Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
NOTE: I'm pretty sure a topic already exists for general discussion on this game, but after searching through the archives I couldn't find one so I'm starting a new one. Hope that's okay with everyone. Same as every other topic I've made about an old(ish) game I've recently finished, full spoilers below. I'll try to mark them as they come up.
With that out of the way, I finished my play-through of FFXV Royal Edition and the Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis DLCs last night and I wanted to share my thoughts. I've wanted to play this game since it was first announced 13 years ago, and when I learned I was going to have to spend a couple months at home I figured I might as well take advantage of my little brother's PS4. I don't know exactly where the Royal Edition patched in extra content, but I do know this - I loved this game. Don't get me wrong, FFXV is nowhere near perfect, and I think it may even count as a Vile Video Game (TM), but now that it's done I can't stop thinking about how I want to hang out in that world with my band of brothers.
First, the flaws: even with the additions provided by the Royal Edition and subsequent DLCs, the story is very clearly incomplete. In particular, it seems obvious that the developers had hoped to develop Noctis and Luna's relationship further and simply ran out of time.
It felt like the developers were trying to make me emotional by flashing back to all the good times Noct and Luna shared throughout the game, but they literally only had one scene where they spoke face to face and kept returning to it throughout. It's a shame because what we do see of Luna is really powerful and fascinating, making this feel even more like a missed opportunity.
I also felt that several of the main antagonists should have been fleshed out more, especially Iedolas and Ravus. I know Ravus got a bit more development in the DLCs, but it was frustrating that so much of their story happened off-screen and had to be pieced together through texts scattered about the world. This was made even more difficult by the fact that I found the text to be borderline illegible, but this is likely more of a personal problem than anything else. I'm glad that the Royal Edition included the character DLCs, as I would have been pretty frustrated if
I didn't learn how Gladio and Ignis got their injuries.
Additionally, while I understand that it likely wouldn't have been worth the time or effort, I feel like the character DLCs could have been integrated smoothly into the main game; Gladio could have told his story at camp after you reunite with him, Prompto could have sat down with Noct in the bunker, and Ignis's story would have worked linearly in the main game. That said, boy did I love their stories. Episode Ignis was easily my favorite, and made me love the character even more. Other than the story gripes, I mostly just have nitpicks - having jump be the same button as interact was pretty annoying, as was pairing sprint with attack. There was a real "Dovus" moment as well that kept coming back, which made me chuckle for Glinny related reasons.
Despite these issues, I thought that the strengths of the game outshined just about everything else. From a purely technical and artistic standpoint, this game is incredible. I've been away from console gaming for a while (not counting the Switch, which I exclusively play in handheld mode), and the graphics in this game blew my mind. The landscapes were immaculately constructed, and the architecture of the world had a great mix of realism and fantasy. The music is outstanding, and is one of my favorite soundtracks in a series known for its stellar music. The combat was engaging and flexible throughout, but still simple enough for me to grind without having to worry too much. It really felt like I could play how I wanted to play.
I also appreciated the aspects that make this game a Final Fantasy game. Much like The Force Awakens, it relies on classic tropes to help orient you in the world - four heroes set out on a journey and learn they have to reclaim a crystal that has fallen into the hands of an insidious and technologically advanced empire. However, the way that it played with these tropes made the game feel fresh and exciting. By placing the story in a more grounded world, the stakes felt more present throughout the course of the story. Sure, there are some Deus Ex Machina moments near the end, but there's no secret hidden evil that was pulling the strings the whole time - you know who the villain is from the moment you see him, and the game does a good job of slowly doling out information on just how mystical and powerful he is. Even simple things like setting the game in an essentially seamless world felt like a daring approach to the formula, and completely eschewing the turn based history of the series felt like a risk that ultimately fit the more mature and realistic themes of the story. I loved how frequently I came across enemies that I couldn't beat, and hearing my companions fight alongside me through these challenges only endeared me to them even more.
Ultimately, that's what I think makes this game resonate with me so much. The themes of companionship, brotherhood, love, and family are placed at the forefront of the game from the second it starts. Even through all the operatics and melodrama, there's something to be said about a relationship that just feels real. It made me reflect on my own relationships, and honestly helped cement my belief that family is more than just blood. I know it has its issues, but I think if a game can move me like this it's more than worth the stumbles along the way.
El Shmiablo last edited by
Damn dude. Great post. Really encapsulated how I feel about the game far more eloquently than I could ever hope to express.
E_Zed_Eh_Intern last edited by
Agreed, great post.
I wish I had waited for the Royal Edition as I'm pretty sure you can now control all 4 characters, which I could not do in the vanilla game. Nevertheless, I also really enjoyed FFXV. The world was so beautiful and Titan was awesome.
Couldn't stand Prompto. I generally prefer when stories and characters in games just stay out of the way and I was able to look past the story but every time Prompto spoke, I shuddered. My photo album consisted of exactly one picture that I think the game forced me to take or I took by accident. Stupid Prompto and his stupid host hair.
Still, super fun and beautiful game and I can imagine it's probably waaay more fun if you can control everybody. I don't suppose you can walk Prompto off a cliff now?
@el-shmiablo Thanks, man. Glad I'm not alone on this game. It feels good to stretch out different writing muscles every now and then.
Capnbobamous last edited by
FF XV was my game of the year! It was, and still is, the only game that I actively resisted completing so that I wouldn't have to say bye to the characters. It does such an excellent job of making their relationship seem genuine that it legitimately felt like letting go of friends when I stopped. Great post!
El Shmiablo last edited by
I legit teared up at the ending.
@e_zed_eh_intern I actually loved Prompto, but I also played the game in Japanese to match the voices from the anime prequel. Not sure if his English VO was extra grating. And the gameplay changes for each of the characters were really cool, IMO. Gladio was probably the most similar to Noctis's gameplay, Ignis is low-key a god and essentially a spellblade-rogue, and Prompto plays like a third-person shooter depending on which weapon you have equipped. I'm sure you're reticent to play Episode Prompto, but there's some really cool stuff in there in terms of gameplay, character development, and world building. Episode Ignis almost made me cry, although that's partly due to the music.
E_Zed_Eh_Intern last edited by
@naltmank Yeah, I hope to play through it all one day but not any time soon. You've actually just reminded me that I think I started out playing in Japanese but got sick of my wife laughing out loud (at, not with) every time any of the characters said anything.
One question, did anybody else still feel like they didn't 100% get the battle system by the end of the game? It's been a while but I remember sometimes feeling like I didn't fully get some of the mechanics, even after 100 or so hours.
@e_zed_eh_intern I had a pretty solid grasp of everything I think by the end. I even had a feel for which directional inputs I needed to get certain combos on my weapon of choice. I also started taking advantage of the "rescue" feature at the end instead of burning items like I did throughout the rest of the game. The Royal Edition included three extra bosses at the end that made the final gauntlet pretty brutal but, again, I think this was to the game's benefit. That said, I get not coming back to it any time soon. So much good stuff coming out right now. The backlog isn't getting any smaller.