Final Fantasy XV has an engaging story. It's sometimes fun and equally quirky. It's supported by a rich environment, stunning visuals, and beautiful music. It is intricate, emotional and fairly innovative.
Unfortunately, it ended up falling flat for many players and confusing the rest. A big part of that disconnect was because Square Enix relied too heavily upon transmedia devices (like books and movies) to convey the game's overall story. There were also some questionable risks taken and underdeveloped characters that made things even harrier.
Here are 5 speculations on how Final Fantasy XV's story could be improved.
There's a reason a FFXV search yields tons of "explainer" articles when you type it into Google.
The dialogue is obnoxiously obscure when it doesn't need to be, the characters can be difficult to keep track of, and not a lot of the plot is thoroughly explained.
Quite a bit of pertinent information for the game comes from other Final Fantasy media. I really appreciate a broad lore set with plenty of options to digest more content, but what I don't appreciate is a $60 game that feels like it's missing part of its story. What happened to the old days when a story, you know, came in one piece?
A lot of other gamers share the sentiment, and this is possibly the biggest issue the community is having with the game.
I understand this is a story about bros -- and I want to emphasize that I loved that their relationship was the focus.
But did we really need the video game's version of Luna? The love story felt forced and weak. Why? Because her character was written to prop the protagonist... and very unapologetically, she had no other purpose.
Instead of some jewel Noctis chases across Eos, would it not have made more sense to give some depth to her character? Luna is better developed in Kingsglaive -- a movie worth checking out if you are a still a little confused -- but her portrayal in the game is disheartening.
If you really want your game to so heavily revolve around a love story, let both partners have purpose and strength. It felt gross watching Luna obsess over Noctis, live her entire life (in pain) to inspire him and then get stabbed to death for (as far as I can figure out) no real reason. Meanwhile, Noctis is racing Chocobos with his friends.
And don't get me started on her dress ripping up as she was being attacked by the Hydraean -- or Shiva's and Cidney's character designs. We'll leave all of that alone.
If the plot wasn't predictable or confusing, it was missing altogether. Even the most die-hard and well-read fans are scratching their heads at several missing plot points.
For instance, Luna and Noctis always seem to be within a few miles of each other, but they can't seem to meet up. Trading notes via a magical doggie is cute and all, but wouldn't a cell phone call or text message make more sense?
Another good (and glaring) plot hole is the Secretary of Altissia. Why would she bother helping Noctis awaken the Leviathan? She knew you would destroy her city, you knew you would destroy her city, and you totally end up destroying her city.
It also is strange flying through outposts and gas stations and nobody seems to care that Nilfheim has invaded Insomnia. Maybe nobody really liked Insomnia anyway. Who knows. With all the plot holes, it's easy for things to get lost...
A story has to be just fantastic (e.g. Game of Thrones) and the characters truly gripping to get away with killing a majority of the cast. If not, you really (really) risk losing your audience. And well, a lot of us just threw the controller down (or at least rolled our eyes) during our time in the world of Final Fantasy XV. Why? Because Square kept killing everyone -- and wanting us to care!
I understand this is a pretty common theme with Final Fantasy stories, but it felt really overdone in FFXV.
At least the dog lives right?
There were aspects about Ardyn that I loved -- his flowing purple hair and his casual confidence.
The rest seemed incredibly predictable and cliche. Oh, he was once good and now he's bad? He's seeking revenge? Society screwed him over? He dresses flamboyantly? Stop me now if any of this sounds familiar.
Additionally, "The villain doesn't want to kill you yet, but totally could" trope is a bit tired and nobody was shocked when he revealed his true colors.
Even just disguising his actions a bit more would have had players a little more intrigued. Anyone that plays video games or watches movies could spot him from a mile away. Throw in some other motivators besides revenge, or some complications with his rise to power, and we can start to invest in our arch-nemesis.
As complicated as Final Fantasy wants to make the rest of their lore, the Accursed Ardyn was a pretty basic attempt at a super-villain.
Though Final Fantasy XV can be predictable and unnecessarily complicated at times, it is redeemed with a large sprinkle of the Final Fantasy magic fans adore. The relationship between your party members, for instance, deserves praise and really makes this game shine.
We can argue its failures and successes, but at the end of the day, it's nice to see another Final Fantasy installment and I hope there will be many more to come.