A Quick Overview of Final Fantasy 15
Final Fantasy 15 is the newest entry into the Single Player Final Fantasy world. It is set in a somewhat modern world, where cars, trucks, and what have you exist, alongside many fantasy elements, such as flying mega fortresses, and daemons that roam the land. This is all very standard Final Fantasy stuff, but it feels as though something is missing, at least when it comes to the story.
At least they did a great job of making you absolutely hate the antagonist, though I do not exactly know why they did that. No spoilers on who that antagonist is, but suffice it to say it is not who you expect.
This is a Review of the Main Game only – No DLC plots are mentioned.
I have been a fan of the Final Fantasy series since the very first game back on the Nintendo Entertainment System as a kid. In fact, it was one of the very first video games that I played, alongside classics, such as Duck Hunt and Solomons Key. In fact, I have owned and played every single final fantasy game EXCEPT 11 and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake for PC (Cause it isn’t out yet!). My history there should prove that I enjoy a good Final Fantasy game, so when I say there is something important missing from Final Fantasy 15, it pains me to do so.
Just so you know – I am biased when it comes to Final Fantasy, given that I have played all of the previous titles mentioned above. Your experience with this game and my opinions formed from my experience should not be a determining factor for whether or not you try this game out. I will always recommend to form your own opinions, rather than rely on the opinions of others to make decisions for you.
A Forewarning, there are minor plot spoilers ahead. I do my best to be as vague as possible regarding specific events in game, but some are unavoidable to get my point across.
From the very beginning of the game, you are introduced to a somewhat pampered prince named Noctis, who has his own personal honor guard, each of whom has a unique personality. These people are Ignis, a reserved guy who likes to cook; Prompto, an overly energetic, photo-crazed individual that I think represents the selfie society of modern civilization; and Gladiolus, who is a rough around the edges survivalist, but closer to a typical Final Fantasy character than the rest.
Regarding the main character Noctis, I personally feel no connection to him, at least for most of the main story of the game. At times, I even find him to be just plain annoying.
Table of Contents
Mechanics I don’t like about Final Fantasy 15
I’m going to start off with things I don’t like about this game. Some of these things are pretty annoying to deal with.
They removed the ability to steal from enemies (As far as I have been able to determine, anyway) – but don’t worry, they can still steal from you!
The Magic System
I tend to align myself to magic-based characters in final fantasy games, and I did the same in Final Fantasy 15. Unfortunately, magic doesn’t work the same way in 15 that it does in most final fantasy games. To cast magic, you need to farm Elemental rocks for their essence and then craft a spell through a clunky interface. This takes a fair amount of time and rips you out of your immersion, reminding you that you are in a game world in an unfriendly way.
Additionally, casting the spell results in a fairly long cooldown, to which you need to wait out in order to cast again. This essentially puts magic on the back burner for effective tools, used mainly to deal with large groups of weak enemies in one go.
This is a pretty big reason why I ranked the gameplay so low – I feel like I’ve been forced to adopt a playstyle I didn’t enjoy very much (Dashing around and warping), just to make some actual progress. It didn’t help that you only start with a single Magic flask to craft with, meaning every single time you ran out of spell charges, you had to re-craft the spell in that clunky interface. Not my idea of invigorating magic gameplay.
Another gripe on this was the potency system – All other weapons are based on damage, but spells had variable potency, based on how much you put into them. You can combine catalysts with them to add additional charges and effects, but as a new player to the game, You have no idea where to get those items yet without looking it up on a guide online.
Before you defend the system, forcing a player to google something online to get more than three charges per craft is poor game design.
Worse yet, they removed many aspects of magic that were staples of the Final Fantasy series – you only had access to Lightning, Fire, and Ice. Seriously? What about Aero? Cure? Raise? Holy? Haste or Slow? ARGH!
The Upgrade System
Adding to the list of poor game design choices is the Upgrade system for certain weapons. An upgradable weapon has a Yellow + symbol next to it. This is an example of intuitive and effective UI design. However, upgrading those weapons is tedious, and finding the items needed to upgrade them again, encourages gamers to open up good ol’ google.
All they had to do to fix this issue was to have a “Hey, do you have any idea where I can find this thing that you know how to use to upgrade this item?” “Oh yeah, over in X region, by the Y. That is where I found some of this in the past, as I know how to use this stuff to do this upgrade.” See? Easy and immersive.
Mix in the fact that you can accidentally sell some of those upgrade components that are unique and can’t be repurchased is ridiculous. ESPECIALLY when lower-level upgrades do have multiple copies to use. (Rusted Bits, Chrome parts, etc)
If you google “How to get another upgrade component because I sold something that there was only ever one of in the entire game,” the answer is to use a friggen’ Cheat Engine! I’m sorry, but I shouldn’t need to hack the game files to fix a little mistake I made that locked me out from getting something. It’s like the Zodiac Spear 2.0, but worse!
Many responses were pretty toxic to the people who made this mistake, to boot, stating, “You’re an idiot for selling something in a JRPG.” or something to that extent. There is no need to be toxic guys; it is an honest mistake.
That said, if you sell an item to a vendor, that vendor should have those items for sale back to you at a higher rate as a fallback. PERIOD.
With all that said, In older games, there weren’t any items that you could accidentally sell that locked you out of something like that. Those items were marked as “Key Items”, and it was very obvious to the player that they were important for something.
Oh, and there is a list of components online that shows you what not to sell, but I shouldn’t need to google something to figure something important like that out.
Or, you know, “NEW GAME PLUS!” I guess…
Fun fact, Apparently in the console version, those items are marked as “Key Items” and can’t be sold. Why “fix” something that isn’t broken? Come on, Square Enix!
Yes, I’m salty. Rant over.
The Combat System
As mentioned in the magic system, I’m not really a fan of the Real time combat system that was first introduced in Final Fantasy 12, reused in 13 and 15. It makes hitting things tedious at times.
Also, The fact that they give you an absurdly powerful Sword that literally is the best weapon to use leading up to LEVEL 45( High enough to actually complete the main story of the game) at the very beginning is annoying as hell. I Literally had zero reasons to upgrade my weapon. I used Armageddon from start to finish, to prove a point that I could.
NO. DON’T DO THAT!
It removed any reason to be excited when a new weapon appeared in shops, as they were a tenth as powerful as the sword. It also made it so I didn’t even really try other weapon types, as nothing came even close to the output of the sword until level 38. Armageddon is a fitting name, as It destroys all reason to use other things.
Of course, it won’t carry you through all of the extra content beyond the main content, but darn it, Give me a sense of progression man!
To be fair, I think it is technically a DLC-only weapon, but I bought the complete edition of Final Fantasy 15, so it was just…kind of there. I much prefer it when games lock powerful weapons behind challenging quests – There are a ton of challenging quests that give you just…a mega elixir or something. Opportunity seriously missed.
Do yourself a favor, if you’d like to experience a sense of progression – Sell that damn sword first chance you get. Remove the temptation.
Final Fantasy 15 is a Potion Blender
I mean, I could just be a bad player, but I constantly found myself downing recovery items like a man who just got done running a double marathon through the Sahara. This led to me needing to sell some of the items I mentioned in the upgrade system section just to keep my head above water and breathing. Especially allies. They died a lot, another reason I’m not a big fan of the real-time combat system.
I mean, yeah, you could cheese the fight and run away to resurrect them, but that is simply abusing game mechanics, and that isn’t very fun. That said Phoenix Downs are expensive! It kind of feels like you are punished for not cheesing the resurrection mechanic in fights by fighting at the edge of the enemy engagement circle.
At least you can’t do this for some special fights…
The fact that the restoratives were being downed at a dizzying pace is also why I tended to use that Armageddon weapon in the first place. Even with that overpowered weapon early on, I was drowning in restoratives.
Especially towards the end.
In the last few fights of the main story, which came one after the other with no breaks in between to restock, I Consumed:
- 75 Hi-Potions
- 44 Elixirs
- 25 Mega Potions
- 27 Hi-Elixirs
- 12 Phoenix Downs
- 18 Mega Phoenixes
- And a ton of buff items like Reflex Stimulants
Those were what I had before I entered the ending area, and I used them all. That’s why I know how many I used.
About the only way that this potion blender is lessened is the fact that you can no longer use items on enemies – phoenix downs to kill undead is no longer an option, for example.
The Story Is Lackluster
Without spoiling anything, I can say that this is the most detrimental part of this game. It didn’t have to be this way, either, because it certainly had a lot of things going right for it for a while. It starts off really strong, sets a tone, and gives you an actionable mission that you actually want to do.
Some spoilers ahead, skip this section if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Midway through the story is where things start falling apart, Inconsistencies start to appear, plot points are never revisited, and things start to feel as though development was seriously getting rushed to meet a deadline.
Square sets the stage for some epic war between two countries, then pulls the rug out from that story and scraps it without a second thought, replacing it with a cookie-cutter “Save the world from darkness” plot. They even set the stage for the possibility of national espionage, and that is literally never addressed again after they bring it up.
They even set up not one, but TWO romance interests for Prompto, which is only mentioned once or twice after that, and never again. They should have done something about that, I feel bad for the kid.
I thought that the Empire would…you know, capture the party or the party’s target, and they had ample opportunity to do so (In fact, they did a few times, but then let us go right away, awkwardly) for the flow of the story. Instead, they go a completely different route, and an event happens that really sells the “Hate the Antagonist” bit, but it is never explained why the antagonist did the thing, other than shrug it off as “He bonkers mad, bro!”
I don’t know – It had a lot of potential, but it was just squandered with the direction they took in the end.
End of story spoilers.
The Hiso Aliens
Nuff’ said. Very annoying little quest. Cool little crossover, just that voice line repeated over and over and over and over and over and OVER… you get the point.
Like ARPGs like Diablo 2?
Check out my Path of Exile Review.
Things I liked about Final Fantasy 15
Okay, enough negativity. Time to get into why you probably should buy Final Fantasy 15.
Musical scores from EVERY Final Fantasy game
When driving in the Regalia, the party’s fancy car, you can listen to music from every single final fantasy game. This includes battle music, character themes, etc. This is a nice throwback and a great collectors item for players to uncover.
There are even tracks from NieR: Automata in there too, among a few others that you’ll just have to find for yourself.
Hint: Check every general vendor in every outpost that you can.
Incidentally, it is also why the game is around 100 gigs in size, since audio files don’t compress that well – A lot of voice lines too.
Weapon & Armor Design
There are quite a few weapons and armor designs in Final Fantasy 15. There is a distinct high-fantasy feel to most weapons, but the clothing options turned out to be fairly modern – a Nice change of pace from the wild outfits of previous Final Fantasy titles.
Unfortunately, taking pictures of these weapons is challenging, as the only time to do it is during battle. As you can imagine, that can be quite challenging, as things are constantly moving, and lighting conditions aren’t super great.
One thing I would have liked to see was bonus stats for the clothes weren’t included. I’d much rather have those stats available from gear in an extra accessory slot, that way I could use the clothes I liked best, rather than using the royal clothing to avoid dealing with the stamina bar. This is but a minor gripe though, and more of a biased preference than something that should be implemented.
Amazing Monster Design
If there is one thing that Final Fantasy really gets right, it is the design of their enemies. Some of the things that you go up against make you feel like you wouldn’t have even the slightest of chances. Funnily enough, if you didn’t have a giant supply of restoratives to chug on hand, you actually wouldn’t.
But that’s besides the point – The design and animation of every single one of these monsters is incredibly well done. There is something visceral that you feel when you encounter these things, and it can leave you feeling lucky that you made it out alive.
Bravo, well done art team & Square!
How Streamable is Final Fantasy 15?
Final Fantasy 15 is an okay candidate for streaming – it isn’t that bad of a game at the end of the day, especially given the colossal number of side quests available. There are several talking points about this title as well – your gripes on how the story is lacking, comparing it to earlier titles in the Final Fantasy Franchise, or all the cool customizations available to your car.
However, with the huge quantity of music tracks within this game, it is a potential DMCA waiting to happen, unless you mute the music in the game menu. This detracts from the atmosphere of the game, for sure, but it is the only way to be safe.
It is for these reasons that I give this game a B-Tier Rating – Streamable, and worth trying, but not likely to be something you can base your channel around.
Final thoughts on Final Fantasy 15
Now, I know I didn’t do a 100% playthrough of the game – If I’m honest, I probably never will. That said, Final Fantasy 15 is certainly fun and worth the price for the 50 something hours you get out of the main story – for the parts that were actually fleshed out, anyway. There are a lot of things I felt that this game was missing, but I can understand the sheer amount of time that is invested in a game like this, having created one of my own in the past.
When you first open this game, you are greeted with a message:
A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-timers.
Yes, it satisfies this definition by having some semblance of a Final Fantasy game and is pretty easy for new players of the series to get into. However, much of what makes a Final Fantasy game what it is – The Story, the staples, and the adventure misses the mark for us “Fans.” Even newer players noticed the sudden rush and story inconsistencies.
It could have been the greatest Final Fantasy game ever created – It certainly had the potential to do so. Instead, what we got was an incomplete and inconsistent story with only a shadow of many elements that make up a true Final Fantasy RPG. So many questions went unanswered, so many loose, and even frayed ends unkempt, so many odd injections of characters at bizarre moments and forced interactions of what felt like the developers throwing up their hands and saying, “THERE! It can sell now!”
I honestly felt like I was playing some sort of Sword Art Online game with some Final Fantasy thrown in the mix, rather than a True Final Fantasy experience.
I feel that for a single-player game to succeed in modern times, at the very least, the MAIN STORY of the game needs to be as coherent and consistent as possible. There were times where I was blown away, such as the setting in “The World of Ruin” chapter, but that was rudely interrupted, then apparently completely scrapped. You were then rushed to the end on rigid rails with literally no break in between. It definitely felt like the higher-ups were like, “Ok, you’re out of time, SHIP IT!”.
That World of Ruin chapter could have been the greatest build-up to the end of a game that has ever been done. Instead, it felt like the biggest letdown in the history of gaming.
Have you played FF15? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Please avoid spoilers though. Be sure to check out my Review on Rocket League if you want a crazy fun competitive game