Final Fantasy XV PlayStation 4 Review

Final Fantasy XV was well-worth the 10 years it took to release and I cannot wait to go back and play it all over again

By Grayshadow, Posted 02 Dec 2016

Final Fantasy XV opens with a screen that reads "A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-Timers". Creating a fusion of the two also meant making sacrifices but Final Fantasy XV is a beautiful combination of elegant storytelling and alluring battles. The latter half of the game does have a stealth section that breaks the game's rhythm but ultimately Final Fantasy XV is a beautiful and exhilarating adventure full of memorable moments and challenging battles. 

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

When we meet Prince Noctis and his crew they’re on route to a political marriage to his childhood friend to unite families and stop a horrible war between nations. During the signing of the peace treaty the city is invaded, Noctis’ father killed, the crystal that powered the city is stolen (More context about the invasion is giving in the movie Kingsglaive). Noctis must now retake the throne by collecting powerful items left behind by former kings and return balance to the world.

Unlike other Final Fantasy games, XV incorporates a lot of real-world elements that can sometimes become vexing. Noctis and his crew sleep in motels, go camping, eat at local restaurants, and gossip with one another. Strangely despite the game, certain around a terrible war not a lot of people make reference to this. Instead, they seem oddly too cheery, as nothing has happened. After watching Kingsglaive this was especially bewildering considering how the characters within the film described how the war affected the people. Destroying homes and leaving many survivors as refugees.

Like other popular open-world games Final Fantasy XV allows you to fully explore right from the beginning. The locals are more than willing to ask for you help for a number of tasks including research, photography, farming, and hunting monsters. Since money is no longer given to the player for defeating enemies, like in past Final Fantasy games, completing these side missions serve not only as a way to gain new items and extra experience but at the primary source of your income. However, most side missions revolve around the collecting items and killing specific targets.

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

The world of Lucis is teeming with lush environments waiting to be uncovered. For the most part, you’ll travel by car and by foot. While in your car Noctis can take the wheel or have Ignis drive automatically. Fast travel stations are limited to your previous rest stop and your car, depending on how far determines the load time. Some may find driving everywhere boring, for me I was entertained looking at the beautiful world around, listening to the random conversations between Noctis and his friends, and playing classic Final Fantasy music. 

 Running isn’t after taxing as many other open world games. For example, you can recharge your stamina meter for an extra boost by clicking in on the thumbstick before your meter depletes. Chocobo rentals are available for longer journeys and grow stronger and faster the more you use them. Chocobo races are available and reward the player with new cosmetic items for your Chocobos. They’ll even assist you in combat, although they aren’t very effective. 

Don’t expect for new members to join your party permanently, instead, Noctis will be accompanied by his four closest friends during most of the game. This includes Gladiolus the muscle and older brother figure, Ignis the strategist and cook, and Prompto the relaxed and comedian of the group. Each one has their own colorful personalities and during the course of the adventure, you’ll see why these four friends are so close. They protect and support one another regardless of the challenges ahead. They know Noctis is going against impossible odds but attempt to dull the situation with small talk and bad laughs while eating around a campfire. 

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

Final Fantasy XV finally delivers the active combat system that many of us have been waiting for since Kingdom Hearts. Taking the best elements of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy Type 0 combat is fairly straightforward. Players will only directly control Noctis and manage special attacks and item use for your allies. If things become too hectic you can always pause and re-equip your characters or choose to keep things fluid. You don’t have access to a menu to issue specific commands to your AI controlled allies like in Final Fantasy XII, instead, the only direct command you can give is a special attack when a meter fills up. Surprisingly your allies are smart and will act in your best interest and practice self-preservation without you having to devote attention to their survival. Enemies will, for the most part, focus most of their attacks on Noctis. In one instance I ran around in a circle while a powerful foe chased me, letting my allies to whittle its health down.

Combat is flashy but shallow compared to other Final Fantasy games. Defensive spells such as Barrier and Shell are no longer present and items have replaced all dispelling magical attacks. For the most part, combat centers on aggressive offense and evading.

Enemies are varied and manageable, giving specific tells when they’re about to attack. The issue is the camera, especially with larger enemies. During multiple battles, I have to struggle with it as it rammed into the inside of an enemy and darted back and forth. Night and day cycles also change what enemies appear, with night cycles increasing the spawn rate of deadly enemies.

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

Noctis has access to magical attacks, warping large distances, and swapping between four weapons. During combat, Noctis can deliver your standard combo attack until interrupted by an enemy, block, and phase through attacks. Chaining these attacks together in essential during the more difficult enemies where your reaction time is put to the test. Warping, if abused, can leave Noctis drained and venerable to attack. If things become too overwhelming Noctis can summon powerful Gods called Astrals.

Astrals are the summonings of Final Fantasy XV. These giant creatures display god-like powers in the way of destructive attacks that ravage everything in their way. To prevent the player from abusing their power Astrals can only be used under very specific conditions, such as very low health or close to water. Giving the incredible strength of these Gods it’s understandable why the developers didn’t give you free range to use them like in other Final Fantasy games.

Spells have received a massive power boost compared to previous games. These abilities can be crafted by bottling fire, ice, and lightning harvested from elemental springs in the world. Combining these elements and items within the game can yield potent spells. Taking reference from Final Fantasy 8 spells aren’t permanent and must be replenished. Spells can also affect your party if they’re caught within the area of impact. Judging whether to use a spell, where it’s being cast and if it’s worth it are decisions you’ll have to make.

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

As you earn experience your party levels up. Leveling requires Noctis to sleep, disturbing experience accordingly. Sleep isn’t necessary but its the only way to level up. Levels grant you access to AP points which can be spent on the Ascension Grid.  These include specific AI behaviors, powerful skills, and passive abilities to earn experience and money faster. These points are rare, don’t expect to unlock everything. Some abilities cost 3x the amount of lesser abilities. 

Accessories play a larger role in Final Fantasy XV, serving as the primary equipment to increase your character’s power. In addition to a boost in stats, they also offer status protections. Weapons are rare and vendors usually carry a limited variety of weapons to choose from. It seems strange that clothing acts as another stats boosting option. Seeing that the menu has so many slots to accommodate various styles but grants access to so little is bewildering. 

The main story of Final Fantasy XV does take a negative turn during the final half. Here players are forced down a linear set of quests, similar to Final Fantasy XIII, but you’re free to leave for the open-world. Fortunately, the amazing cutscenes, breathtaking boss battles, and an outstanding soundtrack helps keep the action intense. It’s clear that the developers attempting to make the game accessible to casual gamers while adhering to dedicated Final Fantasy fans by offering a short burst of information regarding the main plot and then resuming its carefree attitude. The in-game lip-syncing also has some troublesome issues.

Final Fantasy XV,Square Enix,NoobFeed,

Final Fantasy XV’s main campaign can be completed in about 35 hours, which is short compared to other games in the franchise. However, the end game content is easily the biggest draw. A fully fleshed out world full of legendary weapons, colossal size enemies, and challenging dungeons are available for those willing to explore. 

Final Fantasy XV is a wondrous adventure teeming with incredible battles and a lush world waiting to be explored. Repeating side missions, linear later half of the main story and basic combat system are appealing for newcomers to the franchise. However, Final Fantasy XV delivers in every other category with one of the most memorable adventures in the franchise. Final Fantasy XV was well-worth the 10 years it took to release and I cannot wait to go back and play it all over again.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2014-11-01

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