Preview – Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is the game we’ve all been waiting a decade for. And it’s almost upon us. Square Enix have really had the hype train rolling with this title over the last few months. The animated series Brotherhood and the movie Kingsglaive have warmed us up and they almost managed to take the sour taste out of the recent delay, but November is still a few weeks away. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I’d advise watching Brotherhood at the very least. The first four episodes cover how Noctis and his three companions made their bond. They’re short, but really set the tone for the content of FFXV.

A few weeks ago PowerUp! had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with FFXV. Square Enix let us play a full five hour build and to get one thing out of the way early, it’s going to be well worth the wait. If you’re in any way concerned from what you’ve seen in FFXV Duscae and Platinum, let me dissuade you of those fears right now. Seeing what the finished game has to offer put my mind at ease. The battle system has been streamlined from Episode Duscae but not as much as it was in Platinum. You can simply hold the circle button to attack(Something I didn’t realise – Ed) but you can use the D-pad to change your weapons simultaneously. This allows you to create combo attacks at a much more customised, on the fly style. The party can also get involved in your combos. When they do a massive attack is launched which combines their skills resulting in more damage or stunning the enemy. I did get to use some magic, but in the time I had, I couldn’t really get a feel for its potential.  I can say that the magic menu screen has a lot going on and looks rather promising.

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After doing the first couple of missions, I found my first vendor. Weapons, armour and an array of equippable items were available. There is going to be tons of this stuff to collect. By now you’re probably thinking that this sounds a lot like any other Final Fantasy game and well, in some regards it is. Fans will not be let down by this title at all. There are side missions galore and a ridiculously huge open-world to explore. A world that seems as endless as it is beautiful. The visuals in this game are fantastic and the transitions between cutscene and in-game are flawless.

I have also seen a lot of questions in forums and videos about the driving. A few people were worried after playing the Platinum demo that it could be a letdown. Funnily enough, this was my favourite part of the experience. The driving is basically an auto pilot.  You do have some control, but only when you need to choose a direction at an intersection. This allows you to enjoy the scenery or keep an eye out for loot and enemies. The dialogue between the four characters keeps you pretty entertained and is a highlight, so it’s worth just kicking back and relaxing. By far the best part of driving though is the radio station. You can select music from previous Final Fantasy games which is simply nostalgia turned up full-blast. I personally drove around just so I could have “One Winged Angel” on repeat.

The five hours I had was not nearly enough to see everything on offer, but what I did see was incredibly promising. Considering the wait so far, I’d say it’s been worth it. Alas the wait continues until November 29, but the end is in sight. Stay tuned for PowerUp!’s full review next month.

PowerUp! attended a preview event in Melbourne as a guest of the publisher.

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