Did you enjoy the little break from Final Fantasy XV discussion we had? Well it’s back and I have some final thoughts for you today.
As I stood before the doors that would inevitably lead to the final confrontation of the game, I found myself thinking of all the cool stuff that I got to do in this adventure; from the giant monster fights, to the companionship with the main characters, it was a great journey. And that, I feel, was enough to make up for some of the flaws which I found throughout the experience. Choosing my most treasured memories from the game, I opened the doors and ventured forth.
I wrote my First Impressions about this game in preparation for how long it would take to finish it. In it I said that I was very positive that I’d be playing it for a long time and find some enjoyment out of it. I certainly wasn’t wrong, Final Fantasy XV is a good game with some flaws that do hold it back from being great.
The premise then; you play as Noctis, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lucis travelling across the land with your loyal friends Ignis, Gladiolus and Prompto, each with their own quirks and skills. As you travel, you learn that your home has been invaded by the evil (I think) Niflheim Empire (yeah… that’s the name…) and it’s up to you to find the weapons of your ancestors, make covenants with the six gods of this world, fight the Empire, save your betrothed, fight daemons and…
Yeah I could really go on, but I think you get the point. Essentially, the plot of Final Fantasy XV plays a lot like the previous Final Fantasy games (ragtag band of heroes saving the world while also engaging in unending side activities) but with the added ‘based in reality’ motive. Considering that this game has sponsorship from Audi and Cup Noodle (with an actual side quest devoted to the latter) I can believe that.
If anything, though, that kind of weirdness is something that I come to expect from Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPG’s) The world is something which I loved to explore, visiting elaborate dungeons, battling monsters and engaging in a road trip adventure. For once I’ve played a Final Fantasy game that I could engross myself in. Then again, the only other one I’ve played is Final Fantasy XIII, so that’s not saying as much.
With the gameplay in this world, what you’re essentially doing is travelling from place to place in your car (the Regalia, trademark Audi I think..) engaging in battles with a variety of creatures. Where other Final Fantasy’s are turn based battles, XV decides to go with a more ‘straightforward’ battle system where you control the actions of one character primarily and engaging in team activity when the opportunity arises. You use swords and other weapons to achieve this, along with magic. (which took a while to get used to because of it’s environmental damage effects) It also includes the ability to Summon one of the six gods of the game to help you when you’re about to die. These are naturally awesome to watch, if a bit fleeting when seeing which summons are more common.
For what it’s worth though, I really enjoyed the action in this game; I think it suits the open world nature of the game and being able to warp around the arena and engage in great teamwork moments with your allies.
As it’s an open world there are side activities that you can engage in too. Exploration plays a big part of the game to find each of the hidden Royal Arm artefacts. You can fish as well around different parts of the game map… and this gets very engrossing.. I mean.. wow… Anyway, your companions also have their own skills from photography to scavenging for hidden items and cooking meals around the campfire.
When I’m engaging in these side activities, I found a lot to enjoy. I’ve mentioned how addicted I got to fishing in this game, but monster hunting is also a great past time to pursue. This isn’t to say that the main story is bad by any means, I liked that part too.
But as the game got further and further towards the last act, I found that it was getting rid of a lot of it’s open world elements in order to become a more linear story. Not that it’s a bad thing to do, but it’s execution is such that I feel there’s stuff that I’m missing. Character’s motivations change pretty rapidly with no explanation, and the ones which I really wanted to know more about were just given quick-fire expansions. I’m given to understand that there’s a film called Kingsglaive that I should watch in order to get some other elements of the game that didn’t make as much sense which… yeah, when you need to do that it’s problematic.
I still cared though, and that was for a reason that I brought up in my First Impressions; the characters themselves. The main four characters are essentially trope characters from other Final Fantasy games (the broody one, the muscle one, the funny one, and the… Ignis… I really like him) and don’t get as much characterisation as I would have liked.
The road trip experience with this game gave me the opportunity to actually connect and care for these characters; I didn’t want anything to happen to them, I smiled when they worked together in battle and even laughed at the terrible puns that they made. It’s like they remembered to have fun as well as save the world. To continue my comparison with Final Fantasy XIII, the main characters there were still trope characters but barely had any fun or time to connect with any with them. But XV is still different; the open world gave me a chance to actually like these people.
Other characters like car mechanic Cindy, (who’s character design is a bit too revealing, but hey, why let that get in the way of car repairs) mysterious individual Ardyn, (who has a fedora.. fedora’s are cool) and awesome warrior Aranea (who I wish could join team) and a few others made for interesting times too. This was enough to tidy me over by the end of the game and actually give a damn about what’s going to happen next.
Which gets me back to entering the last door to the final battle. I fought hard to get that far, and was happy to see the journey though to the end. With a story like this, with characters who I could actually care about, a great finale was the least it deserved.
And it achieved that, and I’m still thinking of it now.
So getting back to the point, Final Fantasy XV is a good game, it’s perhaps even great. It certainly got me back into Final Fantasy after so many years of watching it get so ridiculous and chaotic. If you like RPG’s and/or Final Fantasy, this is definitely worth your time.