So remember how I said in an earlier review that Squeenix has made some good games? Final Fantasy XV is an example of this. I played this game in August of last year. FFXV released in 2016 for Xbone and PS4 with a PC release released in 2018. This game took a decade to release and started off as Final Fantasy Versus 13.
Final Fantasy XV is the latest in the acclaimed Final Fantasy series. This RPG takes a whole new direction with the series from going turn-based to Action style like Kingdom Hearts/Final Fantasy Type 0. It sounds nice on paper, but the execution is something left to be desired. The gameplay for starters is dull as all hell. It boggles down to mindless spamming of the attack button with the occasional heal item. There are magic attacks that can be developed, but I never use them as the weapons used are more than enough to do the job. The player can also heal themselves via crouching at a rest spot. This was done to appeal to new players of the FF series, which is nice.
I guess if there is one thing good about the gameplay, it is the Summons. Seeing those huge beasts popping up on the screen and completely demolishing the enemy is amazing stuff. However, this doesn't save the game from being a boring RPG and the problems don't stop there.
Also one question; WHY is the levelling up system the way it is? You can only level up via a resting place, which means if you happen to bite it while level grinding, you will lose ALL that progress. This mechanic was not necessary at all. It mostly makes me wonder why they bothered implementing this in the first place.
FFXV now has gone open world. Lots of places to explore, sights to see and beautiful set pieces. However, this is all neutralised with the fact that the open world is more lifeless than MGSV and No Mans Sky combined. Apart from enemies and the odd town here and there, there is just nothing to the world. It is not fun to explore in, it's more of a chore to even roam this world.
To add to this issue, the Regalia (the car that Noctis and the rest use) was badly implemented. You cannot go off the road when driving. You are on rails for the entire journey and can not deviate from the path, which is lame imo. The driving sections, unless using Auto Drive or playing music are just as boring as the gameplay, I mostly leave Ignis to drive as I do something else. Especially for the longer driving sections.
Hooooo boy, this one is gonna be a doozy. Let me go into the cast briefly. I DON'T like the cast of characters for this game. They range from forgettable to just downright annoying. From the whiny Noctis to Gladio's general douchey personality, I cannot stand/care about most of them. The only likeable characters are Cindy (for certain reasons ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°), Ignis and Prompto. The main villain is a discount Seymour and Lunafreya... well... Why the hell should I care about her? I'll answer that question in the next section.
The story revolves around Noctis and his friends heading to Altissa for Luna and Noctis' wedding. When they arrive there, however, Noctis receives word that his father has been murdered in an attack set by Niflheim. Using the Royal Arms weapons, Noctis and his boyband go to find the person behind it and put a stop to them before the world falls to darkness.
Now I am going to go into some spoiler territory to discuss my gripes with the story from my experience with it.
- Certain characters in the game just pop up out of nowhere with little to no context/backstory. Now I know that there were the anime and the movie which covered more of the story details, but I'm not going to consult external media for the story in a damn RPG! If the story was so important, why don't they have extra story details within the game?!
- What is the point of the Noctis x Luna romance? Certain parts of the story had flashbacks of Noctis and Luna as kids, but the thing is there are NO implications of romance between them. Even in the ending when Noctis and Luna got together in the afterlife, I was left thinking how are they still pushing the romance thing when there's clearly NOTHING THERE?
- Like I explained earlier, Ardyn is a boring villain. He just pops up out of nowhere with little backstory or context, does some villainous things, you beat him and that's it. Apparently, there's going to be DLC concerning his backstory, but... ugggggh...
- DLC. There are various points of the plot where one of the boys leaves the tea for a while or certain events occur behind the scenes. This in itself only hurts the story even more because you have to pay money just to fill the holes that this crappy plot already has. They had 10 years to finish the game and this is a thing? Why?! It just doesn't make sense.
Overall, FFXV's story is poorly written, forgettable and just borderline incomplete. In fact, as of this review, they are still planning more DLC episodes for this game. Considering how bad the story is, I didn't bother with the DLC. Played the main game and put it down after that.
Now, this may be subjective, but I don't like the soundtrack for this game at all. Aside from three songs, FFXV has a forgettable soundtrack, which is a shame as Yoko Shimomura has made some great OSTs in various games. FFXV seems to be that exception for me though.
Now, this review may make it sound like I hate the game, but it is not the case. The game has its moments but overall out of the few Final Fantasy games I have played (FF10, 13 and 7 and Type 0), 15is easily the worst in the series for me. So much potential wasted with multiple problems in game design and storytelling. At best, it's a mediocre game.