Platinum Demo is a Poor Entry into the World of Final Fantasy XV

This Kingdom Hearts-style tech demo is more about showing off than selling you on Final Fantasy XV.

Article by Mike Williams, .

If the point of a demo is to sell you on a product, then Platinum Demo: Final Fantasy XV doesn't really live up to its name.

Released following the Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event, Platinum Demo makes only a half-hearted effort to let you know what FFXV is about. You play as a young version of Final Fantasy XV protagonist Noctis, navigating through a dreamscape and guided by a rather cute version of Carbuncle. What you're presented with is four distinct, unconnected scenes and a boss fight. In fact, you can probably finish the entire thing in 30 minutes tops.

Platinum Demo wants you to pre-order the game - as it makes clear on the opening screen and when you finish the final sequence - but it doesn't seem to contain many of the aspects that comprise Final Fantasy XV. There's no party, the available weapons are quite limited (two basic and two hidden weapons), and outside of the boss fight, combat is a simplistic. Within that boss fight, the game gives you little explanation, so if you haven't played the previous demo, Episode Duscae, you'll probably be hopelessly lost when it comes to the full combat mechanics.

Prior to the boss fight, combat feels weightless and unsatisfying. The basics feel somewhat like Kingdom Hearts, while not being as responsive. (Actually, the layout of the worlds feels a lot like Kingdom Hearts, too.) Weapon switching works, but for most of the demo, there's not much reason to do it. The magic system is quite powerful, but cumbersome to actually use. Dodging works, but dodge cancelling didn't seem as responsive as it was in Episode Duscae 2.0.

None of this is the real point though. In reality, Platinum Demo is tech demo. You'll wander from section to section, collecting crystals to unlock various plates found in each scene. The plates unlock upgraded versions of your starting weapons (the Toy Sword and Squeaky Hammer), the ability to turn into vehicles and an odd gazelle-like creature, enemy respawns, and more importantly, alternate world conditions.

Changing the time from day to night or the weather from rainy to sunny seems to be the real focus of Square Enix with this demo. Honestlyu, seeing that stuff in real-time is pretty cool. The first section even lets you summon a floating Leviathan or massive Titan, just to show off. Square Enix wants you to see what they've done with the Luminous Engine powering Final Fantasy XV.

The problem here is as a tech demo, Platinum Demo is really rough. The game seems to toggle anti-aliasing on and off depending on camera movement, resulting in some wildly divergent image quality. Sometimes a screenshot will look really good, but other times it'll looks like a mess. The lighting is great, but can also end up looking horribly washed out. And worst of all, the Platinum Demo seems to struggle to hold onto to 30 fps. Playing Platinum Demo has you jumping from highs to lows and back again on a regular basis.

One highlight is the absolutely great music. Yoko Shimamura is already putting in that work and the tunes in Platinum Demo feels suitably epic and "Final Fantasy". Looking forward to hearing the rest of her soundtrack in the finished game.

If you've already bought into Final Fantasy XV completely, Platinum Demo will be a visual guide to the world you can expect in the game. If you've played Episode Duscae 1 or 2, this will probably be enjoyable for you. If you're new to Final Fantasy XV, Platinum Demo is not the place to start. This is not the entry into Final Fantasy XV that's needed and Square Enix probably needs to think about putting Episode Duscae out there for people who haven't purchased Final Fantasy Type-0. That's a real demo with weight to it; this is just visual fluff for FFXV fans.

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Comments 24

  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #1 KaiserWarrior 2 years ago
    Yeah, playing through the Platinum Demo, my girlfriend and I were both remarking at how it was an outright tech demo, rather than a game demo. Showing off the engine and the real-time effects... in a very strange and unflattering way.

    Look, Square, we get it. You can do real-time time-of-day changes (just like everyone else), and real-time weather changes (just like everyone else). Your ability to rendering in giant creatures on-demand is pretty impressive! Your world reflections are breathtaking! But then we notice that Noctis doesn't cast any sort of reflection on ANY reflective surface, which is oddly low-grade given everything else your engine does. Your lighting effects are really, really awesome -- but then you do very silly things like having all of the magic spells jacked up to such absurdly high bloom levels that they literally blind you to the rest of the world. Meteorain made the game entirely unplayable for the duration of its effect.

    The combat for most of the demo was, quite frankly, embarrassing. It was literally "Hold circle until the encounter is finished", no actual input from the player required.

    The boss at the end revealed some of the potential of the game's combat, but it felt really stiff and stilted. I'm hoping that in the six months between now and release, they polish this up a bit.

    Overall, a moderately impressive engine showcase with some strange design decisions as to what visuals to sacrifice for a decent framerate, and what effects to emphasize. The game looks very pretty, but if this demo was supposed to get me pumped for it, it failed badly. What I've played of the combat has made me more wary of a purchase, not less.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #2 MetManMas 2 years ago
    Personally I enjoyed my time with the Platinum Demo, but largely because I accepted it for what it was. It's poor as a proper demo of the final game, but a great tech demo with a few crazy awesome features.

    The monster pads don't just turn you into a sabertooth giraffe/antelope thing. You can also change into Garula, and that crocodile in the video I posted.

    Still, I do hope they release Episode Duscae to the masses. Or if not that, a new demo more representative of the final game. If the Iron Giant fight at the end is any indicator, the UI and weapon system have changed pretty significantly since the previous demo.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows 2 years ago
    This was my first demo, and it left me completely unmoved. I played through it and immediately deleted it. Nothing to enjoy here. If I had been on the fence I think this would have put me off, but I'm still onboard. Really ridiculous demo though.
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  • Avatar for Darji #4 Darji 2 years ago
    Honestly they should have just released Dusace to the public maybe with some extra stuff. That was a great representation of the game. As tech demo it was nice but when you promote something on such a big scale and you give people this then I am sure people get turned of. Especially non Final Fantasy fans.

    That said at least they put quite a bit hidden stuff in i like weapons (shuriken and Shield). But as a showcase that people want to sell 10 million of it was pretty bad.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #5 Roto13 2 years ago
    If I hadn't played the Episode Duscae demo, I'd be writing this game off right now based on that Platinum demo. Yeah, it feels like a tech demo more than a game demo, but it's not even very good at that. The low framerate is bad and some of the textures are worse.

    I don't see how anyone could play that demo and come away from it excited for FFXV.
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  • Avatar for Whinybabyclub #6 Whinybabyclub 2 years ago
    Not even a good tech demo at that, considering it was constantly dipping below 30fps, it's very noticeable. Definitely had a KH vibe, and not in a good way either. I was thinking about waiting for this to come out on PC, but now having played the demo, I'm definitely waiting. This game obviously requires something a lot more powerful than what consoles can provide to make it a smooth experience. If it was that bad with just 3 or 4 enemies on screen, I can't imagine how it will be when it's the team of guys against a bunch of enemies.
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  • Avatar for docexe #7 docexe 2 years ago
    @Roto13 Not having a PS4, I haven’t play either demo, but given all the criticisms this one is receiving, I wonder what was the point of releasing it, instead of another iteration of Episode Duscae for example. It’s not doing the game any favors.
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  • Avatar for Scrotez-McGoats #8 Scrotez-McGoats 2 years ago
    It kills me how people always find something to whine and complain about in a game.Like the game should be made to suit you.I would love to see them create something like this.Either enjoy it or don't buy it ,quit whining and go into game development you picky little crybabies.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #9 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    Yeah I was gonna buy this game because the FF series is generally pretty solid, but now I'm not so sure. I like some FFs better than others, but they've been great visually for a long time now. This runs worse than 13. Sure, it's got bloom lighting and some nice water ripples, but the physics are pre-source engine quality and the frame rate is pretty inconsistent. If this is what they have after all these years... well I feel sorry for the lack of sleep anyone working on this is going to get between now and release (and realistically until it gets patched FF14 style).

    jank nasty!

    and to quote mike williams:

    "combat is a simplistic."
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #10 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    @Scrotez-McGoats did you play this demo? if so, what did you like/think it does better (or even as good as) than any game that's come before?

    (note: website was giving me errors, sorry for multiple posts, they've been fixed now)Edited April 2016 by donkeyintheforest
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #11 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    Deleted April 2016 by donkeyintheforest
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #12 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    Deleted April 2016 by donkeyintheforest
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #13 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #14 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
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  • Avatar for Scrotez-McGoats #15 Scrotez-McGoats 2 years ago
    Yes I have played the platinum demo. It is obviously graphically superior to any previous Ff game. They have created a game world that is better looking and more engaging than any Ff. I believe the combat is going to be comparable to the souls gamed by the time it releases and you get all of your abilities in the game.I think people that had trouble with the controls probably just sucked when fighting the boss.
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  • Avatar for Scrotez-McGoats #16 Scrotez-McGoats 2 years ago
    And not to mention the music
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  • Avatar for Scrotez-McGoats #17 Scrotez-McGoats 2 years ago
    But it's still too early to make a fair analysis of the game.
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  • Avatar for Scrotez-McGoats #18 Scrotez-McGoats 2 years ago
    I mean dude is whining about Noctis not casting a shadow for crying out loud what have most gamers become?
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  • Avatar for Darren #19 Darren 2 years ago
    I was very underwhelmed by the Platinum demo which I played on PS4. Sure, it looks fairly nice, although the jaggies are awful and distracting at times, but the dull combat and chuggy framerate just sucked all enjoyment out of it. Thankfully, the game is still five months away from release so there's time to fix the image quality and framerate issues. The Duscae demo was much, much IMO; the Platinum demo actually feels like an earlier build which is strange.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #20 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    I only played through it once. I'm already going to buy the game though so I don't really care about how good the actual demo is. I just wanted an idea of what the game is going to feel like.

    The combat seems pretty simple at first, but it's crystal clear to me that the enemies you fight are supposed to be pushovers. Judging this is like judging the combat of DQ by only fighting slimes. The real meat of the combat is going to come from the tactics you'll be employing on the real enemies of the game like the boss fight at the end. This also makes the comments about the weight and feel of the combat seem rather petty since this is not what the combat is going to be about. This isn't supposed to be Bayonetta. The action is less of a focus. It's more about the strategy you have employed and seeing if you can pull it off. The dead give away of this is how you can simply hold a button for Noctis to repeatedly slash an opponent.

    This isn't an action game. It's an RPG. The success is going to be about the kind of equipment of you have and how well you can manipulate the number crunching going on in the background.

    I'm looking forward to the game. It'll be an interesting experiment at the very least.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #21 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    @Scrotez-McGoats alright. Thats cool. I am not one to dictate when someone else is having fun! I def liked the scale when you shrunk down "through the looking glass" style in the dining room. The fireworks spell looked great and I hope the effects scale up with more powerful moves. I also loved when the giant dragon thing flew in. It was so big!

    I hated the way the blocks fell when you push them though. So jank. And the handling of the car/truck was so stiff it felt silly. I was hoping for more of a crisis core feel, but maybe this game gets better with a full party. I hope the main game is much smoother.

    Unfortunately, the only thing this demo did for me was set me up to read the reviews first instead of just it buying blindly like i would a normal main FF game.
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  • Avatar for Trembean222 #22 Trembean222 2 years ago
    I suspect Square is trying to draw in people who have never played a FF game, or haven't been following the PR trail up to now, with as simple a representation of the game as possible. Not sure if it will work though.
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  • Avatar for sabinomarcosotero37 #23 sabinomarcosotero37 2 years ago
    "you can probably finish the entire thing in 30 minutes tops"
    "the ability to turn into vehicles and an odd gazelle-like creature"
    "two basic and two hidden weapons"
    For someone who bothered to write an entire article bashing this demo, I'm surprised by the fact that you didn't even take the time to see everything in the game. If you're actively making it a point to investigate the worlds that you're dropped into, the game probably has about an hour of content (which is pretty good for what is indeed basically a tech demo). In the boss fight scene, there are two additional weapons that are hidden on a ledge, which do give you an actual taste of what combat is like in the game.

    Also, for what it's worth, you can transform into three different creatures off of that platform. The other two you failed to mention being an alligator with wing-like appendages on its arms, and one of those cow things from the Duscae demo.

    It really is difficult to take someone's opinion of an hour-long demo seriously, when they didn't even bother to gather all of the information possible to make their review.
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