I titled this the 90% Review because I’m about 90% through the game and I feel like I’m ready to make a good call on this title.
I wish I had another title I could compare Final Fantasy 15 to but I really don’t and can’t. There are so many elements that are mixed into Final Fantasy 15 from other Final Fantasy titles that it is really hard to compare it to just one. So I’ll start with dissecting the game first and going over my own individual categories.
The game elements that I paid attention to are: Quests, Combat, World, Spells, Equipment (including Items), and Group.
There are about 4 major categories to quests. Story quest, Side mission quests, hunts, and random distress calls. I might have missed some but these are the 4 that I found to be prevalent throughout the game. The story quest is pretty straight forward. In order to progress the game, simply follow the story quest marker and blam, you’ve progressed the story-line. I found that even though there is a recommended level for the story quest, it is highly unnecessary and most of the time irrelevant as the game is relatively easy when played on normal difficulty. In fact, I only found true challenges when exploring some of the high level dungeons and even then all that is required of those is to be the proper level and a good stock of healing supplies.
The side quests get annoying really quickly because the quests are given by the same people… every… single… time. There is about a handful of people that send your team on either a fight this -> get that quest or an even simpler fetch quest which doesn’t really add to the story or understanding the quest givers personality beyond face value. Some quest givers move locations, like in the case of the frog biologist, but others annoyingly stay put, like in the case of the journalist (who is in a really aggravating spot) or the fat guy who asks you to take photos of stuff. They don’t seem to have a schedule which bothers me because if they went as far as implementing a day and night time and it having an effect on which monsters come out (doesn’t vary much) then why not have the quest givers act like people and close up shop or at the least MOVE to a different night time position. That alone devalues the whole night/day time system. The cities and towns remain exactly the same no matter the time. The same generic types of people are hanging out by the gas pumps 24/7. The only change I REALLY noticed was when you go down to Galdin Quay and watch the two love-birds splashing ocean water on each other for hours… days… weeks… all day… every day…
I could go on a longer tangent about the quests but I’ll try to also focus on the positives. I DID enjoy the Hunt quests because sometimes they had more than simple fetch orders. There were a couple of battles that were SO difficult simply because of the nature of the beast. One that sticks out for me is going on a hunt to kill some wasps. Sounds easy enough, sure, but these monsters are in the air and they cause confusion and poison AND they swarm like a motherfather. Here is a guy fighting a swarm.
Skip to 1:53 for the action.
With this I will move right along to Combat. There are two modes of combat. Active and Wait mode. I got really annoyed with Wait mode because it took too long for simple battles because every time I stopped moving it would do that bullet time effect (which is cool mind you) but after 200 times of hearing time slow down and speed up… I was done with it so I switched to Active mode. The action in the battles is SO fast. I couldn’t make sense of what was going on most of the time or where my buddies were. As soon as I took my eye off of Noct to look for everyone else on the screen, I would look back and Noct would be bleeding out or trying to hit a rock or something. It’s all very chaotic. There are three basic concepts in battle. Attack, Dodge, and Item heal. I found myself going into the Item screen every 4 seconds on a tough battle which took away from me actually being an active member of the team. Hmm… if only… there was a way… to automate that aspect… of the game, with, say… GAMBITS! (I miss gambits…) Attacking was simplified beyond simple. I first thought I had to press the attack button every time I wanted to attack, but that was not the case. All you have to do is HOLD IT DOWN and you will continue to attack. This made it easier to do cool (Flashy and quick) combos by switching weapons mid stream (I still don’t understand the purpose for that). I will say that I did enjoy finding out cool little tricks here and there like… If you’re sprinting and you’re running low on stamina, wait until you have a liiiiiittle tiny bit of stamina left and release the sprint button to do a second wind type effect on Noct that completely refills the stamina bar allowing you to sprint indefinitely if you time it right. I also appreciated the fact that Chocobos can swim in water. I’ve said this during my Live Streams and I’ll say it again: I like combat when I’m fighting a single difficult enemy vs fighting a swarm of bees/dogs/zombies etc…
Now… a good way to maybe get that swarm off your back is to use spells.. but oooooohhh not so fast.
Spells: Are almost useless.
yeah… they suck. They are difficult to control and execute in a timely manner during the Active mode (I haven’t tried in Wait mode) and they effect EVERYTHING! The first time I got into the spell mixing thing, I combined all the spells at max into one MegaElixer vile and nearly killed myself when I let loose the doom on my enemy. My whole team was on fire, shocked, cold, and healed? It was a clustercluck. And summoning? faghet abad it. When you truly need a summon you wont get one, and when you absolutely could do without a summon, you will get one. I was fighting those damn bees for 30 minutes and blew through SO many curatives and NOT ONE TIME did I get Titan to offer his help. NOT ONE TIME! I go and fight a pack of alligator monsters and within seconds the screen goes red and allows me to summon Sheva (She’s ALWAYS available to summon… mostly when I don’t need her and when the conditions are far from met)
Here is a cool video showing all the spells and effects. The single spells (Fire, not Fira or Firaga types) that target one enemy will least likely do damage to your party members, but when you get into multiple target spells… that’s when things get hairy. (what am I? 90 years old? Who says “hairy” anymore?)
I am surprised at the lack of equipment. I honestly am. Not so much the swords and stuff, but the accessories and armor. The clothing is incredibly limited and is not sold in shops anywhere. Your team gets new clothing throughout the games progression. I think as of right now, there are only 4 or so sets of clothing. It’s a massive drag, man. I ran into an issue with accessories as well. The issue is that the majority of them suck balls and are a recycled slightly upgraded version of other accessories. They are lacking in the unique variety department. I honestly just have a problem with not having a huge selection of clothing. I fudging love a variety of clothes in games. As far as weapons go, the battles are so quick that I don’t even notice the effects or move-sets of all the weapons. Yes there are differences between the lances and the heavy swords and light swords but as far as damage … it’s pretty minuscule to me. Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time with those wasps…
Now, on to the Group:
This was truly my highlight of the game. I actually really like the whole bromance thing they got going on and makes me think of good times in my past where it was me and the bros hanging out, drinking beer, cooking kabobs, slaying monsters (D&D), and driving wherever. It’s quite nostalgic. Some of the jokes get repetitive but I’m ok with that. I had friends who had the same lame jokes on repeat too. I really like that every party member has a different skill they work on throughout each day.
… now… I will say this… Prompto… is a really bad photographer. His level improves but why? he sucks at level 1 and he sucks at level 10. Here is a sample of his amazing lvl 8 photography skills.
Yup… That’s grass. He took a photo of grass. I taught a photography class in the Fall and I told my students that the worst photo you can take is a photo of grass. And yet here he is, Prompto, the genius photographer who takes photos of ugly grass.
Below is a photo when he was a mere level 2 amateur.
This is what I was expecting throughout the whole game. instead I got a whole ton of photos of Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto smiling awkwardly and sometimes cross-eyed. For some reason Prompto likes to take selfies that also look like he’s photobombing what should have been a nice group photo.
I actually DO like the game. What you read before is not my complete list of complaints but I think I hit on the most important ones. The graphics are amazing. The characters are pretty good; I like them. The car is pretty cool. The road trips are great especially to old FF music. I like running around and finding new things all throughout the map (There’s TONS to explore) and I like running into happy accidents as well. I still havent beat that huge turtle mountain boss… because I don’t even understand how I’m supposed to fight it yet, but I’ll get there eventually. I heard a lot of complaints about the game that I didn’t mention simply because I didn’t mind those complaints. Overall I’d give this game a 89/100. Simple patches can bring it up to an A but as it stands it is a high B+.
Have a different opinion? leave it in the comments!