I remember the day clearly when I watched the trailer for what would be Final Fantasy XIII Versus. It looked outstanding compared to 13 and I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 10 years later a re branding and a few grey hairs I finally got my chance to play the very different Final Fantasy XV. The latest Final Fantasy game from the long running series completely differs from the very linier FFXIII, they clearly have been listening to fan feedback making FFXV completely open world……….well for the most part!
There is no getting away with how good the game looks, visually it’s pretty stunning and I can see why there has been so much praise around it. What I cannot get my head around is all the high scores this game has received. The story line is pretty much non-existent and in some areas pointless. The characters aren’t particularly loveable like previous titles as I never really felt myself connect with them or even care much about their story. Once let lose to your freedom in the open world most gamers leave the story and start exploring the open world and it’s side quests which is where this game shines.
FFXV is huge and is packed with many sidequests to complete however you will find the typical fetch quests now and again which seem to be a typical thing to add in RPG. I understand they get you learning the layout of the map however they can become very boring especially when you find yourself doing them for a cat later on in the game.
There are various methods of transport; the car journeys are pretty boring and even having it set to manual feels like driving on a set track like a really slow roller-coaster. Leaving it on Auto is the way to go, at least you can listen to classic Final Fantasy music and watch as your passengers talk and animate with each other……………no wait that gets boring fast too.! Thank god for fast travel at a very minimal price! Still you are force to drive to new area’s you haven’t visited yet and even if you have already been to some area’s later the game decides which places you can and can’t fast travel too! I mean why! more often than not the one you want to go to is blocked and you are forced to sit through a tedious journey. To top off this annoyance the car has to be topped up with fuel quicker than a Bugatti Veyron.
You can however style your car if you wish, adding stickers or a new lick of paint but I found myself going back to its original colour after a few hours.
Apart from on foot the only other method of travel is by beloved chocobo which can come whenever called no matter where you are, you can even change its colour and it level itself up when ridden for long distances gaining new abilities like assisting and healing during fights.
The combat in this game is very rewarding, not only is it easy to get to grips with it does not force you to have long winded training like FF13 did. My only problem with the combat system is you only command the main character so the healing system once knocked down is via other members of your party. You have the option to run over to them during combat to heal one of your team mates if needed however they can be difficult to find in the heat of battle. Should you need healing yourself however; more often than not you will be waiting ages for someone who is stood right next to you to come to your aid. While the combat is fun it can sometimes be difficult when the screen is packed with enemies and the camera can go haywire! This especially is a problem when fighting the extra boss Adamantoise. This fight in my opinion takes little skill and just seems to be a sponge for attacks! He’s slow but can take off a lot of damage if caught unguarded, you can quickly learn his moves but after 20 mins you find yourself bored! I would rather have had something that took a little bit of skill and had far less HP.
There are a few challenges though but most of them come from hunting down the games high powered weapons (One of which you can access very early on). Apart from the battle system FFXV does have a lot of things I did enjoy like fishing (if a little frustrating at times) and lots of monster hunts.
Your team also have their own level up systems of fishing, cooking, exploration and photography which is just a way for Square-Enix to show off how good the game looks by fans like me posting on social media and on here.
Going back to the start where I said for most part you will have an open world to explore, well this changes later on in the chapters if you are following the storyline. At some point the open world map is taken away from you and is replaced by a very liner path like FF13 which will force you to carry on with the story however you are given ability to return should you wish. During said storyline you will be placed at some point in a city much like Venice where I feel the game really changes for the worse as the landscape is confusing to navigate and is filled with pointless side quests.
As much as I point out the negative bits of this game I really did love the open world, dungeons, battle mechanics and the hunts. I played the game to platinum for a reason however as a fan of the series I feel that it’s lost its way since FFXII trying to please both fans and newcomers but you just can’t keep everyone happy.