I have been waiting for Final Fantasy XV since the first day it was announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. While it is no longer the same game, my excitement still maintained its course. So with this I decided I wouldn’t just review it after beating it. I would instead review it after beating all of it.
In other words, this is a full review, not a partial playthrough review like most. This is a Platinum review. Now, let us begin-
“Fools set the rules in this world. Just take a look around. It’s undeniable.” -Noctis
The story of Final Fantasy XV is a pretty complicated one, but it is told simply. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. The world of XV is full of mystery and tons of things we don’t know, the story did not go into depth enough with this. The lack of depth or actual facts leads to the world feeling lacking. It is almost as if the team did not fully understand the world themselves. Thanks to this we do not get much of the worlds history told to us, instead we are gave vague hints.
The characters of Final Fantasy XV are for the most part great. The main group is fantastically handled and are all easy to like. Many side characters such as Cor and Aranea are interesting though underutilized. Sadly the other leading ladies of the game do not stand among the rest. Cidney is bland and uninteresting and Luna, the main heroine has very little personality. Not to mention she is not built up nearly enough in the story.
This is not only a problem regarding Luna alone but is rather an overarching problem for the games story. In all honesty there is just not enough story. Many scenes feel far too short and it feels as if the game needed more scenes in general to flush out the world and characters.
Aside from the lack of story the game also suffers from poor pacing. for part of the game it is very slow and builds things up rather well. This part of the game is very enjoyable, there is good character scenes and it brings you into the world well. Then the rest rushes through everything till you are thrown at the gate of the final boss. I honestly felt the story needed a solid 10+ hours to build its way into become something more amazing.
The actual story itself is pretty good; its problem is simply not being told well. The lore and history are fascinating, but we don’t get to see enough of it. This is the main fault of the game. We do not get enough, we don’t see enough. Far to many things are dropped without explanation or just ignored. These faults are not small and caused me some serious frustration at some points in the game. It felt almost as if I was cheated out of potentially awesome events. On top of which the way they are dropped is pretty jarring and strange. It really did seem like a last minute effort to tie loose ends. This leads to a pretty disjointed story that is not complete feeling.
With that all said, the story we were gave was pretty solid. The characters were for the most part well done, the world is interesting and the cutscenes though not as many as needed are fun to watch. I just wish the story had felt more complete and was told better.
“Oh look, your friends have fallen and can’t get up.”——-
The combat in the game is rather odd. There is a lot about it I like–the speed and feel of some of the weapons is great. The warping can be great as is the improved dodging. But there is a lot of bad. The camera is basically your main enemy in this game. You can be a great player, knowing how to manipulate the weapons and combos, then the camera can then decide to screw you. It will screw you. This is most obvious when fighting large enemies, as the camera is horrid on those events.
The basic attacks are decent, and at times fun. You can change the attack by changing the direction of the analogue stick. If you learn to time this and switch weapons well you can be pretty devastating. But the lack of a second button or good timed combos makes it feel pretty shallow.
The combat in this game can get pretty crazy. What makes it worse is the fact there are quite a numerous amount of glitches, such as the crazy camera zoom ins and outs. But that is not the worst. The worst is the hitboxes, as they are horrible and act strange. You will have times where attacks will not connect with the enemy at all. At other times your attacks will hit when you are obviously not close enough. Another annoying glitch is that enemies will sometimes launch you super far, even into the sky. These while slightly funny van mess up your missions pretty bad. Another more tedious one is that sometimes bosses for hunts will not appear. When this happens you will have to exit and reload the game.While these are not game breaking, they are extremely annoying and pretty dang common.
Magic and summons– Sadly magic is extremely basic. All the magics basically feel the same. While they look cool there is pretty much no variety in them. There are other side effects, such as gaining extra experience points or poisoning the enemy. But in the end they just lack fun in using them. Not to mention you have to recreate them over and over, it feels like busy work. At least they look awesome.
Though a bit too simple and at times glitchy, the combat does manage to suffice under most circumstances. After having defeated everything I could find I can say I enjoyed the games combat most of the time.
“I want to ride my chocobo all day.” -Prompto
The music in Final Fantasy XV is orchestrated by the amazing Yoko Shimomura. As usual, her music is amazing. But the thing is, not many of these songs are very memorable, even as a lot are fantastic. In particular the songs from the Versus days are still amazing. Sadly not all the music is very well used. There will be scenes which are working very well with the music, but then it abruptly ends. It is rather jarring. In truth that is more a problem with the scenes directing than the music itself.
Songs such as Wander Lust or What Lies Within are really fantastic and are among some of Final Fantasys best. Sadly the songs are short lived as you constantly get interrupted by random encounters when exploring. Thanks to them constantly changing, we do not get to hear them enough and it is actually very annoying. You also cannot listen to XV’s music in the car, you are instead stuck with its random stations.
The voice acting is for the most part top-notch. Whether you want to use the English or Japanese dub you are pretty well off. Of course there are exceptions, such as Cidney who is pretty bad in both dubs. But when it comes to the important scenes and interactions the voice work is wonderful. Just don’t expect anything from the Cup Of Noodle Missions. They cheese those in as much as the missions deserve.
Final Fantasy XV is a very pretty game. The vistas are vast, the characters are detailed and the monsters are frightening. The amount of detail put into the game is wonderful, you can tell that many of the designs were a labor of love. That being said, there is a lot of problems with the games visuals.
A large problem is with some of the character designs, such as Luna. Luna and many other characters are just a bit bland and boring. Her design isn’t stand out or interesting. Her design is extremely boring. On the opposite side there are characters like Cidney and the women of Lestallum. They look ridiculous and plain weird. Lucky for us though, the main cast is wonderfully detailed and is mostly well designed. Other members of the side cast such as Aranea and Cor are also well designed. Though as mentioned before, they do not appear as much as they should have.
There are many areas of lacking detail. Some of the more open areas in the game feel almost auto generated and random. This can make the world feel pretty dead in some areas. This also brings out the fact that there is a lack of real variety in the games world. It feels like you are only exploring the area around one large county rather than the actual world. For the most part though, the game is very pretty.
Everything In Between-
Chocobo Racing- The racing in this game isn’t very fun. You basically take the basic Chocobo mechanics and put it on a track. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t very fun either.
Justice Monster 5– Is a strange pinball-like game that is reminiscent of Bubble Blaster. Unlike Bubble Blaster the game gets extremely repetitive after the 5 minute mark.
Darts– About as basic as it can be. Has no real depth.It was fun for 2 seconds.
Fishing– The fishing is one of Noctis’ favorite pass times. It is not one of mine. The mini-game is pretty straight forward, you follow on screen prompts and be patient. If you do this, you win. The game gets tedious rather fast and isn’t as reactive as you’d like. Some people may like it, I did not.
Side Questing as a whole-The side quests in the game are okay at best. While some of them have a pretty small amount of story most have literally none which makes them feel pointless. They also introduce you to some interesting side characters, but this is very few in the vast amount of pointless ones. Most side quest are really just hunts, or some variety of this. You find someone, they send you to find a monster and you kill it. It gets pretty annoying after a while as many of the enemies are a bit repetitive. The side quests needed more variety and more plot beyond hunt or fetch.
Exploration– This is kind of a sore point. The game’s world is large. But it does not feel it, as much of the game’s world is rather random-feeling. A lot of it is also blocked by invisible walls. This is more than just small areas that you are not supposed to go. Instead they block things you should be able to jump over or onto. It is a strange and infuriating problem with the game. Its world is far too restricted for a game trying to be open-world.
In the end
After having spent over 100 hours with this Final Fantasy XV, I can say I did enjoy it. The problem is, throughout most the game I felt it needed more content. The game’s problem in every area is it needed more. The story felt lacking, and there’s not enough lore to dig through. The world needs a lot more. This spreads from the story, the substance-less side missions, to the simple combat the lore and even the low-variety world. This game had the potential to be something truly amazing, but is skimped over far too much.
That being said, I was willing to put 100 hours into the game, which says something about it as a whole. Even with so much of the game missing I did greatly enjoy it. As far as recommendations go, I would say wait until there is a Game of the year edition with all the new content being made.