Final Fantasy XV Review: A Decade in the Making, and Well Worth the Wait
Final Fantasy XV went through a long development process and many changes from ist original design. But now, ten years later, I can say that it was well worth the wait. Fans of the series, RPGs in general, and even those new to either will love the latest installment of Final Fantasy.
Although the game is not perfect and had some frustrating elements, the good far outweighs the bad.
What I Loved
This game is pure Final Fantasy to the core, but it has a change that automatically puts it near the top of my favorite Final Fantasy games -- the battle system.
The battle system is very polished and exciting, especially if you are a fan of real-time combat rather than turn-based.
The game even gives you a wait option that allows you a few moments during combat to scan enemies for weakness before continuing on. There are times when this wait feature will happen automatically, which did slow down the combat from time to time. But overall, I found it to be far more beneficial than not. And if you don't want to deal with the slows at all, you can always choose to set the default Active system for combat so the game doesn't slow down at all.
But it's not just the wait option that makes the combat shine. It's also the fluidity of the link attacks, and the fact that some phenomenal teamwork gets happens in combat.
To top it all off, I never get tired of warp-striking enemies.
I usually don't comment on graphics because most games look good now, but Final Fantasy XV is exceptional. Everything looks so realistic -- especially the food you can cook and purchase. I often found myself craving the delicious dishes that were prepared in-game, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. (But I'm calling it a good thing.)
Food aside, the characters' features look really lifelike, and everything about them is very detailed. This is best demonstrated in the famous cutscenes that Final Fantasy is known for. Not many people can create such awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping visuals as these folks can. And with all the graphical updating, these cinematics are even more impressive.
It wouldn't be a Final Fantasy game without a story that draws you in and a cast of likable characters. Final Fantasy XV is no exception -- and although the 4 main characters each fit very specific roles, their interactions are very memorable. Every cut-scene offered good banter, and I never got tired of hearing what any of them had to say.
The narrative itself had its share of twists and surprises, and I never knew exactly how it was going to turn out. This is one you definitely want to play all the way through to get the full picture, and you will be glad you did.
One of the final chapters provided a very different tone than the rest of the game. But in spite of having a different feeling, it was still very well-executed and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
There is a ton of content in Final Fantasy XV. If you just play through the story and do no side missions, you can finish the story in 20-25 hours, which is short compared to past games. But there is a lot of side content.
There is so much you can do, so much to level up, and so much to customize that you could spend a whole day at the beginning of the game just exploring it all.
This FF entry combines several immersion elements you don't generally see very often in the franchise. There were times when it seemed like I was playing Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, or Kingdom Hearts. It may seem odd when put in writing, but when you actually play the game and explore what it has to offer, you will understand how none of these features seem out of place.
From fishing to bounty hunting, you will not run out of things to do. There are plenty of side quests, and you can easily take your time and spend 100+ hours if you choose not to rush through the story. I found myself even having fun with the pictures you can get from Prompto.
The best part is that there is sort of a bonus chapter after you complete the game that allows you to play the open world and complete all the extra content in the game. This way you can finish the game and not feel like you are missing out once you've finished the main quest!
What I Disliked
I had some frustrations while playing the game, but they didn't take much away from the experience overall.
It is a shame that you cannot customize individual controls and you only get 3 preset options, but that's not a big deal.
Instead, my biggest complaint with the game is the fact that the jump button and the interact button are the same. I can't tell you how many times I jumped on accident while trying to interact or talk to someone, then did it multiple times because the icon comes up then disappears.
There were also times when a quest was next to someone I could talk to, so I had to position my character just right to do what I wanted to do. While a minor hitch, it did get annoying after a few times.
I found the camera to be a little wonky at times, but really that was not a major issue.
Final Fantasy XV is a dream come true for fans of the series and a fantastic RPG regardless of the name. This is a game that I'm sure any RPG fan will enjoy -- and even those that may not usually play the genre.
There are a few things that players might find frustrating, but its flaws are not enough to bring the FFXV down, and all of them can be corrected very easily.
This game shows that Final Fantasy is not over -- and the series will continue to go strong as long as Square Enix keeps making future entries with the same care they put into this one.
Note: This review was written with a copy provided by the publisher.