A naysayer within Respawning (Stuart) has recently been watching his partner play through Final Fantasy XV, a great game in my opinion. However, Stuart thinks the opposite! He has been vocal about his disdain for the ‘boring’ game and its characters. I couldn’t allow this to stand since FF XV is one of the very few Final Fantasy games I can say I’ve played, and even more amazingly one that I actually managed to complete! So, while we live in a democracy and Stuart is allowed to have whatever opinion he likes on any game, I’m here to talk about why XV is one of my favourite games ever!
Might seem like an odd opening, if you haven’t played the game… The heroes car, the Regalia, is effectively the 5th party member. Transporting Noctis and his chums all over the map in style and apparent comfort since not once will you hear one of them complain that their legs are cramping. The Regalia is a beautiful vehicle with some very clear Bentley and Rolls-Royce inspiration shining through the coat of fictional paint. While not exactly a speed demon, driving across the country feels amazingly relax and I’ll often find myself ignoring the fast travel option just to watch this gorgeous piece of machine travel while the party inside occasionally chat to each other or spot new challenges on the horizon, speaking of…
Eos, the world our heroes are trying to save. With a massive map comprised of several distinct regions, Eos is a joy to explore as you meander you way from quests to fishing spots trying to find whatever is out there. Using The Regalia, a Chocobo or your own two feet you can mooch across great plains, wetlands and deserts in search of adventure. Thanks to a fair few random events and encounters all over the place, Eos feels like a world which is lived in rather than just a sandbox for you to wander about in, the characters all feel right at home and the various towns and rest stops are all worth a look as you journey to save the world.
I’ve already mentioned them a couple of times but let’s talk about Noctis and his friends. As a prince/king Noctis has a royal retinue with him. Made up of his friends and advisors the group is close knit and benefits from only being made up of four members. While most Final Fantasy games give you at least six available party members with three being used at a time, XV lets you always use the entire group and has them constantly interact and evolve as the game goes on letting you become more and more attached to them all.
Everyone who has played the game will likely also tell you who their favourite party member is. There’s Gladiolus, Noctis’ sworn shield and bodyguard who loves camping and training. Ignis, the level-headed and smartest member of the group who normally drives the Regalia and vehemently enjoys cooking up new recipes at camp. Lastly there’s Prompto, Noct’s closest friend and gun slinging shutter bug who adds most of the game’s comic relief. If you were wondering, Gladio is my favourite.
I’ve gone on record before that I’m not a fan of Final Fantasy’s most famous form of combat, the turn-based battle system. I prefer to push a button and instantly have something happen. This is part of the reason a lot of the games in the series passed me by, I just couldn’t hack it. Luckily XV goes the other way and brings over a combat system very similar to what was seen in Kingdom Hearts with Noctis being directly controlled by the player with menus only used for items and skill trees. Noct can swap between four weapons on the fly which regularly leads to some immensely satisfying combos and the odd magic attack. Since the Royal Edition update there has also been a fun feature where you can switch between each of the party members and use their unique fighting styles from their DLC’s! This makes the battles I already enjoyed even more exciting…somehow!
As you can tell there is plenty about this game I love and you can be sure it’ll probably still be my favourite Final Fantasy when 16 releases sometime soon. I’ve been loving my latest playthrough and I’m doing as much as possible to keep it running into overtime! If you’ve played the game then be sure to let us know what you thought below!