Final Fantasy XV Review: A Final Fantasy For A New Era

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It feels strange that I’m actually typing these words but yes I have played Final Fantasy 15 for a significant amount of time and I’m gonna tell you whether you should get this game or not. It has been a long time coming, 10 years in fact, when Square Enix showed the trailer for Final Fantasy Versus 13 in 2006.

Many FF fans including myself fell in love with the game instantly due to the dark nature of its world. Well, things have happened since then and Donald Trump is president, and the game will be released worldwide tomorrow.

The story is quite different from the Versus trailers they showed, notably the main character Stella has been changed to Luna. King Regis, father of the main protagonist Noctis, dies in an invasion where he was backstabbed by the empire which initially wanted a truce. Noctis and his three friends undertake a roadtrip to meet Luna, where he is supposed to wed her. He comes to know of the betrayal and thus begins the journey of the young prince who seeks revenge.

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The game is not as in-depth as previous Final Fantasy games. The combat is pretty simplified and when you boot the game it literally says “A Final Fantasy game for fans and first-timers”. It’s still a great achievement that the game is actually out and is pretty stunning technically.

I played it on the PS4 Pro in 4K. The game offers two modes – high and lite – depending on whether you prefer graphics or performance. I haven’t actually found any difference between the two but that’s just me.

I was kinda underwhelmed by the lack of cutscenes in the game and releasing Kingsglaive instead was, I think, a bad move because the in-game story feels pretty disjointed. It is recommended that you watch the Brotherhood anime and Kingsglaive CGI movie to get more info about the game and the relationship between Noctis and his friends.

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The first thing that will strike you when you start playing is the incredible visuals. Square Enix really outperforms everyone when it comes to their mainline titles. In fact, I feel like Final Fantasy XV is the first true next-gen game considering the open world and terrific visuals effects on offer.

In the game, Noctis and his friends, travel across the land to make Noctis stronger by acquiring royal arms and the power of the gods. The latter is just aeons that you can get in the game. There are six of them, namely – Titan, Ramuh, Leviathan, Shiva, Ifrit and Bahamut. If you are a Final Fantasy fan this should be pretty straightforward.

A lot of effort has gone into building the world and you can see that while travelling. From tombs to vast plains to mountains, it really is a joy to explore the world of Final Fantasy 15. There are beautifully detailed enemies as well which will make your job harder.

The combat system is kinda awful. It took me a long, long time to actually get the hang of it. Pressing one button for attack and one for defense is pretty underwhelming. Although, the action looks pretty great sometimes if you can chain attacks with your friends.

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You can level up Noctis and his friends by gaining experience and also improve the stats and other things like any other Final Fantasy game. It’s all pretty underwhelming to be honest and it seems like it is made for people not familiar with the series.

There are main quests and side quests, doing the latter gives you a lot of XP and gil and also makes you explore the map. It is recommended you do that. They are pretty fun and complement the main quest pretty well. You need a certain level requirement for quests so just grind it out and complete them. If you venture out in night when under level 30, you will encounter hard enemies that can totally wreck you but it also makes the game challenging. The game also looks incredible at night.

The music in the game is totally disappointing considering Shimomura was behind it. It’s pretty disappointing and only the battle theme sticks out. I found myself listening to the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack while traveling the world in the Regalia.

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A good soundtrack is the life and soul of a Final Fantasy game and it is disappointing that Tabata, the game director, and Yoko Shimomura, dropped the ball pretty hard here. Whatever music that’s in the game is serviceable but not phenomenal as we have come to expect from Final Fantasy games.

The game has a lot of content and tons of quests. It is advisable to explore the world and open up fast travel routes to make your life a bit easier when playing the game. It actually feels pretty awesome to look at the scenery when the car is in auto pilot mode, so one thing’s clear, Tabata achieved what he was trying to do with this game.

People play Final Fantasy games for the story, epic bosses, and music, which is all pretty underwhelming here. The combat is also simplified to a large extent. When I put it that way you must thing it is the worst Final Fantasy game ever, right? But, it all somehow works out and the experience the game offers is pretty unique nonetheless. This game is what I would imagine Dragon’s Dogma 2 would be like, but it is unfair to compare this to a masterpiece like the original Dragon’s Dogma.

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If you are a Final Fantasy fan, you will definitely enjoy this but will also be underwhelmed somewhat. People who are new to this franchise will most likely end up becoming fans of the franchise because it is a very polished JRPG that looks absolutely stunning.

Was it the 10 year wait? Yes and no. It is still commendable that they managed to churn out something like this. I hope the upcoming Final Fantasy games feature a lot of depth because this game seems like a building block to something utterly fantastic in the future.

Score

8.5/10