About Final Fantasy XV

Ah, Final Fantasy, a world of emo-kingdoms and mechanics moonlighting as porn stars!

As soon as the main hero’s father, who is also a kind king, sent his son off to marry a foreign princess in a faraway land, there was no doubt – halfway there, the father will be killed, the kingdom will be taken over, and the wedding will be blocked by checkpoints.

Our response – in the prologue, let’s create Skyrim and explore the map with our own nose.

Setting out on an epic journey

Long, long ago, Final Fantasy was considered the avant-garde of role-playing games. Time has passed, and many thought it was irretrievable. Some individuals (including your humble servant) always considered FF a dead-end branch of evolution. Fans wrote stories in gaming magazines about their personal experiences regarding the death of Aeris, while others rolled their eyes and remembered Phantasy Star 4. Chrono Trigger borrowed the “with lines” combat system, and our brother endured and continued to pray for human turn-based battles on weekends. Final Fantasy X shook with graphics, and we truly flew on airships in Skies of Arcadia.

When did FF stumble big time, in the thirteenth installment, perhaps… And there were no special ripples on the water – with the internet having grown! – and the game journalists mercilessly gave it a “six out of ten”. For a series with such a pedigree… it was a failure. Part 14 went online, and only Persona was left to fight for the good name of Japanese role-playing games.

By the way, where is the fifth part, we’ve been waiting for it.

Since then, a lot of water has flowed. It was time for the grandeur to return. And it would be highly desirable for it to come back with a bang and in full parade. Otherwise, it would be, firstly, too late, and secondly, pointless. In my opinion, just a little more, and the general public would have been completely ready to accept the idea that high-budget jRPGs are a thing of the past.

But no, Square Enix finally decided to release a new part of FF, and it seems that it turned out to be one of the best games of 2016.

Exploring the vast world of Eos

So, four friends set off on a journey by car, quickly broke down, made it to the workshop, received a storyline quest, and abruptly headed into the desert.

…no, wrong. First, the heir prince Noctis visited the Matrix and underwent a young fighter course there. Because the fighting had a restructuring – the stripes disappeared (not completely, in the background, but they disappeared!), and in their place came rampant teleportation spam and endless waving of stabbing and cutting objects. From now on, we are an arcade. And a wonderful arcade, I must say! Once you understand the controls and the dynamics of the battle, the local scuffles turn into self-sufficient entertainment.

For half an hour, the prince and his entourage fought skeletal monster-dogs and marveled at monster-rhinos. The level of the latter said “no”. The eyes said the same. But what is level when you have already fallen in love with the local grinding and fights? Only a new challenge promising experience, fame, and loot. Moreover, these rhinos stood in the way of my tram.

To make the journey to the nearest map border happen, two rhinos turned out to be enough. The heroes emerged from the battle as winners, but they had few hit points left, and instead of the end of the world, they had to find some shelter to regroup. Returning to the workshop disgracefully seemed like an option for weaklings, and, to your humble delight, FFXV agreed with that. It turned out that the game world was dotted with compact plateaus where our company could set up camp and spend the night. And also relax, replenish before the upcoming day, distribute accumulated experience points, take photos, and so on.

Camping in Final Fantasy XV embodies the main joy of jRPG. This joy lies in the details of virtual life. It may seem like FFXV gives you ten screenshots of your adventures automatically taken during the journey once a game day. But how much happiness and pleasant pictures for memory! And immediately a hint from the interface – share the beauty on “Twitter”, let everyone around admire and envy.

Or let’s take the barbecues prepared by a member of the heroic party named Ignis.

The essence of the hustle is simple. Ten thousand role-playing games of all sizes give you the opportunity to smear that blade with poison or drink that potion to make critical hits more frequent and defense stronger for the next half hour. We’ve been there. Well, in FFXV, for the sake of those same bonuses, you either have to go to a cafe or learn a recipe, dissect a couple of oversized crabs, and give the command to the chef at the save point to arrange a feast. Exactly the same mechanics, exactly the same algorithms, but how much more pleasure you get from the game!

Adventures and battles

After spending the night in nature, my charges set off early in the morning to continue their journey to the edge of the earth. I must say, Vasya wanted to get his first disappointment, and he got it. The end of the map that I stumbled upon turned out to be neither a seashore, nor a steep cliff, nor a towering mountain. The insurmountable obstacle for Prince Noctis, who possessed teleportation magic, turned out to be a two-meter high barbed wire fence. I laughed out loud and aimed the gamepad at the TV.

There is also something iconic in such nonsense, like in Japanese games when they don’t even try to justify impassable walls. Or when a falling tree is not a falling tree, but an immovable model that calmly sinks into the ground on an invisible elevator. You watch the unfolding action and not only do you not get angry, but nostalgia washes over you.

Skyrim didn’t work out, no. At least, not on the first try. As usual, new healthy chunks of the global map are revealed as you progress through the story, while there are checkpoints on the roads. Go back to the car, comrade prince, deal with driving on the highway and the plot twist. Dad can’t wait for his fate, the bride neither eats nor sleeps, she thirsts to jump off the hook, and the protagonist needs drama and conflict.

Camaraderie and combat

Nevertheless, the first ten hours of adventure without any serious pressure on the storyline missions are a solid achievement. There weren’t any particularly side quests – just hunting monsters, fetch quests, and other genre classics – but it’s addictive. The further you go, the more you get into the taste of local battles; there were sessions when I didn’t do anything for two hours except side quests to destroy monsters. Needless to say, when the big world opened up to me, the emo-drama about saving the world took a serious pause.

Fortunately, the peaceful interlude between missions was not canceled.

By the way, it is precisely on the “big map” that you begin to appreciate the royal car. The royal limousine “Regalia” seems like it should stand out as the prince who survived the coup, but only a few recognize Noctis, and his cool car doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Therefore, when the player’s enthusiasm for trekking on foot runs out, you can reach the quest locations relatively quickly or right away, but for a small fee. The practical use of the car is not that great, but again, it immerses you deeper into the atmosphere of FFXV, and unexpected things can happen along the way. Especially if you drive on the highways at night.

Diving into the world of Manual Samuel

After spending the first 50 hours on Final Fantasy, I suddenly realized that I was mainly engaged in monster hunting, fishing (because what is a Japanese game without fishing), and compiling a cooking encyclopedia, while the world continued to wait for the hero. And if you pay close attention to the scenes and decorations, you can see content that is hidden until Noctis and his companions reach another 50 levels.

And it’s great.

Final Fantasy XV is undoubtedly the deepest and most addictive game I have ever played on my Playstation 4. Its only shortcomings are the inevitable plot absurdities and conventions. And, to be completely honest with myself, I can’t help but think, “Why didn’t you come out right after the release of the PS4?” Or Xbox One, for that matter. In all other aspects, the game is flawless, especially for the jRPG genre.

The triumphant return has happened, and it has happened on a grand scale. FFXV is a must-buy not only for enthusiasts of old-school Japanese role-playing games but for every first owner of a PS4 or Xbox One.

Final Fantasy XV
PS4, Xbox One
Square Enix
Square Enix
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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