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FINAL FANTASY XV review
Exceptional
by patjans5

I'm a newcomer to the Final Fantasy series, my first game being the Final Fantasy VII Remake that came out earlier this year. Of course it's one of my favorite games of the year so far with it's incredibly detailed world, fantastic characters and story, and it's fluid combat system. Naturally I was excited to dive into this series, and I figured Final Fantasy XV would be a good place to start.

Final Fantasy XV takes place on the world of Eos, you play as Prince Noctis as he journey across Eos with his best friends on a journey of self discovery, while at the same time fighting against evil that threatens to consume their world. Overall the story is fantastic, it's straight forward, thrilling, engaging, and emotional. While the game's open world style kills the momentum of the story at times, it's well done all the same. A couple plot holes here and there, but nothing that took the enjoyment out for me. 

The game's greatest strength is it's characters. Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus are some of my favorite video game characters. Their chemistry heightened the enjoyment of the game, made the story more emotional, and remained consistently entertaining throughout my hours of playing. Not to mention their character arcs are great, from the story to the game's DLC's focusing on each individual character. Watching them grow from teenagers to protectors of Eos was fantastic. 

The massive world of Eos was a ton of fun to explore. I understand that the open world aspect is pretty new to Final Fantasy, but I loved exploring it. Driving from point A to point B was beautiful and relaxing as you got to take in the sights, enjoy character banter, and listen to music. The driving mechanics are pretty easy, which makes doing all these things all the better. The graphics are beautiful, with only minor issues along to way, overall it's one of my favorite open worlds in gaming.

On top of just driving around there's plenty of side missions and bounty quests to take up between plot points. They get pretty repetitive after awhile though, most of the side quests feel the same, but are pretty easy to just do as you traverse the map. Bounty missions are fantastic though, the world of Eos is home to a massive variety of monsters, all unique as far as looks and challenges. Some smaller than you, others as tall as mountains, either way it's one of the more exciting parts of the game. 

Combat is pretty different, but overall easy to grasp. The game is easy in comparison to the Final Fantasy VII Remake, but I enjoyed it. It's perfect for newcomers as well as longtime fans, they even mention that when you start up the game. But even though it's easy to grasp, there's still a level of challenge as you progress. While it's easy to level up, you may even feel over leveled at times, there's always a newer, tougher challenge for you to face if you look.

Overall I just love this game, it's one of my favorite RPG's of all time. For long time Final Fantasy fans, I can see elements of it being underwhelming, but I loved damn near every minute of it. 

Rating: 9/10

Played on the PS4
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Sit back and relax»
«Underrated»
«That ending!»

Other reviews8

Concise Review:

Four Bros riding giant chickens across this weird fantasy sci fi half-open world filled with creative wildlife, and enemies. It’s a fucking weird one but it’s doing something unique. The combat and RPG mechanics are not explained well, but become more enjoyable once you get the feel for the game... but they still aren’t that good.

Amazing: zilch

Great: The monsters, wildlife and enemies are very creative and fun.

Good: The goofy aesthetic and world building is entertaining and original.

Fine: The story has some over the top fun moments once it picks up, but it’s also very hard to follow, and there are slow sections throughout, and sometimes the dialogue/writing is awful (probably due to translation), so overall it’s fine. The combat takes like 8 hours before it’s any good because the game doesn’t explain things well and it’s weird, but once you understand it then it’s actually reasonable and it looks sweet, although it’s not very challenging and it gets repetitive by the end of the game.

Bad: The game does a bad job at the beginning explaining the game mechanics. It’s awkward to pick things up or talk to people. Side quests are very lame, a lot of generic fetch quests. Boss fights/action sequences are often lame from a gameplay perspective.

Awful: Facial animations. The story and gameplay pacing is poor, especially at the start, to much driving or running around. The god damn load times are so frequent and so fucking long. 

Journal Style Review:

4 bros on a road trip! I get the sense that I’m going to be confused by the story a lot. Also very long load times.

Side rant: I hate when fancy editions of games give you extra dlc weapons and items to start. It’s fucking stupid and wrecks the natural progression. I don’t want to use them. This game is so confusing to start that it was hard to tell what was an extra and what is original. I was using a stupidly overpowered sword for the beginning and it wrecks the combat.

Not a strong start to this game. Pretty boring. RPGs often have a slow start since it takes a while to explain the game mechanics and set up the world so I’m not completely disheartened. But it still wasn’t a great opening hour or so. A lot of running around.

The graphics look like they were good four years ago in some areas and just average in others. They are still fine now but not special. The monsters are the best early part of the game. Early on there has already been a couple cool ones. I hope there is a lot of variety in monsters. Idk if the combat will end up being that good though. It seems like it might be too simple perhaps.

Very confusing start to this game storyline wise and game mechanics wise. I’m wondering if I’ve missed things because it feels like the game thinks I should understand what’s going on with the plot but I have no fucking clue. So many fetch quests to start. Very boring. I’m 2 hours in, I’ll give this another hour or so at least but if it doesn’t get better then I think I’m done.

Its getting a bit better. The game finally threw a bit of combat in the mix. I’m getting a slightly better understanding of the gameplay loop as well. Right now I’m planning to mostly mainline the main storyline quests. If side quests seem interesting here and there I will give them a chance but so far I have seen nothing that suggests the side quests will be entertaining or necessary from a story or gameplay/upgrades perspective.

I haven't played this game stoned yet... but I have a strong feeling this game will be better stoned.

And the stoned session begins. It’s good. It makes it better for sure.

Facial animations are absolutely awful.

This game is weird. The car aspect is weird. This game is like half open world. Very slow load times. And too much driving from place to place. But I’m at least liking the combat and the world they have created a bit more. Pretty great enemies so far though. The animals and daemons and military creations are all sweet and fun to fight. I’m pretty confident I’ll give it at least 10 hours. It’s interested me enough for at least 10 hours.

Very dumb find the frogs quest. Too hard to see. Not fun. The game does a very poor job from a quality of life aspect. But still the strength is in the wildlife and enemies. 

The night cycles come way too often. It’s a nuisance.

Combat is slightly growing on me. But I’m also getting more annoyed at how long it takes to get to places. It takes too long to drive around and the night cycle forces you to do it more often than I’d like.

Second stoned session begins. And it begins with a great new character Ardyn. I’m liking his ridiculous vibe.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again probably but FUCK these load times are so slow.

Okay that titan mission was cool. Not that much actual gameplay but cool nonetheless.

This game gets waaay better when stoned. I really should only be playing this game stoned. I’m finding a new sober game.

Riding around on the birds is hilarious and way better than driving.

Okay this main storyline stretch has been pretty great so far. I’m for sure going to finish this game. It’s convinced me of that much. It has something to offer once you can actually understand what type of game this is. What the vibe is. How to play to enjoy it the most.

That medusa fight was pretty great.

Are you kidding me! A giant wizard looking motherfucker in the sky throws his staff at the enemy base out of nowhere? I loved it. I need more of that and the titan in this game. And the chickens. Love the chickens.

Pretty solid session from like the 7 till 11 hour mark. The best it’s been so far. If this trend continues it will climb the ranks.

Finished chapter 7. The last few chapters have been pretty good. But again I’m going to try to mostly play this game stoned. It’s so much more fun when stoned.

The Venice city is kind of boring and difficult to get around in. The leviathan fight wasn’t very good. Fighting a giant monster like that should be a lot cooler than it was. I’m still barely able to understand what’s happening story wise.

I just completed chapter 11. And while I’m still liking it more than I originally thought I would. It’s getting a bit too slow paced again. It’s losing a bit of the steam it had building. I thought this would at least get to nier automata levels (mid tier B+, severely overrated but still has some goodness). I’m still sort of liking the aesthetic and weird style to the game, but there are so many load screens and a lot of walking and talking and driving. The combat is fun when it actually gets going. The set piece action scenes are pretty bad from a gameplay perspective. 

This story is so ridiculous and poorly written but I’ve just accepted that. Now I’m embracing it. It’s better. Need to be stoned though.... Jesus Christ it’s bad at times though.

Some of these cutscenes are way too long. 

Also worth noting I’ve literally never died in this game yet. I don’t think I will die once.

Spooky demon power plant factory chapter was pretty good. I still don’t know what’s going on with the story.

Okay the final Insomnia chapter is pretty sweet. They saved the best chapter for the last major one I think. It’s pretty cool and has a lot of intense fights. I did it under leveled because the side quests suck so it was quite hard.

Epic fights leading up to the final Ardyn fight and then that fight was just okay. As soon as you go super god mode you just mash buttons with the super abilities. 

Final cutscenes were actually pretty good. And then the Florence version of stand by me is a nice song. And then the cutscenes kept going again. And they were not bad. The ending was not bad. It did leave me feeling like this game was epic. Because it was epic. It was just so bad and awkward in a lot of other areas. Epic world though. If this game had actual combat, not the fake combat they have, then it could have been sweet. If it was like jedi fallen order quality combat this game would have been unreal. I literally didn’t die the entire game... I failed a time trial section once because I wasn’t paying attention. 

Closing thought. This game has made me excited to play the FFVII remake someday. Because I think it has better combat.

Here is how my opinion on the game changed. Total game time was about 22-23 hours. First 4 or 5 hours I was on the edge of giving up, it wasn’t doing it for me. It started to get better from hours 7 ish to 12 ish it’s probably at its peak at hour 12, the time when the game is a bit more open world and you get to ride the chickens was the best. Rather than continuing to get better as I had hoped, It stayed around the same enjoyment level for the remainder and occasionally dipped down lower again during slow sections. There should have been more use of the giant chickens. The final 2 or 3 hours were a solid closer. In the end it’s still a low tier B+.

Final Score: B+
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Gameplay was alright and the characters were great
«Underrated»
This game is the worst game I’ve ever played.
It's complicated to review a game that was teased more like an event or an experience, I fell in Square Enix's trap and I eat all the media that came before the game: movie and anime episodes, so my time with the game was pretty positive in regards of lore and story. With that in mind, my review goes as follows:

First things first, the mood of the game it's perfect, it starts as a best friends road trip and that feeling of adventure and friendship never gets old, the sound team made an amazing job making every sound feel almost real, things like footsteps, rain, forests at night, even the sounds of the Regalia (your car) when closing or open its door, it may sound dumb but the immersion and the feeling of traveling with friends through the sound design it's outstanding, it also makes the Regalia like a 5th companion to your adventure. Which leds us to another great topic, your party, the developers took the great decision of making a small party that always accompanies you, they feel real and their dialogues are so detailed and at times silly that only helps to build a real bond with them, there's no need to watch the anime episodes about them but it sure helps to stablish and understand some things related to their personality or bond with Noctis, speaking of Noctis, at first I taught that I was going to hate this guy because of his "generic character and design" but the truth is that I really like it, I understood his feelings and decisions, also I firmly believe that is necessary to play this game with japanese audio, I'm not a big fan of the english dub, its not bad but not great, also is pretty noticeable that they took a lot of liberties with Noctis, they feel like complete different persons, where the Japanese is kind of introvert, sweetheart and silly, the English one sounds more stoic, "cool" and it kinda tries to be Cloud, so at least for me, that it's a big no, no. As for the supporting cast, there are some cool characters like Aranea or Lunafreya, they're good but not as good as our main villain, I won't spoil anything but as for me, at least he is now a top tier antagonist on Final Fantasy franchise.

I really liked how Square Enix dished out unnecessary complex and convoluted stories like the one presented in the first installment of FFXIII, instead, we have a simple "reclaim your throne" kind of story that works for the best, I really liked a lot of the twists and turns, I have no issue with that, but its worth note that there are major events hinted through the game that are just hinted but really important to the overall plot, mainly things in the movie and stuff that happens in the Episode DLCs, its not that they felt so necessary to the plot but they sure feel like holes, speaking of holes, the game has a nice rhythm and passing until you arrive at a point of no return (at 3/4 of the game more or less), it feels rushed and suffers a lot of breaking the immersion.

As for the gameplay, I have mixed feelings about it, first, is very simple and enjoyable, at times almost addicting, its simplicity compensates with its flashiness and fast passing action, my only problem is that the HP system it's broken, you can kill almost everything if you have enough potions so in order to enjoy it you must put a rule of limited potions, but then again that's a thing that was meant to be solved by the designers, not you. Another negative aspect is the side questing, the world map is massive and so beautiful, it's accompanied by a masterfully crafted soundtrack led by no other than Yoko Shimomura (which make instant classic songs for this already filled with classics franchise), but it kind of feels empty at times, the only thing that makes you do any quests is for the combat, which maybe is no the cup of tea for everyone but it's very fun.

In the end, the negative aspects didn't were overweighted by the positive ones, its characters felt to me like real friends and its twists and turns were for the most part very interesting and enjoyable, as for the ending, it has a heavy punch that reminded me why I prefer storytelling in videogames over other media.
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«Just one more turn»
«Can’t stop playing»
Much like just about every Final Fantasy game since FFX, XV fails to meet the expectations that fans had built during the absurdly long development process for this game. That being said, there is a lot to love here. Probably the biggest achievement is how much fun I had level-grinding. The game is at its best when you're marathoning side-missions for two-to-three days with no sleep, driving to new corners of the map in your monster truck Regalia, carefully planning out where you're going to stop to eat and stop to sleep so you can max out your EXP for level-ups. It's really simple, but really rewarding, and at the end of the day that has to do with strong gameplay, strong characters, and strong world-building, all things that can be said of the best Final Fantasy entries. 

Side note: haven't played the most up-to-date version of the game, so I'm curious how much the changes to the story actually affect my overall enjoyment -- probably won't get around to playing it for a long time though.
«Can’t stop playing»
«Sit back and relax»
I've replayed this at least 3 times but after the last playthrough and purchasing the full edition I have to say this is pretty terrible. Broken story, terrible combat, amazing graphics. Skip this and play the classic Final Fantasies.
«Waste of time»
«Boooring»
There's a lot wrong with Final Fantasy XV that needed massive improvement, like the terrible horrible story and the dreadful nightmare Chapter 13.

Other than that it was fucking amazing. Loved the Americana meets Final Fantasy vibe. 
Loved the characters and combat system. Hated the story.