Final Fantasy XV is finally here after many years of waiting, for some it’s been ten long years of waiting. Now I want to make it clear to everyone reading this review that I have never played a Final Fantasy game before. This may make the review interesting for those looking for a genuine opinion from a first time Final Fantasy player, and that is what I will give you in this review.
In Final Fantasy XV, you take control of Prince Noctis of Lucis who at the start of the game is set to marry Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae as an agreement for a peace treaty between the battling nations of Lucis and Niflheim. The treaty however was a set up for an attack on Lucis by Niflheim. The attack takes place before Noctis and his three other companions in the game can get to location of where the wedding was set. The three other companions are Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto.
The relationship between Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto was something that impressed me early, and continued to do so throughout the game. It doesn’t take long before you get used to these four characters, and their incredible dialogue. The amount of lines between the four companions is quite impressive whether it was within or outside of main quests. There’s never much silence between the four of them, and even outside of missions, there was discussions about the fallout of past quests as well as upcoming quests. The range of dialogue also impressed me, whether it was just random banter between certain characters or if it was a serious moment in the story between Noctis and one of his companions. The only issue I had with dialogue in this game is that there’s a kind of useless dialogue wheel in the game that makes you think you have alternative choices but they always lead to the same conclusion.
What I also felt that Final Fantasy XV does well, is capturing that sense feeling of this story being a big adventure which is something I feel not many games can truly capture. There’s many examples I could pick from that really help make it feel like an adventure, with one being the optional choice of camping out or resting in a motel when day turns to night. Resting not only helps with upcoming battles, but it also cashes in your EXP which allows you to level up. You also have the car journeys, that I also have an issue with which I will talk about more later on in this review, but they do offer some great dialogue between the four characters. It really does feel like the classic adventure experience.
Getting back to an earlier point regarding the main quest line, I started to become quite tired of using the car during the early parts of the game. While there’s options to skip driving, there’s parts were it is mandatory to drive to a location without skipping. It doesn’t help that the car controls are useless as the car pretty much drives itself for you, and all you’re really doing is holding the accelerate button while the much more interesting dialogue is in the background. Don’t expect the same kind of car driving gameplay as other open word games like Watch Dogs or GTA V or you will be extremely disappointed with the strict limitations of what you can do when driving in the game. When driving sequences are forced in the main quest line, at least make it fun to drive the car rather than it becoming a 3 minute chore.
Don’t expect to have too much fun if you are the type of gamer who likes to complete side content, because Final Fantasy XV’s is mostly boring fetch quests were you are asked to find this item, and bring it back to the person who asked for that said item. Sure, there’s some good side content but there’s a lot of filler side quests that you’ll most likely want to avoid rather than complete.
For this review I used an Xbox One copy, and the performance of the game on the Xbox One is not that good. Actually I was quite disappointed that I didn’t secure a PS4 copy for the game to play it on the PS4 Pro, as it looks much better on there. On the Xbox One the textures look extremely blurry, the framerate drops noticeably, and the visuals look quite outdated compared to other video games releasing around this time. Oh, and the game completely froze during loading screens. Again, I wish I was able to review the game on the PS4 Pro as it seems to look and run much better on there. The Xbox One version is unfortunately not that good, performance wise.
“What about the combat?” you may be asking, as I’ve talked about pretty much everything other than that. I have to say that the combat is very enjoyable, and works well with the three additional characters. The unique to each character team up moves look great, and makes the combat even more enjoyable. I’m honestly not usually a fan of games that team you up with CPU NPC’s. However, I was fine with it in Final Fantasy XV, as they weren’t getting in the way of the fun along with them being fairly balanced, so you have to be the one to deal most of the damage rather than the other three characters doing the work.
The combat however is flawed for one major reason. The combat is way too easy even on the highest difficulty setting which is “normal” with no hard option being offered. After only a few chapters in, I felt much too overpowered for the enemies I was against who at times were even higher leveled than my character. Sure there’s a challenge when fighting much higher leveled monsters who can randomly appear during the night, but I had almost no issues throughout the main story line, and felt the game was too forgiving. I even tried the game on easy, and it’s so forgiving that you can’t actually die in combat on easy mode.
The Final Verdict
Final Fantasy XV wasn’t a bad game, but after all that hype, and being a first time player, I was disappointed with what was offered. There’s many features about the game that I can praise like the combat and dialogue, but there’s those negatives that makes it a disappointing first experience. I feel this is going to be a game with very mixed opinions, and I’m sure there’s many playing it early who think it’s a great game, but for me personally, this was a good yet disappointing game.
+ The characters and dialogue
+ Being able to capture that adventure feel
+/- The combat is fun, but too forgiving even on the hardest setting
– The main quests can drag with the early driving sections
– Side content is mostly not worth the time
– Xbox One’s bad performance
Final Score: 7/10