Stay on target
It’s hard to believe, but Final Fantasy XV has finally been released after languishing in development for the better part of a decade. Any main Final Fantasy game will get a fair amount of anticipation from fans but given how long this title has been in the works; it could very well be the most anticipated entry in years.
Final Fantasy games are known for always delivering a unique experience but FFXV is shaking things up like never before. Combat has received a complete overhaul and offers players a greater amount of freedom. This same freedom extends to the game’s gargantuan, explorable world. In many ways, this is the most “modern” of the Final Fantasy to be released.
Final Fantasy XV has a lot to be excited about so here are the main reasons we think you’ll want to play the game.
The main Final Fantasy series is known for its turn-based battles but this familiar gameplay mechanic is being scrapped in favor of real-time action. Though this may be off-putting for veterans of the series, this direct form of combat should help bring in folks who aren’t fond of waiting for their turn to attack.
Despite being in real-time, combat hasn’t lost any of its strategic nature. Players have to figure out what weapons and magic spells work best against certain types of foes. Getting a feel for your surroundings is crucial since you’ll need to know where you can teleport to when you have to recharge your health and magic.
While combat does retain the strategic nature of previous titles, players will still have to react quickly in the heat of battle. In order to stay alive, players will have to perform specific button prompts at the right moment in order to deal greater damage or to evade certain attacks. Players can also have their allies render assistance during crucial moments in order to get the drop on their foes.
Open world road trip
Open world games are all the rage these days so it shouldn’t be surprising that most of FFXV takes place within a massive explorable land. The last two mainline Final Fantasy games (FFXII and FFXIII) both had varying degrees of open world gameplay but FFXV delivers the type of open world experience modern audiences expect, albeit with a decidedly Japanese slant.
What makes this open world unique is how it blends fantasy and reality. As one drives around in their car, they’ll pass by old-school gas stations while gigantic bird-like creatures fly overhead, or gaze upon average desert terrain with a backdrop of mountains that look as if they were carved by massive hands. Players will be able to explore dungeons, sewers, forests, and all other manner of locations that mix the real with the surreal. And like any worthy open world game, folks can find themselves spending long hours simply exploring the land without even touching the main storyline.
In the past, Final Fantasy games featured characters that were brought together by fate to save the world. Some became great friends and even lovers, but they almost always started off as strangers. The characters in FFXV are different in that they’ve known each other for most of their lives and are essentially a family.
The bond between the characters comes through random bits of dialogue they spout during the course of the game. As you explore, you’ll hear the four fellas remark about their current situation, bust each other’s chops for fun, or even tell inside jokes that you’re not privy to. This may not seem that important to the overall story of the game, but the relationship between Noctis, Prompto, Gladiolus, and Ignis is arguably what will endear Final Fantasy XV to those who play it.
Even going back to the original game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Final Fantasy series has been known for its incredible art and sound design. FFXV is no exception to this rule, and it is delivering some truly stunning current-gen graphics alongside a memorable and diverse soundtrack.
Despite being relegated to consoles, FFXV is graphically on par with some PC games on the market. This game blurs the line between computer generated cutscenes and in-game graphics — making it difficult to distinguish the two. Everything from human characters, monsters, landscapes, and magic effects are a sight to behold. Those who own a PlayStation 4 Pro will be treated to the very best version of the game since they will be able to play it in 4K and in High Dynamic Range.
The soundtrack is on par with the graphics. Much like the game world, the music is a blend of fantastical and real, which each locale having its own distinct music. Along with the original soundtrack, there are a number of real-world songs scattered throughout the game. Hearing “Stand By Me” from the car’s radio while driving past a giant monster may seem odd, but it somehow works.
Champion of Japanese Role Playing Games
With every new Final Fantasy release, fans inevitably ask: “Will this be the game that makes JRPGs popular again?” Final Fantasy XV should be judged on its own merits but many will look to it as a champion — or perhaps even savior — of the JRPG genre. Given how this series is arguably the most high profile of its genre and how that same genre has been all but forgotten by mainstream audiences who prefer RPGs from Western studios, this sort of thinking isn’t entirely unwarranted.
It is doubtful that FFXV will create the JRPG Renaissance fans of the genre have longed for, but it can still shine a spotlight on why these role playing games are so beloved and what they’re capable of delivering — especially when they have a massive budget and the full backing of a AAA developer. FFXV does have strong Western influences with its real-time combat and open world but within its DNA lies the elements that make JRPGs uniquely special.
Those who are tired of playing JRPGs on handheld devices or who want a game in the genre to actually do something fresh can look to FFXV as a beacon for others in the genre to follow.
Final Fantasy XV is available now for $59.99 from Amazon.