Final Fantasy XV has had quite a run has it, it's managed to earn a surprisingly large amount of sales and some praise even if the overly long 10 year hype wasn't worth it. It also got a large amount of updates, DLC content, an anime, a feature length movie and also a full release fishing game for VR. Now we have another edition of this long awaited RPG in the form of Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition which promises to be a more completed version of Final Fantasy XV with the up to date patches to address the issues with the game plus all of the current DLC avaiable and new added content just like the release of the Windows Edition of the game.
Now the new content can either be purchased separately as DLC if you already have the regular copy of Final Fantasy XV or bought as a stand alone package. This Edition of Final Fantasy comes with the main game plus all of the DLC content which was originally released separately. Now for this review I will not cover all of the DLC content again here please check my Episode Gladiolus, Episode Prompto, Episode Ignis and the Multiplayer Expansion Comrades reviews that I have done on my channel for those, I will also not cover the actual game too much in detail because I already reviewed the base game itself which it's best to check out first before reading the rest of this review. I'm mostly going to cover the new content plus some of the stuff that was patched in to see if whatever or not the developers have altered the game either for better or worse.
So let's begin the basis of the game, in FFXV Noctis and his retinue Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis travel the outside world and shortly after a few moments of enjoying the outdoors Noctis gets word that his Dad is killed and his country is taken over. Noctis has to try and gain the powers of the kings by meeting strange folk who either seem to be enemy and act like they are the good guys for whatever reason just to fool Noctis and the gang. Some of the plot elements are decent and you get to know a little about the main characters till the later chapters where character development goes down the drain and also other forms of plot elements that make the story more confusing and convoluted to follow. For example Gladiolus starts out likeable enough but near the end he becomes a giant jerk to Noctis and doesn't care for his feelings after what he is going through. Another example is that a friend of the heroes dies in one of the early chapters and even with a little flash back shot it barely explains what had happened which loses the feelings of what happened. Now the developers have since patched the game with extra cutscenes that attempt to address the problems with the story but however the story is still mostly forgettable and there are a few cutscenes that are worth watching amidst having to endure all of the shallow moments of the story. I also don't really care much for the main villain either Ardyn who is mostly just a poor man's Kefka who just there to be a comical tease who really doesn't do much worthy of being one. Yeah I get that he is immortal which makes him unstoppable but mostly throughout the story just taunts the party and doesn't take any opportunities against the party. Truly the story's biggest highlight is the guy with the glasses Ignis who carries the whole party all the way through, I mean he's the party expert chef, tactician and also the guy who will drive the party to the player's next destination. Some of the dialogue he says are actually very funny to listen to and also I like it when he states that he came with another recipe. Another reason in one of the chapters he shows pure resolve in order to protect his king and does whatever it takes to keep Noctis on the path and from harm as well, plus he is able to put up with a lot of the party member's moaning and annoyances from time to time truly making him one of the best characters in the game.
Now Final Fantasy XV is broken up between 14 different chapters which focus on the main story plus you also got side quests which can be tackled in however you see fit. These quests are completed by moving towards the objective marker that appears on the screen and then completing the quest by doing what it is that you are meant to be doing. These quests range from fetch quests where you just pick up items and give them to the quest handler, quests where you take on a boss or a dungeon, quests where you find random people in trouble and have to find them and so on. These are added as you explore the vast reaches of the world and like I said before can be tackled in any order as you see fit. The hunts however are the highlight, they improved from the terrible hunts in Final Fantasy XII, instead of having to go to the annoying quest handlers after selecting a quest on the board, you just pick from the quest board and then go do that quest and then come back and move on the next one easily and with no hassle.
You have towns to visit as well which serve as places where you can shop for items and gear, diners where you can partake in the hunts, eat meals or gain information of where items and campsites can be found. When you go to campsites you can have Ignis cook up what meal you can have and each meal has their own effects that increase the party's stats or provide resistances to status effects or elemental resistances. A lot of the food looks really good to eat as well and should be in cafes and various food meal places.
Now Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition added some new quests into the game which for the most aren't interesting and are not really worth your time but also added some new stuff to the game. Firstly they the option of playing in First Person, now Final Fantasy XV is an Action RPG played from a third person perspective and I will give it that it's kind of nice to see through the world through Noctis' view but during combat it feels kind of awkward. The camera when locked onto a target wobbles around which does make combat tricky which I'll eventually get back to later. Another new addition is the Regalia Type-D which is a monster truck type vehicle, You'll unlock this in a quest where you gather parts to create it, when you create it the game gives you quests where you compete in 3 simple races that are just easy to finish, you are given a very easy time limit, no other racers to race against and no proper records to beat. The tracks are also very easy to navigate through thanks to the arrows telling you where to go. Now I am aware that you can drive the Regalia Type-D off the road and hit other enemies but however I never bothered to try that out myself and just went back to the Regalia Type-F.
Another type of new quests they added in patches are the timed quests where everyday you can partake in simple timed quests where you find the target monster and defeat it and get rewarded with points to spend on either EXP, Gil or some other rare items. These are aright but they never really interested me all that much.
Another thing that's added is the open sea exploration on the Royal Cruiser which allows you to enter other fishing spots plus also explore Altissia freely completely as you see fit. I already talked the Fishing Minigame in my original review of FFXV and while it's not really incredible unless you somehow come to grips with the controls and best possible fishing gear, that is if you can somehow find them but it does provide a little time killer while you relax from fighting monsters.
The city of Insomnia has been expanded which now it's a huge city that can by explored whilst also leading you to the game's expanded finale which has new bosses to fight against plus some new sidequests and cutscenes which are kind of nice. The only issue is that the whole place can be very confusing to navigate through, it isn't hard for the main story quest but however the city is full of blocked areas and locked areas that you can't go through normally which forces you to backtrack to areas you haven't been to yet making it annoying to go through when doing the sidequests.
Now the updated patches also added a chapter select feature which allows you to play through any of the game's main chapters as you wish but however there is already new game plus mode is a more preferred option. When using chapter select you lose all of the side quest progress and map data whilst everything else from character levels, unlocked skills, equipment and items do carry over. It's only use is just for the new included trophies which are only fine if you are willing to gain 100% of them in the whole game but otherwise it's much easier just to use New Game plus which does the same thing yes but those who have completed the game will likely go through the game again after all of the patches to see what new things were included.
I also talked about the battle system in depth in my original Final Fantasy XV review as well so I'll only explain only the basics here. Like I said FFXV is an Action RPG where battles take place in real time action rather then turn based which is what the Final Fantasy games where known back in the day. You start combat by approaching enemies that roam about in the wild and you can leave the battle area by walking outside of the circle where the battle has taken place in. Noctis can use the 4 weapons equipped to attack enemies and each of the weapons like Swords, Greatswords, Spears, Knifes and Guns have different attack styles for Noctis to use, you can also craft magic spells to use them in battle and each combined with different items and element type can make the spell powerful but however the controls for using them aren't improved and still feel clunky, plus they often knock the party down which leaves them open to enemy attacks and lastly the charge it takes to build up just to use another one is just annoying. Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto have their own weapon styles they use and have their own special attacks which you give orders to them to use them whenever you wish. You can also defend against enemy attacks and if well timed parry will leave an enemy stunned allowing to get mega damage on them. When Noctis gains the powers of the kings he can activate the Armiger which allows to tear the enemies up more easier as well as unleashing it's ultimate team attack if everyone is alive and present. The Royal Edition does add a new form of the Armiger called Armiger Unleashed which is a powered up version which gives Noctis new special attacks which alongside the regular attacks it has does tons of damage if the tech bar is full. This new form makes a lot of the more difficult fights easier cause you can actually float in the air making it easy to avoid attacks.
Another thing that previous updates added is that you can now switch between the other characters in battle anytime. You need to hold down the L1 and L2 buttons on the PS4 version and then use the D-Pad to select which character to use to take control of. Their gameplay, control and mechanics carry across to the main game as well as their abilities which can be used by the player which can help gain some advantage against enemies. However some of their problems from their episodic DLC carry across to this game as well and it's a shame that they haven't fixed those issues. Like in their episodes it can be difficult to get the timing of the enemies attacks down constantly due to their attack pattern and with Ignis you have to really get that timing down to do the Counterstrikes otherwise you are just wasting your health entirely and because the Counterstrikes work differently to parrying that's a hefty problem when timing is everything. Another thing is that Prompto's controls are the same as in his episode DLC game, zooming is L1 and firing is R1 instead of L2 and R2, the aiming is slow and will require plenty of moving around to get the sights of the enemy that you are trying to shoot down. Some of Gladiolus' moves are awkward to use when using him you have to make sure you are not using the Left Analog stick when attacking or else you could be doing in effective attack throwing the sword which misses all of the time and also punching which also never hits anything. You just have to try and get into a rhythm of trying to get off attacks with the other characters whilst also trying to defend as often as you can and good luck keeping that consistent.
The main reasons I say this because the base design of the battle system is still problematic, the AI allies are for the most part tend to stand around and do little to help in battle leaving you to do the work yourself a percentage of the time. Also whenever they try to help they often get in the way which causes them to moan about it when it's their fault for getting in the way, I mean come on the game doesn't have any kind of friendly fire or team killing option besides the other party members getting confused and only attack each other in that state. You can't even damage other allies anyway either with weapons or with magic so why even moan guys about being hit anyway when you can't get damaged? Why not shut up, get on with the fighting and stay out of the way next time! Do you see that happening in any of the Tales of games? No of course not! Tales of Xillia has that confusion status effect but however no party members complain about their partners attacking each other so stop complaining Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis.
There are also some enemies that just downright be irritating to fight against. Some enemies can take damage like sponges and never flinch at all which can cause them to get a free clean hit on you. Fighting the big monsters and also fighting enemies in caves or in forests makes the camera a pain cause the camera either gets zoomed too close or there's obstacles in the way making it difficult to see what's going on. This wouldn't be so much of a bad thing if it wasn't for the fact that in some battles they literally throw dozens of enemies at you and it can be easy to get ambushed and lose a ton of health. I still do not like that annoying health system where your maximum HP drops down after taking a ton of damage or when you end up in danger state and when you go into danger and lose plenty of health it takes at least maybe 1 or 2 hits before you end up in danger state again, you either spend more time in the fight either using items to heal yourself out of danger state then actually fighting plus it's easier to heal that way then trying to manually run up to your injured allies to rescue them out of danger state cause you could end up getting damaged and end up in danger state yourself. It can also be annoying when some enemies have these annoying instant death attacks that you either can't defend against or don't see coming.
Chapter 13 one of the game's worst chapters isn't any better then it was originally. Like I said about in my original review of the game it's a chapter where you spend the majority of the time running through dozens of corridors with nothing more then a ring. The rings power has gone up a bit I'll give it that but all you need is the death spell which still takes a while to take multiple targets down and the other spells are just useless and waste your MP bar completely. The stealth parts of the chapter are still terrible and it's much easier to just run past some of the enemies to avoid losing so much health and only use the ring for the stealth parts to get them over with. There is an option of selecting the Verse 2 side where it follows Gladiolus and Ignis but the story portion of that is absurd and feels more like fanfiction which is something I could also describe the episodic content of this game.
Look I know that I am really being too harsh on the majority of the gameplay of Final Fantasy XV but there are goods with the combat system, it can be satisfying to get a blindside or counter attack off which deals a massive blow to the enemy or when you pull off a Link Chain which is a new team attack where all of the party members time their attacks together to deal 10 massively damaging hits on the enemy which is really handy on some of the tougher bosses. It can also be really fun with everyone is working together and taking these big enemies down effectively and with nothing hindering you. There are moments like that when the combat of Final Fantasy XV that really make the game really fun, even some of the boss fights are fun as well when you know what you are doing and learn their pattern. It's just that the gameplay suffers from the spongy enemies that don't flinch, the AI teammates and the at times inconsistency gameplay mechanics of the battle system which really let Final Fantasy XV down and it's a shame that the biggest problems of FFXV have not been addressed.
I already talked about the presentation of the game in my original review and yes it looks absolutely gorgeous especially for the technical capabilities of the PS4/XB1 consoles. Again I only played my game on a standard PS4 and the game runs at only 30 frames per second but the environments look beautiful, the weather effects including all of the attack effects just look incredible. It's to a testament to how incredible their games look and it's something Square Enix spends most of the time working on rather then polishing the gameplay.
Overall Final Fantasy XV is gotten into the stage where it's added too much more then it's worth and doesn't iron out it's problems and the mere thought of the game getting more DLC content especially since it's already gotten more then enough DLC content of the main characters is just ridiculous. We already got DLCs of the main characters and a multiplayer expansion which feels unfinished and now we are going to get more DLC content which will focus on Ardyn, Aranea and more which in total now costs more then the actual game itself, especially since this DLC content on it's own as a separate download costs ￡ 11.99. To me it spells just total greed from both the developers and the fanbase who are just happy to blindly defend it no matter what it turns out to be. Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition only adds more content and few tweaks that doesn't really improve the experience all that much and still has it's share of glitches, gameplay problems and the story is still a convoluted mess that it's becoming a problem to follow. At this point I don't think things are going to get better for Final Fantasy XV and just wish for the story to just end. Look if you haven't played Final Fantasy XV yet and really want to play it then I would go for the updated Royal Edition seeing as it costs ￡ 24.99 retail and like I said has all of the latest patches and also all of the DLC content plus adding more content to the overall package and there is plenty of game time you'll get out of it as well. If you already have the regular copy of Final Fantasy XV then the Royal Pack will do the same thing as well, adding more stuff to the game that maybe should have been there from the start but of course it's too late for me to say that. I can't say if I should recommend or not recommend this edition of Final Fantasy XV instead I'll say this, if you want more out of Final Fantasy XV then by all means check out otherwise I would recommend giving it a miss if you already experienced Final Fantasy XV at it's core.
Game Score: 6.0/10
Game Title: Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Role Playing
Age Rating: PEGI: 16+
Release Date: 6th March 2018
The Good Points:
1. Some new bosses are really cool
2. Some new cutscenes which fills some holes of the story
3. New Armiger Unleashed makes some insanely hard battles easier and manageable
4. You get to fully explore Altissia and drive the boat around
The Bad Points:
1. Isomnia is big and really confusing to navigate through for sidequests
2. Prompto's controls are misplaced and awkward
3. New Regalia Type-D is underutilized and the race tracks are simple and boring
4. New First Person Mode is awkward
5. Some of the other tweaks do not improve the game all that much
Reviewed by: Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)