Final Fantasy XV is a game a decade in the making. Originally announced as Final Fantasy 13 Versus, the game has gone through many iterations and concepts over the past 10+ years. Finally, Square Enix has released this long-awaited, and slightly maligned, entry into the franchise. The story of four bros on a road trip is nothing new, but developers Square Enix were determined to meet the goal they put forth on one of the first splash screens: “A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-Timers.” With over 50 hours played, the verdict is in.
Final Fantasy XV is beautiful. More than just their normally gorgeous cut scenes, the world of Eos is littered with lush detail and beautiful landscapes. The detail work is there and really is only lost in the frenetic combat. And the combat is where Final Fantasy XV hits a divisive note. The combat is not overly complex, which is odd for a Final Fantasy game. You, the player, can use different weapons or techniques or teamwork to keep the combat lively, but the likely scenario is you use libra, figure out what weapon it is weakest to and destroy the creature. Rinse and repeat. This makes the combat accessible, but not compelling.
All of Final Fantasy XV’s shortcomings are all seemingly balanced against good character design. The side quests are repetitive and not varied at all, yet I feel the need to help Takka, Dave, Sonia, Cindy and the others. Especially after watching the Brotherhood anime and the Kingsglaive movie, you really care about these characters, even though every character is a typical JRPG archetype. Square Enix has used its magic to keep players coming back even if there is no one aspect that shines brighter than the others.
Final Fantasy XV Review Final Thoughts:
Overall, Final Fantasy XV is a solid installment in the franchise that is worth your time. Its strong character and story design is hampered by weakened combat and repetitive quests. The thing is, I’m not sure if the game just isn’t tight because of the length of time for development or the fault of development. The game has taken many different turns and I think it shows throughout the game, especially as Square Enix was aiming for a larger crowd than the hardcore FF fan. And yet, the Final Fantasy magic is there. When I’m not playing, I want to be playing. This is a game that will fill your hours and is worth giving the benefit of the doubt.