So firstly, let me apologise for the vacant space over the past month and a bit but it’s safe to say that the game I’m about to review is the main culprit for the afformentioned absence!
Final Fantasy XV is by far one of the greatest games I have ever played. This may come as a shock to some of you as the reviews are pretty mixed but the Brotherhood aspect of the game is what sold it for me. Everything from the relationship the 4 protagonists have to the new combat system that’s been introduced is as fine tuned as the chimes of the queen elizabeth tower. Let’s start with the basics shall we?
Where to begin? Before FFXV was even released, Square Enix setup an entire universe which sets the basis of the story behind the journey of the game. There was a small anime series, a CGI movie and various lore in the buildup to the game’s worldwide release on November 29th. In true Square Enix fashion, the story is ultimately about good vs evil with a few twists thrown in. Some see it as a road trip as you’ll spend a few hours driving around the gorgeous locations be it manually or automatically. Bare with me but it’s pretty much… Prince Noctis, son of Regis King of Lucis, was sent to meet up with his future bride lady Luna Freya. This was a term of the peace treaty between Lucis and Niflheim, a treaty which was in turn broken by the Niflheim army. Guarding him through his journey are Noctis’ 3 personal bodyguards, Gladio, Ignis and Prompto. These 4 form up the main characters in the game in which you get to control, level up and understand throughout the games campaign. Along the way, you’ll run into a plethora of side quests, each with their own unique stories or you can just follow the main quests should you wish to. You’re always given the choice as with most other FF games. You’ll encounter several memorable characters, each with their unique part to play towards your journey and in true RPG style, the upcoming DLC promises to feature some of your favorites to return.
As previously mentioned, the relationship between the 4 guys you watch over is what really makes Final Fantasy XV stand out above the rest. As you traverse your way through dungeons, cities, swamps, hunts, and more, the guys will constantly comment on things you see, monsters you battle, items you pick up and much much more. One particular fan favourite is when you collect a new ingredient and Ignis shouts with glee “I’VE GOT IT!!! I’ve come up with a new recipe!” There have been memes trolling the internet ever since November 30th. There’s even a little meme in the games first DLC where Noctis mimics Ignis in the chocomog Carnival (see my Instagram video). I digress, every button on the control was clearly thought out, nothing is where you’d expect to find it on the control but surprisingly, it works!
There are sometimes rage moments when a jump doesn’t quite take it where you want it to but these are quite forgiving unless you’re attempting the optional dungeon, The Pitious Ruins. Frame rates can sometimes be disappointing but the rest of the game makes up for the few control flaws. The game world itself works on a night a day basis. 2 minutes per hour thus 48 minutes per game day. Things will change at night and monsters will become more frequent in the dark. You have the option to rest at any point during the day via camp sites and motels. Resting gives you the option tally up the XP you’ve gathered since your last rest and levelling up using the XP you’ve earned. You can also eat when resting at camps giving extra stat boosts to help you in various ways. You can gain AP through several tasks which you can use to activate nodes on your skill tree giving you extra abilities. Abilities such as extra accessories, faster leveling up, new moves and a lot more can be accessed through the accession skill tree so its important to have a look at what’s available and plan your route across.
Traveling around the world consists of you running, driving, sometimes flying and let’s not forget our favourite method, the chocobo! You get to rent chocobos for pretty much tuppence and you can call them almost anywhere in the world using a handy whistle. You can also race chocobos if you wish to but this is just an addition to the game, not story related. Fast travel also exists by means of the Regalia car. Any location you’ve visited before can be fast traveled to for a price but I found myself allowing Ignis to auto drive me there just so I could enjoy the views.
Each of the 4 guys comes equipped with their own skills that can help you on your journey either directly or just for fun.
Noctis has the ability to be a serious fisherman. While you can play the whole game without catching a single fish, this is an essential skill should you want to take on some of the end game quests. Certain fish can be used as ingredients in meals to give you some serious stat boosts. I won’t ruin the surprise but one of the endgame bosses has over a million HP so if you want to take it down in under a day, you’ll need these boosts. It’s easy enough to level up his fishing skills to catch the big fish and there are plenty of locations for you to put the main story on hold for a bit and enjoy the views.
Gladio’s skill levels up with each step you take so as you progress, this will atuomatocally reach level 10 so don’t worry too much about this early on. As you travel the world, Gladio will find useful items for you to use such as potions and and elixers. The higher level he is, the better items you receive to help you in the field and in battle.
Ignis has the main duty from the king to provide Noctis and his chums with a decent meal when they camp. He will level up with each meal cooked and learn new recipes when he sees them in the world or when you find new ingredients. Whilst its true that you can eat in other locations, Ignis will provide unique meals that you can’t get anywhere else so it’s best to camp every so often. He’s also a great driver behind the wheel of the Regalia (your car).
Prompto’s skill is pretty useless in the big scheme of things. He carries around a camera and takes pictures every so often. You get to review, save or delete these pictures every time you rest. It’s a nice addition to the game as you can then review the pictures you’ve saved from the menu at any time. It’s a little annoying when you see a selfie of Prompto mid battle with the monster pounding the team in the background. It makes me think did he actually take time out of his attacks to take the picture or if it was just an addition.
It’s safe to say that the world you live in is magnificently beautiful. Leading up to your journey to the additional map of Altissia, the world itself is so pretty, it makes me wish that it was real so I could see it with my own eyes. Once you reach Altissia, my mind gets blown even further and I somehow actually believe that a place like this must exist somewhere in the world and it’s stunning! Later on in an optional side quest, you get to convert your car into a flying vehicle. I would strongly suggest you give this a go as it lets you truly see the world from above and just how detailed it is. There is the odd flaw where you’ll see Noctis walk through a rock but that doesn’t happen enough to annoy you. I’ll let your eyes be the judge of the graphics themselves in the pictures I’m posting.
With great combat comes great responsibility! I have a feeling that this new combat system was introduced in FFXV to set the base for the FFVII remake coming soon. Thing is, it works great and makes me wonder why it wasn’t introduced before. Whilst you only control Noctis, the team around you seems to make decent choices depending on the situation of the battle. There is a wait mode option for those of you that likes to strategize a little more but I’ve opted for the real time battle and think on my feet. As always, there is MP which gets depleted with each special move such as Noctis’ warp. This can be replenished either by using elixers or hiding in battle. There is also a Tech Bar which fills up automatically. You can use these Tech Bar points to instruct your teammates to initiate their special abilities which you can assign pre battles. As you make your way through the world, you can buy or gain weapons to use in battle. You get to equip up to 4, assigning 1 per direction on the d-pad. Change to each weapon by simple pressing the direction to whatever weapon you desire to use. You can also use magic that you create after collecting energy from certain stones in the world. In truth, the magic systems seems a little rushed but for the endgame dungeons, it’s pretty useful. I didn’t use magic at all for the main game as it wasn’t really needed.
There is a lot you can customise with the battle system also using the accession tree but it’s best you dive in blindly and find out for yourself how immense it is!
The future DLC promises to dig deeper into the stories of Gladio, Ignis & Prompto along with the ability to control some of the other characters you encounter during your journey. If the currently released DLC is anything to go by, I wouldn’t bother. That being said, this was a free DLC which offers Noctis a chance to visit the ChocoMog carnival in Altissia. The play through lasted me all of 2 hours to complete but it felt more of a chore with a few laughs along the way. I’m hoping the DLC I’ve paid for will add a bit more depth and story to the already brilliant game so these will get my once over when it’s been released.
94 hours later from when I installed the game, I’m still wanting more. There is loads that I haven’t even mentioned yet such as Techniques, dungeon keys, hunts, summons and more but this proves that there is so much to this game that it’s worth the price tag. There is pretty much only one more thing I could possibly do (Pitious Dungeon for those of you who knows) to extend my game. I’ve reached level 99, completed all the achievements and then competed the side missions just because I could. There isn’t a lot of games I can say I’d do this for other than Fallout 3. This game gets a huge thumbs up from me and a minimum of 10 out of 10 on the verdict scale.
If you’re an RPG fan, you need to get this game. Just make sure you’re willing to put all your other games on hold for a month as you’ll be hooked!
Ciao for now kupo!