Final Fantasy XV, as many would know by now, was released on the 29th of November 2016. The game which was initially meant to known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII had been in productions for almost a decade. Many of us had crazy expectations for the game since it was the first of its series to adopt the open world concept and partly due to the long wait.
To summarise the game a little, we can only control Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum, who is supposed to be royal bloodline and in the game he is accompanied by Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis, and the four of them definitely look like a boyband. Basically, the story is about the four of them going against the Imperial Army to take a revenge against their attack on the Crown City (where Noctis came from), breaking a truce between them and the Imperial Army. You would have to play the game yourself to avoid spoilers.
Unlike previous installments, Final Fantasy XV’s gameplay has changed in a way that we no longer have to wait for our turn to attack the enemy. The attacking gameplay is simply like other open world concept games, for instance, Skyrim. No doubt, Final Fantasy XV’s gameplay is enjoyable. There are many things Noctis and his gang can do, for e.g. driving a car, fishing, cooking, camping, riding chocobos, or even drive a flying car (perhaps post game). They obtain AP (Ascension Points) as well for doing all sorts of activities which can be used to unlock Ascension Skills. Magic can also be crafted by mixing elements (obtained from rocks) and other ingredients (obtained from wild creatures or picked from the ground). A further illustration of this gameplay can be seen in the video below:
There is no doubt that the gameplay of Final Fantasy XV is quite impressive. Having said that, the story may have driven some fans away and have been critiqued a lot. For those of us who have played Skyrim and The Witcher III, we were disappointed with the story (and side quests), to be honest.
This game employs a Chapter theme story line, i.e. Chapter 1 – 15. The story of the game was pretty smooth from Chapter 1 until Chapter 9, where we are still allowed to explore the open world. However, Chapter 10 onwards was pretty rushed and skippy. Many important stories were not told and stories took a big leap all the way to the end. Many important facts were not included (I understand that some may be included as DLCs in the future). It’s a shame that the beginning of the game was quite intriguing but it was let down by the second half of the game. I’m sure many of us were quite pissed off by the heroine having less screen time than other minor characters.
The story from Chapter 10 onwards was also limited in the sense that we can’t explore open worlds. We were always exploring in rather confined areas. It was so confined that Chapter 13 alone felt like I was playing a horror game rather than an open world fantasy. I won’t expose so much about the ending but most players felt like the ending could have been better.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the gameplay mechanics, but the story was a letdown in the end. If the next Final Fantasy installment doesn’t improve on its story, then they might lose their fanbase even further.
If you’re into really good graphics and gameplay, then this is the game for you.