Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV was made for fans and first timers and it’s an interesting concept for a Final Fantasy title.  The overall design shows that Square Enix’s willingness to do something new and try and appeal to a wider audience.

A real-time battle system coupled with full scale voice acting is one of the most significant changes. Gone are the reels of text when interacting with an NPC’s. These are improvements that were needed, but were not quite executed to perfection.

The one thing Square Enix always does well, is tell a fantastic tale. In FFXV we see a kingdom at war with an imperial nation with Noctis stuck in the middle; the prince of Lucis and air to the throne. Noctis is a decent character in his own, but it’s his companions that make the story truly great. Noctis is the only player controlled character in the game, but you will be supported by others along the way. Watching Noctis interact and develop along side his friends is really something special. Prompto, Gladious and Ignis do a great job of giving depth to the story itself.

I was really impressed at how deep and dark the story gets. There are moments of shock and of awe, but still I wanted more. For all the twists, turns and beautiful story telling, there was a hell of a lot that was either not explained well enough or not explained at all. For long time fans of the series, this is all but expected now. Newcomers though may have a hard time following whats going on. For the fans who crave lore, the gaps in the story are a huge let down.

All that aside, this is definitely one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. The visuals are spectacular, the vast scenery and landscape design is really standout. It certainly is something to admire. There are many different landscapes across the map such as desert terrain and woodlands. There are craters with massive comets in them and even a swamp with plenty of creatures to make it feel teeming with life.

While the shift to a real-time battle system is a huge one and it’s well designed it’s somewhat of a work in progress. As you start levelling up and upgrading the characters, you’ll be more engaged and feel closer to the battles than ever. You’ll find yourself leaping and phasing all over the place and laying ruin to most that oppose you. There are some enemies you;ll certainly have a hard time with. But it wouldn’t be Final Fantasy without outrageously strong monsters.

The level system is a more open version of the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. I really like using it as it lets you customise your levelling of skills and abilities. Meaning you have much more control of your play style.

Noctis and his companions can also use magic in addition to their weapons in battle. It needs to be drawn from magical stones and stored in flasks and when coupled with certain items, you can really do some damage; magically speaking. Of course, it wouldn’t be Final Fantasy without summons. The summons are little different this time around and is literally of titan proportions. Players are no longer able to cast the summon at will. This time the summon will come to your aid when a certain criteria is met. This was a wise choice and makes it so much more epic when you do get the summon to help out.  

Some extra activities have been added as like fishing, cooking and photography. These little mini-games help break up the main game and give the player a bit of a rest from all the fighting. All four characters have a skill that can be levelled up that will help during the journey.   

With all the story , characters, quests and sheer scale this really is an impressive game. It has everything a fan needs and is certainly a really good entry point for new comers. It wasn’t quiet as polished as I thought it would be. especially after 10-years, but that really doesn’t matter once you get going. The story keeps you on edge and the gameplay evolves beautifully. There’s enough content to really keep you playing for a good while.

Final Fantasy XV has been a long time coming, but thankfully it’s here and it’s been worth the wait.

Final Fantasy XV was reviewed on PS4 using a digital promotionalcopy, supplied to PowerUp! by Square Enix.    

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