Final Fantasy XV | The Review
It’s hard to believe that this game was originally announced 10 years ago under the title of Final Fantasy Versus 13. Most gamers, including myself, thought that this game would be delayed indefinitely due to the amount years that have passed by since its announcement. Even after getting a concrete release date, gamers were still skeptical about its release and thought there would be some last minute hiccup that would further delay the game. But, Final Fantasy XV is finally here and it was almost worth the wait. There are a few issues with the game which we will discuss below that should have been worked out before release, especially since it took a staggering ten long years to develop.
Final Fantasy’s gameplay has evolved over the years for the better and this is by far the most fun I’ve had playing a Final Fantasy title since Final Fantasy X. The days of turn-based combat are over, though there are a few aspects of it left over for nostalgia sake. Even though this game tries to reinvent the traditional turn-based RPG it has kept a lot of features from that era, such as the traditional leveling up with experience earned and unlocking skills with ability points (AP) for completing quests, actions, enemy kills, etc.. The fundamentals of the new combat system are very easy to understand and execute, so a newcomer to the franchise can jump right in and play without any effort. You hold a single button to start a series of attacks on your target, you may modify the angle or style of each swing by holding the left thumbstick in various directions. An additional button is used to block or dodge depending on whether it’s tapped or held and finally, there is a button to elegantly throw your weapon and warp toward the enemy or out of the battle area to regen health and MP. So, the main battle system revolves around three buttons, which is very simple for players’ to master.
Similarly to The Witcher 3, there is a massive amount of side content in Final Fantasy XV. Like many other successful open world RPGs of the past few years, there is a main quest to pursue whenever you are ready, but there are tons of side quests that are just as important to unlock new items, weapons, abilities, etc. These quests vary from simple delivery boy errands to dungeons full of unique enemies and giant bosses not featured in the main story. The world of Lucis is so interesting, you will eventually find yourself wondering off to explore the uncharted areas of the map to see what else you can discover on your own and the side quests just further add to that curiosity. I personally spent a massive amount of hours on side quests alone, just to level up my characters, find powerful weapons and items so I could look like a complete badass for the main story missions.
In addition to the side quests, Prince Noctis and his buddies each have an extra skill not directly related to the battle system, which is upgraded by doing activities such as cooking, fishing, etc. Some of these skills are worth leveling up, especially cooking because, with the proper meal, you can gain significant stat buffs to take on the more difficult enemies in the game. Scouring the massive open-world for new ingredients is totally worth the time for a chance of unlocking better stat buffs through creating new recipes. The developers of Final Fantasy XV have cleverly intertwined all of these side systems and quests to directly benefit your character’s progression so that nothing in the game is a complete waste of time.
Now let’s get down to the discrepancies that hold this game back from being the best game ever made. The plot seems incomplete or purposely confusing to make room for future DLC’s. The characters are the most lovable set heroes the franchise has ever created, but the plot takes away from the overall experience. My biggest complaint is the camera angles during battle. I mean seriously? This game took ten years to come to market and you mean to tell me the developers couldn’t get something as simple as the camera angles down pact before release…Really Square Enix?! This has to be the most disappointing thing about the game, especially for the amount of time the game has been in development. The magic system is also a catastrophe. Magic is a huge part of 99.99% of most RPG’s, why would you put so many restrictions on it? Dark Souls 3 had a better system for spells and magic than this game which is unacceptable. To make matters worse, it seems like the sorcery in the game was designed to purposely sabotage you and your comrades along with your foes; I guess the logic behind the magic system was – use magic and you all die!
The dungeons need at least one checkpoint in my opinion because some of them are time-consuming and then feature a very hard boss at the very end that can reset all your progress if killed during the fight. Sure it’s challenging but frustrating and greatly takes away from the fun-factor of the game. The final problem with the game is that there is a lack of warp points during battles. There were many battles where I was unable to warp out of battle to regen HP & MP; maybe I couldn’t find them due to the horrible camera angles, but regardless, the warp ability is useless without a specific point to warp to.
For the old school gamer, this RPG will take some time getting used to, but it is worth it. Final Fantasy XV has a new roadmap to reenergize the RPG genre and should continue to build upon what they have set as a foundation. The next installment in the franchise should have a better plot, better camera angles during battles and a completely redesigned magic system. If the developers improve upon the following discrepancies, then the Final Fantasy franchise will once again reign supreme in the RPG genre.
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