When they said this is a fantasy based on reality, my first though was that we where gonna see the heavy toll war has on people, topics like discrimination, slavery and human suffering, after all, this was said to be a very dark story. Instead the reality we got is the obsession people have with taking selfies and using filters, eating exotic foods, listening to bad music in the radio that no one wants to listen to but hipsters because its not "mainstream", fishing and growing organic carrots. None of this is the kind of epic adventure I was waiting from a Final Fantasy game, specially one that took 10 years to come out. This is an alternate reality if Knights where hipsters instead of warriors trying to save the world.
(THERE'S GONNA BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!)
The taking picture thing is so bad in this game even the game forces you to take pictures of itself, its like the game is insecure of itself and want you to tell it its beautiful. I was OK with Prompto taking pictures, it was cute and funny, but you also have to take pictures for other people as side quest. Who though this was epic? It gets annoying and make the game less attractive when they force those nice views down your throat.
I would have accepted this kind of light quests if the story would have being more dark and bloody, but it takes like 9 chapters for the story to get interesting and then when its finally making you care about whats happening it ends and it feels completely disconnected from the nature of the side quests.
For example, King Regis dies, Noctis finds out about it, he feels bad about it, next thing he is fishing, taking pictures and complaining about eating toast for breakfast and going on adventures to find tomatoes for some dude in a dinner. This is not epic, this is not what a king should be doing! Remember this is a game where people wanna immerse themselves in an epic adventure, not fishing and cooking, that you can do in real life, i wanna fight evil empires and dragons!
I wanted to see a world devastated by war, where the side quest would give background story from the war, the world and the live that those people endure during this conflict. I wanted to see a world torn apart by the empire and Daemons and i wanted to be the one fixing all of those problems or at least most of the problems. I wanted to feel the pain of the people in this world but all they care about its taking pictures and food! How am I, the player, suppose care about whats happening in this world?
Kingslaive seems like a movie that took place in a different universe. They talk about how bad life was outside the wall of the city then when you get out all the problem people have is that they need "certain ingredients" for their recipes! No villages or small towns are taken by the empire for you to liberate, no resistance fighting the empire to defend their home from the invasion, no people suffering from the daemon outbreaks, no one actually cares the king died, nothing epic going on with this game side quests and side quests is where you gonna spend most of your time in this game so as a player I would like to do more epic things that feel like I'm making a change for the people or learning new things about this world.
I wanted to connect with this NPCs and main characters, because the world feels pretty much alive, its beautiful without a doubt, but it seems like their life is completely fine. Really no NPC told me about how he/she lost a loved one or a limb or whatever because of the empire or daemons. Again this light funny quests would have been enough if the story was darker and at least twice as long and you needed a break from the drama, but in 10 years the came out with 15 chapters which are a mission each, so 15 missions, its pretty short and it feels rushed. Without the help of scenes from the movie and the omen trailer some of the scene would have looked lame. I feel like there was more things going with Luna, but probably they decided to drop that story as a DLC, the same way the probably gonna drop what Noctis friends did in the 10 years gap in the game, which probably would have added so much more to the story and should have been in the game.
In my play-through, I did so many side quest that I had 15 levels above the final story missions level and even then i played less than 35 hours. I had to talk to the time machine Dog to go back because i just didn't wanted to finish the game just yet. By the way its never explain why the dog have time travel powers or why Noctis don't use those powers to save Luna or warn his father of the empire invasion...
This is not what we where promised, this is not a dark, epic story that was gonna make us cry or take us 50 hours like the director told us it was gonna last. This story was so simplistic, so casual, it destroys the atmosphere created in the movie, where we saw a dead body of one of the friends of the protagonist, we saw blood, we saw war at a big scale. None of that is in this game. And even if the story wasn't as dark like the movie or some of the fight scenes in the anime, it could have been way, way better than what we got.
The story feels rush in the first 8 chapters, they miss so many opportunities to take their time with it and build a strong foundation with the small cast of heroes and villains so by the end you care enough about whats going on, but you don't (spoilers) For example, when Luna died, i didn't care, i barely got to know her. The black hair woman was a summon all that time, and I'm just wandering why she had a human appearance and the others summons didn't? Or Why unlike the other summons she was so willing to help? Who are those important looking characters that appear for 1 minute and then are never seen in the game again? What happen to them? Regis was barely in the game, no build up to care about him unless you see the movie which i bet most people haven't seen and you shouldn't need a movie in the first place. If i hadn't watch the film or the anime, I would have missed many key components to the story and this is unacceptable in my opinion. It feels like the movie and the anime should have being part of the game and they decided to take those elements out and it hurt the game because now it feels shallow.
Another thing with Luna is, why is she and Noctis obsessed with each other? They only saw each other once. And you barely explore what they lived together as kids in the game, so its like they love each other because "reasons". They should had a chapter just you playing as young Noctis going in an adventure with Luna to build that relationship and let us the player get to know her better, so when she passed we could feel something. Also if you gonna have them making out in the end, give them the chance to have one last adventure as adults. That kiss came out of no where, I though they where really good friends, now they are kissing each other? Lets be honest here guy, that kiss didn't have a proper build up.
I was waiting for years to fight Luna's brother (Ravus I think) from when he looked like a white mage till he looked kind of like an assassin creed character to what we got know, only to see the idiot die before that. And he was ready to give me Regis sword? Why? I didn't do anything to earn his respect and in the movie he hates Noctis and Regis, I though I was gonna fight him at least 2 times and earn his respect. Instead we see him like 2 times in the whole game and when you fight him, his a monster type of crappy boss fight. What a waste of a villain, that could have being a tragic villain, that we the players would have learn to love and hate having to killing him. But you don't get to care, because you don't get to see him have that change of heart he had at the end, it just come out of nowhere and you never get to confront him enough times to build a relationship with him to create rivalry.
There is just one fight, other than Ardyn's fight, where you get to fight a human warrior in the game and is the Dragon woman, which was great, but you only fight her once. There is no badass human characters to look forward to fight in this game, only big monsters which is fun, but its not all you want from FF games. One of the favorite things in RPGS is knowing there are at least 2 cool looking characters in the game, that are amazing warriors, that look way cooler than my character, that look way more powerful than me and I know that i have to fight them at some point.
You barely see this villains and interact with them, or get to know their past or their motivations. Like the emperor, why is he doing what he does? How did the main bad guy convince him to do all of this things? So many questions that they could have taken their time to give us answers by creating side quest to explore more of the story and the myths behind this world and yet they decided to make this the ultimate selfie fantasy game, where you are your friends fight to get the best ingredient to eat good food and take pics.
I would have accepted the shallow, short story we got in this game if the side quest would have been more epic and have more interesting stories of their own to tell, with people we could learn to care about, with real problems and loses, with some optional humanoid boss fights in the world like a legendary hunter that wants to test your skills or a commander from the empire that would drop a sweet sword or guns, or sniper rifles when you take him/her down. I wanted to see how this war hurt families and how the King neglect those outside the wall to protect only his people or Noctis for the sake of the legend or prophecy or what ever it is.
This game is not dark at all, the story is not deep or mind blowing, it feels rushed and full of missed opportunities and leaves the players with little understanding of the world, because the characters know how things work and no one in the game had the need to ask "why" when interesting things came up. And the story only gets decent in the final 4 chapters, but they go by really fast, actually by the end, its when it feels like the game its finally starting, like the story we where promised stared to show up, then ended abruptly. You know how cool it would be if with future Noctis a new line of more darker side quest show up to help you prepare for the last fight? And you have the nice funny quest in the past and the dark ones in the future? But no, its another miss opportunity for more stuff.
Summons, only show in cut scenes or if you are lucky you will see Rahamu appear 2 or 3 times in you play through. Which is fine,because i liked the fact that they are gods and they do whatever they want, but they are very impressive thing to see and you might missed it completely because of the fact they show whenever they feel like showing.
Of course there are good things like the graphics, which are superb. The main cast was fun to hang out with and I liked them, by the end i did felt like they where my friends. I know they explore their relationship in the anime, but I really think they should have done that in the game or at least expand a little more about their past because i really like those dudes, they did felt like brothers to me.
Another thing that was amazing and epic was the final fight. God damn that was epic, I really enjoy fighting Ifrit and the fact he was in disagreement with the other Gods and wants to stop you, that was cool. Also his design was so cool, he look like Lucifer from ancient drawings which gave me shivers. And the fight with Ardyn was also awesome, I wanted more fights like those. And you also see a cameo from Nyx and some of the other character as dead bodies in the throne room, which damn that was sad and cruel but made the villain more evil and bad@ss.
The gameplay is whats keeps me coming for more tomatoes gathering :'( after the end. The gameplay is so much fun, I loved it. Such a shame I couldn't fight Ravus and show him who's boss before he turn into a daemon.
The fight against Leviathan was spectacular, probably a little to long, but is visually impressive.
But this are the elements that made the game good and fun regardless of the poor story and stupid side quest, this is why I give it a 7, because it has some serious thoughts put into the world, the people that created this game seem to care about it and it would be unfair to give it less than that.
This was a big disappointment for me, 10 years obsessed with this game, waiting to get it on my hands, to get this shallow adventure with a mediocre story and side quest that seem to take place on an alternate universe from what the story is trying to say. There are 3 maps, 2 small maps, on huge one that are no excuse for 10 years of development and no excuse for this stupid story that they said was gonna be the best one yet. There are other open world game, with huge maps that tell longer and better stories than this one, with funny side quest, but also some serious one that add to the whole thing. Side quest here don't add anything to the story, the world, the people in this world or the main cast.
Still gonna keep playing, see if there are surprises out there waiting for me, I refuse to give up on hope. I want to believe that maybe this is not all there is to this world. Than picking tomatoes, fishing and taking photos was just the game getting me ready for was to come and if I find that I would come back and add to the review, but for now know that this is not the best FF game, far from it. But at least it thought me to never again obsess with games or wait for them. From now on i'll go out in the real world to take pictures of my own XD.
UPDATE: At the point of this update i've played the game for more than 100 hours and the post game content was alright. Nothing mind blowing or interesting really. Just the same old beast and mindless enemies you've being fighting the whole game just bigger and with higher level.
For a moment I thought I was gonna get 8 unique boss fights behind those doors, but you get the same looking dark dungeon for each door with the last boss being another animal that has no personality of their own.
A miss opportunity to have unique daemons with personality of their own, just like the one that asked for her baby on one of the story quest. And a missed opportunity to have 8 unique looking daemons like nothing else in the game so player could looked forward to see them. Just like there was one that looked like Emerald Weapon in the movie, you could have some that looked like Ultima, Omega, Ruby, etc. Because you are now getting the best gear of the game, fighting enemies that are the same crap you've kill a hundred times for what? The game is already over and there is no secret ending for beating all daemons on each door so you are getting the best gear in the game for no reason really. There is no other secret super villain to motivate the player to go through this experience, or hidden celestial or secret character or piece of history to enrich the ff15 universe more. There is no pay off to doing any of this.
In other games doing this hard work would get you ready for the last boss or for a secret boss fight that adds to the story or to unlock a secret ending, but here there is no payoff. In this game you do all that extra content and then you are incredible powerful... for what?
The only thing you might look forward to is to kill the adamantoise once you get the best weapons, and to be honest, fighting a giant turtle, that is just another animal, another mindless enemy, is not the type of foe I care to take down. But I did and is the most boring and longest fight ever. Its just you and you friends hitting a wall that barely fights back and the reward? An item that gives you 10k HP, what Am I gonna do with that? So far as I can see I can't break the HP limit and even then HP goes down really fast against powerful enemies. I would have preferred 500 Stamina and 500 spell defense.
Another annoying things are that car feels like its flying itself just like it drives itself too.
AP is next to impossible to gather once you reach 99. I though I was gonna get 1 AP for every 1000 EXP point I got after hitting level 99 to make getting AP fun and motivate the player to keep exploring. But you don't and oddly enough you keep getting experience once you hit 99 that is useless. To get AP you will have to go to a spot where you can re-spawn beasts with your whistle and warp strike them. That my friends, its not fun at all especially to unlock those 999 AP skills.
Ff15 its not a bad game, it just not up to the standards of many other games that have come before it, it lack in the story department and interesting enemies department too. By the end is just a a copy paste content that provide a challenge for those who are in love with the gameplay, but for those who are curious about the world and want to learn more about it and uncover secrets, there is none.