**This post is full of spoilers from the entire game, start to finish, so PLEASE don’t read until you’ve finished the game. You have been warned!**
Those who follow me on Twitter will already know that my time in Final Fantasy XV was a glorious, emotional, screenshot-heavy experience and I couldn’t have been happier. Although I didn’t have as long a wait as most fans, having only been introduced to the Final Fantasy world by my other half last year, the hype was REAL and I didn’t even stop to get dressed after a working-from-home-in-my-pyjamas day before running to pick up my copy.
A day may come when I stop sharing FFXV screenshots. But it is not this day. pic.twitter.com/w98wW9nfFh
— Lara. Not Laura. ☃️ (@larawwrrr) December 2, 2016
Having had some time to reflect on the 45 hours I spent in Eos (not as much time as I would have liked due to being paranoid about running into spoilers somewhere on the internet), I’ve written up some of my opinions, both good and bad, about my journey with Prince Noctis.
And since we’ve already mentioned him, let’s start with the characters, shall we? The core four are some of the best characters I’ve met in a Final Fantasy game so far – with one exception, but we’ll come to that soon. Initially I was a little disappointed knowing that I wouldn’t be travelling across the world to gather new team mates, picking who would join me for the best bits and who would be a chore to get levelled up – however, having reached the end of the story, I know it wouldn’t have had the same impact on me if it hadn’t been those four saying goodbye to one another. I was prepared for Noctis to be my least favourite, but his easy-going attitude and funny dialogue mixed with the fact that he only moped at the most appropriate of times means he’s up there as one of my favourite Final Fantasy protagonists (bearing in mind I haven’t played many of them – yet).
Prompto, however, completely stole the show, genuinely making me laugh out loud multiple times and I’ve never been so tense and felt so concerned while playing a game as I did getting through chapter 13, not knowing what state I’d find him in at the end. Ignis’ constant interruptions to announce that he’d thought of a new recipe never failed to amuse me, and the only time I cried during the game was watching him trying so, so hard to carry on fighting after losing his sight.
And then we have Gladio… not standing out to me right from the start, getting angry with Noctis during the Titan encounter felt out of the blue and unnecessary, and he was my least favourite by far from that point on. Disappearing on the group in the middle of the game sealed it for me – I know this is most likely the set-up for Gladio’s DLC, but I couldn’t help distrusting him after that – I spent the rest of the game, right up until the very end, half expecting him to betray Noctis in some way.
However, I’ve found that disliking characters isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It happens in real life; it’s a completely natural thing to not feel a connection with someone, and that can add to your experience as much as a positive connection. I might not be Gladio’s biggest fan, but I couldn’t imagine the game without him.
In terms of secondary characters, I admit I felt a little let down. I found Lunafreya to be massively disappointing in Kingsglaive – as dull as dishwater, spouting cliche after cliche, and sadly she wasn’t much different in the game itself, so her death didn’t impact me much. Ravus’ motivation to act the way he did was a bit of a mystery so I’m happy to hear that will be addressed in a future patch / DLC, as he has the potential to be a really interesting character. Ardyn was a fantastic baddie, but I did expect more from the final boss fight.
From there I’ll go into combat and OH BOY. This is possibly my favourite combat system of any game, ever. It was stylish and fun but still very tactical, and I was a big fan of the wait mode which gave me time to plan my next move and scan for weaknesses. It helped me out in tough times, which I appreciated because I’m an easy mode kinda gal. The fact that grinding is a huge part of Final Fantasy games is something I’ve found quite challenging – I recently finished FFX for the first time and I’ve never had so many game overs in my life.
Goddammit, you stupid hairy bastard. pic.twitter.com/HFNC0OF2oZ
— Lara. Not Laura. ☃️ (@larawwrrr) September 9, 2016
It was frustrating but the feeling of accomplishment when I finally finished was incredible and so worth it. Compared to that, I found FFXV very easy… perhaps too easy. In fact, I didn’t have one game over until I got to fly the Regalia and promptly crashed it into a tree.
I can’t complain about that too much though – I’m in it for the story and that didn’t disappoint. I know there are plot holes, but in a game this amazing I’m happy to be forgiving about it. That said, I can’t imagine what it’d be like playing without having watched Kingsglaive first, as I would have been completely lost.
I’ve read that chapter 13 will be adjusted in a future patch, which I’m a little sad about. It did drag a bit, which is my only complaint – I thought the tone was perfect for what Noctis was going through at that time and, as above, I spent the entire level feeling worried, tense, upset, and I literally couldn’t put the controller down until I was done, despite it being 2:00am on a work night. Yes, the spells were a big change from what we were used to up until that point, but it wasn’t meant to be a combat-heavy part of the game.
And a few other thoughts because I’m aware this is much longer than it was meant to be – the soundtrack was spot on, fighting Leviathan (one of my favourite summons) was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had, and Prompto’s photos were beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking. The ending hit me pretty hard – I’ve played enough Final Fantasy games to know to expect a death, but loving Noctis as much as I did and the emotional scenes at the campsite were almost too much to bear.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve finished the game, so hit me up!