After a 10 year Odyssey, fans and first timers have been granted the 15th main iteration of one of the most iconic series in RPG history.
After the long and arduous journey of being ready for its grand debut and with the patience and understanding of the fans, FFXV delivers on so many aspects of what people were expecting but also falls short on some of them. However the game is without a doubt amazingly beautiful, charming and most of all fun. The game has alot of bumps here and there in terms of execution but does not in any way make it less enjoyable. Though the game is still getting at least a year’s worth of updates, DLC’s, timed events and at least 1 unknown expansion to make it truly complete, it is still an incredible experience at its most base form. The game’s true potential is staggering.
For long time fans of the series it still has the elements of the previous games in the series like Chocobos, Summons, a few notable (and insignificant) names like Cid and many others. The game will take you on a fun ride of going on a road-trip, hanging out with your bros, finding your fiancé, living up to the responsibility that was suddenly thrust upon you like a sword straight through the chest. It will even evoke some emotions you didn’t think a game could ever bring out for some of you. It is truly a beautiful experience for almost anyone to just play the game.
The game starts out with you and your bros pushing your broken car called the Regalia, which to me is kinda like how after 10 years of pushing the game to completion the engine died out and you as the player needs to give it a final push to bring it to back to life by simply playing the game. You as Prince Noctis and your bros Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto, who happen to be your personal guard, need to reach another continent to see your fiancé. However due to an unfortunate incident you are forced to face against the power of an almighty, technologically advance empire that is on the manhunt for you and your fiancé. With only so few you can really call allies you set out on a journey to find the sealed power of the Kings of the past as well as employ the might of the Astrals to aid you in your plight.
Throughout the journey there is enough time for you to just enjoy the little things that can make a journey memorable, like sitting back and enjoying breathtaking views as you watch from the comforts of the regalia while Ignis drives you guys around till you reach your destination, make up camp, choosing what to cook for dinner with what ingredients you have in stock and also taking into account what benefits you can get from eating that particular dish, getting your pictures randomly taken or setting up a group pic along the way and then choosing which ones to save on your camera’s limited memory card when your resting up.The game also has a few mini-games like fishing so you can add it to your menu for dinner, a pinball RPG fusion, Chocobo Racing with your bros for medals and bragging rights and a surprisingly addictive monster arena that works like watching gladiators in a colosseum. Going on hunts or quests are also an option however they are very generic at best but will give you the experience and money that you need. You can even pimp your Regalia. There is really a lot you can just do in the game. My personal favorite just happens to be sitting back in the regalia on auto-Ignis pilot while listening to the soundtrack of almost all the past Final Fantasy games on the car’s radio and in-game MP3 player, which you can buy in-game, and just enjoying the stunning view the journey is showing me, making me wish that Ignis never stops driving unless the fuel runs out.
Combat is also one of the best aspects of this game. You are able to summon your weapons out of thin air and just teleport striking the hell out of your enemies. You will have a fair amount of weapons to choose from even, from swords to guns all the way to a specific category of cool contraptions with different effects and uses for each one. Even choosing which weapons to use for a staple play-style can be hard due to how fun all of it really is. My only real complaint is how they handle the guns, since I was expecting a manual aiming in 3rd person.Due to how dynamic combat is, for some players looking for more of a challenge some have been able to complete the whole game at level 1! Then you also have magic which for me I found incorporated in an odd way.
Magic is something that should be crafted here which is easy enough but using it works like you’re throwing a grenade. Despite its uniqueness and realism in some ways I still found it personally odd. Then you have the summons. The Astrals who are akin to Gods where depending on the situation they will come to your aid to lay waste to your enemies. Unlike in the previous games the summoning system here is very realistic. The only downside for me in a personal sense is that the Astrals overkill you enemies in a huge radius, however there are some enemies can’t be killed by that alone. There is also your items. The way combat works is your not dead even with 0 HP so you or your ally is down all it takes is one person to save you from that danger status, however using a potion alone is enough to bring you back up to fighting condition. When the health bar is completely empty at 0 HP then that’s when a phoenix down needs to be used caused you nor your allies can no longer revive those in that state or else if Noctis doesn’t use one in a few seconds then it is Game Over. Oh and elixirs can be purchased in shops here unlike in the previous games.On a technical note FFXV delivers really well. Giving you an amazing view of the world around you with no loading screens as you ride around the Regalia, unless you go in a dungeon. And for those whose with high end TV’s the game also has HDR support for a significant boost to the level of quality in the resolutions. The game also has a lite mode where it will favor performance over the graphics. On a PS4 Pro the change is quite significant. The only downside in that mode is that the FPS is erratic at times so unless you are picky about a stable frame rate then this option is not for you.
The game is aesthetically sound and a marvel to behold pushing the console to give it more processing power that in some cases it creates fan noises that other players have been experiencing which does not pose any concern unless the console overheats. With an epic soundtrack to boot and for some nostalgia for long time fans in the form of the past games soundtracks the music truly delivers. It is beautiful, intricate and emotional especially when you’re hearing the classical Stand By Me play out.Even after playing the game for more than 70 hours I can just never get tired of the camaraderie of the Chocobros. It is truly a game where you can appreciate the bonds these 4 individuals have. They have their quirks and are really well fleshed out. Even more so with the upcoming DLC episodes where you can play as each of Noctis’s royal guard in their respective episode to learn more about them. Even after finishing the game these guys are unforgettable and just makes me want to play a little longer just to see their usual bantering around which never gets old. Even the villain is memorable and is truly someone who just keeps taunting you and pretty much gets what they want. However to a certain degree the villain is also relatable and likable. It’s amazing how much detail was put into these characters but given 10 years of writing it was to be expected.
Even when the game is finished you have the option of still continuing your playthrough despite the fact that the story went into a linear route. When the game finishes there are a lot of things that open to give the player more stuff to do which is always welcome. You can even go against bosses that are harder than the last boss. Square Enix is still not yet done with giving us more to do with FFXV and it is more than welcome to everyone who patiently waited for this game and for those whose first Final Fantasy let alone RPG/JRPG is FFXV.
After all was said in done in playing this game, so many memories will stay with me, even a few emotions were stirred. This is already one of my all-time favorite games especially in the Final Fantasy series. It was also the darkest in the series. It was may not have been a perfect Final Fantasy game but it was way too fun, dark and beautiful to ever turn off the console. It was a Final Fantasy with a lot of heart and soul poured into making it. It is without a doubt a memorable experience where all the fun was in the journey I went through and all the really powerful emotions were at the destination, preparing to say goodbye and waiting for The End.
Played on a PS4 Pro.
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Review written by: Jett Vincent Sia