After ten long years of waiting, Final Fantasy XV has finally arrived. Initially intended to be a spin-off for the PlayStation 3 called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game went through numerous development issues before eventually being rebranded as the next numbered installment of the franchise.
But now the question is, was the wait worth it? Did those ten years of wait and delays amount to something worthwhile?
Well based on what reviews are saying, it seems the answer is yes, for the most part.
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Final Fantasy 15 Review: Worth the Wait?
It currently holds an 86 on Metacritic which is already higher than any of the titles in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. So that’s more or less a good sign, but let’s find out exactly what people thought about the different parts of the game.
Final Fantasy 15 Review: A Band of Brothers
One standout positive in several reviews was the praise people gave to the main party — Noctis and his friends. The four main characters have several moments within the game that develops both their individual characters and their relationship with one another.
Because of the “road trip” nature of the first half the game, there are several key moments such as camping out during the night or staying at an inn that really helps solidify their bond while at the same time making them more appealing to the player.
These moments help flesh out the main cast as realistic characters that have depth, meaning, and impact for the player.
Philip Kollar of Polygon writes:
These slower elements transformed each of these characters from forgettable anime prettyboys into the virtual equivalent of best friends whom I felt like I’d known all my life.
Final Fantasy 15 Review: Flashy Fights
The combat in Final Fantasy XV is something new to the series as it is a completely real-time action system, somewhat similar to Kingdom Hearts.
In combat players only ever take control of Noctis, the protagonist, with the AI controlling his trusted friends.
And for the most part, reviewers found the combat visually satisfying.The way Noctis and the others fight seem like something straight out of Advent Children and ae pleasing to watch. It’s a lot of flair and aesthetic that makes combat look fluid and intense.
The way Noctis and the others fight seem like something straight out of Advent Children and are pleasing to watch. It’s a lot of flair and aesthetic that makes combat look fluid and intense.
Unfortunately, this is weighed down by the fact that combat is quite simplistic in nature and lacking some much needed depth.
Vince Ingenito of IGN writes:
The actual mechanics of battle are sadly quite thin. Holding circle performs a continuous combo string on whatever is closest, and holding square allows you to dodge or block nearly all attacks from any direction as long as your mana holds out. This can turn combat into a fairly passive experience at times…
In addition to that, several outlets also mentioned that the camera is quite often difficult to use.
Aoife Wilson of Eurogamer writes:
…but a totally unreliable lock-on button and a camera that simply cannot keep up with you – particularly where boss battles are concerned – often try their best to spoil the fun.
Final Fantasy 15 Review: A Story that Stands the Test of Time?
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy game if it didn’t have an interesting story and well-crafted world. And by the sounds of things the fifteenth installment of the franchise has at least one of those.
Many outlets praised the extra content of the game as well as how it helped build up the lore of the world.
Interesting side-quests are scattered all across the game and there’s even a handful of optional dungeons that are never explored by the main story. And these optional dungeons often received far more praise than anything found in the main quest.
Jason Schreler of Kotaku writes:
Just about every dungeon in Final Fantasy XV is excellent, and you’ll never see them all unless you take the time to hunt them down.
However, many outlets also agree that the main story line takes a dive by the halfway mark.
Halfway into the title, the game turns into a much more linear experience. In addition to this, the plot pacing becomes much faster than it should be. Several storylines from the first half of the game for minor characters either disappear completely or have unsatisfying endings.
That brings up another concern that many outlets brought up. Other than Noctis and his friends, the game does little to develop the rest of the cast of characters.
Kollar of Polygon once again writes:
The second half feels out of breath in its pacing, moving past whole nations and plot beats far faster than they can be resolved. Numerous side characters and story elements that are slowly developed in the first half are dropped entirely or given disappointingly weak conclusions as a result.
Final Fantasy 15 Review: Conclusion
Like many games, Final Fantasy XV has its share of strengths and faults. In the end, it’s really up to the player to decide what they want more out of the game.
If you want a satisfying story that they’ll fondly remember for the years to come, then this game might not be for you.
On the other hand, if you want an adventure-like road trip with some virtual friends, then this might be right up your alley.
In the end, many outlets concluded that the game is good and a welcome addition to the franchise, but at the same time has some very polarizing aspects that could make or break the game, depending on who’s asking.