One of my favorite FF gameplay wise, story-wise its almost there, but it needs some improvement.
The battle system is super fun, other than the crafting magic mechanic which doesnt feel magical at all, it just feels like throwing elemental grenades.
The graphics are beautiful as always, the soundtrack is magnificent, the characters are lovely, it definitely has all the elements to make the greatest FF, if only there was more character development overall, and a lot more cutscenes for the story.
Thus, I never felt connected to the story, the story itself is interesting, but the storytelling fall flat, there needs to be more cutscenes in EVERY chapters.
FF used to have the best approach, you start with the story linear, then you open-up, then back to linear, then back to overworld, then back to linear, then back to overworld, etc. Furthermore, its the story that brought us to various locations and made us discover them, we always felt connected to the story and the whole world.
The villains, more than anything else, needs more presence, everything that happens to them is done off screen, and thats a crime. The only villain that has enough screen time is Ardyn.
While I did cry when Lunafreya died, it was just because I'm a wimp that cry all the time when something sad happen, but not really because I felt close to the character, she needs more presence in the game, more scenes of her time being a Niflheim prisoner, her journey to awaken the Astrals, etc.
As for the main companions, during their absence from the main party, leaving their story out of the game to sell as DLC Episodes, bad move for the fanbase!
Concerning Chapter 13, wasted opportunity to let Noctis use martial arts, there is no way he doesn't know how to fight without a weapon, anyone receiving martial training receives some unarmed training.
As for the game opening, its the weakest in the series in a long time, FF usually starts with a bang, an epic opening, now we're just pushing a car.... that's kinda lame. It could have started with an empire fleet attacking Noctis and co. on the road, or a nasty beast, which ends up damaging the Regalia, and the team needs to walk to Hammerhead, meet Cindy, and have her tow the car.
But my best opening would have been to escape Insomnia instead of having Kingsglaive, and have Luna with Noctis and his friends, traveling together, watching her talking and awakening the gods for Noctis to obtain their powers, until she meets her fate in Altissia. As for the ring, useless to people other than Noctis, could have been stolen along with the Crystal.
The ending, on the other hand, is top notch, loved every part of the Insomnia dungeon and the finale.
As for the exploration, its a bit disappointing that we only get to explore a small part of Lucis, not even Galahd, nothing of Tenebrae or Niflheim. Maybe stories of 4 kingdoms are now too big for what the developers can do, and they should focus on stories that occur inside one continent, one kingdom, etc., so that players don't feel like they cannot explore the whole world. Furthermore, there are way too many invisible barriers over obstacles we can clearly jump over, like fences, corpses, cars, desks, etc. Same goes when flying with the Regalia Type-F.
The worst culprit is to not even let us explore the World of Ruins, its not like Lucis wasn't explorable before the 10 year gap, so what happened? Why leaving it out of the possibility? Why couldn't we meet Cor, Iris, Cindy, and Aranea? It would have been a perfect opportunity to let players hire one of the guest to tag along until the party move on to Insomnia, or until you tell the guest to leave, or you go hire another one of them.
Maybe it wouldn't be considered as bad if it weren't for the fact that most of us knew XV when it was Versus XIII, and all of the information we knew of the project which are now cut from the game.
FAVOR TO SQUARE ENIX
Make Summons totally random, in more than 300 hours of playing, I summoned once Shiva, and all the rest was Ramuh...
Also, make it so that if I turn off the Regalia's radio, I can hear the Exploration music, or let us select which songs of the albums we gathered we would like to have playing on the radio like some sort of playlist. At first I liked listening to previous FF titles music, but eventually it took away from XV's identity.
RECOMMENDATION TO SQUARE ENIX
Always make sure that the story is what's most prominent in a game, not side stuff. FF was never Skyrim and other RPGs of that kind which lack story in favor of billions of sidequests.
The best ratio is 75% story, 25% side activities.
So if you want to give us over a hundred hours of side stuff, fine, but you better have quite an enormous story to keep us engaged. I'd much rather a long ass story with nothing else to do, than a very short story with endless meaningless activities.
MY TOP 10 FF