A slow road trip fantasy! Final Fantasy XV decoded
After nearly 10 years of development, FFXV finally sees the light of day. Will it be another legend in the Final Fantasy series?
Final Fantasy has always had the most beautiful cutscenes. The game always begins and ends with a cutscene. This game also keeps that tradition alive. Beautiful cinematic videos are a huge part of the game. If we were to put these elaborate clips together, we could easily get a five-hour movie out of it, if not more.
While this FF might have started in a traditional way, the gameplay itself has seen a major shift, with the developers opting for an open world strategy rather than the linear approach the series usually follows.
FFXV can be described as a road trip game masked as an RPG. You play Prince Noctis and the game begins with your father ordering you to Lady Lunafreya to end the looming threat of war. This, in turn, results in a wedding road trip where three of your friends — Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto — join in to begin the adventure.
The game features a lot of road trip elements including camping, fishing, pit stops at diners and exploration of the wilderness, each represented as a mini game. FFXV is mostly focused on the comradery of the four friends and that is the glue that keeps this game together, allowing you to finish the 40-hour plus gameplay time. The voiceover is, for us, a hit in most places, but the artist for Prompto was a little annoying, not only because of the voice but also his shabby dialogues. Noctis, on the other hand, sounded like Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Short of saying Cowabunga, he was pretty much there. Soon enough though, your car breaks down, and you have to push it to the nearest gas station, where you receive your first quest. The first quest is meant to teach you about combat and other aspects of gameplay.
Combat in FFXV is in real time, unlike any other final fantasy before it. Though we prefer the turn-based RPG combat, the combination attacks of your friends really makes up for the lack of turn-based combat. Flanking strikes and animated team attacks are the highlights of the combat. The comradery is really showcased here and it helps that your flunkies are just as powerful as you are. The magic bits have also been given an upgrade, and you can collect elemental power and create powerful potions by just using more magical energy to create them. This helps you take down some humongous monsters. It is the most fun you will have in combat through the game. The lower-level enemies are too easy too deal with.
The comradery is also the reason the story works, even though the real threat is only realised at the end and the there is no love angle to speak of. A lot of the 40+ hours you spend on this game will be sitting in that car moving at what seems like a snail’s pace. Though the banter makes the overall road trip bearable, the actual car part of it was very annoying. As mentioned, the car moves slowly, and, to make matters worse you can drive, but not really because the car can’t go off the road. Fortunately, that issue is combated by the introduction of Final Fantasy’s transportation of choice the Chocobo, a giant chicken.
Overall, Final Fantasy XV is a game that requires time and patience. It forces you to enjoy the slower things in life rather than continuously handing you one boss monster after the other. It certainly is a FF that deserves the name, even though it has very little in common with the others. Recommended for both veterans and newbies. Though some veterans might feel alienated initially, stick with it. The game as usual is worth the effort.
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, XBO
Price: RS 3,499
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