The E.A.R.: Final Fantasy XV Review

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TL;DR: 8.5/10, would buy again!

Unfortunately with all good things in life, everything must come to an end; This includes vacations, bomb diggety sex, good sex lives, relationships, good TV shows, good books and good video games.

From beginning to end, Final Fantasy XV is definitely an epic ride (pun intended). If I were to describe Final Fantasy XV, it’s essentially the movies Road Trip, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and Dude Where’s My Car? meets JRPG meets Shakespearean tragedy. It’s an eclectic mix of different storytelling styles that comes together to make one grand adventure.

The plot is simple enough on the surface, You’re a prince who must take a road trip across the country in order to wed your betrothed Lunafreya (I’m totally giving that name to one of my daughters) as per the conditions of a peace treaty between warring empires. You’re accompanied by your cook/driver Ignis, your bodyguard Gladiolus and, your friend/caricature of a camera wielding millennial Prompto. Like the movies mentioned above, what should be a simple “you had one job” task turns into a mess of complications and eventually getting lost in the sauce.

While the game is very enjoyable, it isn’t without flaws and mainly in the story. Let’s break this down.

Story: The story in general is strong but, there are some questionable story telling decisions. Those who followed this game will know that this was originally called Final Fantasy versus XIII and while the general plot remained the same, much of the journey from point A to point B changed drastically in development.

While the story remains strong, I felt like certain major plot twists in the story could have had more impact had they fleshed out certain relationships.

The movie Kingsglaive and the anime Brotherhood do a good job of supplementing the material that got lost in development hell but, I feel like the game would’ve benefited greatly from a solid “chapter 0” and, a few more cutscenes that would flesh out the relationships necessary for making certain major plot twists kick you in the feels a lot harder than they did during the initial playthrough. Overall the story is strong and it ends beautifully but, it felt at times that much was missing that could have made the story a ten.

Characters: The four characters listed above will be the guys you control throughout your journey. Travelling around with these guys is very enjoyable and, you never really get bored of any of them. Each contributes to the story in a very meaningful way. Noctis being the Prince is somewhat bratty and entitled; Ignis is the mother hen of the group, the cook, your brains and intel and, the voice of reason when things get out of hand; Gladiolus is the muscle of the group and the guy that keeps Noctis grounded in reality, a trait that becomes essential in the latter portions of the story. Prompto is your comic relief and keeps the spirits of the group when shit gets real and let me tell you, shit gets pretty real.

While there are other characters you will meet on your journey, the central theme of this game is brotherhood and that plays a role in just about every aspect of the plot through the very end. The brotherhood aspect is expertly executed and man does this game give you the feels. By the end of the game, you will feel a strong bond with all four of these guys. Character development is solid, unfortunately a lot of the development doesn’t happen until the last five hours of the game which is understandable. There’s only so much you can do with an open world.

Music: The music excels in every area and never dissapoints. The score is done by Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts series, Raidant Historia, Mario & Luigi RPG games, Street Fighter II, and many more) and she brings her A game all the way through. Every song feels unique and fits each situation incredibly well. There’s never a single track that feels out of place.

Graphics: The graphics are pretty strong and everything in the scenery looks absolutely gorgeous. There is some minor slowdown, but nothing noticeable enough to impact the experience.

Gameplay: I was pretty nervous about combat, but combat is super fun and makes the game really enjoyable even when it feels grindy. The structure of the quests works well and fit nicely into the world. The controls in combat are streamlined well and never feel overly complicated. There’s a really neat element where Prompto will take pictures throughout the game and you can save them to an album. While this seems like something cheap and gimmicky, it plays a huge role in the story so save some good pics. The leveling system is a bit different, but it works pretty well.

You still get experience from combat, but much like a day at the gym you can’t benefit from those gains without a bit of rest. It’s a realistic enough experience without ruining the game. There are spots on the map where you can camp, and this is where Ignis comes in handy. Ignis can cook up meals with ingredients you gather that can eat to gain stat buffs for the duration of the next day. There are plenty of recipes that can be learned and each is beneficial for a myriad of different situations that arise in the game.

Overall I greatly enjoyed Final Fantasy XV. I felt at times it was a modern retelling of the series’ age old “Four Heroes” narrative that allows you to feel truly connected to the four protagonists. The story was solid, though it could have been better fleshed out at certain points in order to make certain plot twists kick you in the feels much harder. These moments drive the knife into the hear, but they never quite twist the blade. Hopefully DLC and patches will aid in adding the necessary materials to allow the story to really take shape.

Definitely a way more experience than a certain game I played not too long ago *cough* Star Ocean *cough*

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90’s.