Being a fan of Final Fantasy, the game has undoubtedly faced some rough years recently. Since the release of Final Fantasy XII, the game has seen a steady decline in quality of content, story, and gameplay elements. Other than focus on making sequential games, the game’s developers, Square Enix, instead got caught up in making numerous sequels to the main number titles that diverted sharply from the core gameplay mechanics that made the series so great. When Final Fantasy XV was first announced, it was hard to not get hyped simply due to the aesthetics of the teasers. However, this hype was often overshadowed by a sense of doubt as we weren’t sure if it would make any difference in the series due to being jaded from past titles. With the finished product, however, Square Enix has completely re-prioritized its franchise and breathed life into a beloved community that was fearing for its demise.
Final Fantasy XV revolves around Noctis and his entourage as they adventure through their open world, seeking to restore Noctis’ right to rule his kingdom. Although the overarching part of the story seems to take a back seat at times, the banter, story, and mechanics of Noctis and his followers prevails. Final Fantasy XV features all the beloved aspects of the older games in the series, monsters, bosses, magic, summons, but instead of taking it turn by turn, you are thrown into the thick of battle in a more Kingdom Hearts style of gameplay.
Aside from the shift from turn-based to action RPG gameplay, magic and summons have been drastically overhauled in this installment. Magic blends the collecting of spells from Final Fantasy VIII with a crafting style system revolving around 3 elements: fire, ice, and lightning. Although this magic can be devastating, it may have been better to follow the trend of Kingdom Hearts with its combat magic system rather than taking something hated from a past game and turning it on its head. Summons also have seen a huge change, not just in quantity but in availability. The base FFXV contains 5 summons, all of which are summoned automatically following the achievement of certain conditions amid battle. Even though there aren’t many of these god-like beings, hopefully future downloadable content unlocks more to use.
Despite some of the criticisms of the game, Final Fantasy XV represents a major shift by Square Enix. Square has shown an ability to respond to consumer feedback(finally) and presented a game that is not only beautiful in design and scale, but just fun to play. Final Fantasy XV is a must have if you wish to dive for hours into an open-world RPG and get lost in the sunset in your black convertible with your best friends at your side. We’d love to hear what you have to say about the game if you’ve had the opportunity to give it a shot! We’re excited to see where this new era of the beloved franchise takes the company.