Game Review - Final Fantasy XV on Xbox One

Written by RevonMercer on March 14, 2017 @ 1:35 am

Like many entries in this series, Final Fantasy XV is a very divisive game among its fanbase. With the original project "Final Fantasy Versus XIII" being announced back in 2006, the ground work faced constant changes and a lack of true information about the project outside of visually impressive trailers. Fast forward several years into its cancellation, followed by the announcement of Final Fantasy XV in its place and you will see immediate changes. Gone were the grim dark tones. The emphasis on urban settings had been changed to that of a roadtrip tale of brotherhood. The enigmatic tale of the last prince of a mafia-like family shifted into that of a young price coming of age in an otherwise unforgiving world.
The game play in Final Fantasy XV is new in every sense of the word. No longer utilizing turn-based combat nor the Active Time Battle system that series had developed, XV instead goes for an action approach. The Active Cross Battle system borrows bits from Kingdom Hearts, while maintaining its own personality and style. Noctis, the player character, is able to freely execute a myriad of attacks and combinations with weapon types ranging from swords to guns to mythical weapons of past kings. This keeps the gameplay fresh and customizable - allowing for anyone and everyone to get the most out of the combat, if the effort is put forth. Many complaints about the game's combat are simplified down to "hold attack to win, block sometimes," which could not be further from the truth. The combat system has deep layers that allow for some interesting mix-ups, aerial dancing, and special moves. If you do not explore the system, then you will find yourself limited.

While you may only control one character (currently Noctis), the ability to issue out Technique commands to your three (or more) party members is a nice touch that gives each character more utility in the field.

Main quests have the player continuing with the story while sidequests encourage exploration, interaction, and your usual errand boy-style jobs. From collecting dead Hunter's tags, to fighting the giant Adamantoise, to exploring new dungeons.
The story in Final Fantasy XV is rather hit-and-miss for most. What is present of the story is enthralling and captivating. The problem being that much of it is either left to documents the play must find, outside materials such as the Kingsglaive movie, or even dialog that tells rather than shows. Despite this, the plot in and of itself is remarkable.

The main characters are handled extremely well, their bonds becoming the highlight of the story. The main villain is both prominent and entertaining in every regard. The typical Final Fantasy bait-and-switch to a villain you've never heard of is not the case this time around. You are constantly seeing their actions and the consequences that unfold because of them.

Several moments throughout the story, the player loses a party member while they experience their own side stories, which are being added as paid DLC. Unfortunately, these moments feel as though they were taken away from the final product, most likely due to time constraints and the hellish development cycle. Regardless, they impact the overall plot negatively.
The visuals in Final Fantasy XV are breathtaking. The details on the characters are very vivid, and when the moment needs it, the facial animation is spot on. Square-Enix has outdone themselves with the amount of raw emotion that could be captured with something as simple as a facial tick when holding back tears, or a snarl when enraged. Visual effects during combat also captivate the player with spectacle.

The World of Eos is beautiful and vast. So many pretty sights to be seen - all of which are encouraged with side quests involving photography. The wildlife is realistic and acts on its own while the animations and lighting prove to be ridiculous in terms of visual prowess.

The visuals would have received a solid 10 if it were not for the issue of texture popping that happens from time to time. This is expected with a game as large as XV, but still breaks immersion and can at times be disappointing. Nonetheless, it does not hinder the game much.
The sound in XV is just as one would expect - perfect. Sound effects are satisfying and captured flawlessly. Even simple, minor instances such as walking on gravel versus running on pavement show differences that help immerse the player.

The voice acting for all languages is top-notch in their own regard. I will mostly speak for the English voicing, though. Ray Chase has gone from underground to full-on superstar with his work in XV alone. The main cast all have very unique, well-executed voices that bring character and match their respective personalities. From witty banter to heated arguments to emotional breakdowns, Final Fantasy XV emphasizes its cast's skills and adaptability to provide truly human characters, further enriching the experience.

Don't even get me started on Ardyn Izunia.
Overall, Final Fantasy XV is a great game, but one that (at the time of writing this review) has not yet reached its full potential. Many of the moments that are not present draw away from the experience, but the entirety of the world of Eos, its characters, and the events that unfold before the player's eyes make for a more-than-memorable experience. Final Fantasy XV takes the player and throws them into an adventure of brotherhood and loss. By the end of the story, you yourself will have felt like you have made four new friends, making it all the more difficult to part ways when you conclude the game. Luckily, post-game content and a New Game+ allow for you to experience more of Eos, or even relive the adventure in full.

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Game Information

Xbox One
Square Enix 1st Production Department
Square Enix
Action, RPG
NA Release Date
November 29, 2016
JP Release Date
November 29, 2016
EUR Release Date
November 29, 2016
AUS Release Date
November 29, 2016
ESRB Rating
MVGL User Score
Yoko Shimomura
Official Website
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