“A Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers” – So goes the opening splash screen of Final Fantasy XV, the latest installment of the well-loved franchise. Having only played Final Fantasy games on portable devices, you could say I’m kind of new to this. However, due to my familiarity of what the game has to offer on handheld, I guess its safe for me to say that Final Fantasy XV has an equal amount of new and old elements. Fans and first-timers alike are bound to enjoy the elegant mixture of both.
Final Fantasy XV introduces Prince Noctis and his sworn brothers: Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus. They’re a cast of main characters who aren’t afraid to wear leather in the scorching heat of a desert. These guys have been the subject of criticism prior to the game’s release, with jeers targeting their boyband-ish appearances. Interestingly, these characters are the heart of FFXV and the game wouldn’t be the same without them. They’re brothers-in-arms who are more than willing to stand by each other. Each have distinct personalities that you’ll be able to observe and remember as you progress in the game.
The combat is completely in real-time and completely new in comparison to the previous turn-based systems. It makes you feel in control and there’s an overall sense of teamwork between you and your AI companions. You could command your allies to deal even more damage through special attacks. The best part is the amount of detail they put into this. Every now and then, you’ll be cheered on by your pals when you’re gaining the upper hand. If you’re on the verge of falling, one of them will rush to your aid and pick you up. My only qualm involves the game’s camera which sometimes falls in the wrong angles during battle.
FFXV’s ridiculously huge map also has a lot to offer. Scenic views, treasure, monsters and so much more await those who are hell-bent on exploring. In this vast open world, the most valuable thing that you’ll have to ponder upon is time. Time has a massive effect on the game. Once night falls, the road becomes even more treacherous and you’ll have to look for a place to stay or camp. You’ll also have to think about how long your journey is going to be because you’ll have to refuel your car eventually. And you thought that it’s only the graphics that became more realistic.
The game also boasts a ton of fan service – not only for the ladies but also for old time fans. The game’s intuitive UI pays homage to the previous installments of the Final Fantasy Franchise. You have 16-bit portraits of all the party members on one side of the screen as you browse for wares. Aside from that, you can collect every Final Fantasy soundtrack available and play them while you go on a roadtrip with the guys.
Final Fantasy XV is filled with so much heart and dedication. It fulfills its promise of being an amazing game. Noctis’ bond with his party members is admirable and kind of sweet. The game will frustrate you with its unruly camera which you’ll inevitably have to wrestle with but aside from that, the game is indeed an exciting bundle of awesomeness – a great gift for fans, both old and new.
What do you think of Final Fantasy XV so far? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!