Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

Final Fantasy XV is actually a video game that is actually happening, and new footage released by Square Enix last night shows that it's looking damn good too.

The one big question — other than "why is the steering wheel on the right?" — is "just how does that combat work?"

We don't have the answers to that question yet, but at least we a good starting point. With the assistance of our Hungarian gif-master Gergo Vas, let's take a closer look at the combat in Final Fantasy XV's most recent trailer — and compare it to the combat we saw at E3 2013 — in an attempt to figure out just what's going on here.

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

So here's a closer look at what appears to be the core of FFXV's combat: hacking, slashing, and dodging.

Looks fun, right? Seems like the player is only in control of the main character, Noctis, with your other party members doing their own thing alongside you. Some speculation: could we perhaps see some sort of variation on the Gambit system from Final Fantasy XII, where you could give your party members rudimentary AI programming to control how they reacted to certain acts and conditions?

It also looks a lot like Kingdom Hearts or even FFXII: Lightning Returns, where your buttons directly translate to on-screen moves without menus getting in their way. In other words, it's an action-RPG, which will undoubtedly piss off at least a few hardcore Final Fantasy fans who miss the turn-based battles of old. Importantly, and thankfully, damage stats pop up when you get hits off, which will make a big difference for those of us who just love seeing numbers.

Last night's battles are far less flashy than the combat we saw during E3 2013, which involved special moves and much bigger baddies:

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

Looks like dodging will still be an integral part of the game, though, as will Noctis's warping/blinking ability, which was also shown off during last night's trailer.

Here's another look back at some FFXV gameplay from E3 2013, again with a far bigger bad guy:

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

OK. Back to the present.

In this shot from last night's trailer, we see a really interesting moment, something that I've never seen in an action-RPG before — one of Noctis's party members actually jumps to the hero's aid, leaping over him to take out a nearby baddie while Noctis is dodging.

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

Very neat. It's unclear whether this is an automatic feature or something you'll be able to trigger manually, but it seems to add a level of teamwork that we haven't seen in a Final Fantasy game before. (Consider this the "next-gen" version of the Cover ability used by Cecil the Paladin and other FF characters over the past few decades.)

Here's another, similar version of that same ability:

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down

This is really interesting. One of Noctis's party members actually grabs onto him and moves him away, while the other one delivers a deathblow to take down a marauding elephant beast.

As you can see on the bottom right, Noctis has pretty low health here, which makes this seem like a conditional event, reminiscent of desperation moves from Final Fantasy VI. Maybe FFXV will only let you call party members for help when your HP is in the red; maybe you can only do it a limited number of times; maybe it happens automatically whether or not you want help. The inner workings aren't super clear. But "teamwork" seems to be a big theme in this bromantic road trip of a video game, so it's safe to say this will be a fundamental part of combat.

It all looks pretty impressive, don't you think? FFXV looks like nothing I've seen before, either in Final Fantasy or in any other video game, and that element of surprise may wind up being the game's biggest strength.

And now I leave you with a bunch of sweet GIFs from 2013, showcasing wall-jumping, cover, gigantic weapons, crystal barriers, and all sorts of other things we may or may not see when Final Fantasy XV finally comes out:

Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down
Final Fantasy XV's Combat, Broken Down


    The one big question — other than “why is the steering wheel on the right?”
    This is a repost from US I gather? because that seems pretty normal where I am from

      Its also pretty normal in Japan, where the game is from. So it's not very hard to work out why, surely.

        I thought it was a joke but it sure as hell wasn't delivered like one.

        It makes me think the reviewer has a map on the wall with America in the middle and nothing else around it but crudely drawn sea monsters and warnings like "Here be dragons"

        Last edited 19/09/14 2:20 pm

    Also, it seems like the stuff from the recent trailer is early game, lower health pools etc and slower combat and general care-free attitude of the characters used as evidence, giving you a nice curve into what the later combat and inevitable characters giving a shit about the state of what appears to be an invasion by some hostile organisation/military force/country of their home city/kingdom with the faster combat, more moves, more weapons, bigger enemies. Judging by previous titles, namely 7 and 13, I'd say that the whole section with leviathan and the behemoths etc is either the end game or the end of one act of the game set either before the game opens up, giving you free reign afterwards (think leaving midgar for the first time) or after the events of the game (ff13 and assault on eden)

    We also have what appears to be something like an overworld to explore, grazing beasts, terrain, the car, the random big adamantoise.

    I am guessing summons will be exclusive to boss battles rather than an individual characters skill, leviathan attacking the city seems like a tale of each kingdom having their alignment with a particular esper (or whatever) and they can summon it in some ritual of some description to help them in battle. I don't see them going the way of FF12 where, once defeated, you gain access to them, perhaps though some ability set by power absorption maybe?

    To the topic of teamwork, there is on the bottom gif, a link form action is present which might hint at a link with team members to perform attacks.

    Just brainstorming here btw. FF titles seem pretty attached to their tropes so based off the information we have gotten, I'd guess I am not too far from the mark with some of my vague ideas.

    steering wheel on the right

    In other words, it’s an action-RPG, which will undoubtedly piss off at least a few hardcore Final Fantasy fans who miss the turn-based battles of old

    That's me then. I don't play a FF game to go through hack & slash combat where the screen fills up with a load of confusion. I like strategy in RPGs, not spamming the attack button and hoping that your ai companions (won't even mention not controlling a whole party anymore except I just did) will heal you when necessary.

      it cant be any worse than the abomination that was FFXIII's "turn" based combat

      Hack and slash has worked very well in crisis core:final fantasy 7 and the gameplay in no way detracted from the prequel story or my "emotional" investment. Sure I was jot such a big baby like when Aeris died, but they were manly tears I tell you. To date Zack Fair remains my favorite supporting/side character.

      I am eagerly awaiting this game again. Plus dem PS4 like graphics will make me buy a new PS4 game finally

    In this shot from last night’s trailer, we see a really interesting moment, something that I’ve never seen in an action-RPG before — one of Noctis’s party members actually jumps to the hero’s aid, leaping over him to take out a nearby baddie while Noctis is dodging.

    It's just a canned animation. Go back and watch the E3 footage again, there's a shot of them doing exactly the same thing in there too, just slightly different angle. Same vocal cues and everything.

    Probably involves pressing X after dodging when a companion is nearby or something.

    Honestly this footage made me a whole lot less interested in the game. It looks okay, but everything seems to lack weight. I'd also argue it's hardly revolutionary, since the gameplay looks like it's a straight evolution of FF Type-0 (which in turn is an evolution of Crisis Core).

      But even by that logic; for something to evolve from crisis core sounds like an insta-buy to me.

        Fair enough. I'll be buying this immediately too. Just wasn't feeling hugely excited by this trailer specifically. The E3 trailers were more interesting IMO.

          Yeah, but that being said they've already clarified that the characters in the E3 trailer were alot higher levels. :P

          I think the best thing about the new trailer was it showed a side of the game that we haven't seen yet; the main guys just being close friends going on a road trip together, being carefree and enjoying themselves before it all presumably goes to hell (i mean its supposed to be the darkest FF apparently). I'm just making assumptions here; but I get the feeling that the more laid-back, brotherly-bonding section of the game is going to make the shift to a darker tone hit that much harder when it happens.

          Or I could completely wrong; for better or worse. That's just impression so far.

            It's actually probably part of the opening of the game. Wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being part of the demo they're releasing with Type-0 in March.

    Is it so hard to let us control all party members? Let me break the science down for you Squeenix:

    FF games where you control all party members = beloved by all.
    FF games where you control one party member = despised by all.

    It's just science.

      They might already possibly be planning or have this in there. Past trailers show gameplay footage from other characters PoV.

      That was years ago though. Couldve changed

      Its not science, its opinion.

      For one, I was a huge fan for Crisis Core. While I generally don't have a positive opinion on XIII, I can't say I actively hate the game. That game is nowhere near as bad as other RPGs that I've played, and towards the end I used to make a game of trying to get a combo break of 999% in as little time as possible

      Science is backed by research and published papers and then is studied by peers and when a large percentage of people accepted to be smarter than the rest agree, and can not find evidence where the theory fails, then its known as a scientific law. You can't turn opinions of ordinary everyday people only "scientific fact".

      Last edited 20/09/14 9:22 am

        Saying my opinion is not science is just your opinion ;)

    Have they not learned from Bravely Default? Oh yeah Squeenix didn't make that one

    Those that dislike the change in style of FF and prefer the next numbered title to be turn based and like past FFs have their head in the clouds.

    There is no way SE can make the next numbered FF a console title in the same kind of style of its predecessors. XIII's gameplay was boring and unimaginative.

    As an FF fan, if I go back and play the old FF games on PS and SNES, whilst it is fun it is not something I would want to play on the big screen. If SE were to keep the same style, the series would die due to lack of sales. It just doesn't appeal to a broad enough audience.

    Those wanting a more old school JRPG experience should look to the hand helds as there are plenty there. You're dreaming if you think they will blow a big budget on gameplay for a niche audience.

    People are so afraid of change. Evolve or die. I choose to evolve.

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