Review: Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XVI’ve recently started playing Final Fantasy XV on PC. Final Fantasy is, for those who don’t know it, the staple Japanese Roleplaying Game. Part 15 manages to add something to the open world genre, which in itself is an achievement.

The story

The main character of the story is Noctis, crown prince of Lucis. At the start of the story, Noctis and his friends go on a road trip to meet Lunafreya, Noctis’s fiancée. Meanwhile Noctis’s father is holding peace talks with the empire of Nilfheim.

Things go terribly wrong, and Lucis is conquered by the Nilfheim empire. Noctis sets out on an extended road trip to regain his heritage. From there the story winds around in the usual confusing style of Japanese RPGs.

The Characters

As mentioned above, the main character – and the only one you can play – is Prince Noctis. He’s accompanied by three friends on his road trip.

Gladiolus is a giant of a man who charms all those around him. And yes, his name does sound like a bad side character from the old Legendary Journey’s of Hercules.

Ignis is a smart tactician and the group’s cook. He’s the most well educated of the group. And yes, Ignis is also a brand of car.

Finally, there’s Prompto. He’s the only member of the group from a lower class family. He’s also the one of the group who takes all the pictures. It wouldn’t be a road trip without pictures, would it? And it wouldn’t be an RPG if you couldn’t level in camera usage and equip better cameras, both of which you can indeed do.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy XV is a road trip through an open-world game. As with all open-world games, there’s a lot to do. The world is littered with random side quests, fetch quests, and monster hunts. However, when four guys drive around in their car for the heck of it, this fits pretty well.

The strange thing is, the story takes place in a war, where Noctis’s Kingdom is conquered. This doesn’t quite mesh with a road trip, or with traveling around scot-free. It is a bit strange that you run across roadblocks and are harassed by flying ships, while around you nobody cares and their is hardly a military presence.

Still, despite this, the world is fun to run around in. I’ve personally had my fill of gritty (fantasy) worlds where all side quests involve death and murder (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Witcher, DragonAge, etc.). This story involves driving around taking pictures, riding Chocobos, and hanging out in diners. Refreshingly non-gritty.

Combat is fast-paced and real-time. I’m not against turn-based gameplay (like the older Final Fantasy’s had), and wasn’t a fan of the way Final Fantasy 13 handled it. This instalment has combat that works well enough. For some reason though, I still like the combat in Star Ocean: A Last Hope better (for a JRPG).  It combined both tactical combat with RPG elements in a manner I haven’t seen rivaled – even though the rest of that game was pretty bad. That’s not to say Final Fantasy XV has bad combat, it just doesn’t stand out.

Conclusion

I like Final Fantasy XV. Yes, the story is weird, and it’s just another open-world game, but it’s fun.

If you don’t like weird Japanese roleplaying games, or Final Fantasy in general, you probably won’t like this game either. Otherwise, have at it, I say.

Author: Martin Stellinga

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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