Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Initial thoughts on the game, I loved it. I was super sad about the ending because I super loved the characters and was very much invested in them especially Noctis. However I do acknowledge that the game does have shortcomings. Nevertheless I very much enjoyed the game despite crying myself to sleep after watching the ending credits.
The whole journey was a road trip, something you do with your friends. It’s an experience that bonds people. And through that experience, we as players get to know more about these characters. I know a lot of games are like this but I think what sets FF15 apart is the bond and dynamics of the group. They’re a group of friends not set out to save the world but rather to marry off one of their friends. Of course the story does take a darker turn during the second half of the game but by that time you’re already invested in the characters.
I’m going to breakdown my review by parts gameplay, story, combat system, and graphics which are basically the main things I want to commend or critique.
In terms of gameplay we get a half and half of open world and linear progression. Thinking about those two types after settling in from the hype, I realized there were some things lacking from both the open world and the linear approach.
The open world part of the game which was mostly the first half composed of a lot of side quests and lot of area to uncover. The side quests were fairly easy to accomplish as they were mostly fetch quests in the guise of a hunt, missing item (dog tags!!), photo op. Though the simplicity of the quests did motivate me to do as many quests as I can, I feel that the repetitiveness and lack of complexity in some quests can be a turn off to other people or can diminish the overall sense of accomplishment. Still about the open world part, I believe there were some interactions with characters that can be triggered depending on certain scenarios. When I found out about a scene where Prompto and Noctis have this serious talk, I was a bit sad because I wasn’t able to trigger this event during my gameplay. It’s not just that a lot of potentially important details which can provide a bit explanation to whatever’s happening in the story is scattered around in this too open world like a treasure hunt. There’s nothing wrong with hard-earned knowledge but there so easy to miss it’s a bit frustrating.
The linear part of the game semi-starts when you head over to Altissia. From that point on it was one hell of a ride and drove by so fast that I could barely make sense of the whole story. The demise of the latter part of the game falls heavily on how the remainder of the story was executed which was too hastily done in my opinion. This was my shortest play through of a Final Fantasy game ever not because I wanted to finish it right away but because the game is too short. Although they did gets things right when Ignis was blinded at the toll of this disability was really felt during combat and as we progressed further in the story. Chapter 13 too, although I didn’t like the combat system during that part, Noctis’ isolation from his friends was captured well.
The story from the latter half til the ending felt like a summarized version of the second half. A lot of things weren’t shown/explained like the background of the other main characters besides Noctis, how or why certain characters die, how did person A end up in place B before the final battle, and lots and lots more. Although it seems that Square Enix is trying to make up for it through the release of DLCs in the form of character episodes which we’ll have to pay for unfortunately.
I loved the depiction of the 4 main character especially how their friendship was shown throughout the game. I got really attached to this group because of all the road trips, group pictures, camping we did during the first part of the story. This is one of the main reasons why I was so sad during the ending. The last campfire scene really hits you. The pictures in the ending credits really hits you. The opening scene with Florence Welch’s rendition of Stand By Me really hits you.
The combat system kind of intimidated me at first. I practiced and went through all the tutorials to make sure I understand how to fight properly which paid off. The combat system is complex but it can be understandable. I honestly love the warp strike combo and basically warping in general which makes the battle feel fluid. I also love how easy it is to switch weapons. Combos in general are easier to do overall and I like how there are strategy quests during the start of some battles. I’ve read that some people don’t like the camera during combat but I didn’t really notice any problems with that.
The graphics was something I didn’t think that I’ll be paying attention to but the game was just so beautiful. The cutscenes were something I always look forward too. I also love driving around in the Regalia and seeing the different scenes specifically around the Galdin Quay area during sunset. The cities specifically Altissia was amazing too!
Another thing I loved was the food. They all look real and a lot of them are Instagram worthy, even the cup noodles!
Overall FFXV was nice while it lasted though it was quite short much like Noctis and Luna’s love story. I haven’t played it since I finished the story but I am planning to play again once all the episode DLCs have been released. It’s been months since the release and the prices have dropped greatly. If you still don’t have the game yet it would be better to wait until they’ve released all the DLCs and the feature updates they’re planning to do.