Final Fantasy XV
Developed by Square Enix Business Division 2
Published by Square Enix
* Please Note: This review is of the PlayStation 4 Version*
I’m not gonna lie, I’m really struggling to remember exactly what FFXV’s story was actually about….It starts with Noctis the prince of the Kingdom of Insomnia leaving his kingdom along with his 3 other friends/bodyguards; Ignis, Gladiolus and Prompto, to attend his wedding ceremony to his childhood friend and Oracle; Lunafreya. Something along the course of his journey happens and Insomnia is pretty much decimated, honestly I wish I could remember why but I personally feel the reason I don’t recall all of this is the type of game it is…..Final Fantasy is very much focused on it’s open world style and more free roaming which in turn made me completely forget about what was going on in the story, maybe I should’ve played the story more closely together but this is how I play open world games and because of that I feel that FFXV’s story was one of the most disappointing and a contender for the worst in the series (Not the absolute worst, that dishonour goes to Final Fantasy III).
I will say that while not being a very good story telling experience I can say that Final Fantasy XV does have some pretty good main characters, since there are only 4 Main characters, it gives you less people to get to know and makes you care for them more, this comes through more with little bonding scenes you can have seemingly at random, for example I remember having a very interesting conversation with Prompto about how he is actually more insecure that he lets on and feels unimportant, this for me was very cool because it made Prompto feel more human and more relate-able, Gladiolus also has some very interesting scenes where he acts as a sort of mentor to Noctis, even some scenes where he is very strict (And kind of a dick) to Noctis, but that’s personally what made him my favourite character, Ignis on the other hand I never really had any big moments with him but I connected with him purely because he always felt needed, guiding the group through various situations, plus he also has something very unexpected happen to him later on in the story but I won’t spoil it. Finally we have Noctis who personally was my least favourite main character…..he reminds me of what you would get if you crossed Squall (FFVIII) and Tidus (FFX), he’s very whiny at times while also managing to sound very bored and uninterested, admittedly he does get better as time goes on but he still doesn’t feel as good as a main character and this is something that I feel Square have struggled with since FFX.
I’ll also say quickly that the game didn’t make me like Lunafreya enough, I feel like I was told to like Lunafreya simply because he is to be wed to her, instead of actually building her up for me, she was also barely ever actually around….so that’s just a side thing I never liked about one of the characters.
So overall in my opinion I wouldn’t go into Final Fantasy XV for a great story telling experience, but you will get some very interesting and likeable characters, I do hate that I can’t remember more about the story but that’s just how open world games are for me.
Final Fantasy XV is definitely a different take on a Final Fantasy game, now adopting for a open world style, the game has quite a few things you can do now apart from the story, ranging from side quest and hunts to exploring side dungeons, it works pretty well and it all blends seamlessly into the huge world.
I need to talk about the actual combat because it completely shows that Final Fantasy is not the same series we grew up with…..honestly while I felt the combat was interesting enough for me, it did not feel anything like a Final Fantasy game, if anything it felt more like a Devil May Cry game, I mean it couldn’t even be considered a button masher because you had to hold the button instead of pressing it, I really would’ve preferred having a sort of command menu or something similar to Crisis Core or even better Kingdom Hearts.
Driving around in the game is also a huge problem for me, I was really hoping you could drive where ever you want, I mean after all it does say you can repair your car and even tow it, but I never once got it damaged because I don’t even think you can, you’re confined to always driving on the roads in the game which is incredibly stupid, the only time you actually have any freedom with driving is after you get the flying car which doesn’t happen until after you beat the game I believe, it’s a massive letdown and it wouldn’t be as bad if you didn’t need the car to get everywhere but you do, and it can get very dull, I would’ve preferred to make the chocobo’s the main method of transportation but they aren’t….plus they also aren’t as fast as the car.
The game also does become very linear in the later sections of the game, which I would’ve thought would make it more story focused but they are just kind of boring segments especially in chapter 13 which was easily one of the worst parts in a FF game I’ve ever played.
Despite having some problems with this game I always found myself coming back to it so there was just something about it that drew me in, as I’ve said the combat while repetitive and not Final Fantasy-like was still very enjoyable so I can’t really complain about it in the end, it’s just something you’re either gonna love or hate and I personally liked it.
The sound in Final Fantasy XV overall is phenomenal, Yoko Shimomura has once again outdone herself, everything from the Main Menu theme from the battle theme is fantastic to listen to, the game has even managed to get me to listen to a more recent song in Stand By Me from Florence and The Machine which fit the game perfectly in my opinion. Despite the game having fantastic original music of its own, the true brilliance of FFXV is that you can listen to music from quite a number of older Final Fantasy games, personally this is one of the best features in the game because it not only shows that Square Enix do still care about its older fans of the series (Including myself) it also just hits me right in the nostalgia, anytime I can drive around and listen to Dancing Mad is a plus in my book.
As for the voice acting I think it’s mostly great, however I would personally like to have seen more notable voice actors as I barely recognised anyone, especially in the main cast, I think in the main cast, I felt Ignis and Gladiolus were absolutely perfect and shouldn’t be touched, Prompto could’ve been changed (Possibly to Yuri Lowenthal but that’s just my opinion), but honestly he’s still good……Noctis however I do not like, his voice actor always sounds bored or uninterested to me and while I do think that is simply what Noctis’ character is supposed to be like I just never thought “Wow I really love how Noctis is voiced”, this to me is kind of a problem considering that Noct is the one that you have to play as and not to connect with him in any way is kind of disheartening. Everyone else is done just fine no complaints about anyone else so I’ll move right on.
Final Fantasy XV is a weird one in terms of visuals….sometimes I think it is simply gorgeous, then I think otherwise, I’ll start with what I do find incredible, firstly the monster designs, never have I seen the Iron Giants look so damn awesome, even the bombs look great, every single monster in the game reminds me of something out of Monster Hunter and that is an awesome thing indeed. Another thing I like is the whole environment of the world, there are very different parts of the world from much more grassy lands to desert-like regions, even to a Volcano, the only thing I’m actually surprised with was that there wasn’t any open world snowy regions (You do visit a snowy area but it’s incredibly linear and you don’t really see much), so that’s a bit of a shame but overall I think the world has a nice amount of variety to browse at your own leisure.
I’ll move onto some things I wasn’t really a fan of….first of all the main character designs, they look so boring in their all black outfits and while I do understand that you can change costumes to give them a bit of variety, the alternate costumes brought down your stats to the point where it was more a problem than anything, plus why were there no women main characters? I mean surely they could’ve done a peppy young women similar to Rikku from FFX but instead they didn’t, this isn’t necessarily a complaint just thought I should point it out since I always found it odd. I also found that while the environments were very cool, the cities were not, the only city I found to be very pleasing to look at was Altissia otherwise everywhere felt like your generic city that you could find anywhere in the real world, not to mention there weren’t many actual cities which is pretty bizarre for a Final Fantasy game.
Final Fantasy XV is built on the idea of having a lot of things to do, being the type of gamer who loves to explore and do side missions I actually did side missions for a good 40 hours before I started moving on with the main story, hunts also can take up quite a bit of time, these hunts aren’t anything too insane like FFXII but they are pretty plentiful but it is quite a shame that there aren’t many special types of hunts and only more beefed up regular enemies. The Main story in FFXV is arguably the shortest in the series, now I will admit I was very overpowered due to the amount of side missions I did but I believe that the story was around 8-10 hours total which admittedly is pretty abysmal for a FF game but as I said FFXV is based more on exploring the world and doing side quests instead of giving you an epic story to play out which is ultimately a curse and a blessing.
I will also say that for all the Trophy lovers/Achievement Hunters out there, it took around the 70-80 hour mark to get the Platinum trophy for.
Overall Final Fantasy XV delivered in nearly every way for me, this game was in the works for a very long time and despite going in with very low expectations, it did very much so impress me, however I can’t deny that for a Final Fantasy game, the story was incredibly poor and there are some small things here and there that do annoy me at times but the Visuals are very nice, the characters are interesting and the soundtrack is phenomenal, not to mention that there is a staggering amount of thing to do….Final Fantasy XV was a very impressive entry in the series.
Just as a last little note, I hope this whole Open World Final Fantasy game doesn’t become the new thing in the series, because as I said while it was enjoyable, I never could get into the story because of it and Final Fantasy for me personally should always be about the story.
Score = 8/10
- Enjoyable Cast of Characters
- Amazing Soundtrack
- Very nice visuals
- Heaps of content
- Gameplay can be enjoyable.
- Invokes some nostalgia
- Completely forgettable story.
- Driving was very disappointing
Final Fantasy XV is available now for PlayStation 4 & Xbox One. Thanks go out to Square Enix for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review by Jonnie Dixon