Currently Playing: Final Fantasy XV

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After a long, long time, we have finally been graced with Final Fantasy XV.  I didn’t preorder the game, instead waiting to see what the general reaction was from early adopters.  After it appeared the game was not a complete failure, I got a copy and have started playing.

I never played through all of the Final Fantasy 13 series, so seeing Final Fantasy on a next-gen console is quite nice (even moreso having just come from FFVI on Gameboy).  I was immediately impressed with the visuals.

Final Fantasy XV Chocobo

Now, I started the game without having watched either the Kingsglaive movie nor the short anime series for the game.  Given that, I was a little confused at the beginning with all the characters, why I should care about stuff, who was who, etc.

Final Fantasy XV Combat

I have since watched both pieces of side content and would definitely recommend both the movie and the anime series for those getting into the game.  Kingsglaive really gives a good look at the background of what the factions are, and why the war is occuring, etc.  The anime shorts do a great job giving background to each of the characters, where I think the strength of the title truly lies.

Story-wise, I am a bit confused, as Noctis appears to know various characters that we meet that do not explain where they came from, why they are willing to help, why they are planting carrots, etc.  A bit more background on why some of the secondary or tertiary characters have an impact would be helpful.

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I have really enjoyed the characters and their banter.  Initially I was trying to figure everyone out simply from their side comments.  However, the YouTube series really sheds light on each character’s motivation, personality, and backstory.  I highly recommend checking it out – Prompto is probably the biggest surprise.

Gameplay-wise, I am a big fan of the combat.  FFXV follows in Kingdom Hearts footsteps with real time action combat.  While this is quite a departure from the traditional turn-based system Final Fantasy has been known for, its done quite well.  Fighting the monsters while switching weapons and spells on the fly is fun and fast.  Interacting with your teammates to escalate damage is also fun.

Final Fantasy XV Beast

However, I am not impressed by the sidequest system.  While the set-up is fine the way it is, it really is a long series of fetch quests and “go kill X” waypoints.  It felt a lot like World of Warcraft in that sense, and felt quite static, like it didn’t really matter what happened.  Given all of that, I have still been hellbent on finishing all the quests and exploring the map.

Exploration is done via car, chocobo, or good old fashioned running.  The use of the car to take you from place to place fits the narrative of a group of dudes trying to figure everything out.  However, this comes with a slew of tedium.

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Whenever you want to fast travel somewhere (which you will, the map is huge and otherwise you just watch a car driving on the road), you are met with a loading screen.  Going back and forth from resting and other activities also has loading screens.  The loading screens are not short, so there is just a lot of waiting.  I’m not sure what could be done technically to mitigate this, but it made things slow way down.

Final Fantasy XV City

I’ve also noticed that quite a few animations are off.  This is not a make-or-break deal, but it was enough for me to notice.  Characters lips are not synced, Noctis will push open doors that have already opened, can’t advance in clear areas because you are caught on a twig.  I had expected Square would clean a lot of these types of things up.

In sum, the story is a little sloppy, there are some technical issues, and the quest system is entirely bland and unoriginal.  However, the combat and flow of actual play makes the game quite enjoyable.  I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet, but the glaring issues I’ve encountered would normally really kill my desire ot keep going.  Somehow FFXV has managed to overcome these deficiencies and now I’m hooked.

Have you played FFXV yet?  What are your thoughts? Does the game need more?  Did you bother to watch the side content? Comment below!

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11 thoughts on “Currently Playing: Final Fantasy XV

  1. I was so hyped about this game. I got it the exact moment it was up on Xbox Marketplace and played the living hell out of it for a week…and somehow I just got bored. The side quest stuff was distracting me, I started to lose track of the main story and then I uninstalled it. I want to go back, but I’ve acquired a humongous pile of new games since then and I have finally discovered Dark Souls, I’m pretty disappointed I gave up but I just wasn’t having fun anymore. The sad thing is that I couldn’t really tell you WHY I stopped having fun, I just did. I think I might start a new file here pretty soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noted this as a potential problem in my full review – with the structuring of the side quests, I feel like the story becomes even more disjointed, making it difficult to stay interested. Hopefully a fresh file may help catch your interest (and any FreeLC they provide to patch things up).

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  2. Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the internet who has played through (and loves) the entire FFXIII Trilogy, haha.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on XV! It seems kind of silly to make gamers watch a movie first in order to understand the game’s story, but whatever. I’m trying to beat all the main FF titles that I’m missing in 2017. XV is next on my list after I beat IV. I can’t wait to try it.

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    • I will add that once you start playing, the main story line can be beaten very quickly. There are loads of side quests you should check out beforehand. Once you get to Chapter 9, it becomes a linear story till the end

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  3. I have not played this game and have little experience of the Final Fantasy series. I did know someone, however, who followed the series very closely. They always said they found the graphics to the game to be a very high quality (once stating that one screenshot “looked almost real”) and described highly complex stories. I was also interested by the fact some games seem to be set in Medieval worlds and some seemed to use modern technology. The graphics look really good and the pictures of modern cars and fantastical buildings seem like an interesting idea. It is a shame that they were some mistakes in production.
    Are the graphics that good in the playable game? Is the real time combat more enjoyable than the older turn-based system? How do you feel about some of the backstory being explained in anime and a film separate from the game?

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    • Graphics are normally pretty good in FF games and XV was no exception. Real time v action is the big new debate for the series, as it made its name on turn based combat previously. The backstory being spliced across mediums was a neat idea, but did make it feel disjointed in the delivery

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  4. I have bought the game, but haven’t started playing it yet. The story does sound a bit sloppy if it expects you to watch the movie/shorts to get the full picture.

    Those car loading screens will test my patience. I will probably spend them yelling out “are we there yet, are we there yet?”

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  5. After putting 75 hours into the game. The story was not helped in terms of development by its decision to keep the first half of the game open-world and then the second part of the game extremely linear.
    This isn’t a bad thing but the marketing focused mainly on the open-world but interview did elude to a tonal shift in the game.
    The really enjoy the combat, but i do feel it would have benefited from a FF13 style combat system with one of the 4 bro’s taking up specific roles. Gladio is a Sentinel, Prompto a Saboteur, Notcis a Ravager and Ignis as a Healer.

    I think having specific roles would have really made the combat gel and it would have given the characters more purpose in battle and made them feel even more independent and full of life.

    The quest system was uninspired and i think they might have looked at a Monster Hunter type system with the hunts and a looked at FFXIV for just average fetch quests.

    The bosses looked AMAZING but because they were small in comparison to the huge world and locations i felt underwhelmed by what I imagine their grand presence was meant to evoke in a player.

    Overall great game. I’d personally give it a 8/10. I also really enjoyed your reading you FFXV! Great stuff man.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on FFXV. I liked the game despite itself. It doesn’t have the best storytelling or quest structure, but I love the characters and their road trip. It’s fun to play, though it gets a little repetitive because of the lame sidequests and hunts. The story is a little confusing too, mostly because of how it’s told. I did watch Brotherhood (which was great for development) and Kingsglaive, but the game’s plot was hard to follow regardless. Also, I wasn’t that big a fan of Kingsglaive. Otherwise, I put a lot of time into the game itself and am glad I did. It ended up being one of my favorite games of last year. Like you said, it overcomes its deficiencies by just being fun! Hope you have a great time with it!

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    • I could not agree more with your comment. Pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about it. Glaring problems but it didn’t hinder me from having a blast playing the game. Kingsglaive was a bit weak and I definitely wouldn’t watch it if I wasn’t playing through the game. Ive grinded quite a bit so will probably get the story completely next.

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