I spent a lot of time, recently, playing Final Fantasy XV. I picked it up on launch day and happily took some holiday from work to allow myself the time I wanted to immerse myself in the story, uninterrupted.
It took me about 40 hours to complete the story, spending a short while doing some of the side quests and I have mixed thoughts on the thing as a whole. It’s been a week, but I’m very aware that not everyone has had that much time with the game and won’t have finished it so this is quite a skimming review to avoid as many spoilers as possible. I might do a more in-depth story analysis later.
On the surface, the story was okay. I have a fair few unanswered questions and if I hadn’t watched Kingsglaive I think I’d have been even more confused. It’s a story that holds up as long as you’re happy with just a surface telling but the moment someone asks you about why… that’s when it starts to crumble. In fact, one of the character’s motivations was so confusing Square Enix are patching in a better explanation! As for the ending, well it had me in tears. It was a good ending, even if I have a few questions about elements of the story that weren’t answered. I enjoyed the journey but I don’t know if I’d replay it to experience the story again.
The gameplay I found enjoyable. I liked the combat system and, for me, the only improvement would have been being able to issue commands to the other three. The amount of times I had to just watch them all die from and AOE because they wouldn’t run away was unbelievable. At one time it got so bad I just left them dead and dealt with it myself. The pacing was good too, the game gets linear in the second half but you can always return to the free roaming areas when you find a rest point; it’s not as if you get locked into a linear path. As it was it had good timing for the linear moments happened when you were in a state of just wanting to see what came next. Overall it worked really well. Except Chapter 13. Fuck Chapter 13. I had a guide book that I resorted to using to get from point A to B and still it went on for too long. I can’t imagine what that would’ve been like having to randomly roam around too, but they’re fixing that as well. Yes, it was that bad they’re adding gameplay enhancements specifically for Chapter 13.
As it stands, I’m still playing the game now. I’m enjoying exploring the post game and doing the side quests on a slower level (there’s only so many fetch quests you can do in one go) as I don’t regret buying it at all. For me it was an improvement over the Lightning stories too so I look forward to seeing where both Final Fantasy XV and the Final Fantasy series goes next.