Final Fantasy has always been a series of highs and lows. I haven’t really kept up with the series much after Final Fantasy X but something about XV caught my attention right off the bat. When I played the demo, I was immediately captivated by the characters. A party of four dudes, all wearing black doesn’t seem all that interesting, but along the way you learn to love each one individually. The roadtrip storyline was incredibly unique and the earth-like world of EOS provides for constant changes in scenery and adversaries. FFXV provided the excitement and wonder that the classic entries gave me but it did so without feeling like a rehash. This breakdown of the story and gameplay will be as spoiler free as possible.

Final Fantasy XV

The game opens with Prince Noctis and his companions traveling to Altissia. A city that isn’t Venice but it totally is. Shortly into the roadtrip there are some confusing cutscenes of a battle, stolen crystals and a dead king. The story of Final Fantasy XV may seem confusing and that is because a lot of the set up isn’t in the game. I realized pretty quickly that watching the companion film Kingsglaive and to a lesser extent the series Brotherhood is required to fully understand the plot. This is one of the main problems I have with the storyline. I am all about having a tie in but I should be able to fully understand the game on its own. A lot of these issues with the story can be fixed with a quick google search but I honestly feel like that shouldn’t be necessary. Kingsglaive is extremely good so I suggest checking it out regardless, but gamers shouldn’t be required to do homework. The story takes you across an open world full of interesting creatures, demons and characters. I really enjoyed going to new areas. Each time I traveled to a new location I was taken back by the breathtaking scenery and creature design. This is one of the strongest aspects of FFXV.

Final Fantasy XV

The towns and side quests got fairly repetitive quickly with the seemingly endless fetch quests. Luckily a lot of these quests have exciting conclusions if you have the patience to stick with them. The story missions felt well-paced and exciting except for a drawn out location towards the end. You will know which location I am talking about when you play through the game. The games conclusion left me stunned and talking about it for days. By the end you really feel like you know these people and the bonds formed throughout the game seem very real. The use of Prompto’s Photography skill especially made me sentimental about the journey we had made. FFXV hits all the right emotional notes to make the confusing lore and backstory a minor concern by the end.

Final Fantasy XV

The gameplay is mostly solid but it is not without flaws. The camera often gets in the way during battles and it is often hard to keep up with what exactly is happening on screen during a large battles. This is hindered even further with framerate issues and drops in graphical quality. On two occasions I had to restart the game due to characters getting stuck in the ground due to a weird glitch. This only happened in battle so it was very frustrating but two times in my 40+ hours of gameplay is forgivable. And that brings me to the length. If you sit down and blast through the story missions without doing anything else this game will feel extremely short for a Final Fantasy title. Several fans have taken issue with this but honestly I am ok with it. The game lets you replay side quests after you finish the main game and they have recently released a new game + feature to tie us over until the DLC comes out.

TRAILER:


Overall I loved FFXV. It wasn’t perfect but it also had more memorable moments than any other game I have played this year. I received a stack of games for Christmas from various friends and family and I haven’t even started on any of them. If you are new to the franchise or a seasoned veteran I suggest picking up FFXV. It is a rare game that has something for everyone.

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