Developed by: Square Enix Published by: Square Enix Available on: PS4, Xbox One
Pre-Game Experience (Scroll down for the Impressions proper)
So I started writing this post as I waited for the game to finish installing on my console. During which time, I went shopping for food, made dinner, played Pokémon Sun and Moon, and watched through Series 5 of Friends. At the time of writing, after 4 hours, it’s 40% installed. The problem isn’t the game itself; it’s the patches afterwards. I remember there being an article about how they wanted to avoid Day One patches on release.. Guess that didn’t happen. Now, to be clear, my impression of the game will likely be good, I just don’t care much about having to wait a long time for a game that I’ve bought, on a console that’s supposed to represent the high end of video games.
If you’re interested in learning more about this long install time stuff, then I’d recommend watching Jim Sterling’s video on the state of consoles these days. I’m not sure if the issues I’m having are with the console itself or the Internet or something, but I felt it was worth noting.
But on to my first impressions.
Once I finally got past all the installation weirdness, I found myself playing an excellent game. Not that I wasn’t expecting it – I had a look at what other people thought about it, and by all accounts it is a good game with a few problems – just that I wasn’t expecting to get as immersed in this road trip-esque adventure as I have.
At first, this wasn’t quite the case; there was a long tutorial section explaining a quite convoluted combat system. As I played through the first few hours, I got to grips with it and found it a bit… chaotic. Nevertheless, it was fun and I’ve continued to have fun with it.
In typical Final Fantasy fashion the plot so far has been fairly difficult to follow. It’s something that I’ve come to expect these days from our friends at Square Enix. However, this feels a bit different. Once the game starts proper, it’s pretty simplistic. Travelling with your boy band friends, trying to fix a car and tracking down monsters. For a modern Final Fantasy game, this is actually quite approachable, at least when compared to the last Final Fantasy that I’ve played. (Final Fantasy XIII)
It’d be easy to say that I’ve had more fun in the first few hours of the Fifteenth entry in the series than the entirety of the Thirteenth, but it’s a point that needs to be made. I have more agency, freedom and immersion with this entry, all of which is much better than the corridor running, auto-attacking, completely irrational cast, experience that was Final Fantasy XIII.
If I do end up writing a full fledged review of this, I feel my comparisons would be more related to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a game which I absolutely adored for it’s story, setting, gameplay and side quest material. XV gets points for the setting, gameplay and side quest stuff, that much is certain. But with story, it’s still a bit confusing. I suppose I can say that there is a clear goal so far at least; recover ancient weapons, hunt monsters, and travel the land. But in regards to delivery of said story… well I’m not sure what I was expecting.
Which brings me to my final point, the characters. While the main group is essentially walking tropes of any group set of heroes, the fact that I’ve spent so much time with them, seen their interactions with one another, means that I’ve become more attached to them than I expected. I can only attribute this to the road trip theme; you have to become attached to them if you want it to work.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this First Impressions article as much as I’ve enjoyed playing XV so far. I expect that I’m going to keep enjoying this game for as long as I play it.