During New York Comicon this year, Square Enix had their booth highlighting their games this year, including World of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Builder, and Tomb Raider 20th Anniversary. Naturally, they brought the most highlighted and anticipated game of them all: Final Fantasy XV. Note that this is the same build shown off at Gamescom and Tokyo Game show, which shows the beginning moments of the game. If there is anything that I got from this demo, it is all about the details.
When starting this demo, it is as Tabatha describes it. If you also have seen Kingsglaive, you know what happens. We see our group out of gas and has we have to push the Regalia to Hammer Head were Cid and Cindy are to get repairs. After getting the car to the shop, we’re free to do whatever we want and explore the locale. The staff only allowed guests to play until you beat the tri-horn beast that comes after you spend your first night but can do whatever you want in between that moment. If you have seen the one-hour gameplay shown earlier, then you know the drill.
At first glance, it looks polished in what they have shown off so far, though I noticed some of the other demo stations ran the game a bit more smoothly. While pushing the Regalia, you get a chance to see the environment around you. One flaw that is really noticeable is that you will notice some popping when going through major areas, though I’m sure that the team is addressing this and lessening this. But when it comes to the textures in the game, it looks quite exceptional. The characters have had some extra special attention given to them as you can see the detailed fabric in all of their clothing. One player actually focused in on Gladio’s backside just because it looked well-done.
Easing into the tutorial, the game notifies you that diners and other locations are important in regards to information in the immediate area. This includes camping spots, resources, and other important details. Similar to the functions of the view points in the Assassins Creed series. While it’s recommended that you do this, you can just explore the lands as you choose.
While walking through, it was obvious that there was so much to explore. From landmarks to ruins, gathering ingredients, and doing hunting quests, there is a lot to do in the world. While you can follow along with the main mission and continue on with the story, it is more fulfilling if you follow your own plan and set your own trip and how you want to tackle it. During my first session, I only went through the main line of quests and continued on with the story. Needless to say, I missed out on many other aspects that would make the journey more satisfying. As stated in the beginning, is all about the details.
During my second run, I kept it in mind to look for any other activities I can do as well as any other secrets. Also to observe the amazing looking food at the diner and Ignis’ cooking. Seriously, they make their food look very appetizing and mouth watering. Speaking of food, during one of the camp nights, you speak with Ignis in which he requests Noctis to make breakfast in the morning. Accepting it will net you AP, which helps you level up on various aspects such as combat, healing, perks that involve the Regalia, and other benefits. This caught me by surprise because soon after, there was a control stick prompt event to stir the pot for breakfast. It was a nice little detail to add, bringing a little more engagement to the player and to flesh out the relationship between Noctis and Ignis. I can only imagine how many other engagements you can have with the rest of your crew and further explore the bond between them all.
The last aspect to discuss is the combat system. If you have played the Platinum demo, then you’ll come to recognize the combat system as it’s still the same. You are able to switch weapons freely from your three set equipment and your magic. While fighting the monsters of the land, there was one thing that I have some qualms which was concerning the lock-on targeting system. You have to hold to lock onto a target and not simply toggle the lock on or off. Perhaps I didn’t find it in the camera/control options; however, I felt that when facing off against mobs of enemies that surround you or if you want to target a specified part of the enemy, this can help alleviate one of your fingers when things get hairy. As with any game, great camera control is necessary and so far I’ve had no major problems with it. One minor gripe is when facing enemies coming from all directions, one can attack you off-screen. This is thankfully alleviated by a parry/defend warning on screen that warns of oncoming attacks.
From what I can take from my time with this demo, it is packed with many activities to do and see while going through with your journey. Though one can argue that the hunt quests and activities can get monotonous and repetitive on that journey. While I can see why one would worry about that, I believe that you can balance the story with the other activities you can do. Again it’s not the goal that matters, it all about the journey. What will also keep you engaged is the banter and the small interactions with your crew. Again, very surprised with the talk with Ignis and I wanted to know more about the other characters and what they think. Tabatha wanted this game to explore the bonds between brothers, and I feel that the game will properly explore this. Gameplay is great and the story will be the driving force in the journey. With only a little over a month left till release, the ten-year wait and delay will be worth the patience.
Final Fantasy XV will be released on November 29 for PS4 and Xbox One.