Thoughts on the demo?

Rey

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Did not see a thread on this yet so I thought I would make one. I will start with my thoughts on the demo, and then I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about it!

Final Fantasy XV truly is a fantasy based on reality in every sense of the word. The characters and NPCS act like real life and characters get tired, or want to eat something, etc. I was truly impressed with the demo but I did hear a few complaints that I do not really agree with.

Pros

-Amazing feel and beautiful seamless world: I was impressed with the Duscae Region. It reminded me a lot of the Archylte Steppe in Final Fantasy XIII but BIGGER and with more sights to see albeit with highways like real life. It was also great to have a nice throwback to Magitech armour. Knights will drop down wearing Magitech armour and proceed to beat your arse.

- Characters and Character interaction: Well done, SE. You have managed to provide some nice character interaction among a full party of males. I like how there is a complainer, Cool guy, calm guy, and tough guy. It brings many nice funny moments. If *spoiler warning* Stella Nox Fleuret/Lunafreya Nox Fleuret join, I can see such hilarious banter. I'm actually not scared that the party is all males, because they handled it well and guests might make it more interesting.

- Gameplay: Interesting battle system that is not exactly hard to get into, but the parrying part does have a specific timing to it. It is not a mindless button masher. There is some strategy involved in the demo, and it will be better in the final game. The important thing SE want is people to pick up this game without any complications, and imo, they succeeded with that so far. The gameplay isn't fully action, imo. You have to wait your turn sometimes and cannot dodge whenever you want. I would say it is a weird mix of action and turn based, although I cannot explain it well.

- Behemoth: The behemoth battle was one of my favourite battles in any FF and you are free to nuke it with Ramuh, provided you did the dark dungeon. Personally, I want to try to take him out without using the summon.

- Secret story movie at the end: It gives a nice glimpse at the world of FF XV and the politics/threats involved. It feels like you have found the serious part of the game, and are not fooling around fixing a car.


-Cons

-Cindy/Cidney: There really is no point in this character. She is there to flaunt her assets while fixing your car. The close up arse shot was unnecessary, imo. It just brings a sexist feel to the game because your party is male dominated, and all she does is flaunt her assets and fix your car. She does not have a role in the story and is like Chocolina in XIII-2/LR. She travels around to gas stations (I think so) asking the party if they need some tune up on their car. I mean, it is not so bad, but I would have loved to see her as a proper female Cid, and not fanservice. Her outfit is ridiculous, imo. Yeah, it is hot but come on, SE. SE even admitted they gave her a boob job..... pfft.

-Outfits: I am honestly not a fan. I hope Tabata considers different costumes as part of the final game.

- Summons: In the demo, summons are an OHKO and you can use it when you are in critical state. I really do not like this and I really hope they change it. A summon should be able to be summoned when you fulfill a certain requirement and not when you die.

That is it! I probably have much more to say but I need to put more hours into it.

Final verdict: 8.5/10 (Great) Best demo I have played in a long time.

Now you!
 

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Let me start off by saying that I wasn't expecting to play the demo at all (considering I didn't have a PS4 until release day for Type-0). Yes, I bit the bullet and decided that Type-0 would be worth me picking up the PS4 finally. I would be lying to say that I wasn't more curious at how the XV demo turned out though and I have to say that I am reasonably impressed.

Another thing to note, I've only tried out the game for a wee 3 hours or so, so I have not completed it just yet. Can someone complete the demo within 3 hours? Perhaps. But I was more interested in exploring the map and different features. (And raging with the behemoth battle). SE provides a lot of content for a demo imo. Here are my pros and cons.

Pros

- SE successfully achieved an open world concept with a modern twist. The game does a great job of portraying a fantasy based in reality. The player has enough freedom to explore so there is no overwhelming sense of linearity as there was in XIII.

- The quest system. I'm actually quite fond of the approach on quests. Players are able to venture the map and trigger different side quests that are not necessarily related to the story, but the rewards and extra exploration make it worthwhile. I think this provides a bit more structure for players who don't wish to aimlessly traverse fields for hours. It actually reminds me a lot of XIV, which I think did an amazing job with implementing quests and missions. Also, players must complete sidequests before camping/resting; otherwise, you will have to travel back to the original location and re-trigger the quest. Which can be a tad annoying, but also serve as a nice challenge. Story quests remain in your log/map screen, so no worries on that.

- Graphics - DUH! Seriously though, the graphics are pretty damn amazing. And graphics don't usually make or break a game for me. But the amount of detail in the facial expressions, clothing, the environment... the realism is worth acknowledging. Sometimes the characters interact during regular gameplay while you're traversing the field. I checked their faces and true enough the mouths were actually flapping, and in a timely fashion, too! Did I come across a glitch? Yes, so there's probably more where that came from. But I don't find glitches to be flaws because they amuse me, so there's some entertainment value to that. In my case, I killed a wolf monster and it was floating tumultuously for about 60 seconds, I kid you not. And just as I was about to say, "Playstation: Screen Shot" (or whatever the heck the command is), it disappeared. Damn.


Cons

- I didn't get to meet Cindy, but based on the OP, I would most likely agree that this would be a con. Not very fond of fan service characters who do not carry much depth. Chocolina was a great example of this, although I believe even she was involved in a quest or two, if my memory serves right... But I think this was just an initial introduction to her character and I hope that she will play a somewhat active role in the actual storyline.


Pro and Con?

Battle system. I suck at games like Kingdom Hearts (even if many deem them simple) and I gave up on Lightning Returns because of how challenging the battles were for me. LOL. But I have to say that this game was fairly simple to pick up, albeit the tutorial is necessary. Dodging is a bit tough with the timing and I found myself automatically holding L2 (?) to constantly be in "dodge mode" as I navigated the battle field. Which I'm sure is not how the game is meant to be played. Those strong attacks really do you in, man... But I appreciate how there's a bit more strategy than just "hack and slash" action.

As for the cons of the battle system, I'm still confused at how re-ordering Noctis' weapons changes combos? Idk, I didn't see much of a difference when I swapped some weapons around, but then again, I didn't experiment long enough perhaps. But I hope they change that or explain it more in the tutorial in the real game. There was a one-liner thrown in that mentioned you can change weapons and I think that was it...? Also! I guess it's useful for your party members to revive you when you're in a weakened state (called "Stasis?"), but man oh man, was I yelling at my screen calling Prompto and co assholes for being too damn far from me to revive me in time during the behemoth fight. The CPU is generally "smart" and able to pick up on the "rescue" feature, but I'm not sure how things will fair for boss battles. Seems like they are set up to perform their own functions that override what the player is doing (aka getting a rough beating and stumbling in stasis mode!)

So yeah. Those are my thoughts on it thus far. There were probably other pros and cons I didn't mention, but I can't think of anything else right now. I'd say I'm looking forward to the final product and that this was a great glimpse into what SE has in store for us. :3
 

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So I watched my brother play until he got up to the behemoth battle (he still doesn't let me touch the PS4 :P ) But I really liked what I saw!

Pros:
-Definitely the world. It was gorgeous and pretty huge! It took a while to get around, which is not a bad thing at all. For an open world like that, it's nice to see! As long as the whole world doesn't become too overwhelmingly big (like FFXII) in the full version, this was really nice!

-The battle system is okay. I love how dramatic each attack is, and the Warp thing looked amazing! The only thing my brother seemed to struggle with a bit was the parrying. Idk it didn't seem like a very easy thing to get the hang of. But other than that, the entire battle system is really good!

-Characters: OH MY GOD. I really like all of these characters, though they did very much remind me of past SE characters (FFXII's Balthier, as well as Demyx from KH) Definitely not a bad thing at all! I really like the mix of the four guys. You seem to have a smart one, a cowardly one, a determined one and...well...you. SE did a great job with these characters IMO.

-I also found the camping thing to be really cool. I'm pretty sure that's where you set up camp at the end of the day and get all your EXP from your previous battles so you can level up. There's also upgrades that come with whatever food you eat at the camp. It's a very interesting addition and I think it's really cool.

Cons:
Like I said, I didn't even see the behemoth battle, so I don't really have any cons for the moment.

My only suggestion would be that there should be a small top corner map. It would help just a little bit more with navigating around the world.

Otherwise, this demo was absolutely fantastic!
 

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Pros:

- The battle system is like Kingdom Hearts. At first, I couldn't decide if this was a pro or con, because at one point I found it was getting tedious. After beating it all though, overdrive-style abilities were unlocked along with a summon, so there's plenty of variety. I loved it (though I'd still prefer turn-based).

- The characters are actually...likable :gasp:. While they might not shine yet, that's because there wasn't really any story in the demo to give them any personality. Right now, I like them. Even the camp Cloud.

- The music is all really fitting and I especially like the track that plays on the main menu screen. All very relaxing and JRPG-like :griin:.

- The summon system is great. Much better than in 12 and 13. Now they give you a way back into the battle if you're crapping up. That cinematic in the demo too :eek:. So well put together.

- The wide open landscapes are much better than the linearity of FF13. It's all so much more filled in that in FF12, with so much nature and different little things littered around. The little dungeon, while tiny, was a nice change too. I'd like to see more depth to those caves than a couple of rooms filled with goblins. Maybe a whole ice cavern like from FF9 or something :ohoho:. That's what we've been missing from FF lately: memorable dungeons.

- Day/night system. You really feel impaired when it's all dark, even with your torches. The fighting is tougher and you really feel the urge to run to a rest point (which there are plenty of, by the way). I loved this.

- Cindy. Boobs. :sir:

Cons:

- I would rather level up as I fight, rather than having to go to a rest point. I also wanted to see fully how the leveling system, but the demo doesn't show this properly. I just shows the exp bar fill up with no stat increases actually shown. You can't choose to learn new techniques either. Not entirely certain how this will all work.

- No story in the demo. There were a couple of cinematics, but none of them were really important and didn't tell us anything whatsoever about the main plot. This must have been intentional and I guess it didn't give any spoilers away so...maybe this could be a pro.

- No sign of a weapon upgrade system that I found. Maybe you just find your weapons?

- Is the money system just like 13, where you sell stuff? I never liked this...

- The randomness of when your swords switch during battle. I'd rather be able to stick with one weapon and choose when to switch. Maybe I missed something but I'm sure the tutorial didn't explain it.

That's about it. Overall, I loved it and I'm sure it'll be the best main numbered FF since 10 :).
 

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Thanks to the divine guiding hand of Lord :GabeN: Himself, I was actually able to procure myself access to the demo...by essentially getting my filthy mitts on my brother's Xbox One while he's home for the month. I was simply content with just missing out on Duscae, which is essentially a hyper-early and rushed sneak peak into what the final game might look like when it releases sometime before Haley's Comet returns.

Pros

+ Duscae is more interesting than the Archylte Steppe from FFXIII. The only interesting things about the latter were Titan in the background, who literally serves as decoration, and the Adamantoises. Besides them, the entire area was a dull plateau of greenlands before the player is hurled through more corridors to mercifully reach the end of the game. Duscae at the least, kind of reminds me of the Lake District gently mixed with some alien geological features to remind me that this is still an alien, fantasy world; and unlike Archylte, actually exhibits signs of life with its outpost areas. Thank goodness. This is a mainline Final Fantasy game that bothers to put me in an actual interactive setting.

+ No beating round the bush here: this is a gorgeous game, even if can look like mud on the Xbox One. The dynamic lighting is exquisite, from so many different sources ranging from the sun to the torches the characters wield at night to the lights emanating from the Niflheim drop ships. The animations are sublime, from everyone's realistic staggering when in Stasis or at 0HP, to the fluttering of coats and capes when an airship is coming down and blowing wind on everyone. Particle effects are gorgeous. Character models are not to be sniffed at. The bloody Behemoth is genuinely terrifying down to the smallest of details, such as its beard. Still, good graphics and animations a good game does not make. We will have to see if the steak will be as good as it looks, especially after fiascos like FFXIII.

+ This has the grandiose of a summon and then some. While the bigger "oh shit" moment for me is trying to vainly escape from the Behemoth's lair while the enormous purple thing is just literally breathing down Noctis's neck behind him while he is in Stasis, the summon sequence is brilliant, actually delivering on the "epic" promise that everyone has been barking about. I might actually give a damn about summoned creatures now, after the underwhelming Espers of FFXII, the silly Transformers of FFXIII, and the laughable Primal Egis of FFXIV's Summoners.

+ They may eventually annoy me, because I can be OCD about missables, but I like the inclusion of dynamic-like quest objectives. I say "dynamic-like", because it isn't genuinely as dynamic as the games from which Tabata has likely drawn the inspiration. Still, they reward exploration and curious players. There comes a time when any player eventually grows sick of MMO-style optional quest designs that demand constant running back and forth.

+ Metal Gear Noctis in the foggy domain of the Behemoth is a neat moment, even if the fog seems totally random.

Neutral

> The music. It exists, that's all I can say about it. It isn't particularly memorable and neither is it rousing enough that I can subconsciously start to randomly hum it. At least it isn't a Sawano rap-rock track blaring in the background every time I engage in battle, so FFXV dodges a Xenoblade X-shaped bullet.

> I don't know what to make of the summon mechanic. I'm aware it's likely a placeholder mechanic for the purpose of the demo, but having players deliberately "die" to activate the win button just seems like an obvious bail-out. Then again, I suppose it can be like FFVIII's Limit Break system where it's an OH SHIT, EMERGENCY LAST STAND attack, but once you have one summon, why would you need another...?

Boo

- Fucking. Shut. Up. Prompto. I hate you with every fibre of my being. I hope Shiva freezes you to death. I hope Titan turns you into compost. I hope a freak accident happens during a sparring exercise and Gladio gives you more than a flesh wound. I hope the car gets its revenge and mows you down.

- If you're going to artificially make Ignis as stereotypically British as you can (an American's idea of what a British person is like, no doubt), at least do a good job with the voice direction. The guy's pronunciation of words is so so forced to a native Brit here that he pisses me off as well...just nowhere near as much as Prompto. Also, he sounds nothing like Balthier; I'm not sure why everyone insists he does.

- Chocobos aren't ready. Car not available. All you have are your own two feet. Warping can't be initiated unless the red bar shows up and you're in battle - and that costs a shitton of MP. Getting around would probably be less aggravating if Noctis is more physically fit than a frequent customer of Nandos and has more steam. Maybe the duration of his sprinting can be an upgradable buff in the final game?

- Frame rate, especially on the Xbox One version, needs work. Sacrifice a bit of the resolution if you have to, if it means improving the frame rate. This issue can be severely compounded by a camera that likes to spasm around, especially against a noticeable pack of bloody Sabretusk monsters, i.e. the most annoying and ubiquitous monsters in the demo.

- LET ME REITERATE: CAMERA IS AT ITS WORST WHEN THERE IS A PACK OF SABRETUSKS (and when they've eaten your party members' faces)!

- Speaking of the camera: it likes to weirdly position itself a wee bit close to Noctis, rendering certain busy fights, especially in a relatively confined space like the goblins' cave, to be needlessly messy, on top of the issue of collision. There have been several instances when a party member would simply compound my ability to effectively move around in such confined areas. I'm so used to FFXIV's lack of actual collision with other characters (and there's a good reason why) that it can be mildly aggravating when the stone walls of Ignis, Gladio and Prompto can occasionally box me in and interrupt a combo I am trying to do. In a demo full of Sabretusks and Mesmenirs.

- Lock-on is not fit for purpose as it is. This needs amending as a big priority. Swivelling the camera around messes up the targetting reticule. Just positioning the camera manually can cause lock-on to wildly jump from target to target, especially in large group fights. Eww.

- There is an unrefined degree of responsiveness and instant reaction that the game will sorely need. If I want to use abilities like Tempest or Drain Blade, such skills should instantly activate at the press of a button, cancelling any attack animations if need be. Snappy, instantaneousness should be fundamental also for dodging and defending. As of this demo, this needs work.

- Jeez, Square, tone down on the frequency of Magitek soldier air drops! It's bad enough when enemies on the field can quickly respawn without a dropship coming in. Yes, I do appreciate the added difficulty, risk and danger of fighting out in the open when the Empire can easily find the commotion, but for goodness' sake, it becomes more of a nuisance than anything. Hilariously, no one in any of the outposts bats an eyelid that an enemy nation is dropping in soldiers to kill a small gang of young men just yards away in a field across the road.

- Yikes, that Behemoth is virtually impossible to kill without the use of the summon. I could power-level to 99, but why should I? The demo essentially expects you to use the win button, which does quickly deflate the threat that was built for the Behemoth - and kind of cheapens the experience of trying to kill the thing yourself.

- There's errr, well, really not much to do in the demo. So many things are missing and it is so apparent that this was rushed out the door to match the release of Type-0 HD. We're simply the lab rats. Some people squeezed 30+ hours out of this? Christ, the thirst is real.

Overall

I won't lie; I have actually found enjoyment from this demo, otherwise I wouldn't have finished it. I don't make it a habit of forcing myself to complete things. I'm not that much of a masochist. Providing that Tabata's team can fix the litany of issues plaguing this demo, the final game should hopefully (and easily) be a much better game than FFXIII, which is the first rung on the ladder for anyone to reach. Who knows. FFXV might actually very pleasantly surprise me, but it still has a lot to prove. This demo hasn't exactly left me bouncing up and down with excitement and anticipation. At the very least, it has helped to affirm my belief that this won't be as bad as the previous mainline game. I'll remain rather apathetic though.
 

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I've already written about this on my own website, so while I didn't stick to this same format back then, I'm just going to copy/paste that here. Interested parties may check out the source by clicking this link.

Ok, quick history lesson: the date is May 8, 2006. The event: the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. In many ways, it was a different world from the one in which we live to day. Tablets were just a failing experiment of Microsoft’s, the iPhone wouldn’t be released for another year, and high-definition TV was a new concept for consumers. YouTube was only just learning to crawl, and Facebook wouldn’t open to the public for another four months. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but we’ve very much stepped into a new decade since then. But even so, it was this world, not our own, that planted one particular seed we are only just beginning to see budding this spring.

When Square Enix took to the press conference stage that fateful day, the company officially started a long, hard journey that sent them mostly stumbling around for the better (or rather, worse) part of the last nine years. It was a fate no one could have predicted. Riding in on the coattails of Sony’s big unveiling of the Playstation 3, the fabled Japanese game developer painted a grand portrait for their future with the new console. Ironically, it was numbered 13. On that day we got our first glimpse of Final Fantasy XIII, the next main numbered entry in the long-running Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a spinoff game existing in a separate universe but with the same basic mythology, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII, a mobile phone game taking a similar approach as Versus XIII and mixing it up with the ubiquitous not-so-realistic Japanese high-school setting of popular manga and anime.

In the end, of those titles, only Final Fantasy XIII worked out as planned, yet those plans finally materialized later in 2010 only to be met with near-universal disappointment from fans. Meanwhile the vision for Agito XIII was dubbed too grand for the mobile phones of the day and the project ended up being shifted to the PSP, on which it finally arrived as Final Fantasy Type-0 in 2011…just before the unveiling of the Playstation Vita, squashing any chances of it being localized outside of Japan. For its part Final Fantasy Versus XIII faithfully reappeared at every major gaming convention in the years hence…yet never showed any signs of actually progressing in development. Somehow Final Fantasy XIII managed to spawn not one, but two sequels throughout this whole process, but ultimately rather than redeem the few missteps of the original, they only managed to drive the sub-series into steadily worse favor.

Yes, the original trilogy of Final Fantasy XIII was created as part of a very different world compared to today. But the important thing is, that difference in worlds works both ways, and the Square Enix of today would seem to rather you just forget about the Square Enix of yesterday.

As of this Tuesday, March 17, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available in English on both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, and while the title may acknowledge it is indeed a remaster of a previous release, it’s hardly being marketed as a classic reborn. Instead, it’s being used as an opportunity, the gateway to a new beginning both for Square Enix as a company, and Final Fantasy as a series. And here to prove it is not Type-0 only, but a pack-in demo of Final Fantasy XV, the ultimate and final form of the long-gestating Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Just let that sink in a bit: a game that was announced nearly a decade ago for the then-brand-new Playstation 3 has now skipped a console generation entirely, and if you act fast, you can play a piece of it right now.

Thus it was a little surreal booting up Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae for the first time. It felt like it should have been some major event that I planned on weeks in advance. But instead I just casually flicked my Dualshock 4’s X button almost on a whim and dove without anticipation into this world gamers have been waiting for so long to experience. It was almost like it was a moment so long in coming I had ceased to expect it ever to be real. But then the initial prompts appeared on screen, asking for preferences on language and audio options. And then the real menu appeared. And it began playing a tune I only barely recalled, a piece only featured in the background of a Final Fantasy Versus XIII teaser that is itself now a number of years old. But it also featured something else much more familiar: that same iconic pointing finger icon that Final Fantasy menus have used practically since the beginning. It was also something clearly new and unique as well, an instantly obvious departure from what we’ve known Final Fantasy menus to be in the past.

Such is the sum of Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae: it is a mix of the new, the old reborn, and the classic paid homage. And while it’s clear the past nine years haven’t gone to waste, it’s also a bit concerning to see just how many wrinkles in the system still need ironing out.

First, the good:


Designed to Impress

To a certain degree, Final Fantasy has always been about being a little mind-blowing. While Final Fantasy XV will do so in more ways than its feature-limited demo, there are still plenty of reasons to be impressed with Episode Duscae. As the tagline says, this is a fantasy based on reality, and the marriage of those two elements became clearer and clearer the further into the demo I went. At the onset I found myself impressed with how believable the opening segment was, showing a small group of boys-barely-turned-men reluctantly rolling out of bed to the incessant blaring of a smartphone alarm. Then as they stumbled outside, still a bit bleary-eyed, I saw a surreal landscape much like the earth we know, but with a few twists. Then as the introductory combat tutorial kicked in, I was thrust into a sparring match complete with teleportation and weapons that magically appear out of thin air on-demand. There’s something of a satisfying rush to this sort of progression from the realistic to the fantastic. It’s impossible to take the fantasy aspects of Final Fantasy XV for granted when so much of the surrounding world is anchored in reality. And this feeling only intensifies the deeper you go. A number of the creatures you’ll encounter directly correlate to some real-life creature without ever outright imitating the real thing. You accept their presence in Final Fantasy XV because you accept the reality of wolves, elephants, and so forth. These kinds of half-real creatures then act as a medium between the player and the more fantastical creatures, giving even the strangest a sense of solidity, believability, and ominousness.

It gets better when you start engaging these creatures, too. The main cast of Final Fantasy XV has some of the most natural animations ever seen in a game. Sure, straight-up motion capture is nothing new, but we’ve never seen it blended with real-time, unscripted animation quite like this before—just another way fantasy is mixed with reality, I suppose, in a very literal sense. Characters will stop to catch their breath after running for a brief sprint, help each other up when fallen, and freely browse any shops you might stop by with seemingly genuine interest. And if somebody gets sidetracked checking out the shelves, another character will call and wave to get their attention so they aren’t left behind as the crew departs for another adventure. In short, your companions feel human, and before long you’ll easily be caught up in the game’s road trip plot as if you really were on a trek together.


Still a Game

But more importantly, Final Fantasy XV doesn’t forget something that many similarly impressive games do: the fact that this is still a game. Contrary to Final Fantasy XIII, which was basically a one-way street from start to finish, Final Fantasy XV requires real effort from the player and only ever suggests what they do next. Major story events play out linearly of course, but by no means is that a bad thing, especially considering it’s up to the player to decide when to trigger them. The game also remains distinctly ‘Final Fantasy’ in its RPG systems, from earning experience points to finding hidden valuable items to amassing Gil to building a well-rounded inventory of supplies and navigating menus to use them in battle. Combat is a bit like a mix of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XII, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. You may find yourself feeling pretty comfortable with your abilities while taking on just one or two enemies, but wait until you’re dropped into a swarm of attackers—and you will be—and Final Fantasy XV will be sure to keep you humble. We’re not talking Dark Souls by any means, but this is definitely one of the most challenging Final Fantasy games in recent history, harkening back to the old days when wandering into the wrong forest unprepared was a surefire recipe for disaster. In fact, nods to the series’ roots are everywhere, from the return of Phoenix Down to the classic level-up tune to the Chocobo theme song. Not only are we talking an actual game instead of a sightseeing tour, we’re talking something that clearly remembers it is Final Fantasy.


A Long Road Ahead

All that being said, despite having a decade to work out the details, Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae is far from perfect. Graphical glitches abound, mostly having to do with physics simulations gone wrong. The open world sometimes feels a little simplistic by new-gen standards. And in the meantime the game runs at 900p on PS4 and a mere 720p on Xbox One and still stutters a bit while level streaming. But even more egregious than simple cosmetic issues (which are actually very forgivable) is the way the game controls. The control scheme doesn’t pull from either action or RPG conventions, which itself is fine, but by doing away with any sort of tried-and-true formula the game opens itself up for a number of new complications that haven’t had a chance to be perfected yet. The biggest offender here is the targeting system. Early on it’s unpredictable at best and outright doesn’t function as expected at worst. Part of this is only due to the demo’s limited tutorials, but there’s something to be said for designing a system that comes naturally, and this one definitely does not. Instead it feels like it could serve its purpose, but the proper technique is too complex to explain in a tutorial so it was just left more or less unexplained instead. According to the opening segment of Episode Duscae, all you have to do is ‘Hold R1 to target’. Only you don’t merely hold R1 to target. You hold R1 for a few seconds to target, using the right stick to switch between targeting options, then release, and then click R3 to lock the camera on to the chosen target if you wish. While there are visual indicators throughout the process, they are quite subtle and can easily go unnoticed while still learning the ropes.

Proper defense also seems nearly impossible at times, with the time window and necessary conditions for parrying so narrow you’ll need a few hours of experience before you can even hope to pull it off with any reliability. Square Enix clearly intended this move to be difficult, considering the number of successful parries is its own post-battle statistic, but in its current state it’s more likely to just go unused by most players. Basic dodging isn’t entirely straightforward either when dealing with multiple enemies, but becomes easier to use with time. The persisting issue here is that this sort of defense pulls from the same MP pool as magic and skill attacks, heavily restricting opportunities to pull off more interesting moves until the characters have leveled up quite a bit.

All of this gets better with time and experience, but the fact remains that first impressions of combat in Final Fantasy XV are likely to be a bit bewildering and frustrating for some players, particularly when compared side by side to Type-0’s tight and engaging battle system. But the underpinning theme here is still experience—Final Fantasy XV’s combat may come with a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean players will never reach the top and master it. In the meantime it may not be the most enthralling, but thankfully neither is it infuriating. It’s just…awkward.


Worth the Hype

2015 was the year we hoped to see Final Fantasy XV. In a sense, Square Enix delivered on that hope. But it’s clear now with a small piece of the game in our hands that this one still has at least another year to go. The kicker? It will be worth waiting for the developers to get it right. In the grand scheme of things, Episode Duscae’s problems, though evident, do not ruin the game, and most of them are promised to be corrected in the final release. The demo itself is already engaging, fun, challenging, and impressive in many respects. Final Fantasy XV on the whole will add to that a whole lot more environments, a deep story, more combat and travel options, and much, much more. It’s the largest scale Final Fantasy title in existence, and set to be a hallmark of eighth generation consoles. Despite having a decade of press built up behind it, playing Episode Duscae for myself still felt fresh and unique, and still felt like Final Fantasy.

It’s important to remember that what we have now is only a taste—and a good one, at that. If Square Enix can actually manage to achieve their ambitions in their entirety, console gamers are shortly to be in for one amazing ride.
 
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Rey

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I won't lie; I have actually found enjoyment from this demo, otherwise I wouldn't have finished it. I don't make it a habit of forcing myself to complete things. I'm not that much of a masochist. Providing that Tabata's team can fix the litany of issues plaguing this demo, the final game should hopefully (and easily) be a much better game than FFXIII, which is the first rung on the ladder for anyone to reach. Who knows. FFXV might actually very pleasantly surprise me, but it still has a lot to prove. This demo hasn't exactly left me bouncing up and down with excitement and anticipation. At the very least, it has helped to affirm my belief that this won't be as bad as the previous mainline game. I'll remain rather apathetic though.

Did you get hit by a rock or something? What happened to "I'm waiting for FFXV to just die already, the boredom is real" or something along that? Wow, I am quite impressed with your non-nitpick post. I was sort of expecting a rant from you, but you left me impressed, and perhaps you just needed more time with the demo.

It helped you realise that this game might not be as bad as you thought it was, but somehow there is a glimmer of hope for buying it in the future. Wow, what a change. I applaud your post.

PS: Prompto is there for comedy. No need to hate him so much.
 

greenyxi

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PS: Prompto is there for comedy. No need to hate him so much.

I think comedy characters can be the most marmitey. Some will haaaate their bad humour (in their eyes), some will love that they are making things less serious. I quite like his humour, but it doesn't make me laugh or anything. Yet.
 

Rey

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I think comedy characters can be the most marmitey. Some will haaaate their bad humour (in their eyes), some will love that they are making things less serious. I quite like his humour, but it doesn't make me laugh or anything. Yet.


It is a demo and so far, Prompto is succeeding at annoying everyone, lol. I do not hate him OR like him yet but I do appreciate a little bit of humour. I guess not everyone will find it funny, but I still cannot understand despising him when we barely know nothing about him.
 

AuronX

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Prompto looks and acts a scary amount like a guy I hung out with all the time during my highschool years, so I can't help but like him :lew:
 
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