Final Fantasy XV is the latest entry into the mainline Final Fantasy games by Square Enix, this project started as Final Fantasy Versus XII which was in development hell for almost a decade and later Hajime Tabata took over and rebranded the game as XV and it was released on November 30th, 2016 for Playstation 4 and XBOX One.
The Story follows prince Noctis Lucis Caelum on a journey to gain his ancestor’s powers and favor of the gods to claim back his throne, he is accompanied by his friends and guards and during that journey he meets new friends and realize a thing or two about his bloodline and the fate of the world he is destined to rule. the game is for the first time in history of Final Fantasy an open world action RPG ditching the traditional JRPG and turn based battle system of the series which works in some ways and fails in others.
I would like to get everything I liked about the game out of the way before I get to my problems with it, first of all calling the game beautiful is an understatement the level of graphical power in this game is truly mind blowing, also the artistic design of the game is imaginative and really sexy from the beautiful costumes to the weapons and vehicles and enemies. it is obvious that Square Enix spend a great deal of money and man power to craft a world that is rich with details and life which is something to admire and enjoy a lot. secondly the music of the game is really amazing, beautiful melodies and tracks that rivals the best in the series also some very impressive voice acting especially from Darin De Paul who voiced Ardyn Izunia.
The problems with this game is in two category, first being the gameplay mainly the combat, I don’t have an issue with Action RPG I actually enjoy it and I think it is appropriate for FF series to explore other combat style but why a free floating Assassin’s Creed like combat? that is the main issue of the game which basically turns into a Circle button mashing simulation, I rarely had to block or dodge because for starters I never had a chance to so I learned to spam potions and keep mashing the circle button till my L1 is full and unleash my teammates on the enemy rinse and repeat. I didn’t mind the long car rides it gave me a chance to check my phone but what I minded was the long walking sessions that sometimes took 10 minutes until I got my hands on Chocobos. Summoning in the game is one of the worst part because you have no control over it at all, yes there are conditions that requires for a summon but I would have killed to be able to call for some help when I was fighting an annoying boss at the later chapters of the game.
The second problem that I had was with the story, almost 80% of the story happened off screen and you are left with Noctic reacting to it, he wasn’t a part of the story he was only the character they explained what happened to him and he grunted and shouted and felt sad which I waited for that part to be over and I went down to the cafe picked up a hunting mission and went to it and on my way one of my comrades made one of the jokes that he has being making for the past 30 hours or so, after I finished chapter 8 the game became liner and it was just event after event which still happened off screen most of the time, characters died that I wasn’t aware of, teammates were injured that I didn’t see and all of this was leading to a twist and all I can tell you about the twist is if you didn’t see it coming then you were asleep for the past 5 years because everyone who followed this game saw that coming long ago, then we got some vague background on our main baddy which wasn’t they kinda made some sense I guess.
In the end it is obvious that Square Enix dug a hole for themselves with Versus XIII, they wanted to make a game that appealed to people who didn’t play Final Fantasy and didn’t enjoy JRPGs, ultimately they created an Elder Scrolls with Assassin’s Creed and Batman Arkham games combat and Monster Hunter like side quests it is just a shame that they didn’t keep this game as a spin off from the main games like they should have.
Verdict : FFXV tries to please so many people and end up giving us all a flawed game that has some enjoyable moments but in the end failed to make it a Final Fantasy for New and Old players like it claimed to be. (7.5/10.0)