After years in development, Final Fantasy fans rejoice as Final Fantasy XV is finally here! Boosting a massive map to explore, an updated combat system to learn, and an intriguing story, Final Fantasy XV offers more than enough reasons to step back into the Final Fantasy universe again. Does Final Fantasy deliver after the extended wait?
Final Fantasy XV follows Noctis and friends (Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto) on their journey across Eos to Altissia, where Noctis wedding to Lunafreya is set. On their way there King Lucis, Noctis’ father and king of Insomnia, was betrayed by the Niflheim. After learning of the death of his father, and the theft of the crystal the creates a barrier around Insomnia, Noctis is tasked with reclaiming the stolen crystal and reclaiming the throne.
Breaking away from the normal turn-based combat found in prior Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy XV provides combat reminiscent of the Kingdom Hearts series to a degree. Combat is fast paced putting you primarily in control of Noctis, while the rest of your squad will control themselves. During combat Noctis can perform combo style moves with each of his allies, with each character having their own specialties. Squad members turn out to be extremely useful as they will help take the load off the player by healing and protecting each other; instead of forcing the player to have to do everything.
Final Fantasy XV allows players different ways to approach battles. Unlike other members of the group, Noctis can use any weapon that he chooses (guns, broadswords, magic, and much more), which allows players to stick to their style whether it is as a mage, ranged attacker, or a brutal taking the battle right to the enemy. The two most notable of Noctis’ arsenal are his Royal Arms, and the warp ability. The Royal Arms are special weapons that Noctis can use that dish out huge amounts of damage, at the cost of depleting Noctis’ health. While Noctis can use well known items such as potions, this is where the Warp ability shines. While the most obvious use of the Warp ability is to quickly get around the map to defeat enemies, using the ability to get to a Warp point to regain health is far more useful. Be aware that many areas don’t have a point to warp to regain health, so still stock up on those potions and phoenix downs.
The biggest downfall to the combat in this Final Fantasy title deals with camera flaws, and a lackluster lock-on system. Many times, it will seem like the camera is up against players making it difficult to maneuver during combat. While this may not seem too bad, it becomes a hindrance when your health is low and you need a Warp point to regain health but the camera isn’t cooperating. This is only doubled by a useless lock-on system that really doesn’t help. While the lock-on system is somewhat helpful on keeping your eye on the enemy, picking and switching which enemy you want to lock onto becomes troublesome. This problem becomes worse when there are numerous enemies that swarm the player.
The map in this Final Fantasy is massive, and quite incredible the more that you explore it. Whether you’re completing a monster hunt, exploring another dungeon, or just site-seeing the gorgeous world, there are more than enough reasons to roam the massive map. To make traveling more enjoyable, the player has access to a nice convertible, equipped with a radio loaded with numerous iconic FF songs; and if you don’t feel like driving, you can have another member of the group drive while you enjoy the scenery. Along the way, players can use each group member’s special skills to benefit the group overall. With Ignis’ cooking ability that gives players buffs in battle, Gladiolus’ survival skills that increase the items found after battle, Noctis’ fishing skills, or Prompto’s photography, each adds a fun element to gameplay. While Ignis and Prompto’s abilities are more for visual fun (prepare to get hungry looking at Ignis’ food), Noctis’ ability adds a fun fishing minigame; and Gladiolus’ ability is boosted from exploration. This amazing scenery is hurt by inconsistent framerate drops that do hurt the overall experience.
Despite minor flaws, Final Fantasy XV provides a more enjoyable experience than the more recent Final Fantasy titles. With an enjoyable cast of characters that aren’t horrible (Final Fantasy XIII, we’re looking at you), a large open-world to explore, and a revamp on the combat system helps breathe new life into the franchise. Despite flaws with camera angles, and framerate drops, Final Fantasy XV ranks up with the best of them.
- New combat system creates intense, and extremely fun, battles
- Enjoyable cast of characters makes for enjoyable experience, even when just traveling aimlessly
- Massive open-world to explore
- Camera control and lock on system act against you during combat
- Framerate drops can take away from the experience.