Final Fantasy XV is undoubtably one of the best Final Fantasy titles to be released in recent memory. After the golden era of Final Fantasy games which culminated in the likes of Final Fantasy VII, the game series took a serious slump. On the verge of collapse, Final Fantasy XIV was an MMO version of Final Fantasy that did no favors to the franchise on its initial release garnering negative reviews across the board. Through the heroic acts of some Square Enix employees, the game was eventually overhauled, gaining back the trust of some fans.
Needless to say, there was a lot riding on Final Fantasy XV, and it’s clear Square Enix took this to heart in delivering a game that evolves on the classic single player Final Fantasy experience in almost every way. First released in 2016 on consoles to great reviews, the game was eventually released for Windows through Steam in March 2018 to glowing reviews from PC users. Although most reviewers fall shy of calling Final Fantasy XV anywhere near as good as the greatest Final Fantasy classics of all time, the general consensus is that it is a great (if not brilliant game) that does a lot right, and a few things wrong too. Here we’ll get into the nitty gritty of what we enjoyed and what we didn’t.
Without a doubt one of the most endearing parts of Final Fantasy XV (as with most great Final Fantasy games) are the characters. In particular, Final Fantasy XV has received a lot of feedback culminating in some reviewers even referring to it as a “boy band dress-up sim“. That title surely doesn’t give our main characters justice however, as they charm and wit that characterizes most party based interactions eclipses that of any boy band in recent memory. The constants jibes and arguments between the lead boy band in this fantasy epic is what oils the game along smoothly at almost every turn.
It’s hard to start off a review on Final Fantasy without commenting on one of the most obvious aspects of the game – its gorgeous graphics engine which far surpasses anything we have ever seen before from a Final Fantasy game, especially without the limitations of console based hardware. Even today in 2020 at the time of writing, the graphics still stand up to modern scrutiny and offer a far superior experience to the original console version.
The combat engine for Final Fantasy XV received some mixed reviews though its overall fun to play and relatively easy. The live gameplay is a big change from traditional turn based combat, and the way they implement this makes for an intense combat experience which is enthralling, but at the same time can also feel frantic and hard to follow. To counteract this confusion, combat is also relatively dumbed down with button pressing usually getting the job done without a huge amount of tactical finesse necessary. Despite this, the excitement and grand scope of fighting down huge monsters is palpable and usually overpowered any sense of linear tactics.
Open World Fun
Final Fantasy XV is packed full of interesting things to do, from fishing, gardening and photography through to bounty hunting and gambling on monster fights. This gives the game great appeal for those looking to simply get lost in a Final Fantasy world like no other, immersed in amazing graphics while spending your evening sipping wine and smoking a reefer while debating the best fishing bait to use to catch the fish of your dreams.
Despite the game becoming slightly more linear as the story progresses, the open world is full of (often quite boring) side quests and hoards of NPCs that will allow you to easily pack in dozens of hours of extra playtime if you so choose, though many reviewers have highlighted that the real fun comes in hunting monsters down for sport. Ethics aside, these monster fights are certainly the life blood of the open world experience and a far more satisfying than running around on arbitrary side quests with no real purpose.
Touch and Go Story
The story in Final Fantasy XV is certainly not one of its strongest points compared to the classics which established the franchise as having some of the most gripping stories of all time. There are more than a few gaping holes in the plot which make the story a lot less gripping than it should be. That said, what does shine are the smaller moments in-between on the journey through the main quest and endearing interactions between the boy-band cast members along the way which tug at the heartstrings perhaps even more than the more grandiose elements of the story. Despite a lacklustre script, there is enough to keep the player feelings engrossed on their journey.
All in all, Final Fantasy XV is a revolutionary titles in the Final Fantasy franchise which will certainly set the tone for many Final Fantasy games to come. It successfully merges the Final Fantasy of old with many modern gameplay features relatively seamlessly to create a fluid modern interpretation of the Final Fantasy experience. Although not as good as the classics of old, Final Fantasy XV is an excellent game in its own right and is well worth your time for newcomers and old fans alike.
- Endearing characters
- Revolutionary combat mechanics
- Gorgeous PC graphics
- Script and supporting characters not as good as Final Fantasy deserves
- Tedious side quests
8.5 / 10
Final Fantasy XV comes highly recommended.