Things Nobody Wants To Admit About Final Fantasy XV
There’s a big problem with how Final Fantasy XV’s reputation has been built. Take a look across much of the coverage surrounding the game and you’ll be instantly awash in positive messages relating to its first half; the open world, the aesthetic design of the characters and monsters – almost everything, other than the one thing that makes a Final Fantasy timeless
On paper, or rather, in fans’ minds, as we’ve been forced to figure out the deal with Ardyn by looking into in-game book covers and piecing together clues as to his origin, his tale is quite tragic.
A former monster slayer gifted by the Gods to protect the realm, the King of Lucis at the time grew jealous and ostracised him, resulting in quite the pent-up sense of aggression towards the royal bloodline, culminating in a vendetta against Prince Noctis – someone he wanted to become all-powerful, just so he could strike him down when he least expected it.
All that said, N-O-N-E of that is presented well, surfaced or highlighted in the game at all. Fans only really pieced it together by assuming that one of the characters on the front of an in-game book looks a bit like Ardyn, and went from there, which is insane, when you think about it.
Yes, titles like Dark Souls, DOOM and Hyper Light Drifter rely on environmental clues or item descriptions to flesh out their mythologies, but it has to be done intelligently and consistently across an entire runtime. It cannot however, be used to vaguely hint at what a character’s role was ‘all along’, long after the credits have rolled and we’ve all taken to forums to figure out just what the f**k was happening.
As an environment, Altissia is absolutely stunning, a real achievement in world geometry, its interwoven and vertically-scaling pathways being a delight to watch unfold and explore. The problem, is unless you decide to take a real interest in the side content to the point of actively ignoring the main thrust (and why would you, as this is where you’ve been heading for hours by this point?) you’ll be back out of that place after one cutscene and a boss fight.
Seriously, you arrive in the capital, are told the Mayor wants to talk to you, engage in a more in-depth conversation system for the first and only time in the game as some sort of “How you address authority” ‘thing’, battle the hulking Hydreaen and you’re outta there. Including all cutscenes, if you don’t fancy doing more pointless fetch quests or hunting creatures within the city walls, the entire luscious environment is over and done with in 45 minutes, tops.
Considering so much happens in the opening expanse of Duscae and the story is building to getting to this point, it’s just plain weird that 1. Noctis doesn’t even mention wanting to meet up with Luna, his future wife who he’s not seen in years, and 2. That the game hand-waves such an impressive environment away, never to be seen again.
I’m not saying Square should take the franchise back to the turn-based days of yore (though its fans would do backflips if they did), but if this hybrid of ‘real-time’ hack n’ slash mixed with menus and no team-based oversight is the alternative, that might be the only way.
Because to be honest, Square have struggled immensely with their combat system every since FF XI/XII, where they alternately attempted a more ‘streamlined’ system and a ‘pause and continue’ setup, neither of which were all that satisfying to play.
In FF XV, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time chugging endless potions from the R2 menu as you’re constantly blindsided by enemies you can’t track. Thanks to Noctis’ animations needing to play out before he can switch from attacking to defending (a worthwhile gameplay mechanic if you were afforded the time to plan attacks and think about what was happening), FF XV feels like the epitome of style over substance.
You’ll unlock new moves such as warp strike-chains and tons of abilities for your companions, but none of that matters when the base foundation of tracking foes and controlling Noctis is so lacklustre and off-putting. Everything from the abundance of side-content to the idea of replaying for gameplay alone falls apart, resulting in one of the most potentially innovative parts of the game failing to hit home.
Source – Whatculture
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