Before continuing I think it’s important to understand my history with the Final Fantasy Series. It started with IV. Playing as the Dark Knight turned Paladin, and the allies that he gains and loses throughout the story of crystals, summoned monsters and the Big Whale. For a good part of my life, the go to games have been those created by Square, Squaresoft, Square Enix. The only two games I personally have yet to play from the main line of “numbered” entries into the series are twelve and thirteen. That is a story for my personal blog.
Aside from XI and XIV, which are the online multiplayer entries, the ones that I have played have been turn based. Coming into XV, knowing that should help you to understand the review that we are presenting. Cause to put it out there, I have developed a love/hate relationship with XV. The strides we have made as far as technology go are apparent in the visual splendor that is this installment. Along with the digitally animated prequel movie, Kingsglaive the world really does have a life of hits own.
While the main story seems to have been crunched to around 20 to 25 hours, the amount of sidequest, which to me seem like MMO filler as opposed to traditional Final Fantasy linear storylines. That’s not to say the side quests are unnecessary and quite the contrary. Traditionally, random encounters where the way one would level characters in the series, but as the game has evolved with the technology, to innovate properly and keep the idea fresh the world and leveling in it would have to change to keep up. While the fighting is just as tedious as random encounters in some cases, its balanced by quest experience to help balance out the monotony of the combat system which we will get into shortly.
While it’s been stated that Eos is a beautiful world in which to travel and explore, you do start out on the outskirts, outside major cities with only little explanation as to the world and it is important that the movie Kingsglaive is a good move to watch prior to playing the game as for all intent and purposes the movie is a prequel. As you explore Eos, you will spend a lot of time in your car, the Regalia. While it sticks only to roads, you will be able to rent chocobo’s and customize them, if you need to move quickly off-road. While in the car, which you can have Ignis, drive for you to specific points, automatically or you can manually take control of the wheel, you can play various tracks, which you can purchase through Eos, of soundtracks from the various other final fantasy games, adding a bit of nostalgia to the sometimes 10 minute road trips.
One of the main focuses of the story is the brotherhood of the four characters in your party. While Noctis, is the main character, there is a story about how they connect. There are several instances that emphasize this by conversations in the car, or cut scene interaction that help bring the narrative to this. While there are points where you may gain or lose one temporarily, primarily you will be using the four main characters throughout your adventure. This is where we come to the combat system. For the most part you are in control of Noctis, but there are times you can use skills that interact with the other members, or you may have to heal them with a potion from your control menu.
The combat system is fully active now, although there is an option to switch to wait, but that seems counter intuitive. With this change, there is no waiting for a character turn to act you are in real-time combat with a button for blocking and dodging, attacking and parrying. The dpad has a function that deals with your gear, you can have four different weapons and/or magic spells equipped. Magic is created by absorbing elemental node locations and then crafting in what seems like the after thought of the final fantasy VII draw system, which from my perspective, was one of the worst. Summons, also, seem to be an attraction where they are overpowered they are not something to be dependent on and might not be available when you would like them, but they are a beauty to behold.
A big part of the same combat system is the warp strike. If you have watched Kingsglaive already, you probably have an idea of how this works, but the game has some instances where it has so much more. There are scenarios in the game where you must sneak around a base, and warp strike takes on warp kill, allowing you to warp behind an enemy and take them down silently. Also, with being warp points, which also have a combat use, use the in-game tutorial for more info on that, during this sneaking you are able to warp from point to point around the bases as part of your sneaking making for not only a change of pace, using the ability mechanic in a different way.
As far as I can rate it, on a scale of 10, I would give it an 8. While it is a fun game, I feel like there are some things that I feel should be tweaked to improve combat which seems messy, and having side quest feel more meaningful than an errand. This could be a patch that could be implemented to have a reputation for rewards or something akin, MMO feel that the quest seem to embody.