It’s been a long time coming, but Final Fantasy XV is finally here. Originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, this JRPG has been through a lot in its 10 yearlong development. Versus(XV) started out as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series of Final Fantasy games, however this idea was scraped after the poor reception to the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. Under the new persona of Final Fantasy XV, this PS3 exclusive was pushed back indefinitely until it was finally released in November 2016 for both PS4 and Xbox One. This is my review of Final Fantasy XV.
Final Fantasy XV has players taking the role of Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, as he travels the world with his friends/bodyguards Ignis, Prompto, and Gladio. The story starts off as a simple take the groom to wed his bride/bromance road trip, however as per your typical JRPG, things go wrong and now Noctis and party fight not only for their lives, but for the people of Lucis, his birthright , and the future of the world. The story is pretty long, spanning through 14 chapters which total up to about 40-50 hours depending on your play style.
The combat in XV is different compared to past titles as it it is an action RPG system rather than the traditional turn based system. As Noctis, you have a variety of weapons such as, swords, greatswords, guns, daggers, spears, etc to take down both monster and daemons alike. Magics are also an essential you’ll need in your journey as unlike their past incarnations, they are very powerful though you are limited to how often you can use them as you craft them into flasks. Items play an important role in combat as well since White Magic, which has been featured in most Final Fantasy is absent in this entry. Limit Breaks, the powerful signature moves the player party has is also absent in XV, however they are replaced with Techs for Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto and the Armiger for Noctis. Summons also make a return in XV, though unlike their past incarnations, they can only be summoned if you fulfill their requirements.
Now what would Final Fantasy be without enemies to fight. XV has many boss fight ranging from classic enemies from older titles to new bosses that connect to the story. However, these bosses are no slouches and can give you a run for your money if you go into their dungeons unprepared. The enemies of XV also range from older monster such as bombs, flans, goblins, etc to newer entries such as magnetic soldiers, sawtooths, ronins, etc. Most of these enemies come in groups and some enemies can spawn in mid-battle which can make the battles long and hectic for those venturing. A new type of enemy known as daemons also appears in XV though their appearances are locked to night and story segments only.
Let’s get into the new features that Final Fantasy XV brought into the table. Players can now drive Noctis’ car, the Regalia rather than walking around the map or riding a Chocobo. XV also has a day and night cycle, with day being a safe route to go and night being the time that the strong and harder enemies appear.The leveling up system has also been overhauled in XV, now in order to level up, players must go into rest in towns or camps in order to redeem expo rather than the usually leveling up after battle in past titles. XV has also brought in a new mechanic known as warp striking, warp striking allows Noctis to teleport and damage an enemy or temporary flee from battle to recover health and magic points, although this does consume stamina which is also new to Final Fantasy. One of my favorite features of XV has to be the unique hobbies that each member has, with Noctis, you can play a fishing mini, Ignis fiddles around with his cooking, Gladio spars with Noctis, and Prompto takes photos which can be uploaded to social media.
Now let’s get into the best things about XV. The soundtrack for XV is just amazing, it really makes you feel the gravity of the battle that you are in and gives you a feel for the environment as you explore Lucis. XV, while using a new RPG formula, caters to both longtime fans while at the same time paving a way for new gamers to get into the franchise. The best thing about Xv has to be the dynamics between Noctis and his friends. As you play through the games, you really get a feel what how this journey is affecting all of them, and how it made them more than just friends, they became your brothers and you’d give your life for them(or should I say Phoenix Down).
While all of these things makes XV sound like the perfect game, it does have it cons to it. One of the biggest cons of XV is the summons, while their summon animations are awesome and they are powers, you don’t get to use them much and are limited to which ones you can you due to their requirements for summoning, one of them being an easy mode exclusive, one being unsummonable outside the final boss fights and one being unplayable. Another con is the night cycles, while exploring Lucis in night is fun, the level spike in enemies at night makes it so you cannot enjoy nighttime exploration until halfway through the game. Now the biggest con of all is chapter 13 in general, without going into spoilers, the chapter has you by yourself, with limited weapons and you’re only able to save at safe locations.
With all being said and done, I truly enjoyed playing Final Fantasy XV and I look forward to the season pass chapters. If you’re looking to get more into XV before playing the game, you should definitely check out the anime Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV and the movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy as they give backstory to events before the start of the game. Xv is a true masterpiece and let’s hope that the VII Remake (which uses XV’s engine) is just as great.