Final Fantasy XV is Still Tearing the USgamer Staff Apart

ROUNDTABLE | In honor of Final Fantasy XV's new PC release, Kat, Caty, Nadia, Mike, and Hirun give their thoughts on the divisive JRPG.

Feature by USgamer Team, .

Final Fantasy XV released in November 2016 to widespread acclaim, and its fair share of controversy. As a game trapped in development hell for a decade, it swapped directors, release windows, and even names throughout its unreleased lifespan. There was once even a time where Final Fantasy XV seemed like it would never come out. It was an impossible dream.

And now, Final Fantasy XV is seemingly coming out forever. At least judging by its DLC release schedule that will continue into 2019. Final Fantasy XV releases today on PC, its first foray onto the more powerful platform. It brings with it all the game's DLC and multiplayer, plus some bonus features like a first-person mode if you're tired of seeing Noctis' hair or whatever. It's also a good time for us to look back on what makes the divisive JRPG great, and not-so-great.

As you see, we at USgamer remain split on the game. Some of us love the game, some of us just plain loathe it. In honor of this rift and its shiny new PC release, we came together to each say our piece about the game.

The Fans

Kat Bailey Editor-in-Chief

I reviewed Final Fantasy XV and gave it what I think is a pretty generous score. In hindsight, I might have cut it down a half point, but I think most of my points stand. The emotional arc works, the open world is often gorgeous, and the campfire loop is just about perfect.

It really does feel like a roadtrip in a lot of ways. You'll be tooling around in the Regalia, the world map theme from Final Fantasy IX playing in the background, Prompto blabbing about wanting to grab a picture of a nearby chocobo. It's charming for as long as it lasts, and it remains my overriding memory of Final Fantasy XV.

I think the main question to ask is, "Do the messier aspects of Final Fantasy XV ultimately overwhelm the experience?" I don't think so. I've seen people complain about Chapter 13 and the relative absence of Lunafreya, among other things, but the core of the coming age story hangs together just fine. In the end, we get closure. The DLC episodes, the added bits in Chapter 13, and the extra scenes in Chapter 14 are just there to fill in the gaps.

I'll admit, I retain a certain fondness for my time with Final Fantasy XV. It's such a weird and fascinating game with an almost bizarre attention to detail. Like, the dev team actually went out and cooked all the meals that are in the game. That's kind of nuts! But it also explains why I was licking my lips every time a meal was served around the campfire.

There's an honesty to that approach that I find refreshing. And maybe that's why I like Final Fantasy XV: It's messy, but it's honest.

Nadia Oxford Staff Writer

I approached Final Fantasy XV with major apprehension in my heart. It didn't take me too long to open up, though. By the time I walked through the tutorial via instructions fed to me by text messages from Noct's guardian Eidolon, Carbuncle, I knew Final Fantasy XV wasn't about to ask me to take it too seriously. Sometimes, that's all I can ask from a modern Final Fantasy game.

Is Final Fantasy XV perfect? Lord, no. It's kind of a mess. I'll never forget stopping en route to Whereversville and noticing the NPC cars are driven by stiff, unblinking mannequins. That was some creepy Twilight Zone shit. But if you don't look too closely at the game's seams (and there are many, given its troubled development), there's a lot to like.

I'm a sucker for open worlds populated early on by gigantic monsters your level-one ass has no business harassing, and Final Fantasy XV introduces you to some of those right away. They're just hanging off the side of the road, like particularly menacing deer. Overall, there's a blend of modern day tech and high fantasy going on in Final Fantasy XV that I find very compelling. Previous Final Fantasy games have tried for it (Final Fantasy VIII comes to mind), but Final Fantasy XV marks the first time I felt myself drawn in by the weird contrast. There's just something incredible about seeing an Adamantoise loom over the horizon as you step out of Final Fantasy XV's equivalent of a greasy Waffle House. Like, "Well, shucks. Would you look at that? I guess traffic's going to be a mess going southbound."

And, Lord help me, I just love the camaraderie between the four boys. Even my beloved retro Final Fantasy games are determined to subject you to a cast of millions (to paraphrase a line former USgamer EiC Jeremy Parish once used about Final Fantasy VI). The "Four and No More" approach offers a perfect balance, and it's more than a little inspired given the game's overarching tribute to Stephen King's Stand By Me.

I'm a bit disappointed there isn't a more significant female presence in the game (not to discount Aranea Highwind), but there's no denying the chemistry between the boys of Final Fantasy XV holds a lot of appeal for female players, e.g. myself. They're not a pack of hard-drinking macho dudes bashing beer cans on their foreheads while cruising for chicks. They talk about their dreams, their feelings, and Lunafreya's wedding dress. Ignis scolds Noctis for not properly sewing a button on his shirt. And then they all go out and kill a Behemoth together.

I don't disagree with many of the criticisms lobbed at Final Fantasy XV. Yes, the "open world" is lacking. Yes, it's small. Yes, you kind of get funneled into a linear pathway about halfway through the game, and that sucks. In my perfect pretend world, the next version of Final Fantasy retains Final Fantasy XV's character and charm plus it has a real open world. But since we're getting Final Fantasy XV DLC clear into 2019, who knows when the next mainline Final Fantasy game is coming.

Well, we wanted Final Fantasy XV. Now we have all the Final Fantasy XV in the world.

Hirun Cryer Guides Writer

Final Fantasy XV is a mess, and I love it for that. There’s an expectation that comes with your first game in a long running series, and if this series is, say, Final Fantasy, you expect your first Final Fantasy game to truly blow your mind (especially after how much everyone goes on about them).

Simply put, I don’t care if Final Fantasy XV isn’t like other Final Fantasy games, because after well over fourteen iterations there’s nothing wrong with trying something new. The combat in particular was hotly contested at release, and for the most part I enjoyed it. Having Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis around you at all times meant you relied on your party because Noctis is by no means a walking tank on the battlefield. Dodging and weaving through attacks in real time felt good, and capping it off with a combo attack with one of your pals felt even better.

As scrappy and hectic as the combat of Final Fantasy XV feels, your comrades match this feeling step for step, and I love them each for different reasons. Gladio is the walking JRPG stereotype of the “heavy” in your party with a heart of gold, Ignis is the chef supreme, and Prompto is the childhood friend that has your back no matter what. They all appear painfully obnoxious at first, but as per basically every JRPG ever created, dedicate proper time to them and you’ll see the finer details of their character.

The story on the other hand, is not so great. Final Fantasy XV was well over a decade in development by the time it came out, and although it might have had one of the largest dev teams in history working on it at Square Enix, it’s still a miracle that it even saw the light of day, let alone had a coherent story. The first, open world half of Final Fantasy XV is laid back and relaxed, while the second half feels like it took a speedball and tried to cram in all the details it could in as little time as possible.

Consequently, the story is a complete mess. I won’t remember Final Fantasy XV for its story, as much as the Royal Edition tries to hammer it into shape with additional cutscenes and cinematics, but I will remember it for its loveable band of rogues and extravagant combat.

The Critics

Caty McCarthy Features Editor

Final Fantasy XV is a mess, and I loathe it for that. In the year 2018, it may be less of a mess than it was when it launched in late November 2016. Nonetheless: it's a mess of ridiculous proportions, made even more disappointing by the promising elements at its center.

Playing Final Fantasy XV feels like a constant trade-off, where for every positive, are a heap of negatives. For instance, the automated camera from Prompto is a neat idea for game screenshots; taking the control directly out of the player's hands, but giving them something to remember the journey by regardless. On the other hand, a lot of the photos are horrible, which adds charm sometimes—like an overexposed selfie—but other times just reminded me that Prompto is just a bundle of AI, not my IRL road tripping buddie. In another detail, a road tripping JRPG in an open world is a fantastic set-up, complete with gas stations, bad diner food, and Coleman-branded camping. But the actual act of driving is a nuisance—which has since been sorta-patched in an update—where driving is slow with your vehicle stuck strictly to paved roads and nothing else. Eventually though, the car can fly, because this is a Final Fantasy game.

The aspect that bummed me out most, as a long-time Final Fantasy fan (yes, even of Final Fantasy XIII, which has an incredibly underrated battle system okay), is that Final Fantasy XV's story is nonsensical. While the core group of road tripping buddies are all sweet natured and endearing, the story propelling the game forward is, well, boring and sometimes even feels nonexistent. Final Fantasy games of the past have been great because of their stories and characters. Final Fantasy XV only offers the latter, and a lone gal heroine that isn't even part of your party, doomed to be fridged.

The combat, too, isn't great. During its best moments, it's fluid as Noctis zips across a battlefield, slicing monsters and soldiers with his sword. At its worst moments, which is most of the time, battles feel inconsequential. If you fall in battle, another companion is likely to tap you back into the fight. Failure and consequence aren't really options, because no matter what, your boys have your back. The combat itself ends up feeling like a bother, to the point where I found myself avoiding battles altogether so that I wouldn't have to deal with it.

I could go on and on about why Final Fantasy XV failed to click with me; but the fact is that its worst offense is that it frankly doesn't feel like a Final Fantasy game. It feels like a dart board of ideas for a Final Fantasy game's potential innovations, all crammed into one casserole. And it's a bad casserole, not a good one.

Mike Williams Reviews Editor

My primary problem with Final Fantasy XV largely comes down to the feeling of the overall game. The combat system is somewhat similar to Kingdom Hearts in basic composition, but it's slow. Why would I want to play slow Kingdom Hearts? It's a very weird and unique combat system, but I think one of its strengths is the relative speed at which battles happen. Final Fantasy XV tries to aim for something slower and more tactical, but it never quite crosses over into strategic combat.

It's a damned good-looking game and the world itself is intriguing in composition (I love the modern fantasy mix), but I had problems with the open-world at launch. The Regalia was stuck driving on roads instead of being able to go where you pleased. Despite having seaside and ocean-bound towns, there was no way to explore those depths. The cities that were there looked great, but feel incomplete compared to other open-world titles. Much of this has been fixed in later iterations of the game, so I know that Square Enix noticed it was a problem as well.

While the theme of brotherhood and the relationship between Noctis and his crew worked, I found myself missing the larger casts of previous Final Fantasy titles. When you're given a slate of 6-7 well fleshed out characters, it becomes enjoyable to settle on the three or four characters you enjoy as your crew. I think that experience is part of why I enjoy JRPGs, so the loss of it in Final Fantasy XV is felt. And I won't go into how messy the story is outside of Noctis' close knit circle. Again, Square Enix has acknowledged this in subsequent additions and patches.

I honestly think Final Fantasy XV is one of those games that relies on the name for some measure of trust and understanding. Every single entry before mine directly says the game is a mess, but messes generally don't get the kind of pass given to Final Fantasy XV. After a decade in development and a salvaged project, we don't want Final Fantasy XV to not be good. We're unable to test this, but if you take away the "Final Fantasy" name, are people as kind to this game? I don't think so.

If anything, I applaud Square Enix for its commitment to the game. The publisher and the team working on the game continue to improve upon the base they established at launch. The game that is out there now is not the game they originally released. The ability and drive to knuckle down, ask "Where did we falter?", and fix things is great. Maybe if I played Final Fantasy XV today, I'd feel differently about the game. As it stands, that launch state was not great.

The Neutral

Matt Kim News Editor

Footage not found. (He hasn't played it.)

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Comments 27

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  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #1 Vodka-Tonic 8 months ago
    I like Matt Kim's contribution. :)

    I'm playing on PC, and my goodness this game is gorgeous when you have a top-end gaming rig.Edited March 2018 by Vodka-Tonic
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #2 riderkicker 8 months ago
    I still love my boys.Edited 2 times. Last edited March 2018 by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #3 riderkicker 8 months ago
    @Vodka-Tonic Don't forget the hard drive space and fast internet speeds.
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  • Avatar for wadelanger55 #4 wadelanger55 8 months ago
    So, I’ve played through the game 4 times now, and once through the Pocket Edition. I bought the VR Fishing game, V-inspired clothing and art, soundtracks, and every bit of Story DLC (and have my eye on the ridiculous trinkets available to purchase). Additionally, I am a college professor teach a course (yes, for actual humanities credit) analyzing the game’s story for an entire semester. The story, actually, is what continues to draw me in. It is beautiful, poignant even in its subtlety, and remarkable (especially considering the development hell it underwent).

    All this to say, I adore this game: the 4 bros are a great evolution of the classic 4-person party, Shimomura’s soundtrack is powerful and compelling, the camping loop is pristine. It is not a perfect game (though I tell my students they are playing a much, much better game than I did when it first launched), but it has all the things I want (and didn’t know I wanted!) in a modern final fantasy. As an avid player of every FF (and side-FF) since the beginning, FFXV is a worthy addition and gives me a lot of hope for the future... and I’m so tempted to buy a new PC rig just to play the new windows version!
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #5 Kuni-Nino 8 months ago
    Caty and Mike make weak points. Kat and Nadia make better points.

    Kat and Nadia are the best.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #6 MHWilliams 8 months ago
    @Kuni-Nino I mean, the trick is here the Pro side doesn't disagree with the Cons on the material aspects. Their arguments are largely, "Yeah, these are bad things, but I liked the other stuff more."

    "I think the main question to ask is, "Do the messier aspects of Final Fantasy XV ultimately overwhelm the experience?" I don't think so."

    "Is Final Fantasy XV perfect? Lord, no. It's kind of a mess. I'll never forget stopping en route to Whereversville and noticing the NPC cars are driven by stiff, unblinking mannequins. That was some creepy Twilight Zone shit. But if you don't look too closely at the game's seams (and there are many, given its troubled development), there's a lot to like.

    I don't disagree with many of the criticisms lobbed at Final Fantasy XV. "

    Bromance and cooking does not overcome the other aspects for me. So, I pass.
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  • Avatar for sunotenko #7 sunotenko 8 months ago
    I am kind divided about FF XV.
    I really enjoyed my time with the game, but after finishing it I never had the desire to come back.
    The first part of the game seems pretty good and after this it becomes too linear and fast.
    My main issue is how sidequests are very repetitive and have no background. They are as bland as it can get.
    It was a competent game, but it didn't live to the expectations after so many time.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #8 Vonlenska 8 months ago
    I would love to see you guys do tag-team reviews between someone who just adores a title and someone who thinks it's the gaming equivalent of sour milk. It's an interesting dynamic, and everyone on staff is usually more thoughtful than hyperbolic about making their points, so it'd actually work here than on other outlets where it'd more likely come across as mean or try-hard.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #9 NiceGuyNeon 8 months ago
    All right, listen folks Caty is right. About FFXIII. That game has an awesome battle system and I put over 100 hours into it because the battle system was THAT good.

    But yeah, I haven't played FFXV and there are a bunch of people I trust on this site all saying "this is a mess and I hate/love it" like THIS DOES NOT HELP MY DECISION.

    I'm just gonna wait for a Steam sale and play Nier Automata first. Square will get their money out of me for SOMETHING.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #10 Flipsider99 8 months ago
    I don't agree with many of the criticisms. First of all, the way the car works is perfect for the game. If you could drive the car off-road, it would be ridiculous, and wouldn't really fit what the game is going for. What it does do is capture the feel of a road trip, and the little bit of tedium of waiting to get to your location actually adds something positive to the experience.

    Second, the combat is legitimately great. The most important thing is that it feels very original... it's NOT Kingdom Hearts, and this is in fact a good thing despite what Mike says. It *is* slower, but at the same time it's faster because of the warping mechanic. Warping is what ties the combat together, and smart tactical use of that ability is what makes the combat fun. It also creates a combat experience that does not exist in any other game, including Kingdom Hearts. If the game had been designed how Mike would have wanted, it would have just been another Kingdom Hearts clone and would have been a worse game for it.

    I agree the story is a bit "messy." However it works, mainly because the game is not so interested in it's plot in the first place; it wants to be character driven. And it really relies on the personalities of it's 4 lead characters. And that's exactly why it works, because those 4 characters are very likable and have great chemistry. As an example, look the first Avengers movie: the plot is similarly messy and to be honest, quite terrible. But because the movie choses to be character driven, and the characters are brilliantly balanced with spot on interactions, it works very well. You can say the exact same thing about FFXV.

    More than anything, FFXV pays off with it's final act and it's ending. Yes, it does get linear in it's final act. This is not a bad thing. It works for the narrative, and it's not really taking anything away from the player. You can always go back to the open world part. Quite honestly, the way FFXV handles this is pretty well done. It just wouldn't make any sense for it to work any other way, so complaining that it stops being open world in the final act just seems like a silly complaint.

    The game is not perfect. For my money, the game's biggest flaw is something none of you mentioned: it's soundtrack. It was a disappointing soundtrack from the legendary Yoko Shimomura. A lot of the town themes and area themes are very forgettable. Some battle songs and certain pieces of music were great, but overall it was just not good enough. I expect more out of the woman who gave us Parasite Eve; this isn't even in the same ballpark. It's also nowhere close to as powerful as most of Uematsu's soundtracks. It's a real shame because it feels like ever since FF10, when Uematsu stopped being the sole composer, and faded into the background, FF has lost it's musical identity. The soundtracks continues to generally be good, but less consistantly so. This game has probably the weakest soundtrack in the entire series. It's not terrible, it has good moments (and the fact that you can listen to many of the other better soundtracks in your car is a huge plus) but I think people really underestimate how important Uematsu's soundtacks were for the first 9 Final Fantasies, and how big of an effect it's had to lose his consistently amazing output. It's the single biggest flaw of the series right now.

    Still a very good game though, and well worth playing. And still one of the better open world games to come out.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #11 Flipsider99 8 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon I agree, FFXIII *does* have an awesome battle system, it's highly underrated. FFXV is kind of the same way, although for very different reasons. It also has an awesome battle system that not everyone seems to understand, but it's very different from XIII's. It's all about tactical use of it's warping ability. If you like games that feel "unique" with their battle systems, I would say FFXV is absolutely a must play.

    But then again, XV is merely a pretty great game, and NieR is one of the top 3 games of this generation. So playing NieR first is not at all a mistake!
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #12 Fourfoldroot 8 months ago
    Bad combat, terrible traversal, repetitive quests, and a disjointed and often non-existent story. I thought they'd have to go some to make a FF worse than XIII, but they somehow managed it. Biggest disappointment this gen for me.Edited March 2018 by Fourfoldroot
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #13 MetManMas 8 months ago
    Love or hate Final Fantasy XV, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that modern HD games take up too much frickin' file space. Last time I had it on the PS4 it was like over 90GBs, and that was before Comrades and Episode Ignis!
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  • Avatar for Nazo #14 Nazo 8 months ago
    I need to have another go at this. I got quite far into it but realised I had no idea what the story was that had brought me to that point and lost interest. I never really quite got to grips with the combat either.
    I think I'll start again and try to pay more attention
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  • Avatar for SkywardShadow #15 SkywardShadow 8 months ago
    I just have 0 interest in the characters. I'll probably try it someday, but not for years yet.
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  • Avatar for Maxbeedo #16 Maxbeedo 8 months ago
    After 10 years of waiting, I was ready to be done with FFXV so I will likely not go back to it unless they add entire maps of Altissia and Tenebrae equal in size to the first big map, tripling the size of the game. The game is "almost" great in a lot of parts but is held back by certain decisions. It's "almost" open-world but there's not much to see out in the wild and most of it is story-locked. It's "almost" a good combat system except it focuses so much on spectacle that a lot of your dodge animations are random with varying lengths so you don't feel fully in control (a major problem in The Witcher 2 and 3 as well), and the lock-on is not precise at all. It "almost" has a good story, except it doesn't spend any time building up a lot of the side characters ("Why are we sad Jared died?"), and they intentionally hid a lot of character development in other media. The localization team made the decision to turn Noctis into an overconfident jackass in most conversations when the Japanese version was apparently very polite, so it was very hard to like him. All of the DLC episodes they've released so far are only there to fill in the gaps they intentionally left in the story, and there is so much product placement and crossover content that this is basically Sellout Fantasy: Full Desperation Mode (especially with the "DLC into 2019" announcement). I don't hate them for this, as it's very understandable given the long development, but I find it distasteful and shows a lack of confidence that the "art" they've created can stand on its own. I still think the game is worth playing, but it's not good enough for me to throw any more money at it.
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  • Avatar for docexe #17 docexe 8 months ago
    I haven’t played FFXV yet, but the more I read about it, the more I get the impression that it should have spent a couple of years more in the oven. Granted, given how long it was in development hell, I suppose Square Enix just couldn’t afford to keep it in development anymore without recovering some of the investment somehow.

    I’m still interested in playing it, especially considering how the updates and DLC seem to have addressed many of its issues, but I’m kind of bracing myself for dissapointment.Edited March 2018 by docexe
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  • Avatar for legeek #18 legeek 8 months ago
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  • Avatar for jago81 #19 jago81 8 months ago
    I am trying real hard to like the combat. But it just feels....sloppy. I almost never know what's going on around me. Partly because the camera is WAY too close. But also because there's often too many things going on at once. I am only a few hours in but I'm struggling to enjoy the battles.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #20 Flipsider99 8 months ago
    @jago81 The key to making combat fun is to make full use of your warping ability. Warp strikes, getting better positions, warping away to heal. It's very different from other combat systems so if you try to play it like other games, it will seem sloppy, but it simply demands that you play it on it's terms. For any enemy that is at all difficult, you usually can't just stand there and fight it, making smart use of your warping ability is essential. Spells can also be a huge help, which gives you a reason to bother tracking down elements and drawing them.
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #21 NotCarolKaye 8 months ago
    I think the people who agree with me are right.
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #22 NotCarolKaye 8 months ago
    I think it's gorgeous on a standard Xbox One, but I take your point.
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  • Avatar for jago81 #23 jago81 8 months ago
    @Flipsider99 My main gripe is the camera is way too close for me to really get a grasp on the combat field. There's time when I try and find a warp point to regen and I have to pan around way too much. And seeing what the AI is doing is near impossible at times. Then trees block the view of enemies, that's ALWAYS fun. Then there are 6 enemies and the lock on breaks for whatever reason it decides to. Regardless of how the game wants me to play it, it still comes off as messy. They were overly ambitious. I like what Mike said. It's like a slower KH system. And I don't even like KH but it's feels smoother than this.

    That said, I'm still trying.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #24 Flipsider99 8 months ago
    @jago81 Well I don't think it's meant to be played like Kingdom Hearts, so I don't agree with his point. I didn't have too much trouble with the camera personally, yes sometimes you do have to pan around but there are usually a lot of things you can warp to. If you're only fighting one enemy, it's easier to be aware of your surroundings, and if you're fighting multiple you can just warp between the enemies. You should be doing this constantly. FFXV is definitely a game that is more about environmental awareness than a KH game and I think that's a good thing.

    Sure, there are other issues like trees blocking your way, and the lock-on occaisonally not doing what you want. These are issues with every single modern action game, not specifically this game. I don't personally find them to be any worse in this game. Also, it should be pointed out that FFXV is a very forgiving game, so even if you do make mistakes or not fully grasp the system you can still do very well. Like I said, if you want to get more out of it, just fully embrace the warping system and try to warp around as much as possible. Also make use of spells (which are extremely powerful and satisfying in this game) and the team attacks with your buddies, which fortunately do not at all require you to know what they are doing, they just simply work as long as that buddy is alive.

    I hope that you stick with it, personally I find it to be a really cool battle system and I'd love to see another take on it by some other games. A lot of action combat games have the problem of feeling very samey, it's great when a unique one like this comes along, or at least that's the way I see it.
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  • Avatar for moochan #25 moochan 8 months ago
    I'm on team Matt
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #26 Frosty840 8 months ago
    I've bought the game now, and I'm about ten or twelve hours into it.
    Gotta say I'm siding with Caty and Mike so far.
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  • Avatar for cervantesespana #27 cervantesespana 5 months ago
    @Flipsider99 I don't understand what you find "legitimately great" about the combat system. It is flashy, I will give you that. But holding a button while moving an analog stick and reacting to on screen prompts for defense is not what I would call "great". As for warp strikes, there are legitimately 3 practical uses for it. Closing distance, killing an enemy for AP, and escaping the fight radius for an encounter you don't want to engage in. Warp striking is the flash of the combat, not the meat. The rest of the combat is somewhat flashy, depending on what weapon you are currently using, but ultimately falls flat for any real substance. Most of the time I was just warp striking to get out of an unwanted encounter with magitek soldiers who decided the regalia was good place to camp, after having dispatched a few of them and regrouping.

    The story is forgettable, fragmented and messy. Never before have SE actually required you to consume their outside products as part of a bigger mythos. Further, you actually have to pay for the complete back story. This is an entirely dishonest practice from a(n) AAA developer on the level of SE.

    To be 100% honest, I truly feel like SE ripped me off. The paraded a beta-at-best release as completed product, and "supported" it. This business practice is so anti-consumer it is laughable. They keep dangling that carrot in front of you knowing you're a sucker and will believe their every word. But then, when they announce the actual complete game, they expect, and know, that you will pay a premium for it. After all, they deserve it, right?

    Now, that said, I know this game has rabid fans. So much so that they are actually toxic and refuse to engage in constructive discourse. I know the game has a few positives; biggest of all the graphics. It is very nice to look at and I did not mind the long drives for ap/xp while jamming out to other FF soundtracks. However, there was almost nothing else I truly enjoyed about the game.

    The "bros" are all typecast in their roles within an actual group of friends, as well as their roles as FF classes.

    The story is formulaic an you can see every "twist" from hours away.

    Also, and this might be me, I cannot stand Prompto. I would rather watch Edward from FFIV hide for the entire time he is a party member than have to listen to him beg me to take a photo of a place I have been exploring for hours.

    Also...the photo narrative is infuriating. It does give a more "personal" experience, but being forced to sift through photos every time I want to cash in that xp/ap, or being harassed every (seemingly) time I decide to get in the Regalia with the same question every time sometime just made me want to stop playing.

    Last point. The "open world" is a pathetic excuse for such a name. A real open world game will typically not restrict your ability to explore wherever you want, even if the risk is super high. I found myself genuinely upset that this game restricts your access to the world in such a huge way until you're about half way done with it, at which time I just wanted the game to be over.

    All in all it was a mostly hollow experience. I had no reaction to the ending, and was mostly relieved that it was over.

    This game is now the reason I will never purchase another digital game for the PS4/XBOX. I can't even trade it in and get rid of it that way.
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