia, the car you are provided with. I would say that out of the first 20 hours of play, I spent 2-3 hours of time just driving around and using their sort of fast travel type system. Keep in mind, this is not a Need for Speed game, you are firmly locked to the road, and it basically drives itself, even while you are in control of the vehicle. The regalia never can seem to go fast enough, but if you activate their fast travel system, you have to pay a negligible fee, as well as enacting one of the only times the game will load, and it seems to take an unreasonable amount of time to load, you may as well just drive yourself.
You instead have the opportunity to ignore your vehicle and ride a Chocobo cross country! Long time fans will immediately recognize these over sized, delicious looking yellow chickens. You can spend a tiny fee to rent a Chocobo whistle for any amount of days, and call your own personal Chocobo that you can customize and even level up! They don’t quite move as fast as the Regalia at first, but after you level them up a bit, and realize they can go on nearly any terrain, you will love the feature.
Wrapping it up
This may be the newest iteration of Final Fantasy, and their first attempt at really putting the series into the modern world, but it really fits right in with all the other great games they have released. I had no issues with any bugs or problems in my play through. The 4k up scaling was wonderful. The music was flawless. In my play through, I did the main story, nearly all the side quests, and all the hunts and completed my run at about 80 hours. They took quite a few leaps of faith when changing up this installment of a classic series and I feel they landed a huge slam dunk.
Game play/controls 7/10
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