I actually wrote this September 29th, 2016, and planned to release the next day as a joke. I corrected the post’s grammar.
Final Fantasy XV Review!
We all know Final Fantasy XV managed to do the impossible: outsell Final Fantasy VII! This is good news. They were so confident Final Fantasy XV would be the game to outsell Final Fantasy VII (PS1 version), they finally greenlit the latter (also as a backup plan if FFXV did fail). And they were right, Final Fantasy XV is a hit. So thanks to Final Fantasy XV and the future success of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy XVI will happen.
But the amount of pressure on Final Fantasy XV to keep the series alive took a toll on the game in many ways. In the end, it’s a great game, but it doesn’t quite live up to its own massive hype.
Final Fantasy XV is what happens when Square Enix finally “listens to us”. To satisfy every gamer to min-max their profits, they had to water down the experience.
So as for the game itself? For all the hype it accrued, it’s kinda a standard Final Fantasy game. Like Kingsglaive, Final Fantasy XV has amazing graphics, probably the best in the series! And like Kingsglaive, Final Fantasy XV is just a standard game (but better than the movie by far). Nothing too bad, but the story isn’t anything to write home about. It ebbs and flows, but doesn’t particularly get too deep.
The story: The game starts in medias res fighting Ifrit Noctis then sets off to meet Lunafreya for the wedding.
Instead of the media res, why not take an hour to set up the story? They could have stripped down the characters in Kingsglaive, and get to the basic plot of the game. This way, we would have had a long opener to Final Fantasy XV, but the game would have been more filling. But instead, they made what would have been a perfectly good intro into Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
The hopes of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV were to hype up the game sales worldwide. The only problem, it backfired. The only people interested in seeing the movie were those who were going to get the game. Other fans passed it up. And on top of that, it didn’t do too well at the box office. Final Fantasy XV feels disjointed to those who do pick up the game and loathed buying a stand-alone movie just to get more information.
Of course, they find out from Iris of the city’s destruction. Imagine, you haven’t seen the anime, and now you meet Iris? Who are these characters? Without the anime, the three would’ve been just more flat cardboard cutout anime tropes. Their personalities don’t really shine through in meaningful ways, and without learning about them from the anime, you get the feeling they’re really just there along for the ride (in their Audi 8).
So now the focus shifts to Noctis “reclaiming his throne”. To do this, the gang sets out to collect weapons of dead kings to be powerful and take back crystal. Also, Lunafreya awakes the summons to defeat Ardyn. Why? Because he’s 2000 years old and evil. Noctis realizes the only way to defeat him is to hibernate to gather magic into the rings (hence the sleeping motifs) and sleeps for a decade. After Noctis wins, he surveys his kingdom, or what little remains. No wife, no kingdom, just his friends. Pretty depressing and haunting with the Florence and the machine’s “Stand By Me” in the background…
There’s not much to say about the story. It’s emotional in some spots, but it’s really nothing too groundbreaking. It would have been great as a trilogy, but instead, I hear they distilled it into one game. And it shows (like the ending episodes of Final Fantasy Unlimited).
As well all know from Kingsglaive, Regis dies. But the hints were so obvious, how could you not see it coming? Same deal with Lunafreya. I admit, they tried to make us care for her, but in the end you knew her death was coming so it took away from the shocking impact. Even when you understand how much Noctis cares for her, you understand Lunafreya’s death was serious. But we never care for her character. The reason is that we know of her through flashbacks, so she’s essentially a glorified memory anyways. No character development. No one really has any romance and the females are kinda just…there.
Speaking of spoiling it, Final Fantasy XV kept revealing too much, now nothing was very surprising in the game. We saw his role in Kingsglaive. We already knew Ardyn was a bad guy (and he sounds like it too), so it’s not surprising when he double crosses you. Even worst, he wasn’t the worst we’ve seen. The biggest fault is the movie releases BEFORE the game, to fill in the lore. The movie took away from it 🙁
The gameplay is probably the best part of the game, although many people complain it’s not as great as the controls in Kingdom Hearts 2. Summon boss fights are like watered-down, yet still epic, Shadow of the Colossus fights. Unfortunately, even with the delay, they still had a few bugs and glitches.
What will people complain about the most? First, lack of female characters. Then the lack of towns. Finally, the massive amounts of empty space. What was the point of making a gigantically expansive map with the same amount of towns as say, Final Fantasy VII? Hype. What did we expect? If the main story was really 40 hours, then the large map had to have been empty. The fetch quests bump it up to 80, but there was much more to do in Final Fantasy VII with the mini-games.
The game took years because they were trying to go as big as possible, only to have an average amount to show for it. And even worst, you can’t really go back to explore the kingdom itself (since you know what happened to it in Kingsglaive). The game is fun but mostly style over substance. But what do you expect? The game feels a bit disjointed, and that’s due to the fault of the marketing. They spent so much time creating the lore of Final Fantasy XV, they left stuff out of the game. The game feels barren.
They made a mini-franchise for fans of the game, which is great for fans. But it’s poor for newcomers to the series. What if new fans don’t want to watch the movie or the anime? What if they want as much of a complete experience in a game as possible? It would have been nice if the game explained things rather than rely on the movie and anime.
The ultimate verdict is that the game was way too ambitious for its own good and collapsed under its own weight. As we move into 2017, we can still have solace to know that Final Fantasy VII remake is on the way 🙂
So, how close was I?