REVIEW – After 90 hours of playtime, I can vouch, that I spent some excellent time with this JRPG developed over so many years. Although it was not a perfect game, but for the fans of the series and it is highly recommended. However, let’s not be so hasty, let’s take a look at the work of Tabata Hajime and his team.
Whether you followed closely the last eight years the long-winded development of this game, or not, one thing is sure: the fans patience paid off. This episode practically breaks with a long tradition and the game is much more realistic than the previous Final Fantasy, with the player guiding a team of young heroes in an open world. Those characters talk through mobile phones and they travel by car, while the use of magic still coexists in this world and we must fight a lot of different monsters as well, who varies from small size ones to huge colossus ones.
A long tale
According to story (which is going parallel with the full-CGI movie Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV) the Crown Prince Noctis, accompanied by three good friends goes to his wedding with Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, when the evil empire of Nifelheim invades Insomnia. You can see the siege itself in Final Fantasy Kingsglaive, which describes in detail the invasion and present the main bad guys – some of them are in the game as well.
Of course, as we go forward, we fulfill our destiny and all, which was missing from the movie will be clear… well, at least it makes a bit more sense. Yes, here lies the game’s biggest problem: and the evolution of narrative. The story itself is very interesting, that’s not the problem, it’s rather how it’s presented to us. In some places, it’s not well explained and certainly a lot of unanswered questions remained after the end of the game. There’s isn’t any major faults left, so from now on I will write about the positive things.
Such a wonderful world
Graphically, there isn’t any complaint: the Lumines engine provides beautiful vistas, and marvelously developed characters, just like on paintings. From the sandy deserts, through the larger cities, all the way to the mountains every detail is perfectly designed, it’s just quality of work from Square. Let’s not forget the days and nights cycles and the dynamic weather either.
I played through the game on a normal PlayStation 4: every scenery was breathtaking and I experienced no lag or slowdowns even in the midst of the fiercest combat. And what combats there were in there! The summoned creatures with Astral attacks and spells a cause such a visual orgy which has truly has to be experienced to be believed. Added to this the animation of the characters themselves in the midst of the fighting is simply sumptuous.
Yes, actually there are plenty of battles, as not only against the empire of Nifelheim, because they are not the only bad thing, which are endangering the world of Eos with its vast open world. And besides combat there also lots of side quests to do as well. Most of those are simple fetch missions or creature/monster bounty hunting missions with experience points and money as prize. Fortunately, we say goodbye to the usual mindless XP farming, because we always get enough XP to level up anyway.
Besides the real-time combat itself the gameplay is characterized by a completely open world. After a few hours of gameplay, the whole world opens in front of us and we can go wherever you feel like it. The size of the Witcher 3 could compared to it, so enormous it is with seemingly endless roads which can be traversed by driving the Regalia car, which we can even upgrade in local shops.
But what you can do on the field? We can compete in chocobo riding (with my own chocobo called Cutlets), or even explore a dungeon, with sometimes hard battle that await us at the end. We can pick up quests from NPCs or even from mundane places as a local restaurant.
Brothers in Arms
Since Final Fantasy XV is a fully open-world action-RPG, it seems logical, that the fight takes place in real-time and it’s pretty fast-paced and dynamic as well. I was first a bit afraid how it will turn out. Noctis is the only controllable character, but we can give commands to the rest of our team as well. We can even combine our special attacks which can be extremely powerful, which against more powerful enemies comes in handy. The teleporting moves are pretty awesome (Warp) but it should be used wisely because of the amount of MP consumed.
Camera handling vastly improved since the demo version released last year, but it still leaves a lot be desired. It happened that I tried to hit a large beast’s flapping ankle, but there was no way to place myself correctly, so the camera could be positioned in a correct way, which means my own character disappeared from the screen. Fortunately, it was only a rare case.
If you like magic, you won’t have to complain, because you can choose between fire, ice electrical effects and their combination. When we summon the magic, they must be handled with caution, as it can deal damage to our own team too.
Final thoughts on this Final Fantasy
There are some flaws in this fantasy which probably isn’t the “final” either, but it’s still the best Final Fantasy game since a long time and it pulled the series from the abyss where it lied. Yes, it might be a bit harsh, but I think, that the series were in decline since part XIII. Still, after this long development of Final Fantasy XV developers can get a well-deserved rest, thanks to their tremendous amount of meticulous work. Haha, well, they still can’t rest on their laurels: there’s a Final Fantasy VII Remake yet to be done, which they announced last year.
+ Stunning graphics
+ Fast-paced and dynamic combat
+ Open world filled with life
– A weak narrative
– Some Camera problem
– A brief story
Publisher: Square Enix, Koch Media
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Action, Role-Playing
Release date: November 29, 2016