In this post I’m going to be reviewing Final Fantasy 15 for the PS4.
I have never played a Final Fantasy game before this one. I’m unfamiliar with the concepts and themes that are generally in games in this series, but I do know of Final Fantasy as an RPG series with a massive fanbase. I also hate turn-based combat in games, which is the combat system most prevalent in Final Fantasy games to my knowledge.
After playing about an hour of Final Fantasy 15, I watched Final Fantasy Kingsglaive and the Final Fantasy Brotherhood anime to flesh out the story and characters.
Kingsglaive was mediocre, but I enjoyed watching the Brotherhood anime. It focused on the 4 main characters and gave me a glimpse into their backstory and relationships with each other.
Kingsglaive did give me more information about the war going on in Final Fantasy 15, but it was too dark and dreary. Brotherhood had much more going for it in terms of witty banter and comic relief.
Kingsglaive and Brotherhood do seem as though they are required viewing in order to have a few things put into context.
Final Fantasy 15 is an open world RPG. You play as Prince Noctis accompanied by your 3 friends and kingsguard Ignis, Gladiolus and Prompto.
The main aspect of the gameplay is the combat which is in real time and quite flashy and fast-paced, meaning the camera can get very crazy in combat when things get hectic. The combat system seems very simple at first. You have one button dedicated to evading attacks (by rolling by pressing the button or phasing by holding that button) and you have one button dedicated to attacking (which you can hold down).
You can also warp strike which teleports you to enemies and attacks them, and you can deal additional damage to enemies by hitting them from behind. Doing this may also trigger a link strike which teams you up with a party member to pull off an attack. You also have the ability to command your party members to perform their special attacks or techniques as they are called in the game.
The combat is fun, even if it isn’t very challenging. The system isn’t focused on precise timing, it’s instead focused on having situational awareness, getting behind your enemies and making sure your enemies don’t get behind you. The game does become more challenging when you fight enemies above your level. Early on in the game, while I was at level 3, I faced a level 30 demon in a hard fought battle. I won in the end, but it wasn’t easy.
You can get through most hard encounters by being skilled and/or having a good supply of potions to keep you alive, and if things get too hairy you could always run away.I only died once in over 40 hours of playing the game and that was on the last boss because I didn’t use an item in time, which I believe was a fluke.Anyway, the combat is fun, flashy and against higher level enemies you are forced to be more strategic as one wrong move can have you at death’s door.
Now, lets talk about the open world.There are monster hunts, dungeons, random massive high level monsters in the world and a bunch of fetch quests.
Unfortunately, the side missions in this game mainly consist of fetch quests. They’re nowhere near the levels of something like The Witcher 3’s amazing side quests, but there are a fair amount of them if you just want something to do. I spent most of my time on hunts, in dungeons and following the main story.
In order to get to any of these activities you’re going to have to use your royal car, The Regalia.You can choose to drive yourself, or have your friend Ignis drive. Either way it doesn’t really matter as you can control the car while Ignis is driving if you want to and there’s really no need to manually drive on any of the long journeys you’ll be taking.
The driving is mostly automated. The car sticks to the road like it’s on rails and you have very little influence over the way it moves. The max speed leaves a lot to be desired, but I actually like the ‘on rails’ driving. Many people may hate the fact that the driving is on rails, but I don’t enjoy driving in games much anyway.
The bad thing is, you will be spending a lot of time on the road in this game – I’m talking 7 or 10 minute journeys from time to time. This would have been fine if there was a bunch of dialogue that the party engages in on the way to places, but that’s only present in the main story. The lack of dialogue on these journeys which is a real oversight in my opinion. You can listen to old Final Fantasy soundtracks if you like, but you probably want to keep your phone handy for these journeys.
I also like the fact that you need to buy gas for your car as it encourages you stop and explore. Gas is also very cheap at only 10 gil, so it doesn’t hurt your wallet.
The upgrade system offers a bunch of different paths and options, providing a lot of choice to select upgrades that compliment your play style.
In order to level up you have to sleep in an establishment or camp out in the wild. Camping gives you the opportunity to have Ignis cook a meal for you. Ignis comes up with new ideas as you find new ingredients and eat different foods at restaurants. Eating food actually gives you significant boosts that can turn the tide of battle so this is actually worth your time.
In the latter end of the game’s story, it becomes a much more linear experience and funnels you through the remaining chapters. You do receive a warning beforehand and get an opportunity to return to the open world so this isn’t a big problem.
There are over 2 hours spent alone and without your weapons which was definitely the worst and most boring part of the game.
I completed the main story in about 31 hours, but there still seems like there’s a bunch of content for me to get into and discover. There are secret dungeons and there are a bunch of dungeons left over after you complete the main story. After completing these dungeons you then gain access to even harder dungeons. There are even high level bosses and probably even more secrets to find, so there’s hours of more content.
Here are a few things I wanted to quickly mention but couldn’t find a way to fit into the rest of this section.
- The loading screens are way too long.
- You’ll spend minutes watching a loading screen inbetween cutscenes or chapters. Thankfully there’s no loading out in the open world unless you fast travel.
- I generally didn’t fast travel since the loading times hardly outweighed the time it took to get somewhere.
- The return to entrance feature at the end of dungeons is a really good addition. It cuts out a lot of useless backtracking.
- I experienced a few glitches with the game but nothing game breaking.
- At one point Gladiolus became transparent. He soon became opaque again after a few minutes.
- In another instance, I couldn’t see the food that was cooked or the characters on the camping screen but restarting the game fixed this.
Noctis Lucis Caelum, heir to the Lucian throne, goes on a quest to retake his homeland and its magical crystal after it is seized by Niflheim on the eve of peace negotiations between the two nations.
The main story was quite mediocre. A lot of other reviewers said they didn’t know what was going on in the story, but I can’t relate to that. I knew what was going on, but there were a few plot points that made little sense. For example, the main villain made a lot of questionable choices that were never given a valid explanation.
There are a few set pieces throughout the story and some epic battles, but overall the story was very disappointing. I did really like the feeling of being a prince/king though – that was pretty cool.
The main characters were cool. Ignis is my favourite of the guys as he’s very strategic and logical and that reminds me of me. I thought Prompto would be annoying prior to playing the game, but I liked him too. Gladiolus was the cool tank, but he annoyed me at some points in the story and Noctis just sighed a lot. I expected him to grow into an interesting character, but he didn’t unfortunately.
Is it worth the price?
I think Final Fantasy 15 was around £37.99 Amazon last week but right about now it is sold out and third party sellers are selling it for over £58. I’ll be referring to the 37.99 Amazon price while I give my verdict of whether it’s worth the price.
I have played Final Fantasy XV for about 42 hours and I’m only level 48. There are still level 99 bosses waiting for me to kick their ass and high level dungeons for me to explore.
I had fun playing Final Fantasy 15 and I’m going to continue to play it to try and get a platinum.
In short, yes it is worth the price. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan then you’ve probably got this game already. However, if you’re a first timer like me, you’ll be able to get into and enjoy the game too.
I do suggest watching the Brotherhood anime prior to playing in order to further understand the relationships between the main characters and maybe watching Kingsglaive for better understanding of the main story, but damn that film was wack.
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Also published on Medium.