Welcome to my Final Fantasy XV review! It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally ready to bring my thoughts to you! (Watch my video review here)
So, I personally have been waiting on FFXV for the last 10 years like many of us FF fans. The game underwent a lot of changes between our first glimpse and now, but I’m happy with the outcome for the most part. Let’s break this down a little:
FFXV departed from the turn based battle systems that previous games in the series utilized, making battle flow much better. There are no random encounters per say. You can usually see enemies in enough time to avoid them if you wish. Noctis’ warp ability cuts down a lot of movement time and allows you to set up attacks you wouldn’t have been able to do before.
Each of your three companies have their own unique battle styles and play an important role, especially in boss battles. If you level up your chocobos enough they’ll help you out in battle too!
Magic in this game is a little different than what you may be used to. The system of acquiring elemental power is very similar to FF8’s draw system, though instead of taking it from monsters or ‘draw points’ you take it from the earth itself. Technically these could be considered draw points, but they aren’t as sporadic and you know what you’re going to get before even starting. Casting magic is done by mixing the elements and items in magic flasks that you get throughout the game. Once equipped, they act like bombs you must aim before hitting your target. Friendly fire IS a thing and you’ll probably end up hitting your companions often.
One thing I thought was interesting was the Regalia, a car you receive from the beginning. You can manually drive or assign Ignis to the wheel, but regardless you must drive to each place at least once before the option to fast travel is made available to you. There are music soundtracks you can purchase with in game currency from previous FF games which are then available to listen to in your car.
I’ll finish this section with summons. You have access to the Six, as they’re called in game, one by one as the game progresses. The summoning system is weird and I’m not really a fan of how they set it up. Randomly in battle the music will change and you’ll see blue glowing lights float around the battle field. You will then be prompted to hold the L2 button to begin the summon. This takes SO LONG. Getting the summon to appear can be incredibly tedious. However, they look amazing when they show up, so in the end it’s worth it (at least to me). The devastation wrought by the Six effects the landscape around you, making for some cool after battle visuals.
This is one of the biggest issues I and many others have with this game. The story itself is a cool one. You can see the time Square Enix put into planning everything out and making everything connect. What fell through was the presentation of said story. Half the time you have no idea what’s going on and there are numerous things that feel out of place and extremely random. If you feel like sitting there and trying to put the pieces together, you’ll get something great out of it. The issue is that we shouldn’t have to do that as players. It is very clear where the company chose to put in the most work, (game play, side quests, dungeons) and what was rushed (Story plot and character development). I’ve personally taken the time to research and think that story itself Is great. Unfortunately, a lot of gamer’s won’t take the time needed to really see it, and that is sad.
I mentioned above that character development is one of the more rushed things within this game and I stand by that. The main 4 boys, Noctis, Ignis, Prompto and Gladiolus, have the most development out of the game, and that’s great. Since we spend the most time with them, I’m very happy they were given the most attention. However, there are many other side characters that are pivotal to plot points that still feel like strangers. Lunafreya is the biggest example of that. There comes a time when we are meant to feel something for her and it’s hard to. She had barely any screen time and even less background lore.
She isn’t the only example. Almost everyone you meet through the main story feel the same: people we are supposed to care about, but we barely know enough to. It just makes the story that much harder to dive into.
Extras: Side Quests, Collectibles, Trophies, Mini Games, etc.
For me, this part of the game shined the most. I LOVE things like side quests/missions or collectibles, and FFXV is full of them. With around 200 side quests to find and complete, the boys’ hobbies the level up and trophies to collect, you’ll be putting at least a good 70 – 100 hours in just that alone.
Now, the side missions do get a bit repetitive due to there being so many, but if you break them up it isn’t too much of a problem. Each boy has a hobby he enjoys that you can level up throughout your journey. Noctis likes to fish, Ignis likes to cook, Prompto takes photos and Gladio is an outdoors man. Prompto and Gladio’s can be leveled up without much hassle as you play through the normal game, but Ignis and Noctis take a little more patience.
Leveling up Ignis’ cooking requires finding ingredients, discovering new recipes via eating food, and cooking at camp. This will take you a bit of time but I found it very enjoyable.
In my opinion, Noctis’ fishing is the worst mini game / side quest in the game. I know a lot of people enjoy it, but I find it so irritating that I go out of my way to avoid it.
Dungeons are a big part of this world, as they should be, and they rise in difficulty depending on where you are. Each one holds a boss battle and you can usually find some good loot throughout. Some are required to go through for story purposes, but the majority are optional. These fall into side quest territory as you need to go through part or all of certain dungeons to complete quests for other NPC’s.
Something I’ll mention really quick are the chocobos. Once they’re made available to you, you can name and customize them as well as partake in races. These races will grant you medals upon completion which you can then adorn your chocobo with! Super cute stuff.
My final thought for this part of the review are the trophies (or achievements). The list is surprisingly easy to complete if you’re willing to put in a little time. There isn’t anything super challenging (except for one hidden feat) and I think pretty much anyone can 100% it if they wish. A nice change from other RPG games.
All in all, FFXV is an enjoyable game for people who want something they can sink a bunch of time into. You can easily spend over a hundred ours trying to complete everything and it is totally worth the price tag. Thank you so much for sticking around and I’ll see you next time!