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FFXV copies out in the wild (street date broken in Peru, possibly elsewhere)

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Hyro

Banned
Feb 26, 2013
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I guess no one has made it far enough yet to spoil the game. Shame. Will have to hope for leak tomorrow.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
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Impressions are fairly meaningless when it comes to this type of game. Every review outlet for example has said everything and nothing on this game in particular.

When the game is in my hands, i will make my own conclusions
 

JK-Money

Member
Apr 28, 2014
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435
I too would like some impressions!



What's your favorite game of all time?
In respect to Verendus and him/her pm'ing me I don't want to say anything regarding his/her impressions. But it left me overall with a very positive feeling about the game and ready to play day one.

As for my favourite game, if you generally don't want to see what his/her impression is compared to I will spoiler tag it

Metal Gear Solid 3
 

wmlk

Member
Aug 7, 2013
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Impressions are fairly meaningless when it comes to this type of game. Every review outlet for example has said everything and nothing on this game in particular.

When the game is in my hands, i will make my own conclusions
No, they clearly mean something. Maybe not to you, but we've just had a 40 page thread over just one preview.

EDIT: Nevermind, two threads actually lol.
 

Verendus

Banned
Nov 16, 2010
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I'm okay with posting the impressions here, but as I said, I can't show you a proof shot of my game until the week since it's at the office, and I'm not wasting time going there for the sake of getting the game to show you. No offense.

If you're happy with them as is, that's fine, and I'll drop them. You can take them for what they are, and I'll just post the picture next week. I plan on making a spoiler heavy post too nearer to launch as I want to specifically discuss some of the set pieces and story so it's same-same to me.

Edit:

Holy shit, better than
Snake Eater
? Wat.
I did not say that. I don't compare games across genres. I said it was my favourite game since then. That's a different thing.
 

benzy

Member
Sep 18, 2010
9,133
32
745
In respect to Verendus and him/her pm'ing me I don't want to say anything regarding his/her impressions. But it left me overall with a very positive feeling about the game and ready to play day one.

As for my favourite game, if you generally don't want to see what his/her impression is compared to I will spoiler tag it

Metal Gear Solid 3
Holy shit, better than
Snake Eater
? Wat.

I'm okay with posting the impressions here, but as I said, I can't show you a proof shot of my game until the week since it's at the office, and I'm not wasting time going there for the sake of getting the game to show you. No offense.

If you're happy with them as is, that's fine, and I'll drop them. You can take them for what they are, and I'll just post the picture next week. I plan on making a spoiler heavy post too nearer to launch as I want to specifically discuss some of the set pieces and story so it's same-same to me.
Spill them impressions plz
 

DMONKUMA

Junior Member
Jul 10, 2016
3,762
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Seattle
In respect to Verendus and him/her pm'ing me I don't want to say anything regarding his/her impressions. But it left me overall with a very positive feeling about the game and ready to play day one.

As for my favourite game, if you generally don't want to see what his/her impression is compared to I will spoiler tag it

Metal Gear Solid 3
Baby what?! Oh damn...
 

AlexFlame116

Member
May 11, 2016
10,255
2
290
Provo, UT
Read the impressions that Verendus had sent me and I just sat there and pondered for a long time. My gosh I'm so excited. I BALEE!!!

I BALEE I BALEE I BALEE!

And for those who are concerned about spoilers he makes sure that those are covered well.
All in all I really enjoyed his impressions.

Still waiting for the YouTube video to show me the fate of a certain character though.
 

Starlightmuse

Member
Aug 6, 2015
491
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0
I'm okay with posting the impressions here, but as I said, I can't show you a proof shot of my game until the week since it's at the office, and I'm not wasting time going there for the sake of getting the game to show you. No offense.

If you're happy with them as is, that's fine, and I'll drop them. You can take them for what they are, and I'll just post the picture next week. I plan on making a spoiler heavy post too nearer to launch as I want to specifically discuss some of the set pieces and story so it's same-same to me.
I think I speak in the name of everyone when I ask you to post it, please. I think we all believe that you played the game and you can show the picture later anyway.

Fuck the thirst is real.
 

ZenTzen

Member
Jan 10, 2013
1,702
2
345
I'm okay with posting the impressions here, but as I said, I can't show you a proof shot of my game until the week since it's at the office, and I'm not wasting time going there for the sake of getting the game to show you. No offense.

If you're happy with them as is, that's fine, and I'll drop them. You can take them for what they are, and I'll just post the picture next week. I plan on making a spoiler heavy post too nearer to launch as I want to specifically discuss some of the set pieces and story so it's same-same to me.
thats fine for me, post them impressions
 

Verendus

Banned
Nov 16, 2010
8,579
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Here you are. I'll post the picture next week, and I'll do a more spoiler filled post then too. It's two posts since there's a character limit. Ignore any grammatical issues since I wasn't going to bother editing the post after spending an hour writing it.

------------------------------------------------

My impressions.

I've avoided all media and information for this title since last year. The few locations that I did know of were fortunately only a fraction of the game so it all felt pretty fresh. It helps that I forgot some things too. I did watch the movie six months ago, but it was a mess, and I barely remember it.

I'll keep this spoiler free, but if I do delve into any material that I think is spoiler-y, which I won't, but if I kind of do, I will warn you. You should be good to read this even if you're on blackout.

The World of Finale Fantasy Fifteen:

The artists of Square Enix are incredibly talented, and one of their greatest assets. They've shaped the visual identity of this series, and created some of the most memorable designs and backgrounds I've seen. Rather than the characters or the story, the principle component I'm interested in when playing a new Final Fantasy is the world that they've created. It's usually unlike anything else in the industry thanks to the fusion of different aesthetics, as well as the mixture of fantasy and technology. That's why it's so striking.

Unlike the prior entries however, Final Fantasy XV isn't extravagant in its design, nor does it hit you with its eccentricities as soon as you begin. It starts subdued, and somewhat bland. You realize it's a fantasy title thanks to the monsters roaming the landscape, and the strange points of interest dotted around you. Maybe that's fitting thanks to the slower pace of the earlier chapters, but it's also no less immersive. Taking influence from the United States, the Caribbean, and several European countries, it's an amalgamation of styles that leads to quite a cohesive and engrossing world that grows stranger the deeper you head inside. It's a pretty clear design choice, and it works quite well. It's a fantasy based on reality after all.

The journey through the world somewhat reflects the journey of Noctis and his companions. It begins in a relaxed manner, and the earlier areas reflect this. The opening area is about as bland as I've seen in any game, but by the time I reached the end of the first region, it began picking up. More interesting visuals, stronger contrasts, and more fantasy that crept in. The changing of day to night, and the weather helped add further atmosphere and believability to it all, especially as the enemies you encounter can differ. It's those touches which make this world feel more alive and sparkling with personality than ever.

Final Fantasy has always progressed in a linear fashion through the world that's been created, and Final Fantasy XV is no different in that aspect. While the areas are much larger, you'll get to experience what they want you to even if you don't wander off the main path. But what's also clear is that there's plenty to see if you do wander off, and the times that I did, I encountered various points of interest as well as extra dungeons. They all add character to the world, but for a lazy gamer like me, what I realized most was how there is a fair bit of space in the world that exists to create connections between these different points of interest. It's something I really like because I'm not fond of having a dozen side quests at my feet.

The exploring I did could be summed up by running around, or riding a chocobo. Rather than being a busybody, it was just a case of running to one point, seeing what's there, and then heading back. Not because I wanted to fight that one monster that looked like it was ready to murder everyone, or because I found the dark depths of that one cave enticing, but simply because I just wanted to take a look. Sounds ridiculous, but that's my kind of exploring. It's done for the sake of seeing things, rather than actually doing anything. I may kill a few things along the way, and I'll complete the occasional side quest, but for the most part, I'm a sightseer. (It's also incredibly satisfying using a chocobo to dash through the available areas.)

While I didn't bother with them mostly, there are no shortage of activities to do. Whether that's you finding a nice fishing spot somewhere out of the way, or because you want to challenge one of the ridiculous number of hunts, the world is brimming with "content". But it also realizes the importance of space, and captures the feeling of a journey.

There is, however, some disappointment. While I really enjoyed the parts of the world I did see, the full world is not open for exploration. There are areas that could've been interesting, but we're not allowed to explore them due to the way the game is designed. It's a bit of a shame, as I feel one more area would've alleviated this complaint of mine. Snow is somewhat underrepresented in this title, and I really wanted a huge "Winter Wonderland".

A special mention to the monsters that inhabit the world. There are numerous excellent designs here. Many are impressive to behold, and accidentally coming across some of them at night was one of the more memorable experiences in my play through. There's nothing like the feeling that you're untouchable, then being humbled unexpectedly. (Just a shame I refused to learn that lesson even if it came to me a dozen times in the span of an hour once.) The real time aspect is quite crucial to this as there's no sudden switching of screens to indicate you're about to fight someone. You'll find some spawn in the darkness of the night, but you'll come across plenty who are simply going about their day. That is, until you make your presence known as you've come to ruin it. Seeing some classic Final Fantasy creatures was lovely, but also nostalgic surprisingly. It has been an incredibly long time since I played a Final Fantasy game that I liked, so this probably helped my engagement.

The game itself will bring your attention to certain monsters naturally, and while it's impressive, it also made me think it would've been great to have a few more "Jurassic Park" moments in this title. A few places where the landscape was brimming with life and you could fight fifty of them at once or just dash alongside them. A lot of the monsters are spaced out a little more naturally, and while that's fine, it would've been a good idea to take more liberty with this approach.

There's a good sense of variety to the locations and the towns, which are gorgeous at their best, as well as the scale of the monsters you'll encounter. It's pretty outstanding, and everything comes together really well.

Systems and Combat:

There are three major customization systems in this game, and I'll speak briefly about each of them.

Magic synthesis allows you to craft different spells using your basic elements. You equip whatever you've created into a slot, which then allows you to use it in battle. You're left to experiment in order to create these spells, which is not to my liking. I would've preferred a more guided take, especially as various spells that I could've created all seemed a little useless. There are a lot of combinations, but sometimes less is more. This is a good idea, but the execution is lacking. (I did manage to exploit this system for my own benefit however. Yes, I'm proud of myself. Thank you.)

Weapon "upgrading" allows you to enhance your weapons and is pretty simple. There are the major weapons in the game that you'll collect, but there are also many other non-major weapons. You cannot upgrade all weapons. The weapons you use will affect your play style as there are a variety of moves. You also have guns that allow you to be a coward like Prompto. (It's great.) There are plenty of options to really tailor something to the way you want to tackle the enemies, and how you want to play.

The main system revolves around the abilities you unlock on the Astralspheres using points. There are several of them focusing on different things. Costs vary depending on the skill. Noctis has several abilities focused on his combat, and you also have unlocks for various things like stats, teamwork, and so forth. In addition to that, there are conditional abilities that allow you to earn more points, which in turn can help you unlock more skills.

It's all quite nice as some of the abilities really help the combat shine. I also kind of loved the fact that one of the very first things I did was to check out the different Astralspheres and get a feeling of what route I would take. It's not like there are a huge amount of options here, but coming off FF13, it's pretty amazing. I actually had to plan a little and make some choices.

I was little disappointed by the fact that, once again, we have a system that is derivative of the Sphere Grid in this game. We went from Sphere Grid to License Grid to Crystarium to Ascension. This is the third mainline entry in a row where they've done this, and as someone who liked seeing different systems from one entry to the next, it's a bit of a sore point. While I don't think the systems in this game are bad, I did want something that wasn't so familiar.

With all of these components, it's up to you to put together what you think will make you the most effective killing machine. Whether you focus on creating a one man army in Noctis using weapons, or employing more magic use, or creating a slow and methodical style that creates some distance with your enemies, there's plenty of depth and potential for enthusiasts who may want to really dig in.

This brings us to our battle system. There are two modes to battle, Active and Wait, but I didn't bother with the latter.

The combat feels nice and weighty, and the animations are impressive. It's smooth too, which is welcome when you opt for a fast paced style like I did. You can't mindlessly attack enemies as that will just lead to you losing your sense of place, especially if there are several of them. Warp is an important aspect of the mechanics, and early on, I found it crucial to engage and disengage from enemies to better assess my position, and finish them easier. Rather than mindlessly attacking, it's more enjoyable to take a more tactical approach. Warping allowed me to control the pace of battle, and allowed me to get familiar with the mechanic that would later give birth to the legend now known as "The Skywalker".

The weapons you decide to utilize are important. As you have equipment slots that allow you to rotate between your weapons in battle using your directional pad, it's important to plan ahead and have the right combination at disposal. A balanced approach will take you a long way without having to tinker too often, but you can also opt to abuse the more damaging weapons.

The combat is satisfying, and you can accomplish some incredible things once you know what you're doing. The first few hours are there to establish your own sense of rhythm and style, but eventually you can glide through battle with relative ease. If you're good enough, that is.

There are encounters with different types of enemies that make for some great moments too, and allow the battle system to shine. Simple things like warp striking an enemy on a tower, then warping back down to take out another, before warping elsewhere to continue on your path of destruction. The level design isn't exactly complicated in some of these areas, but it does allow for these kind of developments which is something I quite liked. The aerial battles, especially, are a lot of fun.

Summons are visually impressive and awe-inspiring. They're not a central component of the battle system, but aside from Final Fantasy 10 they never were. They do feel useful however, and their various attacks are a great addition. It's a solid return to form and I feel a lot more satisfied with their use here as I thought they were wasted in Final Fantasy 12 and 13.

Magic isn't quite as impressive as the other aspects of the battle system. It can be quite devastating and useful, but seeing as my style revolved around a certain flow, I didn't like how this broke that for me. When I was engaged with the battle system, I was warp striking from enemy to enemy, attacking, phasing, warp striking again, and finishing enemies off. The aerial component was also especially amazing when I unlocked the skill that allowed me to abuse it. But this is also where my criticism is born from. I didn't like that I wasn't able to smoothly integrate magic into my combinations, as it slows the pace down. Ideally, I would be able to attack with a weapon, use magic, then go back to the weapon again in a swift series of motions. It feels like the developers have deliberately stopped that from happening as they seemingly want people to be a little more thoughtful about how they use it. I appreciate that may have been their intention, but it's not to my liking. I am like water. I flow.

The combat is easily the best in the series, and one of the most enjoyable systems I've played in any game. The warp mechanic is fantastic when you know what you're doing, and I will miss it greatly. I would love to see a variant of this system return in the future because there's still potential here. A little more time, a little more tweaking, and a better integrated magic system could create something pretty special.

Set pieces:

I feel the need to include this separately because it's an extension of the combat system, and part of why I really liked it, but it also reminded me strongly of aspects of previous entries that I really enjoyed.

In Final Fantasy XV, there are various set pieces of differing scale. They're peppered throughout the game, and I feel they're a major draw of this title. I don't want to liken them to Uncharted or God of War, although you could certainly make that comparison to an extent.

I liken it to the moments in the older Final Fantasy titles. I'm reminded of when you're running up the Sector 7 pillar in Midgar. There's a sense of urgency to what you're doing as your allies are strewn all over the place. There's also the Garden Battle in Final Fantasy 8 where you're trying to solve different issues. And many more. These sequences have been present in my favourite Final Fantasy titles. While they were no less memorable in their time, they weren't exactly integrated well.

For the first time in this series, this blend of battle and narrative is more seamless. You're always in control of your character thanks to the real time battle system, and this allows for some very impressive sequences throughout the game. It feels natural, and more importantly, it made some of the narrative moments where these events take place a great part of my experience. You feel like you're a part of the action and more in control than ever before. When I think of story in a videogame, it's not just about the plot or the writing. It's that climb and infiltration of Shinra, it's running across the train as you try to hijack one of its cars, and it's those moments where you're playing something that is part of the narrative, but feels different to just killing a bunch of random enemies or reading dialogue. It's a little more guided, sometimes a little more explosive, and in turn, much more outstanding.

I love that Final Fantasy XV has many of these moments.
 

Verendus

Banned
Nov 16, 2010
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Pacing and Progression:

This probably seems like a strange addition, but to me this is very important. There are folks on here who can invest a hundred hours into a demo, or lose themselves in exploring worlds for dozens of hours. I am not that kind of player, and I need a sense of direction. It's a matter of perspective.

It's very important to me, but from what I usually see, not to the vast majority of reviewers, and maybe even gamers. There's definitely something to be said about the desire of developers to provide people with a lot of content. It's because that's the message that's being received.

This is something I was quite afraid of with Final Fantasy XV. While I may have avoided information surrounding it, I was aware of the scale of the game, and I was also aware of the developer's desire to create a world that allows players to engage in a story driven adventure or explore to their heart's content. Two things that run counter to one another since one of the most important aspects of any story is pace, and whether that pace is appropriate for what it's trying to do. I'm not a fan of open world titles, and this is one of the reasons why.

How does Final Fantasy XV tackle this?

In an admittedly simple and smart way. It accomplishes this by not creating a true open world, using a car, and changing up its structure when the time is right. Spoiler:
It's a game of two parts.
It also decides to leave the pacing of the game in the hands of the player for a good chunk of its playing time. A move that is likely going to create some differing opinions on its narrative progression.

Almost immediately, you'll find yourself placed in the middle of a world where you can wander for hours. Of course, I didn't do that, but there wasn't anything really stopping me if I wanted to. The game itself seems designed to stop itself from getting in your way. If you're the type of player who doesn't like side content like me, you're free to focus on the main narrative. You'll still have to wander into the world and its dungeons, but with a clearer sense of purpose.

This first part of the game, which is more focused on the road trip, does a great job of conveying that feel. It's where the bulk of the "content" lies and it replicates that open world feel, albeit in a segmented way.

(This next part is heading into spoiler territory so avoid if you like your surprises.)

Final Fantasy XV also does something that genuinely surprised me, and turns its world upside down. While I spent the bulk of my journey in the open world, and became accustomed to a certain pace, the time soon came that a structural change occurred. Instead we entered what I referred to as the second part of the game which replaced the open world with a more focused narrative progression. You are not allowed to fully explore this new "area" so to speak as it's more guided and has no open world. It's a bold move, and I'm genuinely curious to see how people will respond to it, but I found it quite welcome. I'm not the biggest fan of open worlds, and after having spent over thirty hours in it, I was pretty happy to change things up. It stopped the title from wearing out its welcome.

If you think the surprises stop there, they don't. Once we're done with part two, we enter the end run of the title, which could be considered its own very little part. What's great about these two later parts is the change in tone, and how experimental it helps make the overall title feel.
Final Fantasy has always been a weird mash of tones, and you find this present very strongly in Final Fantasy 7. (My favourite in the series.) And this title reminded me of that thanks to the way it all came together. It mixes in action, spectacle, stealth, horror, and a very strong sense of adventure.

It left me pondering about which part of this game I liked the most. All of the Final Fantasy titles I've enjoyed have always had stronger first thirds or first halves, then it's somewhat downhill from there. That doesn't mean they turn bad, just that they don't quite sustain the peaks I felt they reached earlier. Final Fantasy XV is different thanks to its game structure. I'm not fond of the opening two chapters. It's a pretty bland beginning thanks to the starting area, and while I still enjoyed the game, those are definitely the weakest sections. Instead, I prefer the game from chapter five onwards. It's not the half way point of the game, but at that stage, I was invested in the title and its characters. The first three to five chapters did a great job of drawing me in, and immersing me in the world, but it was after that I really appreciated the journey. Spoiler:
Thanks to the way the design suddenly changed on me, it helped me appreciate the open world aspect a little more too. I didn't have to follow that same routine all the way through.

So while the first third, and a little bit more, serve to build up your characters and lay the foundation, the second two thirds are where you slowly become involved in the greater plot, and escalation naturally occurs. This means the narrative progression also feels stronger. The last five to ten hours in particular are pretty excellent because it's just simply not what I was expecting heading into this game.

There is also a very clear Naughty Dog influence in the storytelling of Final Fantasy XV. Rather than relying mostly on cutscenes, a lot of story and character information is conveyed while you're roaming the world or travelling in your car while you have access to it. As I don't mind cutscenes at all, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of them. They're still present, and while the game doesn't lose its story focus if you're sticking to the main narrative, it does feel a little unbalanced early on due to their spaced out nature. Much like some Naughty Dog games, Final Fantasy XV exchanges plot focus for heavier character focus, and this has its advantages and disadvantages.

The Naughty Dog games are pretty excellent in this department because they're a lot shorter. When your adventure is going to last ten hours, the balance is much easier achieved. When it's going to last most people around fifty hours, it can become easier to lose that. I do feel Final Fantasy XV could've done with a few more cutscenes because it does a little too much seamless integration for my liking.

The game does a decent job of keeping story events flowing even if the earlier parts are building towards something. The fact that there are locks which stop you from progressing without moving forward with the story is also smart. It helps with the forward momentum, and gives a good sense of direction to the story as you're introduced to more of the world alongside it. It really feels like the older Final Fantasy titles on modern consoles when I think of its design, and also what Final Fantasy 12 tried to do but failed. It's just that the scale is now more representative of the world you travel through between story beats. The world here serves the story, and it's designed that way with linear progression in mind. It's really big, and it's segmented, and the only way you can see more of it is if you get through the narrative.

There has to be some kind of guiding hand that helps push you to finish. That balance is mostly achieved in this game even with some of the experimental touches applied. I would like it to lean more to the cinematic side, if anything. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good, and a solid foundation for the future.

Story and Characters:

I found the story pretty simple and engaging in its earlier stages, but it was also more subdued as your characters are detached from the greater machinations in the background. It's very clear build up, and it does work relatively well, as once you leave the first region in the game, the story begins to pick up. It's clear early on that the story is laying the foundation for the relationships that will carry it through its fifty hour play time. Those relationships are of Noctis and his friends.

I've always thought Final Fantasy has quite sloppy writing. But while the writing has never been strong in this series, it has always had moments where it shined, and XV is thankfully no different. There are plenty of little character moments, which are welcome and help build attachment towards the main crew, and their banter and discourse is one of the positive aspects of the writing. They show plenty of chemistry which makes them feel believable, and their animations while you're wandering around or driving the car add a lot of personality to them.

One of my concerns for this title was how this aspect would work. I'm used to Final Fantasy introducing cast members as you journey which allows you to learn about them as the main character does. With Final Fantasy XV, these relationships are already established, so there was a concern that it may not feel as satisfying.

It's quite the opposite in my opinion. We see their strengths, their weaknesses, and witness their interpersonal conflict. That we spend so much time with them, and see these different sides of theirs, from the cheesiness and goofiness to the weariness and uncertainty, makes for something that has not been present in this franchise before, and that's a true sense of camaraderie and companionship.

Final Fantasy has always had an issue in that you have two to three characters in your main cast that feel important, and the rest are really just background noise. They're there to add a little flavour, but next to no real substance. Final Fantasy XV manoeuvres around this by ensuring your core four members are the backbone of the journey. The little flavour comes from the characters who occasionally find their way into the story, and the antagonists that you encounter.

While their dynamic is very important, this story is really about Noctis. There's a lot riding on his shoulders, and it's up to him to mature into a man who can be responsible for the conflict plaguing the world. The game does a good job of exploring this as the events escalate, and by the end of the game, I feel this is accomplished. His growth is executed relatively well, and by the end, he'd become my second favourite protagonist in the franchise. He's a likeable character, who's made further endearing thanks to the relationships with his friends.

His journey also allows us some contrasts with other characters. An example of this is Luna who's already aware of what her responsibility is, and is determined to see it through. This gives her an important role as a driver of events in the background. Noctis is a little unsure of how to handle his duty and has always had people to look after him, but Luna has lived a comparatively difficult life, and has already grown as a result. The fact that she's busy doing what needs to be done does make it interesting when the characters all become involved in the action together since it makes for a cool moment.

However, due to the story's intense focus on Noctis, we don't get to explore the parts of Luna's background that I thought would've been interesting. We get an understanding of her relationship with Noctis and her place in the world, but not enough about her struggles that brought her to this point. She's a bit too perfect, and that doesn't make for a compelling character within a limited period of time, even if I find her likeable. I feel if we could've had a playable prologue of around six to seven hours that focused on her while she escaped the invasion, with the assistance of Regis, it could've rectified this issue of mine as the time could be used to flesh her out and bring focus to her own past. Not only would it further strengthen the developments in the current game, it would also remove the movie and its characters from existence. That is a good two punch combo when I think about it.

This is really the drawback of such an intimate focus on the main protagonist as the scope of the story is naturally affected. I don't mind a meandering nature if it's done to add more depth to the world around you. It's why I quite enjoyed Nanaki's story or Laguna's shenanigans in the previous entries. This is also where some more five to ten minute cutscenes could have helped as they could've allowed the game to delve deeper into the characters who we come across that are likeable and interesting, but not explored to their full potential because the focus is very clearly on the journey of the protagonist. This would've allowed them to circumvent the need of having these characters present alongside Noctis. It's not like the game doesn't cut away when it feels the need to as it is. I really don't mind putting the controller down for such a thing, and generally prefer a more cinematic route anyway.

Many of the supporting characters you come across add some colour to the world, but it's Ardyn who is the strongest outside of the core party. The developments with him add greater stakes to the plot, and the events that surround him and Noctis also ensure the journey to the ending is pretty strong. They're connected thematically, and the story does a good job of portraying these two different sides. It all results in an adventure that's quite bittersweet once it's finished because it's not without consequence.

The greater plot is as bizarre as you'd expect from a Final Fantasy title, and I was happy to see that they didn't try to make the story grounded. The quieter moments between your characters may be, but the overarching plot is just as fantastical as it needs to be. There are some interesting twists and turns, and one of those is already spoiled by the opening of the game. This game is full of surprises from the beginning, that's for sure, but this was one surprise I could've done without as I don't tend to like having a story bookmark as soon as I begin. This moment shocked me, and it's not that I dislike it, but it would've blown my mind had it just happened later on as a natural part of the events. That section of the game is pretty great, and not being able to figure out where it was heading thanks to the opening would've only enhanced it. The lore is also quite interesting, and you get some contextual details about the world throughout the journey.

Having said many positive things about the overall structure of the story, it's a shame that the main flaw with this game comes in the localization department. Some characters I found quite decent, such as Ardyn, but there were some grating scenes with others that displayed how rough the voice acting was. Gladio, unfortunately, was a major culprit and I never warmed to his voice. Ignis also felt misplaced. It's a shame because it's not as noticeable when you're wandering around, but the gloves come off when it's time to focus on cutscenes, and I did not like the bare-knuckled punches that followed.

I also feel the franchise hasn't ever really taken advantage of executing its ideas to their full potential, but it sticks out more now in the era of cinematic presentation. The older games were able to rise above this because you met them halfway. Your imagination made up for their noticeable writing flaws, and they did a fantastic job of allowing the music and atmosphere convey a certain tone that imprinted itself in your mind. Now that this crutch no longer exists, the flaws become readily apparent because nothing is left for you to interpret in your mind.

In this case, better voice acting and dialogue flow would really help, as it's the one significant flaw in a Final Fantasy game that otherwise feels like the first real step forward for the franchise since Final Fantasy 7. There are moments in the game where I feel it's serviceable, and moments where I'm let down, but I think the greater issue is that it's quite inconsistent and never good. There are several awkward deliveries, and some come in pretty important scenes. It's a mediocre localization all things considered.

I'm dissatisfied because I liked the concepts, lore, and background of this world. Truthfully, it's not something I expected to change, but considering how good this game is otherwise, it does stand out more.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and narrative progression in this game, and I think that enjoyment for many will largely hinge on how much attachment you feel towards Noctis and his three musketeers. I wouldn't have minded a few more plot events, as I do feel it's a missed opportunity considering the tale being told, and some more spotlight on characters like Luna and Cor would've been nice, but I'm not too fussed as it stands. The focus of this game is clear, and it remains on Noctis. This creates a more intimate approach that works quite well for the story it's trying to tell, but naturally limits the scope of the storytelling.

To Balee, or Not To Balee?

There are many other things that can be said about this game, whether it's about the fantastic music, the mini-games, its ability to make you hungry, the tedious camping system, or the camera that's sometimes possessed by Satan, but what matters more than anything else is the end result and how it all comes together. (And I'm a little tired of typing.) A game to me is the sum of its parts, and I don't tend to care as much if one aspect of the game is great but the overall experience isn't satisfying.

Final Fantasy XV feels familiar, yet different. It has elements that remind me of open world titles I've recently played, but it also has many aspects that strongly remind me of my fondness for Final Fantasy. What makes it feel unique is how it brings these elements together along with its own ambition that's brimming with some interesting ideas, and wraps them around this journey that truly feels like one by the time you're done. It's a fifty hour adventure where the main story isn't an afterthought in a huge world, where you wander aimlessly, but a central component, filled with some visually interesting locations that you can explore should you so desire. And it includes combat that is actually engaging and exciting. It makes me wonder what the developers could've accomplished had they gotten a little more time with this game.

If you're a newcomer to the series, this is an excellent starting point. You're never going to be able to enjoy the older games in the same way since they're naturally not as impressive as they were when they first released, but Final Fantasy XV brings that design philosophy to modern consoles, and is far more impressive than its predecessors in a number of ways.

While I still feel a little disappointed with the voice acting, and the writing that led to that, I left the game with renewed interest in the future of the franchise. It took fifteen long years, but I have another Final Fantasy that I not only thoroughly enjoyed, but reminded me of why I liked this series in the first place.

Done.

Now let's end this in a way that's less measured but is the real hot take. Allow me to bring your attention to something that was heard in the halls of Square Enix once upon a time:
Yoshinori "Greatest Finale Fantasy Director Of All Time" Kitase said:
"A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Tabata, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king."
That day comes November 29th, 2016.

Favourite game since Metal Gear Solid 3.
Second favourite Finale Fantasy of all time.
Game of the year.
Game of the generation.

Tabata era. Bahamut represent. Balee dat.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
26,222
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No, they clearly mean something. Maybe not to you, but we've just had a 40 page thread over just one preview.

EDIT: Nevermind, two threads actually lol.
Just my opinion is all. When you get the game in your hands, you will disassociate anecdotal from reality soon enough
 

wmlk

Member
Aug 7, 2013
12,280
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0
Just my opinion is all. When you get the game in your hands, you will disassociate anecdotal from reality soon enough
That's with anything. Doesn't make impressions any less meaningful. Impressions from people who've played the whole game like Verendus will dictate the conversation around the game for decades, just like with any other game.

Yeah, I'll play the thing for myself but you get more impressions/reviews and then eventually a general consensus is formed.
 

ZeroX03

Member
Oct 23, 2009
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Positive impressions, but IIRC my tastes don't really jive with Verendus.

Battle system must've been drastically overhauled since the demos to be any good. Haven't been keeping up too much.

Still expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
 

jb1234

Member
Aug 10, 2009
17,220
1
0
Seattle, WA
Positive impressions, but IIRC my tastes don't really jive with Verendus.

Battle system must've been drastically overhauled since the demos to be any good. Haven't been keeping up too much.

Still expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
I was honestly hoping he would expand upon the Wait element of the battle system since I've been unhappy with it in Active mode (in all three demos I've played) but I guess he didn't bother to try it out. I'm still in "wait and see" mode but glad to hear that the story seems to hold together.
 

KZXcellent

Member
Oct 1, 2014
5,981
1
290
TX
That last section. Ho-ly shit.

Reading those impressions I found myself sharing similar opinions with Verendus. I'm relieved the game isn't 100% Open World and it doesn't overstay it's welcome.
 

JeffZero

Purple Drazi
Dec 14, 2014
8,238
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I just got done reading his impressions and then returned to this thread and discovered he decided to post them here as well! Sweet. Now we can all frolic. Or something.

Yeah, VII is straight-up my favorite video game, so that bit stood out to me. The whole thing's well-written and intriguing, too, and Verendus seems to come from a very similar mindset as I. (Tepid toward much of the open world/content-padding love in the industry; likes his cutscenes a fair bit; pacing is important, so forth.)
 

JK-Money

Member
Apr 28, 2014
8,037
5
435
That last section. Ho-ly shit.

Reading those impressions I found myself sharing similar opinions with Verendus. I'm relieved the game isn't 100% Open World and it doesn't overstay it's welcome.
I hope this is the reverse MGSV honestly. MGSV was a great game but I felt like story was sacrificed for an open world, and all the side mission were repetitive. In his impressions it seems as if the story is still strong and is not lost at the extent of the open world which I hope is very very true. MGSV was a disappointment to me lets hope the game with the next V ie, being FFXV is a success in my eyes

EDIT: actually I wonder and am hoping maybe the day 1 patch adds the Japanese voice acting with subs potentially. That could fix his voice acting quirk. You never know though can't wait to find out Monday
 

Falk

that puzzling face
Aug 26, 2013
20,818
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www.vgo-online.com
I just got done reading his impressions and then returned to this thread and discovered he decided to post them here as well! Sweet. Now we can all frolic. Or something.

Yeah, VII is straight-up my favorite video game, so that bit stood out to me. The whole thing's well-written and intriguing, too, and Verendus seems to come from a very similar mindset as I. (Tepid toward much of the open world/content-padding love in the industry; likes his cutscenes a fair bit; pacing is important, so forth.)
I thought you said your goodbyes till after launch!
 

KZXcellent

Member
Oct 1, 2014
5,981
1
290
TX
I hope this is the reverse MGSV honestly. MGSV was a great game but I felt like story was sacrificed for an open world, and all the side mission were repetitive. In his impressions it seems as if the story is still strong and is not lost at the extent of the open world which I hope is very very true. MGSV was a disappointment to me lets hope the game with the next V ie, being FFXV is a success in my eyes
Absolutely, story is King for me and until they announced a more linear section would be implemented later on in the game I was concerned. Being burned by games like MGSV and not enjoying Open World games that much had me shook. Where many worried about a linear story-focused path in the late game I got excited.

I look forward to Tabata and his team proving to me they can make a great Final Fantasy game.
 

sappyday

Member
Dec 28, 2012
10,003
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I hope this is the reverse MGSV honestly. MGSV was a great game but I felt like story was sacrificed for an open world, and all the side mission were repetitive. In his impressions it seems as if the story is still strong and is not lost at the extent of the open world which I hope is very very true. MGSV was a disappointment to me lets hope the game with the next V ie, being FFXV is a success in my eyes

EDIT: actually I wonder and am hoping maybe the day 1 patch adds the Japanese voice acting with subs potentially. That could fix his voice acting quirk. You never know though can't wait to find out Monday
The game has dual audio.
 
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