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RTTP: Final Fantasy XV - Return of the Dissapointment, or is it?

TheInfamousKira

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Huge spoilers and insane ramblings from your favorite drive by asshole below, warning:

Final Fantasy XV. The moral event horizon of JRPGS, Final Fantasy, and gamers in general. Throngs of bitter, betrayed gamers claim this was the title where Final Fantasy officially jumped the Bismarck. I was one of those people, entrenched in hatred over the feeling that I was scammed when I bought my $699 launch model 60 gb PS3 with at least a third of the reason being for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a game that, in all truth, never came out, even in it's reworked form of a mainline title.

When I purchased this game (this thread is going to be wall of text, by the way, leave now or shitpost if you don't like that) I was much the same as many other gamers. Confused by the plot that was there, confused by the large parts of plot that WEREN'T there, aimless and feeling the luedonarrative dissonance of the first half of the game, where my father had died, my kingdom had fallen, and I was supposed to cross the ocean to marry my betrothed in the name of peace, but WAIT, LET ME CATCH ONE MORE FISH. The second half feeling like an entirely different game, OG chapter 13. Everything felt long in the tooth but rushed at the same time. I finished it, and it wasn't a terrible experience, but it felt hollow compared to how I felt I should feel after the IRL story of the game's development. FFXV should have been a Phoenix rising out of the ashes of Nomura's hubris, but it ended up feeling like Doomtrain, barreling toward the finish line and reducing my defense to 0.

Fast forward to 2021. I had played the Royal Edition content (mostly) and the DLC episodes (missed both festivals, but whatever) before now, but it was disjointed and in passing. This was the first time I had played FFXV, from the beginning, incorporating all elements of the story in their proper places. Starting with Brotherhood, A King's Tale, Kingsglaive, Platinum Demo, and the script Prologue, on through the main game, episode Gladiolus, Ignis, Prompto, Ardyn Prologue and Ardyn, and the key cutscenes of Comrades, because that shit was too much of a grind for me.

Where I currently stand is finishing up hunts, trying the Pitioss Ruins for the first time, and hunting down Angelus and Omega. I might try to finish the bestiary and archives afterward if I'm not burnt out, and then I'll give the novel for the canceled DLC a go.

My thoughts on this playthrough:

This game, just this week, became my second Platinum trophy. I won't be able to get it to 100% because Comrades was made a stand alone, but out of the main, original trophies, this became my second Platinum, with the first being Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Maybe I like bad games, who knows?

Anyway, I've found that this game works best if you do the storyline quests as you pass by the area they take place in, and just explore around the world in the meantime. I had a fantastic time (granted, I was on pain meds for an oral surgery for a lot of the time) just exploring and doing sidequests that, while overall generic, allowed for emergent gameplay within that framework. Many times I went to a spot to slay x amount of monsters or find x item, but I'd find a dungeon, or find another three quests, or a guy with a broken down car, or a high level boss monster, or a new fishing spot. This game works best if you just surrender yourself to its meandering aimless pace and have fun with it. In a lot of ways, it feels like a slice of life adventure that takes place in a Final Fantasy world.

The story does make a lot more sense with all of the disparate pieces viewed/read/played in their respective spot in the story, though I understand (and relate to) feeling like IMPORTANT elements towards understanding a story shouldn't be contained within supplemental material. If it's absolutely necessary, that supplemental material should at least be packaged with the main product. One of my biggest complaints regarding the Royal Edition (or just the game in general, I guess) is the failure to integrate the DLC into the main campaign. It's easy enough to figure out the order of things, but for a new player or someone who's not putting a lot of effort into consistency, it kind of just makes the whole thing seem like more of a cluster fuck than it already is.

As for the game itself, I've found that it's super easy to just breeze through holding circle and square and healing when you need to, but there IS a little bit of depth to combat. Holding different directions on the analogue stick will perform different attacks from different directions and different speeds, depending on the equipped weapon. This can set up different combos, or do crowd control with AoE weapons. The Techniques add another layer, and I ended up setting my party up with different ones that apply to my current situation as opposed to just always using the strongest one. Ignis' elemental enchantment or Prompto's Starshell with Gladio's Impulse is probably my favorite combo, and these abilities remind me a lot of Limit Breaks with how they're incorporated and managed.

The patch that added the ability to switch party members in combat, and the Royal Edition's Armiger Unleashed round the combat out nicely. Also Blindside attacks, Link Strikes, and Cross Chains are cool, but seem to just occur randomly, so they lose some points for me. The thing that strikes me most with the combat is the thematic consistency with the rest of the game. It's a battle system that excels when you utilize your allies, it's a very friendship power animu type of deal, but it fits very nicely with the overarching theme of Brotherhood.

I suppose the Astrals are part of the combat, though I don't have much to say about them. I know there are different conditions for Summoning, but the easiest triggers are Garuda (if you've completed the FFXIV crossover quest), Ramuh, and Shiva, in that order. So basically, you never see the other ones, and essentially they're attacks are all just different wallpaper on the same screen wipe. Would have been cool to have some added effects based on their elements or whatever, but that would call for a complete rehaul of the Summon system, so whatever. I get it.

The post-game is where a lot of this came together for me, and I'd argue that XV has among the best post-game content in the series. Nine dungeons, an airship, a host of high level bosses/super bosses. It's a healthy amount of content.

I probably have a lot more to say, but I'm blanking right now. I don't know that this thread will get much traction, being about a panned game, but final thoughts/tl;dr, anyway:

Very pretty game. Good to average voice cast/performance. Fun if you take it for what it is and not what it isn't. Good story, just told in seventeen different places. Good post game.

Anyway, I think it finally clicked with me this time. If you're on the fence about it, or haven't tried it, or tried and it disliked it but you're thinking about giving it another chance, I'd say go for it. It's a flawed, troubled game, but it's patched itself up nice enough for me.
 

kunonabi

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Dec 2, 2010
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I tried royal edition and everything about the game aside from the magic system irritated the hell out of me. I didn't even think the visuals were off much value due to how awful the hair and stuff looked. I can get the same experience watching some junk anime and it will be paced better and with less goddamn product placement to boot.
 
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Damigos

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Oct 18, 2013
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When the game launched it was a huge disappointment.
Another example that we should never pay full price at launch. In 6-12 months it will be half price, incl season pass and have all bugs fixed.
 
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For you got get the full FF15 experience you have to watch the anime and the movie both of those cover the backstory then the late game quests and epilogues tie it up if you didn't bother to watch the anime or movie or read anything else then you missed pretty much all of the off screen early parts of the game plus/ mid game WTF moments. Your FF15 experience depends on how much time you want to invest into the stuff that doesn't evolve you playing the game frankly they did that for the casuals and for the people that complain when a JRPG or RPG has a run time over 40 hours but those same people will drop double to triple that time into some trash like battle royal or any current MOBA on the market.
 

Northeastmonk

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Mar 18, 2013
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I didn’t feel satisfied with the game. It felt like combat was performed by chance and attacks felt way too floaty. I would stock up on items before battles because nothing felt like it added to my characters performance. For the first 10-15 hours I focused on upgrading weapons and then I stuck to just getting potions and Phoenix downs. Weapons didn’t feel as important as using a potion. I finished it and I’ve never wanted to go back.

I think SE failed at making good characters. They were annoying to listen to and their stories felt so unimportant. I got the final DLC, but I haven’t really wanted to play more of it. I was expecting this experience was going to be Final Fantasy enemies in a modern world. While that was all nicely presented, everything else felt like a slog. The work they did on the summons was fantastic. It was like a lovely song being played over an obnoxious cast of characters. Even when it got good, it took too much of the bland gameplay before it got to that point. I have high hopes for XVI because it’s action based. They have to focus on better combat and I feel like XV showed them that they didn’t make a solid well rounded combat system in XV. I really dislike how Square uses all these great songs, big summons; and yet the game only owns up to that level of greatness hours and hours into the game. I hated camping. I realize there’s a system there to better your experience, but it wasn’t a classic “Tent” type of experience.
 

Nankatsu

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Mar 2, 2020
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This and Mass Effect Andromeda are clearly my genuinely bad favourite games from last gen. The consensus is that both are bad, but I really liked them both tbh.

And in this case I'm talking about launch FFXV. Reading your post and noticing the changes they've made, it's even a better game than the one I played.
 
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SkylineRKR

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Jun 22, 2011
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FFXV is all around awful.

Gameplay is really bad, jump and confirm on the same button is a death sentence. The combat doesn't fare better, its terrible. Its a far cry from KH2 and 3. There is an almost nonexistant amount of world building. And for a region thats just been invaded, its really tame. I was never under the impression there was a war going on or anything. If you hadn't seen Kingsglaive (which is a bad movie, but better than the game), you wouldn't know anything was going on at all. So for people playing this game without that kind of knowledge it must feel especially off.

The overall structure of the game is wrong. For a road trip game, you'll actually want linearity and not being able to warp back to the start for a stupid side quest unless at the post game. There is no sense of urgency in the story, it feels disjointed. Then, the game drops the open world antics and becomes fully linear. Which doesn't feel good either with lots of bad gameplay (that one notorious chapter was eventually updated, even). What kind of offline RPG changes certain chapters and story beats after it launched?

And I don't buy the excuse that Tabata had to salvage Versus XIII and make something out of it. They had the concept art, characters and world of Versus XIII ready on paper. For the rest it looks like they could start from scratch and make whatever they wanted out of it, I think they had 4 or 5 years of time to make something. They could also create a good action RPG with these characters and this setting. The early Versus XIII gameplay reels looked like a KH spinoff and quite a bit more fun than the finished product.

Like FFXIII, I've never replayed FFXV. And I've zero desire to do so.
 

ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
Mar 19, 2013
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FFXV the game that keeps under delivering.
I can only guess Square wanted to scam the huge FF fan base… a straight steal of our money should be more effective.

A game that made FFXIII be considered fine.
 
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RoboFu

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its a great CORE GAMEPLAY game.. like i can run around and fight things forever. Its a pretty shitty story game though.
 
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TheInfamousKira

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Haha, the comments are about what I was expecting. It's definitely a disjointed game with a lot of management issues, but I had a pretty good time this go around.

I just finished the Pitioss Ruins last night, took about seven hours factoring in smoke and food breaks. I actually *really* enjoyed that experience, being so divorced from the gameplay loop of the rest of the game. XV was NOT designed to be a platformer, but having put 220 hours (I know) into the game beforehand, the handling of Noctis became second nature. A lot of the traps and obstacles felt right at home in a classic Zelda game, and the sidescrolling portion was a nice surprise. Really felt like the guy who developed the dungeon was just given the keys to the Mansion for the weekend and given free reign to do whatever. There were some frustrating portions, but I'd definitely recommend giving it a go, too.
 
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Swift_Star

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It's the only FF game I have no desire to replay whatsoever. At least XIII feels like a complete game... This one, well... Nah.
 

TheInfamousKira

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Its just not the same without a few words from D.Final and a crazy spam/dump of FF15 gifs. :messenger_crying:

*thread about Final Fantasy VII*

D.final: XV IS BETTER

*thread about Halo*

D.final: FFXV wipes the floor with Missus Chef.

*thread about double homicide in Seattle*

D.final: Noctis would have warp striked the criminals, 0/10
 
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