Final Fantasy XV (PS4|XB1)
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    Well it's finally here. After 10 years of hype, post-hype, changes in direction, changes in universe, and a whole host of creeping cynicism, Square Enix's latest entry in the long running Final Fantasy series is out today. What's new this time around? Final Fantasy has fully embraced both open world gaming* and real time action combat. The world is probably the most modern/Earth-like world in a FF game yet. And in cues from other recent popular JRPG-ish games, like Monster Hunter and the Souls series, SE has appeared to inject a lot of monsters with enormous size and scale.

    * They basically already had with Lightning Returns, but nobody played that.

    The game came out today, and the reviews so far are... solid. They're basically what XIII got in terms of score, but with radically different comments and feelings on this game.

    What do you all think? Ten year revolution in the making? Another blow to the series? A solid but unspectacular game? Will you be getting it?
  • I have made the conscious decision to purchase one and only one game this month. Either this or the last guardian. So here's to waiting on last guardian impressions.
  • I see this as Kingdom Hearts 3 but with a more approachable storyline. I'm very excited for it but unfortunately Australian retailers are all pricing it at $80-$100. For comparison, I just got Pokemon Sun for $44, a deal down from the usual $60. And then to purchase it (FF15) digitally it is $90 or $130 for the premium.

    I'll pick this up a bit later because of this but am super keen on the Final Fantasy 12 remaster because of how much I enjoyed the game on the PS2.
  • @sloth Australian pricing is still criminal! I feel for you dude.
  • The intro seems silly with the car. I don't know if I want this or not. I wasn't a fan of the FF13 run of games.
  • The whole game is silly. I haven't played much (nor do I intend to) but from what I did play it felt like Dragon's Dogma mixed with One Direction. As far as gameplay goes, it's what I expected it would be. If you're a teenage girl, or have the mindset of one, this game has your name written all over it.

    I may pick it up at some point down the road, when it's a bargain bin deal, and I've had both my legs broken in a freak rollerblading accident, and my Dark Souls 3 disk is broken.

    Noobied by 1sloth
  • I don't believe the Square Hype train anymore after the debacle that was FF13, i'll wait and see
  • @Dr Flibble Re: teenage girl sentiment, I think you've just sold me on the game.

    Did anybody else watch the Kingsglaive movie that came out shortly before with what's her face from game of thrones? I really liked that movie and the world that came with it.
  • Glad I could help. ;-)
  • "A Final Fantasy game for first-timers and fans"

    So read the first words you will see every time you boot up this game. There is an obvious to intent here to broaden the series, to try to get out from under mechanics that are seen as anachronistic. We can talk until our ears bleed about JRPGs over the last 5-8 or so years, and the role of Japanese games in the video game market, but that's neither here nor there.

    I am around 14 hours into this game and will be playing a lot more in the coming week. I have a ton of thoughts but am largely too lazy to type them all out. That said, if you go into this expecting "TES/Fallout/GTA/Saint's Row" but Final Fantasy, you're using the wrong open world construction. This game owes a lot of its core gameplay to Lightning Returns, interestingly enough, in how you approach and comb through the world and travel, and is more in the vain of something like the aforementioned LR, or MGS V in that regard, as opposed to TES. There's nothing stopping you from leaving your town and walking anywhere, but you're not going to be stumbling upon smuggler's dens and troll caves with sweet gear at the end, and settlements and the like every minute of travel. It's more of a vessel in which you use the car to procure quests from the various rest stops along the highway, which then send you into the wilderness. With the added reality of night time being way too dangerous to quest in early on, you're restricted to chaining a few quests together during the day, then calling it a night at a camp or rest stop, and starting it up tomorrow.

    In that sense, it's less an open world and more a large continuous quest. Hunts and sidequests gradually move you from east to west, but they are all received from the largely uninspiring aforementioned rest stops, which usually contain a restaurant, a shop or two, and way too many NPCs for simply refueling a car and taking a leak.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the car. I like all the little dialogue that happens, it's a very natural way to have a nostalgia trip; I now can listen to the songs of like every main FF game while I am in it, and little details like drinking from a cup, turning around in a chair to talk, etc., are neat. Most trips are 1-6 minutes long. But here's the reality; in a 40-60 hour game, when all is said and done, you'll have spent a good few hours of gameplay watching a car auto-drive (you can "manually" drive it, but there's no steering so it's not really manual at all). You get an occasional picture taking side quest or dialogue tree in the middle of a rare drive here and there or whatever, but stopping every time a gathering node comes up near the road on your mini map is not compelling (nor is it remotely necessary, the game shits out mats to you), and the reality is, I've used some trips as time to grab myself a beer or take a piss in real life.

    Outside of the car, combat is a bit more in depth than Bethesda lookalikes. This isn't a quick bar game, but it is one that rewards fluidity. You'll be mostly using three buttons; one for dodging and blocking, one for warp-striking, which is basically a long range teleport that ends in an attack, and then your standard button for attacking, which has directional intricacies. Obviously too there are items and powerups and stuff you can use.

    At its best, you use the teleport to get to high ground; a large boulder, cliff face, windmill, etc., warp to an enemy for double damage, chain some attacks, execute some rolls or parries, then hit the high ground again and start it over, leaving you with a sort of naturally built arena that you will be warping in and around of. This can be very rewarding. 

    The combat flounders when you're fighting large enemy groups. I've had fights of 12, 14 enemies, and in those cases, dodging and blocking and parrying is hard to pull off, and I end up abusing my teleport strike and relying on face tanking.

    As many open world games, nobody q uite knows how to balance these games yet, because all players do a variety of number of side quests. Some will try to stick to almost entirely story quests, some are completionists, some are in the middle. As someone who has done the vast majority of hunts and side quests available to me, I am 8-10 levels at any given time over the recommended level of the quests I am currently pursuing.

    All that said, there are some nice changes here from FF games. There was a truly spooky, dark, jump scare laden dungeon at one point that wasn't afraid to have you go the wrong way and have to double back occasionally. There is way more gathering and exploration skills like fishing, cooking, etc., than ever before in the series, and while I don't really find them that compelling, they're unobtrusive and not required, but merely provide other options for ways to play.

    Mostly, though, I am enjoying uncovering the world, completing quests, and gradually becoming more powerful. This is a console game, so while it's no Witcher 3 on PC, there are some pretty cool looking moments, and in the year 2016 it's very easy to capture these with modern consoles. Facial animations and the detail that characters display in "living in" the world are well done.

    Does the open world structure work? I guess it depends. Like I said, this hues closest to Lightning Returns, a game that got dumped on rather conclusively, but one I liked quite a bit. While XV avoids the god awful story and dialogue of LR, it does leave some of that arena to be desired. There is an odd detachment from the perils of the world around you, the geopolitical state - and the character you're supposed to marry is completely and utterly unknown to me still well into the game, so I have no attachment to them, either.  

    But the characters I do know are mostly good. The four young men at the center all have their unique personalities, and the game avoids too much melodrama so far. There's a nice sense of comradeship and growth and a desire to experience the world from them.

    Mostly, I think if you come into this game less as a freeform open world, and more of one in which you gradually traverse it to pursue linear goals, you'll be fine. There are neat sights and sounds, solid combat, and solid RPG traits of character growth and strengthening. If you hated LR's gameplay, or MGS V or Dragon Age: Inquistion, this probably isn't for you. If you want Skyrim in FF, this isn't for you. If you wanted a less restrictive and more broad experience from FF games, and one that doesn't necessarily follow the enemy, story, and worldbuilding tropes that we've had in previous games, then you'll get a lot out of this.
  • I played some more today and did nothing but a shit ton of side quests. I am like level 30 or so. Fishing is dull. The amount of quests that have you searching a large area for invisible objects is frustrating. The enemies are getting harder and that is good. 

    The story is so underbaked and the daily adventures of my squad so detached from the world that it's one of the weakest facets. FF XIII was sloppy and melodramatic but the story was emotive and there was a constant sense of danger. It made you feel for the characters in a way XV hasn't.

    The core questing and exploring is still largely enjoyable.

    The car driving is getting old but fuck I love having like every FF game's soundtrack to listen to.

    I really like it, but I am pretty convinced that outside of my love of the series, if you're somebody who'd be approaching this with a different/less fan-centric perspective, you'd probably come away thinking it is solid but definitely not a great game.
    Noobied by 1shozaya
  • Is there any change in the squad, or are  you constantly rolling with the backstreet boys?
  • Just beat the game. I can honestly say I've enjoyed it immensely so far. It starts incredibly strong, then manages to fumble in the middle, but brings it back with one of my favorite video game endings of all time. I'll post a more in depth review tomorrow, but for now I'd recommend purchasing it if you're a fan of the series.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • @Epke Same 4 dudes all game. At least as far as I have played. I can't imagine it'll change.
  • Was gonna post a complete review, but GoodEnoughForMe really hit all the key points I was gonna make. Also, with all the planned DLC that was just announced to make a more complete game, I'll just wait until then to make a final judgment. As it stands right now though, I'd say FF: XV is a great game. Despite missing content, it still told a compelling story. 

    Summary: Noctis's story is one you won't be too unfamiliar with as it does fall into some older FF tropes. This however, does not detract from the overall experience of the entire game. The story starts off on a high note, with your group of friends out of gas and pushing the Regalia (car) down the high way to the song "Stand by Me". This is a great opening by itself, and the game continues to capitalize on moments like these through out the entire story. 

    However, where you think these kind of moments would shine, they are nonexistent. One major event early on (very minor spoilers) is the death of Noctis's father. After finding out about the crisis they're in, its sort of just "back to business" for the boys. They do come back around and touch on these subjects, but not on the level you'd expect for the most part. 

    After you start to get into the story a bit, you get a taste of large scale battles! In my opinion, these cinematic fights are some of the high points of the whole game. Immediately after Chapter 8 you will be asked to get on a boat, and this really just puts you on a fast track for the end of the game. It's at this point that the missing content becomes pretty obvious. This part of the game also suffers from one of the worst designed areas in the game. A stealth horror level, that removes you of all your gear and forces some of the most poorly designed weapons in the game on you. It's not fun or even interesting. It is an atypical: The villain has trapped you, and will proceed to taunt you for the entire time you are trapped levels. 

    The ending. The ending was fantastic and honestly as I stated earlier one of my favorite endings of all time. That grim sense of urgency that was lacking earlier in the game, has turned into complete dread. This elicits more emotions than the rest of the game combined. I can't say much without spoiling it, but to call the ending anything less than powerful I feel would be an injustice. Then again I could just be coming off the hype of it, so my opinion is a little skewed haha. 

    With the addition of more content, I'm sure the game would be a 9.5/10. As of right now though, I would give it a Strong 8.0/10. 

    I'll post some more about it involving the combat and world at a later date. I'm enjoying the post game and trying to platinum at the moment haha. LVL 89 and everything just keeps getting harder. Yow

    Noobied by 18drawt
  • As someone who DETESTED the FF13 run of games, how would I fare here?
  • @Manio I didn't like 13 and I am having a hell of a lot of fun with XV. 13 felt too linear and the combat seemed off to me.Here you have an open world (sort of) and the action based combat feels great. 
  • I'm finding myself in the opposite scenario, I quite enjoyed 13 but this one is boring my tits off.
  • If you play FF primarily for story and worldbuilding, then yeah, XV is a dud, to put it simply.

    I cleared out chapters 3, 4, and 5 tonight. Mixed bags! Some parts of 5 were dull, 4 had shoddy camera during the penultimate fight, but the base in chapter 5 was legit. The tomb in 3 was pretty good. The chocobo theme rendition is a very good one. Wildlife running across the road is a neat moment.
  • Stealth missions = meh
    Aerial boss fights with awful camera = bad
    Dialogue with gang + Iris = good
    Bigass monster boss fights = good
    Sidequests that have you looking for a tiny object on ground = ugh
    Sidequests otherwise = fun
    Noobied by 18drawt
  • @GoodEnoughForMe I like that categorisation after reading a couple of reviews I have got a basis already. That nicely spells out which of the mission types are a problem; rather than hearing they are in general hit and miss.
  • I just did a mission where I had to search for red frogs. My god that was a huge pain.
  • Yeah I skipped that one. After like ten minutes and two frogs out of five I was just like... nah. There's a similar one where you have to find invisible traps in the ground. Also skipped.

    I've completed about 90 sidequests now and am 15-20 levels over the recommended level for the story quests i have.
  • I have just done my first big battle for the chocobo racing place. The Minotaur thing that is scaring the chocobo's. Great little fight. Using my Fire magic on barrels to make the battle easier was kinda fun.

    If there is inventive little ways to beat other battles that'd be kinda cool.
  • Jumping/interactive in this game sharing the same button is a giant mess. I've made dozens if not hundreds of jumps when I just wanted to interact. It's also weird how they will have quests at NPCs but it's not the actual NPC who gives it, but a really small magazine next to them, so you have to try to get your body close enough to trigger the item but not too close to trigger the NPC.
  • Right so I cleared chapters 8-12 and did part of 13. And uh... hm. Starting at around chapter 8 the game yanks the open world away and goes all linear. Which wouldn't be so annoying if it didn't just so happen that around chapter 8 is when the story jumps the shark. All the 4 dudes are still entirely backstory-less, character-less, and rather dull. Almost all of the women, except Lunafreya, which is a completely wasted character arc, are more interesting, particularly Iris and Aranea, who need more screen time badly. One thing the game did a good job of up into that point was avoiding the Proper Noun disease that permeated the 13 trilogy. But alas, it eventually falls victim to that too. It was very hard not to check out of all the silly cutscenes and lingo and melodrama in chapters 9 and 10.

    Chapter 13 got a lot of grief and I get why. I'm not even done with it and it's too long. It's tedious and completely separate from everything that makes the game fun.

    At this point I want to quickly beat the story part of the game, which is kind of lame, and go back and do some of the high level hunts, which are pretty fun. And some of the high level side quests.

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