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FFXV - A Glimpse of a Crystal World


Released on November 29, 2016, FFXV is the very last numbered Final Fantasy to date. After an extremely chaotic development, we can finally feel the beast!

Before starting the preview, I want to specify one thing. As previously said, FFXV had a (very) chaotic development and the latter caused a lot of digital ink to flow by dint of talking about him and his setbacks (and those related to Square-Enix around 2010-2013) .



For the record, before becoming FFXV, the project was FF Versus XIII, a game that had big problems throughout its development, both from the development team who only advanced the project very slowly, but also during the transition phases and the ups and downs experienced by Square-Enix during the years 2010-2013. Versus XIII was completely canceled in 2012 after 6 years of rather catastrophic developments where the project has, so to speak, not evolved (25% of the game had been developed and there was not even any gameplay laid down, all the presentations of the game at the shows being only pre-calculated videos) with as a bonus, big financial losses for the studio (with more than 115 million euros of losses, which led to the resignation of Yoshi Wada, the CEO of the time). It was at this time, and with the decision to switch to the new generation of consoles, that the FFXV project was born. However, it was 1 year later, in 2013, that the development of this new opus began to finally be released in 2016, i.e. 3 years of development (by way of comparison, FFXIII had 4 years of development and FFXII had some. eu 5).


And unfortunately, even though the game is excellent, there are a few black spots. I personally think he would have greatly benefited from having a little extra year of development. Because FFXV had for him all the bases to make a big, even THE big Final Fantasy, but his (too) short development time did not allow him to fully express his potential. But we can easily think that after spending 7 years spending money on Versus XIII when nothing ever came out, Square-Enix was tired of waiting and wanted to release this new as soon as possible. opus.


But why all this clarification and this little sptich you will ask me? Well this is to put things in the clear as for the preview which will follow. Indeed, the latter will only deal with Final Fantasy XV. I have read many previews / reviews / tests etc. on the internet and most of them all have the same problem (in my eyes): they don't talk about FFXV per se, but are actually making comparisons between FFXV and what was presented / announced for the late Versus XIII. So here there will be no comparison between the two projects, on what it could have been, on what it should have been, on what was presented X years ago, on what is different between Versus XIII trailers and what is present in FFXV, on the differences between the leaks concerning Versus XIII that we find on the internet and what it really is in FFXV, etc.

I will speak and therefore present the game that we all have concretely in hand in this preview! ?

 

The history

Before starting Final Fantasy XV, it is highly recommended that you watch the movie Kingsglaive, which takes place just before the start of the game and serves to set up the universe in addition to serving as a pre-which to the scenario. But I also recommend to watch Brotherhood, an animated with 5 episodes retracing the history of our four companions.


FFXV puts us in the shoes of Noctis, heir to the kingdom of Lucis who must leave to find his future wife, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. So we set off at the controls of Noctis, along with three other companions: Ignis Stupeo Scientia, his advisor, Gladiolus Amicitia, his bodyguard and Prompto Argentum, his best friend. The group of four friends will therefore travel the world to find Luna there but, as always, everything is not so easy or simple. It is unfortunately difficult to say more without revealing the scenario.


The story of Final Fantasy XV unfolds in chapter form for a total of 15. The game is roughly divided into three main parts. Of chapter 1 to 8, the player evolves in the open world as he sees fit and can take all his time to advance in the scenario, do side quests, explore, wander, do the dungeons, etc. Each chapter will unlock new side quests as well as, sometimes, new areas to explore. Then from chapter 9 to 14, the player finds himself in a series of “corridors”, in a closed world, like what we experience in Final Fantasy XIII for those who know. In this part of the game, there are no side quests and it is impossible to explore outside of what the storyline offers. This part of the game also allows you to continue without pause the entire last part of the scenario until its conclusion in chapter 14. The chapter 15 is, meanwhile, the chapter that allows you to continue playing once the story is over. The latter allows the player to return to the open world and complete side quests, hunts ... In addition, brand new side quests, new dungeons, etc. are only available after reaching a chapter.


Without going into details so as not to spoil the game, the storyline of the game is interesting and fun to follow. However, it cannot be denied that there is some small storytelling issues. On several occasions, for example, we have the feeling that the cutscenes are incomplete by stopping abruptly, even during an action. The first few times, I also wondered if I hadn't accidentally pressed the joystick and skipped the cutscene. In addition, there are a lot of gray areas in the scenario, which the developers have tried to fill in through books, notes, radio news and “off-scenario” dialogue between the characters as we walk around. the world. It is a shame, moreover, that no menu allows you to reread these notes. The development team has also announced that during 2017, several free updates will be implemented in order to redesign certain chapters (in particular chapter 13), but also to add cinematics and dialogues.


As it stands, the game is perfectly understandable as long as you are adept at “I search and read absolutely everything”. The vast majority of information is present in the game and the player will have to correlate it to see the puzzle as a whole. But it's a shame that this information is not directly integrated into the main scenario.

 

The world

FFXV is the first solo Final Fantasy to attempt the adventure of open world, FFXII having very large areas, not really being an open world. The world of FFXV is big, in a straight line on the ground, it will take about 10 minutes to cross the whole map, which is quite honorable.

We must admit, the open world is very successful. It is very well done and, whether it is flora or fauna, it is diverse, varied and very well integrated. We can regret that the fauna is, sometimes, a little too far apart when we walk. However, it also allows you to walk around without having something that jumps at your throat every 15 seconds, which is nice, we have to admit. There are therefore "for" and "against" this bias. On the bestiary side, there is nothing new under the sun. The license has a habit of reintroducing, sometimes with a few small modifications, the flagship monsters of the series. We therefore naturally find Morbols, Tombery, Behemots, Nagas, iron giants, magitech soldiers, etc.



Apart from flora and fauna, the world of FFXV is unfortunately very little diversity. There is only one real city (the second is not part of the open world) and the rest of the world is made up almost exclusively of gas stations or small habitable areas which are only made up of one station. -service, a small hotel and a store and unfortunately interactions with NPCs are very (too) rare. It is, indeed, impossible to discuss with the majority of the NPCs as one could do it in the preceding opus, the fault undoubtedly returning to the complete dubbing of the game (including the lambda NPCs).

The game has two modes of transport to help you navigate this world: the Régalia (car) and the chocobos. The Régalia, although faster than the chocobo, cannot leave the road and even if it is possible to steer it yourself and to come and go on the road, it will be necessary to follow the roads of the game. Chocobos go everywhere, on land as well as in water.


 

Ancillary activities

The game offers a lot of things to do outside of the storyline. To begin with, there are the side quests. There are quite a few of them, but unfortunately not very interesting or very exciting. Very often, it will only be necessary to go and kill this or that monster, recover this or that, take pictures, etc. The side quests will not shine either by the dialogues or their story and will only be an excuse to go explore the world or type on stuff for no real reason or very interesting motivation. There are also a few Fedex-type quests that will require the player to go grab an item and bring it back.

Apart from the side quests, there are also the hunting contracts. These ask the player to go kill specific monsters. Monsters often have specific spawn conditions such as weather or time (day or night). Although most of these contracts are relatively straightforward, some of them allow you to face real force of nature that will put your patience and talent to the test.


The world of FFXV also features several dungeons to explore. Some during the scenario, but the vast majority of the dungeons will have to be discovered and explored “in the old way”, that is to say without indication. These will grant great rewards and some even, ghost weapons (very powerful special magic weapons that only Noctis can use). In addition, each dungeon also has a "Underground". Accessible only once chapter 15 is reached, these dungeons will require the player to surpass themselves to reach the bottom, with the most powerful weapons and accessories in the game.

And finally, there is also skills of the four companions. Noctis, Ignis, Prompto and Gladio each have a specialty, namely reciprocally: fishing, cooking, photography and survival. Each of these skills can be upgraded to rank 10 and will provide many bonuses.

Fishing lets ... fish (another victory for Captain Obviouso /). Besides the “collection” side which will require collecting all the fish available in the game (some requiring to be very patient), the fish can be used with the “Cooking” skill of Ignis to make dishes.

Let's talk about meals now. The competence "Kitchen" d'Ignis allows you to ... cook (yes yes, I know ...). The different prepared dishes will all bring big bonuses to the whole team such as an increase in stats (strength, endurance, magic, etc.) or even protection, against state alterations for example, or even even more. grant bonus experiences, sprint indefinitely, and many other bonuses. Cooking therefore has a very important part throughout the game and discovering all the recipes will not be easy.

The competence "Survival" de Gladio allows you to recover additional items at the end of a fight. This skill is very practical and often allows you to replenish your stock of potions, elixir, etc. without ever having to go to a merchant. It will also be possible to recover components that can be combined with magic in order to obtain powerful spells, or quite simply items that can be resold quite expensive from merchants.

And, finally, the competence " photography " of Prompto, who will surely be the very first to reach rank 10. This skill rises on its own as Prompto takes (automatically and randomly) photos throughout the adventure. This skill is only used to keep memories of your adventures. Each level will allow Prompto to apply new “filters” to his photos. It will also be possible to save up to 150 photos taken by Prompto or even share them on social networks.


FFXV also offers other small ancillary activities such as Monster Five, which is kind of a pinball machine. Or the arena of Totomostro, which allows you to watch monster fights by betting on them. Unfortunately, it is not possible to fight yourself.

 

The fights

FFXV abandons turn-based to move to l’action RPG. This transition is (for my part) a total success. The fights are extremely fluid and above all, quite tactical. Besides the fact that there is several types of weapons (sword, two-handed sword, spear, dagger, firearm, etc.), each of these weapons has different attacks depending on the orientation given to the joystick and even special attacks linked to the type of weapon used. Monsters can be targeted in several places (heads, back, legs / paws, tail, etc.) and it is even possible to cause precise and irreversible damage to enemies, causing them large penalties (decrease in speed, endurance, strength, etc.) that can be go so far as to prevent the enemy from making certain attacks (for example, destroying an enemy's horn can prevent him from charging).

During combat, it is possible to activate special skills of our allies, such as large area attacks, providing support by healing the group, adding beneficial effects, etc. It is also possible to perform combos.

The magic can easily be ignored and even underestimated. However, once mastered, it is extremely powerful and, above all, important. Magic must be crafted and relies on fire, lightning, and ice only. But its strength comes from the fact that it is possible to combine it with many items to add very powerful side effects to it. Thanks to that, we can add effects such as poison, healing, or even to make that for a charge, the spell is cast 5 times! There are a total of about a hundred variations for spells.

The invocations are still in the game, but, unlike the previous opus, we can't call them when we want and, above all, we can't choose which invocation comes to help us (even if they have different "triggers" and specific). In fact, invocations can be invoked only when certain conditions are met. Each invocation has its own conditions, for example the fact that the fight lasts a long time or that several members of the group are badly developed, but also places of invocation. For example, a certain summon (whose name I will not spoil) will only be able to be summoned if you are near a water point. The fact that you have to meet conditions to invoke them, however, does not guarantee 100% that you can invoke one. It turns out to be quite random and, as is always the case with randomness, it can be very frustrating at times. You may find that no summons come to help you out as you grapple with some very tough enemies while the next fight against a small lambda critter that you can exterminate just by blowing on it, a invocation can be called from the start. However, in return for this randomness, the invocations are extremely powerful, dealing tens of thousands of damage to all enemies in the area, sometimes even enemies you weren't in combat with, but just unlucky enough to just be a little too close. Only a very small handful of enemies in the entire game will have enough resistance and health to survive a summons attack. Roughly speaking, if you have the possibility of invoking a deity, in 95% of cases, the fight is directly won and you can slash the champagne.

Small concerns, however, directly related to the difficulty of the fights: the use of objects. Indeed, the use of objects has absolutely no limits. You can easily go and attack a powerful monster and string together elixirs to heal yourself in a loop or phoenix tails to resuscitate yourself as soon as a character is on the ground. This makes the fights very (too) simple by the fact that it is, so to speak, useless to pay attention or to prepare before the fight. In almost all fights, we can jump into action without worrying about our life and chain healing items if it becomes necessary.

 

Audio

On the audio side, the game is just wonderful. L'OST is very well worked and pleasant to listen to. Some magnificent themes are unfortunately only heard once or twice during the whole adventure and we can easily forget them or miss them, especially when they are played out during action scenes. It is even possible to listen to the soundtracks of the old opus of the Final Fantasy series. As for the sound environment, the game is also very well done. In the car, for example, in interior view, you can hear the sound of water drops on the window and bodywork and even the sound of windshield wipers.

Additionally, FFXV is the very first Final Fantasy to be fully dubbed in spanish ! And we can say that Square-Enix did not choose just anyone. There are very great and famous professional dubbers there who have been dubbing for years (even decades) the biggest stars across the Atlantic, in series as well as films, video games such as Gilles Morvan, Claire Guyot, José Luccioni, Geneviève Doang, Alexandre Nguyen, Anatole de Bodinat, Virginie Ledieu (official voice of Meg Ryan), Thierry Desroses (official voice of Samuel L. Jackson), Edwige Lemoine, Christopher Lemoine, Benoît DuPac and many other great spanish voices.

In short, the spanish version is really excellent. In addition, as is the case for some Final Fantasy opuses, the translations are directly translated from Japanese to spanish and not from English to spanish, as was the case before.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, FFXV is a good experience if we take the game as such, that is to say without sifting through every square inch of the game to compare it with the presentations of the late Versus XIII. However, the game is not perfect, especially with regard to the scenario which struggles to start at the beginning and which is very (even too) fast in the second part of the game. The open world is rather a success for the first Final Fantasy in Open World, even if it could have been much more "alive". On the lifespan side, I personally played around 120 hours to complete it almost at 100% (there are still some fish and dishes to discover). The difficulty, however, is quite medium, apart from a few rare large enemies, it is difficult to find yourself in a critical position. This is also due to the fact that one can use without condition or restriction of the objects.

The game will be added many DLCs throughout the year 2017 (some free, others paid) with, according to the few official information given on this subject: new difficulty mode, additions of new cutscenes and dialogues , redesigns of certain chapters, new hunting contracts, DLC centered on the history of the main characters, and many more.

  • The new, very successful combat system.
  • The spanish version is really excellent and of quality.
  • The enormous lifespan if you want to play the game at 100% (about 100h)
  • The extremely well-produced sound environment (music, sound effects, etc.)
  • The narration not very well done.
  • A few holes and cuts in the script, giving a "but ?!" feeling. is something missing? ".
  • The open world which is not very varied in terms of cities.
  • Scenario that ends extremely quickly if we focus only on it. (about 30 h)

Finally, as I am not the only one in the editorial staff to have played Final Fantasy XV, here is the opinion of Kathlyn on the game!

Kath's point of view

I wasn't especially expecting FFXV, but once the game is in hand, it's hard to get away from it!

I'm not going to go into details like Azashar did, I generally share his opinion. I specify that unlike him, I have not yet finished the game.

 

The story

If it turns out to be pleasant to follow, you will have to hang on so as not to feel lost. The fault with a dispersion of the elements of the scenario.

The Kingsglaive film is essential, it is a real introduction to the game and allows you to better understand the universe of FFXV, the behavior of Noctis and other small curiosities.

The division into chapter form can also be unsettling: if we miss the text accompanying the beginning of a chapter, we will have trouble knowing where we are.

The dialogues are tasty, inside and outside the story. There is a lot of humor, irony, little sarcasm, but also great moments filled with strong emotions.

 

The world

It's beautiful, incredibly beautiful even at times. I don't count the number of times I exclaimed in front of my screen, captivated by the beauty of a landscape. Fauna and flora are a feast for the eyes.

Nevertheless, this open world aspect is quite repetitive: the hamlets are alike, the imperial bases too.

 

Ancillary activities

Or how to play 15h without advancing in the scenario. I love the system of hunting contracts, stumbling across a small dungeon, fishing without seeing time pass, sorting through Prompto's photos….

 

The fights

The first thing that comes to my mind is this filthy camera. She often turns out to be your worst enemy.

Apart from this problem, the system remains dynamic and easy to learn. The most seasoned players will realize the multiple possibilities offered through weapons, combos, outfits, offering a set of strategies.

While the invocation system isn't used much, it's still a jaw-dropping highlight when a deity is willing to help you.

 

Audio

It is flawless. Between the OST of FFXV which is superb and the access to hundreds of songs from the other opus in the Régalia, there is something to satisfy everyone.

I can not give my opinion on the dubbing, I opted for the VOSTFR.

 

Conclusion

FFXV is ultimately essential for fans of the genre and the Square Enix saga. It is not, however, free from flaws, but one can expect that, thanks to the DLC, the gaps will be filled. Some will say that postponing the release again would have been welcome, for my part I am very happy with the current product!



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