Final Fantasy XV First Thoughts


In the early hours of Tuesday, November 29th, I booted up my PS4 and started to play the first hour or so of Square's Final Fantasy XV. The new FF game, ten-plus years in development, was a thing of beauty. While some character models felt more at place in, say, XIII or its worse-than-the-original sequel, everything was great to look at and it felt like a big-budget PS4 RPG. Looks weren't the only thing it had going for it, as the battle system was deep but simple, and the story (so far) seems pretty intriguing.

The first few missions helped give a nice little touch to the game, introducing us to characters and the car dynamic. Overall, I'm intrigued by where Noctis' story will go already, as he's not a full-out silent asshole of a lead, but he isn't a Chatty Tidus, either. He's kind of somewhere in the middle between Cloud and Zidane from IX. Noct is tied to his duty to unite the kingdoms through marriage (that's not a spoiler; it's been out there about the game since the XV universe started fully taking form). However, he's still playful and realistic enough to still have some fun along the way.

Another feature I like thus far is Prompto's snapshots.

When I first heard "oh, by the way, there's a guy in your party that's gonna run around snapping pics of you doing awesome," I kind of dreaded the idea. Surface millennial commentary aside, it seemed like it'd take some gravity away from choices in the game to have them selfie'd up to high heaven. I didn't want to have the game devolve into Final Fantasy-meets-Pokemon Snap, which wasn't really as bad as some made it out to be...I just didn't want that feeling in my FF game. To this point, I like the dynamic and it's allowed me to relive some pretty bad-ass moments in the first few missions. Having Prompto snap a shot of Noctis and the team slaying a rabid Dualhorn was, again, pretty badass.

Keep in mind that this is based on the first few hours. But I'll definitely say that XV has already atoned for the sins that were committed by XIII and (ugh) XIII-2. The less wee say about Lightning Returns being a thing, the better.

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