Who would have thought that my first post would be about a video game? I’ve waited 10 years for this game, and finally it has released. When it comes to games this special the last thing I wanted to do is rush through the game just to be the first to talk about it. I wanted to take my time and throughly enjoy the game to the fullest. I have put in about 40 hours into the game, with about 20 of those hours being dedicated to side quest alone. Even after finishing the game I am still exploring the finding new things to do. Without further ado, here as my full review of Final Fantasy XV.
Let me get this out of the way. For most people the story isn’t going to blow your mind, me included. However, you can get a lot more out of the story if you watch the additional material (Final Fantasy Brotherhood and Final Fantasy: Kingsglave). Despite the story not being spectacular, it definitely isn’t bad. What really keeps the story from falling apart are the main characters. Noctis, Gladious, Ignis and Prompto set off on a journey to meet Noctis’ future wife, Lunafreya. Naturally, getting there is never that easy. The four guys run into a series of problems making the story quite complex.
On your journey you make new friends and new enemies. However for the most part most of these “new” friends and enemies aren’t new. Many of them appear in the mini-series and movie, and because of this their characters aren’t explored very deeply making things confusing for newcomers not familiar the history. Fortunately, Square-Enix was kind enough to release a day one patch that added scenes from Kingsglave to give insight on more characters background story, unfortunately it doesn’t add too much info. The additional cutscenes are welcomed though, considering it could have been much more confusing without them. Speaking of characters, the main villain is absolutely amazing. It’s very obvious this villain is a combination of past Final Fantasy villains, and it’s a welcome change. I haven’t had this many creepy vibes since Seymour from Final Fantasy X. Without entering spoiler territory, some people will love the ending or hate it. For myself I found it very satisfying and very unexpected.
For the first time, the main Final Fantasy is adopting an action-style battle system. One thing I admire about Square-Enix is the company is always trying to change the formula for each of their games. They could easily stick with the same thing each iteration, but thanks to Square, we were introduced to things such as the ATB system and the sphere Grid. In Final Fantasy XV, the ATB system doesn’t exist, but there is a Sphere Grid System only significantly refined, but more at that later. Overall gameplay in Final Fantasy XV is amazing. The game feels fast-paced and frantic in the best way possible. By holding the circle button you are able to perform attacks and by pressing the directional buttons you are able to change your weapons. Although the game is an action RPG, this game isn’t about holding the attack button and watching Noctis and crew obliterate their enemies. This game requires you to strategize by dodging, blocking and parring effciently. Leveling up is completely different as well. To level up, you need to stay at hotels or set up camp and rest. In other words, when you fight monsters you store up EXP. At first it seems annoying, but soon I realized it has an incredible advantage; fast leveling. There are hotels that you can rest that give your party EXP multiplier. It ranges from x0.5 – x3. Of course, the higher the multiplier the more you have to pay to stay at the hotel. When setting up camp, your party members won’t get EXP multiplier, but will receive status buffs.
Graphics & Sound
Let’s get this out the way; the graphics are incredible. It’s not surprising at all considering this is Square-Enix’s top franchise. Environments and character models are highly detailed. However, if there is one problem it’s textures. Up-close the textures are somewhat muddy, and generic NPC’s suffer detail.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having some of the most beautiful music in the gaming industry. FFXV is no exception. FFXV is able to convey so much emotion it’s rollercoster of happy and sad moments. The beginning of the game even starts out with a beautiful rendition of “Stand By Me”. If you weren’t a fan of “generic pop” music, rest assured you won’t find any of it here. Although I personally liked the pop music. Without a doubt, one of the most epic musical pieces of Final Fantasy XV is when you encounter summonings. I’ve never felt so bad-ass in my life.
Final Fantasy XV is an amazing game! The story isn’t ground-breaking, but it does a decent enough job to keep the player engaged. What really makes FFXV stand out above other FF’s is the open-world and real-time gameplay. For me, FFVI and FFX are my top Final Fantasy games, but it’s safe to say that FFXV will easily make my top 5. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, this game is a must own. And if you are even a little curious about FF, then I highly reccommend you buy it.