For me now is the best time to get a PS4, so I just bought a PS4 Pro at launch! With Final Fantasy XV, The last Guardian, Persona 5 and more all coming in just the next 3 months or so, I just can’t let all that pass me by. For me FFXV could suck and it would still be worth it, but thankfully that doesn’t seem like the case. In fact after playing the demo I’m more excited than ever.
The demo plays from the beginning of the game, including a CG cut scene not found online before this and the opening tutorial, to when Noctis and the gang get news of the fall of Insomnia. At which point after deciding to return to the city to see for themselves, a new trailer plays. So the demo here isn’t even as long as the 40 minute gameplay videos released. It also includes 2 cut scenes we haven’t seen already, and given I don’t know Japanese the effect of those on me was limited. But still there’s plenty of content to explore to keep you busy for a couple hours.
All sources indicated this demo is set on “Easy Mode”, the final game having an “Easy Mode” and “Normal Mode”. There’s also several of dungeons I found, but got a message they’re not included in the demo. I’ll leave you to discover those for yourself as one is kind of in a suspicious location, and you likely won’t go there this early in the game. Reading some forums there’s apparently some hidden secondary weapons for your team members but I haven’t put in the time to find these.
You get like 6 hunts which you can do repeatedly if you like, and you also get a couple of car customization options too. And that’s about all that’s relevant content wise, beyond that it’s all initial video game stuff. I did note that it included a change of clothes for the cast with their more colorful wear. I’m not sure if I only noticed after it was obtained or if it’s there at the beginning…
Driving and traveling
I do want to point out i LOVE the road trip concept of the game, cause I love road trips, but this demo had little to see given the small area. The driving itself is very basic but for me that’s a plus. You have no reason to focus on the driving, it practically drives itself and you just need to look for interesting things you may want to stop for or look at, or just listen to conversation.
I could see back tracking as being potentially a problem but you can warp to any of the towns and stops you’ve visited before for a meager fee. I also found options for teleporting to your car, teleporting your car to you, and teleporting to Hammerhead or a nearby campsite (which may be just teleporting to your last “Stop”). Once I learned this navigating around the game’s world was no problem.
What you’re really here for
Ok so I have played the platinum demo in fact I played it while judgement disc was downloading cause I wanted whatever bonus you get, but I have not played Episode Duscae. And I realize PD does not really give you an outlook on the battle system cause it’s so limited. So don’t expect comparisons from Duscae gameplay.
That said I personally see the great potential in what this game has to offer. This gameplay isn’t too much different from PD it’s just you get your party, additional commands and improved inputs that allow you to move faster. You also get to see how this all feels when you have multiple enemies. And I’m happy to say that yeah shit gets intense.
And even though this game is on easy mode the enemies were relentless, they just didn’t do much damage. If the actual game on normal is supposed to be harder (or just do more damage) I gotta step it up. You really have to watch what the various enemies are doing and stuff moves so fast it’s kind of hard to keep up. You may be attacking one enemy but another won’t hesitate to charge you from behind.
But the game is designed with reasonably simple inputs, and incentives to take a breather and assess the battlefield. And I’m glad things are the way they are, for me it’s kingdom hearts with a lot more strategy to it and that requires simpler input. This is mostly cause of the MP system, a lot of actions use MP and this wasn’t as noticeable in the trailers previously. Before it just looked like you could do whatever as much as you want. But you really need to manage your special moves or weapons you use or you’ll be left defenseless. And your enemies will capitalize on that.
The saying goes: Easy to learn hard to master
As for the controls they’re simple yet there’s so much one button does, there’s less button mashing and more intentional input. Much of the learning curve with this game will be exploring the weapon attacks and what inputs are possible. It’s very much like FF Type-0 in that each weapon has different attack pasterns based on context and input. So a jump and attack may do a slam, pushing the analogue stick back mid combo may allow you to do an attack that lets you jump back, other inputs allow a powerful charge attack. Experimenting with each weapon will be necessary and it’s what I’m mostly excited for. The combination of all these factors makes the game more complex than kingdom hearts to me, as a long time Kingdom Hearts player this game will take some time to master.
I can also confirm that magic does in fact auto target, so you can quickly tap the button and hit the nearest enemy. It also seems like there’s magic charging areas everywhere there’s a campsite, so it’s easy to get the elements you need. Having no ability to read anything I just dumped them all into one which resulted in a “?” icon, and a title that just said “magic”. When I used it, it seemed to randomly cast one of the 3 elements. It also didn’t seem too powerful and certainly wasn’t something to rely on (it has a cool down) just something to move a battle along if needed.
I don’t have much to say on party members beyond that they’re pretty OK at staying alive and it is very useful to use their attacks.
Clean…but occasionally glitchy…
The visuals on PS4 pro are CLEAN, very little visual jittering or “jaggies”. And I’m even more surprised to know that this is only the beginning!? Square has noted that a patch in December will give Final Fantasy XV a proper PS4 Pro patch for 1080p players like me. But hell I’d be happy with the game as is, but 60fps would be nice. At the moment the game has a High Quality and Light Weight modes to use along with HDR as an option. Light weight reduces shadow resolutions, texture resolutions on grass, aliasing especially on hair, and some shader changes in some areas. For me I went with High Quality, the frame rate was reasonably stable and me being more of a PC player it visually looked more like my usual PC games.
It is worth noting there were some visual glitches, which were the only glitches I experienced. Randomly usually over the horizon there’s some object projecting the brightest of rainbows. Other people have posted images of Ramen vans glowing and shop owners. Usually the problem corrects itself after a minute or two but it is jarring and usually funny. I do hope it’s corrected by the time the game launches but otherwise it’s pretty trivial.
I feel pretty confidant
The gameplay is great but the game content just needs to hold up long after the game’s opening, we’ve seen so little and we have no idea just how crazy this game can get, and what surprises are in store. But beyond a few possible minor gripes for me Final Fantasy XV is set for success.