Holy Shit, I Just Played Final Fantasy XV

Holy Shit I Just Played Final Fantasy XV

I just spent two hours playing Final Fantasy XV, which I can confirm is a real video game that actually exists. The good news: it's brilliant in a lot of ways, and from what I've played so far, it really does feel like a Final Fantasy game. The bad news? Well, it's got some serious technical issues and I'm worried it's too ambitious for even today's current-gen hardware.

First, some context. At PAX East in Boston this weekend, the folks at Square Enix invited reporters to go check out the FFXV demo, which is finished and will be released for PS4 and Xbox One on March 17 alongside Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. (You have to buy Type-0 to get your hands on the demo, of course.)

After nine years of development — or three if you're counting from when the developers changed focus and decided that Versus XIII would become the big one, Final Fantasy XV — this is the first time that this game has ever been played outside of Square's secret laboratory.

I'm still kind of stunned that I actually just played it.

They told me I could play FFXV for about an hour, so naturally, I stayed for two. I played through the entire demo, tracking down a giant behemoth and watching prince Noctis and his band of bros try to figure out how to murder it for its tusks. I'm avoiding spoilers in this write-up, but I will say that the battle ends with a "HOLY SHIT" moment the likes of which I expect we'll see many of in Final Fantasy XV, followed by a spoilery tease for the main game, which still has no official release date.

I have a lot of thoughts. The short version: Final Fantasy XV is full of smart ideas, and although the tropes are all there — phoenix downs, gysahl greens, peppy victory music — it feels totally different than any Final Fantasy before it, more akin to Skyrim or Far Cry than any JRPG we've seen to date. But can Square Enix's tech live up to their vision? The demo I played was janky, peppered with distracting jaggies, and full of framerate drops that made exploring FFXV's open world feel like more of a chore than it ever should have been.

At least they have time to fix it.

Holy Shit I Just Played Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae opens with four bros in a tent. These bros, who are camping out in the wild because their car has broken down and they need to fix it so they can get back on their brotastic road trip, are immediately a blast to watch, a boy band with silly faces and even sillier names: There's the smart one (Ignis), the boyish one (Prompto), the beefy one (Gladiolus), and the moody one (Noctis). They have got a surprising amount of chemistry. I want to hang out with them more.

When you're given control of said moody bro — the only character we can control, sadly — you're given a brief control rundown and then told to go spar with Gladiolus for a brief combat tutorial.

This is where it becomes immediately clear that Final Fantasy XV is not your grandpa's Final Fantasy game.

The Combat

As you probably know already, Final Fantasy XV has decided that turn-based combat is an antiquated practice, so instead of selecting options from a menu, you'll use the controller to issue commands directly — hold down the combat button and you'll swing around a sword and start smashing away at an enemy, watching its HP drain as Noctis slashes back and forth. There's a satisfying weight to each hit, and landing attacks on enemies has the heft you'd expect from a well-made action-RPG.

Noctis also has a set of techniques attached to each of his weapons (five, in the demo) that do more damage at the cost of MP. It's very typical Final Fantasy fare — there's the lunging Full Thrust, the health-absorbing Drain Blade, and even an ability called Dragoon Jump that lets you pretend to be Kain and leap on enemies from above. For plot reasons, Noctis can summon these weapons out of thin air, so in the game, you can assign different weapons for different circumstances — one for your main attack move, for example, and another one for counterattacks. Lots of potential depth there, though there isn't a ton of room to play around with it in the demo.

And, yeah, don't worry: this isn't a game of button-mashing. Kingdom Hearts this ain't. You can defend (by holding L1 in the demo) and parry/counter-attack enemy moves, though I'm not sure how viable that is as a strategy when you're trying to slash through fifteen goblins at once. As I played through the demo — which is not easy by any means! — I found that staying on the offensive was way more effective, especially when fighting through herds of obnoxious little cat-tiger-like critters that refused to stand still.

Defending costs MP. So does warping. So do techniques. This is critical information, because one of the most interesting things about Final Fantasy XV's combat is that when Noctis runs out of MP, he enters a state called Stasis in which he's crippled, unable to even run until you get his mana back up. Mana points regenerate automatically, but it's very, very slow — unless you have Noctis take cover behind a rock or other obstacle, where he'll take a breather and gain back MP faster.

So getting good at the combat, from what I can tell, means doing as much damage as possible, dodging and defending as much as possible, and somehow ensuring that Noctis doesn't run out of MP and accidentally cripple himself. After two hours, I was not very good at this. I imagine that when Final Fantasy XV comes out for real (2018?) I'll have gotten better.

Oh, hey, we should spend some time talking about the music.

The Music

The music is amazing.

Back To The Combat

The other bros move around and attack automatically, for the most part following your lead. When you stop walking, they will stop walking. When you run away because you're sick of fighting enemies, they will flee right alongside you. They will make quips and swagger around and do all sorts of entertaining things for your amusement. They are true bros.

They will also help you out if you run out of health. See, when Noctis or any of his other allies run out of hit points, they will start staggering around and accessing a new red health bar that may or may not have an official name I didn't write down. Let's call it backup HP. If Noctis runs out of backup HP, you're screwed. Game over. Start over from the last checkpoint.

Fortunately, members of the party can restore one another's normal HP bar by standing next to them and healing them with the power of bro-love. As Noctis, if you get knocked out, the best move appears to be to take cover and hope one of your allies comes and gives you a hand. This is when it would be particularly nice to be able to switch to another party member, but alas, it's not to be. At least the AI seems pretty good.

Also worth noting: Noctis can access an ability called "Armiger" that's essentially his version of a limit break, putting him in warp mode and letting him beat up enemies at super-speed. If you saw the E3 2013 trailer, you saw this in action:

Holy Shit I Just Played Final Fantasy XV

You might be wondering: if enemies attack you in real-time, how do you get away from them? What if you don't feel like fighting? The answer is… well, there are two answers. When you're out in the open, it's pretty easy to get away from an unwanted battle by pointing your joystick in one direction and hightailing it out of there. When you get far away enough from the enemies, you'll automatically exit combat mode. But what about when you're inside a dungeon or other enclosed area?

Here's a story. In the demo, there's a big cavern that serves as the obligatory Scary Dungeon and will give you A Special Power when you finish it. When I was close to the end of this cavern, I got kind of sick of fighting goblins and decided to just run for the goal marker. (Yes, Final Fantasy XV has goal markers. It's great.) But when I got to the end, I couldn't interact with the quest object because the game believed my party was still in combat. I had no way to progress further without finishing the battle.

So I turned around and ran back up the narrow tunnel in which I had entered, where suddenly I found myself face to face with two dozen friggin' goblins, grunting and massing together like a nest full of cockroaches. It was hilarious. And terrifying. They almost killed me. Final Fantasy XV! (Maybe the final game will give us a better way of running from encounters we don't want to face.)

The World

The last mainline single-player game, Final Fantasy XIII, was polarising in many ways, but even those who loved the game would have to agree that its biggest flaw was that walking and fighting were the only things to do. Gone were the mini-games and sidequests that were so integral to other Final Fantasys. Your job was to walk, fight, and walk some more.

Final Fantasy XV is different. Very different. At one point in the demo, Noctis has to sneak behind a giant enemy and follow it to its lair without getting caught. Later, you have to help the boy band execute a plan that involves setting aforementioned giant enemy on fire with a barrel of gas. It's clear that there's more to this game than just running in a straight line and watching cut-scenes, which is lovely. (A bonus: Prompto shows more personality in a single attack move than Lightning did in three damn games.)

The Duscae demo is full of landmarks and objectives, and as you walk through the world, your gang members will point out various points of interest, many of which lead to sidequests and activities. The map takes clear and obvious influence from games like Far Cry 3 and Skyrim, and the navigational menu lets you set up waypoints at outposts or campgrounds throughout the region. From what I've seen so far, the amount of sheer Things To Do isn't on the same level as, say, Fallout 3, but for a Final Fantasy game, this whole open-world thing is unprecedented. Sadly, there are no big towns in the demo — and most of the NPCs just grunt when you try to talk to them — so only time will tell if they have nailed the grandiose cities that Final Fantasy has always been so good at creating.

Troops of enemies — called Magitek Soldiers but definitely not riding Magitek Armour — will drop down from airships that seem to pop up randomly as you explore. (At one point, I passed a big road and watched a random car get stopped and held up because of a troop patrol. I wonder how many moments like that are generated procedurally — and how many there will actually be in the final product.)

There's also a day and night system, because of course there is. When it's night-time, you'll be prompted to go find a camping site, where you can set up tents, eat dinner, and rest your party. One interesting twist on a genre convention pops up here: instead of levelling up as they fight, your party members will accumulate experience that will only actually apply when you camp out, so if you do a bunch of stuff between rests, you'll find your party members gaining 2-3 levels every time you set up camp. Bizarrely, camping out also makes you lose any sidequests you didn't finish, which will perhaps make more sense in the final version of Final Fantasy XV. It also gives you stat boosts for the following day, depending what you have for dinner — and yes, your food is lovingly rendered in all of its polygonal glory and shown every time you rest.

So, yes. I walked away from the demo with two important thoughts:

  1. I am optimistic about the future of Final Fantasy.
  2. I wonder how much processing power is used on their hair?

I'm concerned, too. Director Hajime Tabata and crew are clearly ambitious, and they have done some fascinating things here, some of which I haven't mentioned or have been purposefully vague about in the interest of letting you experience them yourselves. But I'm worried about the framerate drops, the blurry distances, the jaggy edges. I'm worried about the way that jumping feels unnecessarily heavy, and how fighting through minor enemies can take just a few seconds too long. I'm worried that the development team's vision will be compromised by the technology they're stuck with.

Those are all problems that can be fixed, though. They have got plenty of time to polish, to refine, to keep tweaking and taking feedback and eking as much as they can out of the PS4 and Xbox One. What's way more critical — and what I'm way less worried about after today — is that Final Fantasy XV feels like a Final Fantasy game. And it does. It's grand, yet it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. It's totally unorthodox, totally weird, and, from what I've played so far, totally welcome.


Comments

    "it feels totally different than any Final Fantasy before it, more akin to Skyrim or Far Cry"
    Exactly what I didn't want to hear...

      As long as it's different from XIII it's a step in the right direction

        XIII's gameplay wasn't that bad in my opinion. I had fun playing the game both in battles and exploring maps, it was the story and characters that were terrible. I wasn't too happy with the Eidolons too actually, but I can tell you now if they had made XIII purely open-world and gave it an action-RPG battle system, I wouldn't have a single thing to say I'd like about it.

      how did that akin to Skyrim or Far Cry to be honest. He need to word it properly instead of causing confusion. I believe he is trying to say it is Open World like Skyrim or Far Cry instead of gameplay like Skyrim or Far Cry.

        That's the way I took it and that's what I'm worried about. I've always loved the way F balanced linear and open-world. For The maps are generally very linear with a few side paths with goodies that reward you for exploring, but then as you progress you have the freedom to go back anywhere you want.
        The worst part is that open-world games tend have have weak stories, or there's simply no focus on the story because you spend more time traveling or doing random stuff that is in no way related to the story.

        My problem with open-world is that I get bored extremely fast when there is too much to do. It's not even an issue of being overwhelmed, I can't explain what it is that makes me turn away.

          "My problem with open-world is that I get bored extremely fast when there is too much to do."

          Dude, that made absolutely no sense at all.

    I honestly don't care that much how it plays (though it'd be nice if it's good). I just want a great story/world like the old ones

    (*Hint*And a PC version, Square-Enix, would be tops*hint*)

    Any word on a PC version?

      Unless you want to be playing this game in 2020, you may want to get a PS4 or Xbox1

        Nope. Unless you want to be playing this on PS5 or Xbox Radian, you're going to want a PC release. (optionally, 800x600 resolution)

        Face it, high-end PCs are far more capable than consoles ever will be.

          that's another reason why they prolly wont make a pc version because you would have the have a really high end pc to be able to play it

    After the reception to the three incredibly disappointing entries in the FFXIII series you would've thought that SE would realise we DON'T WANT AN ACTION RPG! WE WANT TURN-BASED!!!

    Just give us a game that looks like FFXV, but plays like VII/VIII/IX. It's really not rocket science people!

      People love FFX & XII and that was not turn based as such either compared to the PSX entries.
      People wanted the open world and side stuff back, no one has been screaming for turn based combat anywhere I have seen just the feel and world stuff back.

        Lots of people have been complaining about the lack of turn-based, because there aren't nearly as many great turn-based titles as action-based (compared to how there used to be at least) and FF games used to be THE turn-based titles. Plus, it completely changes the pacing and feel of a game.

        OTOH, as frustrating as it is to not have as much access to that as we used to there are still many, many turn-based games to go back to it's really not that big a deal. Hopefully the next FF will go back

        Yeah really do not want turn based again. Lost Odyssey reminded me just how old and slow turn based is.

          I liked Lost Odyssey more than any Final Fantasy of the past 15 years.

            More than 9, 10 or 12? Wow, first person I have ever heard say that.

              Why the love for FFX? I never understood it. How can people attack XIII without realising the hypocrisy of loving FFX at the same time. X was the first of the jarringly linear Final Fantasies and ultimately the beginning of the end of Square's excellent VII / VIII / IX run.

              The protagonist was an annoying idiot, the voice acting was atrocious, it was incredibly linear and restrictive, and the leveling system took a simple idea and needlessly overcomplicated it.

              What level were you in FFX? No idea? What, how can that be? Oh, I see, because they removed any way of you knowing that.

              Blitzball on the other hand; goddamn they should make a stand alone game of that it was that good.

                If they made a stand alone Blitzball game I might actually kill somebody, that shit was the literal worst.

                  To both you and @andy:

                  I think with the mini games you get out of them what you put in. When I played Final Fantasy 8 the first couple of times i didn't even touch the card game (Triple Triad) once, but after revisiting it this year and learning not only how fun it is but how useful it is to boost your characters to insane levels I loved it.

                  With Blitzball, I had a save file on FFX that was something close to 90 hours and it was literally me playing up until the first point you could play the Blitzball game and then only playing that. It's super engaging and fun, with relatively deep RPG elements. It's not without its flaws, it took many hours to work out the ridiculous player control and sometimes it feels like the random number generator is unnecessarily fickle, but yeah, so much potential there if you stick with it.

                Not so much a great love for X as more I did not overly like Lost Odyssey and I was just mentioning the FF games made in the last 15 years that I thought were better :) I enjoyed X when it came out but purchased the HD version recently and got bored quickly. Also hated Blitzball then and now :p

          Bravely Default was widely praised despite being a pretty basic game on 2nd-tier tech. There's still a crowd begging for some classic FF style gameplay.

            Oh I completely get there are people that like turn based. I own Bravely Default and love it but on a hand held console like the 3DS I cannot see how that could have been anything but turn based with that art style. Would not really suit a 3d space.
            I just think that gamers as a whole have moved past that older style of gaming, just like a large majority of mmo gamers want more than the World of Warcraft style where there is no active blocking or dodging. I dont think it is even that we want it faster paced or more action and that we just want more control over things rather than just a menu. There will always be games that suit a certain style of gaming but others can evolve to be more. I for one am glad FF XV is looking like it is. I am also looking forward to Bravely Second :)

              I think on a hand held it just works better. Even though I'm obviously not a huge fan of turn based console games I'm currently picking which classic Final Fantasy game to buy for the Vita while they're on sale. I'm thinking FFVIII.

              I get that some people want that, but a lot don't, too, especially (In all honesty) for FF's older fanbase. I won't be buying this one after reading this review, because it is clear the combat is going to be 'deep', 'complex', and likely 'twitchy', and I haven't got the physical capacity for games like that. It's why I don't play Dark Souls or Monster Hunter, and why I can't even play Street Fighter like I did as a teen. I love the FF franchise but the more it becomes about sharp reflexes and speedy combos, the less I can play them. And it feels like /everything/ is focused on being that super-intense system of precision and combos, that are as much about reaction time as any real depth.

        Yeah. Turn based 20 minutes to walk down a hallway combat isn't something I'm hoping to see in FFXV.

          I guess you'd prefer the auto-win button from FFXIII then?

            I never used deep strategy with the turn based Final Fantasy games. They're always really blunt. You eventually figure out what works and then do that for pretty much every fight. You adjust it for bosses to include some healing. Sometimes there will be an immunity or something that forces you to change the plan but it's always just subbing out Fire for Ice or something equally shallow. By midway through the games I'm just spamming Attack on everything because it's the fastest way to end combat and get back to what I was trying to do. I remember leveling in FFVII without even looking at the screen, just going by sound. That's about as auto-win as you can get.

            Even outside of the Final Fantasy series the turn based JRPGs that force me to use proper strategy tend to be obnoxious rather than fun. Lost Odyssey's combat for instance felt deeper and more engaging, but that only made the fights that didn't matter irritating. It was great against a boss but when you're just trying to walk from one side of a cave to the other that's a huge pain. Granted something like FFXIII or the Lufia games where you can see all the encounters in a room, or even something like Pokemon's tall grass, would have helped relieve some of that.

            I'm not saying bring back FFXIII's combat, and by the look of it they've really taken notice of the criticisms of FFXIII so they don't want to bring it back either, just that I really don't want to go back to the older style. Personally my biggest problem with FFXIII's combat system was that it tried to please 'classic' fans while doing something new and interesting. It retained too much of the turn based line of thinking which landed it in the worst of both worlds.
            That said I still found Paradigm Shifts and Staggering to be more engaging than any of the previous games. The turtles challenged my skill as a player where the Weapons in FFVII challenged my ability to bring the right gear and select the right attacks.

            Last edited 08/03/15 5:35 pm

              What about Vercingetorix, the Cie'th super-boss http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Vercingetorix
              That and the Long Gui were epic FF-XIII fights for me. They are the kind of fights that you walk into unprepared (or half-prepared) and get stomped so badly you wonder how it is even possible to beat them. I loved having to set up paradigm combos and quickly switch from one to another to buff, debuff, turtle, heal etc. It added that element of tactics to the combat that made it really engrossing. I never understood people who complained that the combat was boring with an 'auto win' button. I think the game rewarded people who put more time and thought into it.

                The Long Gui fights were pretty sweet, but I felt like Vercingetorix was cheating a bit too much. Trying to get a 5-star rank on it was pretty absurd. If I remember correctly I had to use the Gold Watch and remove most of my gear just to raise the time enough that it was even possible to do it. Even then it felt like I could get totally screwed by a bit of bad luck. Gigantuar was a bit RNG heavy for a 5-star too. That said if I didn't care about getting a 5-star result or if I was willing to use Death I wouldn't have minded those fights as much.
                I really need to get started on FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns. I've had them sitting there for months now.

            How often did you hold down the A button for the random encounters in FFI? or mash the cross (or circle) button for Attack in FFVII against random encounters? Hell, in FFIX, I'd have the cursor set to Memory, so for every random encounter: Zidane would use Attack, Steiner would use Attack, Garnet would use Bahamut (since I didn't have Ark) and Vivi to use Flare. Only time I would change something is if a monster manages to get a hit in and Virus a party member (so I'd use the Vaccine item. This is similar to doing a Paradigm shift). That was my "auto-win" button :I

        This is the second time in such a short while I've heard FFX battle system referred to as 'not turn-based' when actually it was more turn-by-turn than any of the traditional ATB systems in previous Final Fantasies.
        In fact it sped up battles for FF games since there was no need to wait for anyone's turn to be ready. Arguably it also slowed down, since players could now take an infinite amount of time to strategise, but I don't think anyone notices that when their invested in their actions.

        Wait wait wait, I know FFXII wasn't turn based in the traditional sense, but how was FFX not turn based?

      I miss the ability to directly control your party members more at this stage. I hate having to rely on the AI and hoping they have been programmed well enough to know what they're doing at any given situation.

        That's more what I meant. It's the move away from party mechanics to the action RPG style that I'm talking about.

          This is why I'm more excited for Bravely Second at this point (here's hoping for a western release)!

      You know, FF13 is really not bad. Just haters gotta hate on the title. I don't want turn based. I want a new Final Fantasy. I don't want retro. I want something fresh from SE.

      If the game looks like FFXV but play like 7/8/9, I will cry.

        To each their own.

        FF13 is the only FF game I never finished.
        I probably got about half way through before I threw my hands up in disgust.

        I've been meaning to go back to it but I just haven't had time - or there's always something more appealing.

        I absolutely loved FFXII though - great story, good combat (summons were less useful than a full party for me though).

        Cautiously optimistic about XV.
        I think XIII and XIV taught SquareEnix that the direction they were heading in with with their games wasn't what players wanted. XIV has made a colossal turnaround and continues to gain popularity - so hopefully some of that magic rubs off on XV.

      You do realise that VII/VIII was not turn based like your asking for. They used an ATB system

      Last edited 08/03/15 7:08 pm

        Set it to 'wait' and VII-IX are all completely turn-based

          Not always. Your opponents' invisible ATB would complete and allow them to execute their turn if none of your parties ATBs were full. I found this made the 'wait' function kinda useless, since all it did was give me more time to think when 'I' was ready, but did nothing to help strategise around an opponents unpredictable turn timing. (Admittedly this would not apply to all of them, the 'wait' function varied in function across JRPGs.)

            That's normal - they take their turns when their turns are available. That's exactly what it means to be turn-based. You can't act on someone else's turn, have to wait and let them act.

            The only difference between active and wait is that the action gauges continue to fill while one character's command menu is up and enemies can take actions while you're planning yours.

              I was just meaning that the 'wait' function had little use in ATB style play. It wasn't very beneficial to stop and think about your turn when you didn't know when your opponents' turn was. In fact the 'ready' state of the ATB didn't signal when your turn would complete, but only when you were able to issue orders; turns were issued in the order they're given and thus anybody whose ATB was faster still goes first even if it waited for you to issue orders. Waiting simply made it impossible for players to let their 'turn' elapse in favour of enemies or other party members turns.

              That's not true turn based, since the determining factor is not "next action, next-action" with discretely determined turns for each (like a board game). The ATB is just a set of cooldown timers that then contribute to a set of actions slowed down to a such a degree that it appears each character/enemy is taking it turn-by turn. In contrast: FFX is a truer turn-based by adding 'wait', taking away the cooldown and then letting the stats create a discrete list of turns that cannot elapse.

          Turn based is Final Fantasy, Final fantasy 2, Final Fantasy X(from memory). You can walk away mid battle, make breakfast, go to work, come home, make dinner, clean the house, go to sleep, and then wake up again and nothing has changed except your gameplay time.

          The "wait" system only made your party members attack turn by turn based on their speed stat's. The enemy would have an active battle gauge which would let them attack you, so if you did the same scenario in an ATB game, you'd likely come home from work and see a game over screen, most likely way before work is finished

            Nope. What you describe is the 'active' part of ATB. When in 'wait' mode, everything stops while you have a character command window up and you could walk away for the game for a day and it'd still be waiting. The 'active' part of ATB refers to the fact that the monsters will continue to take their turns and the characters' action gauges will continue to fill while you sit on the command window.

            What you might be getting confused with is that FF7 had a third option, 'Recommended', which is sort of a half-step between the two. FF IV through VI only had 'active' or 'wait' options and I can't remember if VIII and IX had the third one as well.

            Turn-based really is Final Fantasy. Everything went to shit after X :(

      As much as i love the old FF games (and replay through every few years), i dont think i could play a modern turn based game these days.
      But that said, FF15 gameplay does look kind of boring.

      I agree, I always loved the chase in upgrading, finding better magic (visuals) and the cut scenes of the new found summoner.
      So stick with the old formula with new improved graphics, and levelling, (more goodies to find)

    If I don't find myself liking the characters I'll end up detesting the game regardless of how it plays. FFVII, brilliant characters: loved the game. FFVIII, I really hate Rinoa: tedious game. FFIX, see FFVII.

    "Bro". "Brotastic". Brogasm. Something tells me I'm not going to like this game

    Looks like another game I'll end up disliking then. I disliked 13 for this reason. I want to give my characters equipment and magic/summon related things, and then be able to tell them what to use and when.

    "And, yeah, don’t worry: this isn’t a game of button-mashing. Kingdom Hearts this ain’t."

    Pretty rich taking a shot at Kingdom Hearts as a button-masher after stating that you chain your attacks in FFXV by literally holding the attack button down.

    On the game itself; I can't really see this being something I'll play. A bunch of bros going on a road trip doesn't seem overly appealing, and the boring archetypes don't really do anything for me. The names are ridiculously on the nose (even for a Square-Enix game), and the combat doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Playing the demo might've changed my mind, but I'm definitely not buying another game just to do so.

    Last edited 08/03/15 7:50 pm

      A bunch of bros going on a road trip doesn't seem overly appealing

      It's funny how often people interpret this 'theme' as the entire story, judging by just by the trailers. It's not just that. If you did some digging you'd find out the bigger picture. I have no idea how this particular part of the story fits in to the bigger 3-Nation-sided war, but it does.

        Yeah, this is probably a bit like saying that FFVII's story was going to be about a group of ragtag environmentalists trying to stop the evil corporation from sucking the planet dry, based on playing the first section of that game.

        That's really not the story summary people give after finishing the game. And similarly, I doubt FFXV is going to be a story about some bro's.

        Last edited 09/03/15 7:25 am

        I get what you're saying, but all people can really go off is what they've seen, and the bro road trip (or 'broad trip', as I like to call it) aspect is 90% of what they've focused on. The whole idea of driving around the open world with some fairly generic archetypes, battling creatures with what they've been making a major effort to explain as fairly simplified combat and then eating and sleeping at a camp at night to cash in the experience you earned is the experience that they've shown, and with someone with only a cursory interest in later Final Fantasies, it's actually turned me off the game. And when that happens, I'm just not going to spend the time trying to find out more about the game than what they've shown me, because the odds are against me stumbling upon some barely talked about aspects that are going to completely change my mind about it.

        I'm sure that FFXV will be a decent enough game. It might even end up being a fantastic Final Fantasy game. But the current foot they're putting forward, as someone with only a passing interest in later FF games, isn't making me want to play it. And that's okay! Different strokes for different folks and all that.

          Completely understood. Out of curiosity, have you seen this trailer?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a4Y_0Oydcg

          It was the first one released as of the re-revel to 15. Fortunately the trailer and gameplay above is not all that has been seen. This trailer here got me hyped up and excited for the game, doubly so since I heard about it to begin with.

            I did actually see this one, but I'd honestly forgotten a lot of it. It looked great, and it was definitely more on my radar back then. But knowing how long the game has been in development and how much it has changed, on top of having Tesuya Nomura bumped from the director position (so now he's only not finishing one game :-P) and replaced with Hajime Tabata, it's hard to know how much of what we saw back then is still there.

            I was obviously a bit wrong on the whole '90% of what we've seen in a boy band road trip' thing though. Shows how crappy my memory is. :-P

              Hajime Tabata did an excellent job of the battle system in crisis core. That is my most played FF side game ever, and the fact that he even made the materia system work in the real time battle system let's me have a lot of faith in him. Plus look at Tetsuya Nomuras more recent FF adventures(12 and 13 are games that fell below the high standards for final fantasy games, although the story and methods worked fantastically, the game itself was unfun and a pain in the ass to play)

                Oh I definitely wasn't saying that I don't have faith in Hajima Tabata. I was just saying that we don't really know how much of what we saw before Nomura got bumped back to Kingdom Hearts 3 is still going to be there in FFXV, and what we have seen since the switch over isn't really grabbing me.

    Turn-based combat generally only appeals to traditional JRPG fans; that was never going to happen in this game. They need it to appeal to as many people as possible - like, a metric shit-tonne of people.

    Everything I've seen today on FFXV is restoring my faith in this game actually being worthwhile.

    Now, to forget about it for the next couple of years.

    I think that people who claim the Lightning lacks personality simply do not understand the character. I see her as a very macho yet brooding character who tries to keep a tight rein on her feelings. She doesn't seek glory and doesn't relish the role of hero. You really need to appreciate the subtle clues to what lightning is feeling inside in order to understand her. A lot of people just see her as a kind of constipated cardboard cut-out of a character, but they are only seeing the superficial. For anyone interested, try watching some Japanese films like April Story (it is quite short) and you will see the kind of thing I mean, where the surface of someone's demeanour may appear indifferent or even cold, while hinting at an inner turmoil of emotion. This is something that the Japanese do really well, I think.

      And here's some FFXIV cutscenes involving Lightning :)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5b8box5Qq8

        Nice! And totally unrelated, but I just found out that Ali Hillis does Lightning's VO!

    Always a good FF write up from Jason. Looking forward to this one.

    Personally I think everyone should wait to pass judgment till the game actually exists. I think people should stop hating it just because its name is similar but its contents are different from typical FF games. I'm actually really excited for a change and am glad they have the balls to stop giving a crap about what all the final fantasy fan boys think and are making a game that they can be proud of in the end. If I was a game designer this kind of pre game crap would get kinda old because the fact is none of you (myself included) have even played the game. Either give it a chance and then state your opinion or ignore it and leave everyone else's alone. I think the game has the potential to be as tasty as a dozen donuts after 3 days of near starvation. Xp If you don't like donuts why bother discussing them right?

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