Final Fantasy XV devoured ten years of development. Hajime Tabata and his team have been working on high tours in the past months to get the latest part of the legendary J-RPG series on time in the market. In the past few weeks, a sharp wind blew. Quite a few expect that “Final Fantasy XV” will not carry the great legacy of its predecessors. The good news is that it is not so dramatic. Nevertheless, “Final Fantasy XV” will polarize and surely not only meet with love.
A Japan fairy tale
The main campaign covers a total of 16 chapters and tells the classic story of the fight Good vs. Evil. The focus is on Prince Noctis and his friends Gladius, Prompto and Ignis. They take it with the minions of the empire, who at the beginning land a heavy blow against Noctis’ home insomnia. As a result, everything is about how the young prince can get enough power and beat the powerful enemy.
For spoiler reasons, we will skip further details or locations here. “Final Fantasy XV” is split into two parts. After you have completed the too short tutorial, the game opens up its open world for you. This is where you go hunting, seeking kings and spending time with camping and upgrading your characters. We recommend that you take advantage of this time before “breaking into new shores”. Then it goes much more linearly towards the final.
These magical moments
And although the group around Noctis will surely provide a lot of conversation, the quartet will get accustomed over time. Yes, the fellows are always wailing. Noctis is almost unbearable and prompt, someone who needs to be stuffed. “Final Fantasy XV” is also annoying with repetitive slogans and some absurd mies translated texts. Nevertheless, this group dynamics has its meaning, which in the second half at least partly explains and pays off. The Rollenspiel creates due to its characters and the usual powerful graphics some really great and emotional moments.
These do not only arise from history. Also motivated to explore the game world. “Final Fantasy XV” is at first very conventional. In the settlements, you collect information, get hunting orders or activate secondary orders. The experience system is simple, and those who hurry, level up very fast and unlock new skills in eight different engineering trees. The rapid successes motivate and fuel the enthusiasm of discovery. A pity: There are hardly any real individualization options for the heroes. The loot yield tends to zero. Instead of fresh weapons, there are more ingredients for recipes and potions for all living conditions.
Monster tame made easy
“Final Fantasy XV” links his road trip setting with the experience and feature system. You can bump the properties of the group members through meals, giving you an advantage before the next fight, or even more experience points. XP can only be converted into hotels and caravans or during camping in level-ascents and skill points.
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The combat system itself is relatively simple. You have standard attacks, as well as simple elemental armies in the form of “shells”, warp attacks and team manoeuvres with the help of command points. The slight delay in the control system is a habit, but basically all functions go quickly from the fingers. The gameplay is great and even though the battles may not have quite the tactical depth of previous “Final Fantasy” parts, they still make fun.
Special battles against really thick chunks have it in themselves and sometimes go very long. A special role is played by the 13 extremely powerful kings. They hide in dungeons and have to be found first. They do much more damage than commercial blades but feed on the vital energy of the main character. Means: If you act too aggressively, you are in distress. This makes difficult decisions within the battles. The limit break bar complements the kings and is something like the rage mode. If you have filled the blue bar, you can temporarily use the king’s weapons without any limits and thus also easily fall into the biggest opponents.
WHAT WE FIND BAD
Take your time!
Just Japanese roller-skates are well-known for that they like to take up really only after 20 or 30 hours so really. While “Final Fantasy XV” opens already after a very short time, it is a lot of fun with little things. Animations during the refuelling of the Regalias or the serving of meals or long trips are still very nice at first. Over time, however, they are taking advantage of some of them.
“Final Fantasy XV” likes to play with little things and that creates an atmosphere at first. Later, however, an active skip of the players would have been desirable. The long charging times – even on the PlayStation 4 Pro – interfere with this. Regardless of whether it was a quick trip to the Regalia or the next mission site: the loading times would have been much shorter.
More mass than class
Final Fantasy XV Game Review, Especially in the case of mission design, “Final Fantasy XV” mentions his ten-year development period. “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” and “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” have recently proved that story-telling and secondary tasks can go hand in hand, the Squares Rollenspiel only rarely succeeds. Instead, the title of the prince or King Noctis and his entourage quickly demarcates the way for mechanics and cooks. This would not be a problem, but many secondary tasks consist only of messenger steps and are constructed according to the simple scheme “Go to point A, get object B and set it to figure C”. The hunting orders are the nice exception, since here at least the monster design is true. Apart from that, many assignments are very unimaginative.
An uncomfortable feeling sneaks us in the stealth stakes. When infiltrating bases, you often have to remain undetected or occasionally shadow your target person before the hell breaks loose. The conquest of the camps is artificially linked and stolen from an early Ubisoft game. As a negative example of the fact that “Final Fantasy XV” can not really deal with soft tones, the 13th chapter of the story is mentioned here. Sneaking is definitely not the strength of the game.
Between fun and chaos
For us, the fighting system is one of the greatest strengths and the greatest weaknesses of the game. The real-time battles are handy, but often just too wild and chaotic. Especially in the fight with many monsters or soldiers, the overview goes almost completely. Take it with particularly large creatures up, the camera likes to play sometimes crazy. The “Pausenmodus” does not grant any tactical depth but allows only the exploration of the opponents and their weaknesses. However, the function does not provide for more tactics. Other titles – regardless of whether an action-adventure or a rolling game – prove more sensitivity and give you more control over the battlefield.
Final Fantasy XV: Rolling game giant device?
“Final Fantasy XV” offers truly ambivalent game pleasures. It matters between great joy, strange moments and minor annoyances. The “Stand by Me” -Roadtrip charm of the first 20 to 30 game hours must be accepted as well as the time-acclaimed “bromance” moments.
The game provides a monumental as well as slightly embarrassing moment. Nevertheless, “Final Fantasy XV” is not a total disappointment. The fighting system is pleasing, the game world huge and the campaign emotionally captivating.
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Of course, the main story strand with a playtime of 20 to 25 hours remains behind the expectations. But whoever not only sprints from one mission to the next, but also enjoys the opportunity to play off-road and missions, will get loose on 50 or more hours. “Final Fantasy XV” wants to be discovered and played slowly. You have to take the time to enjoy the title.
We were positively surprised in the test, how fast the hours fly and how the story packs despite the unusual characters. Nevertheless, playful weakness remains immanent and scratches noticeably on the polished high-gloss facade. “Final Fantasy XV” will polarize, but it is still a very good action-rolling game, which sweetened the long Winterabende.