Final Fantasy has reached this number after a while. While it’s a first for me, it’s part of a very long running fantasy. Here you get both to calls back to the previous titles, while it has to stand on its own legs. It does that and more, even if it takes time to learn everything you can do.
This has been a hard game for me to learn and of course to work out. Exploring the open world and getting stuck into combat is a no brainer, nor is the driving, fast transit, rapid transit between outposts, towns, locations. There’s a large world for you to explore and you have plenty of points to leave the Regalia and continue on foot.
Combat is easily the biggest part of the game is something that I’m still learning. One of the biggest things you need to learn is how to avoid being hit. Not only to learn what’s being telegraphed, but from which enemy. Combat is also highly mobile, the ability to quickly shift from one enemy to another, to warp to another level and deal with one threat, warm to a higher vantage, then drop onto another isolated enemy. Learning range is important, from where you are safe from area attacks to where you are able to hit and defeat your enemy with your chosen weapon. Weapon selection also matters, the more you can attack one with a slow attack and get away, the better. Combining with blindside attacks and skill links all takes practise and time to master.
Thankfully the high-speed combat is mixed with missions and quests that take you across the world. A big and beautiful world it is as well. There’s so much to do, it can be hard to make a single line towards your quest or bounty. From collecting elements to power your spells, to food for your camp side meals, even extra quests to discover on the way. The level up mechanic relies on getting some rest, at a camp or somewhere there’s a clear bed. The nicer the accommodation, the better the bonus you have. Having the gil to spend can turn two and a half thousand experience to turn to five thousand.
The many accession trees are the ways to really power your characters up. Not only do they boost Noctis, the lead character, but your party as well. From extra items they can equip to stat boosts, it’s only the start. The bonuses to your companions and the link strikes quickly add up. The boost to magic only make your spells more powerful, more of a game changer. There’s a lot here to unlock, thankfully you can equip items that help you earn these points. Earning them hasn’t been an issue, though some of them are quite expensive.
There’s also far, far more than just the main quest. Local bounties are plentiful, paying decently in the opening game. While you can only hold ten at a time, it’s more than enough. Some require specific times to track your prey. Others are more general, more open. Others can be quite tough, requiring very specific tactics to defeat your foe or foes. Side missions are also plentiful. Cid, can upgrade some of the equipment you find. More await, some of them are for your companions, taking them to sites they wish to see and do things they wish to do. The best example and perhaps the quest that just finally sucked me in was the one to visit a chocobo farm. Also, the biggest creature I’ve killed to date.
The Regalia herself is a character and the source of some of these missions. I hope that I can find some of the upgrades for her soon. Not just for better fuel mileage, but for her exterior too. All of which you can control, customise, through Cindy at Hammerhead. That’s where she is for me at the moment.
Audio and Visuals
I have to admit that it took a while me a while to get into it. The open world you explore is a strange mix of Atomic era highways, 50’s America if you’re not familiar with the term, with some beautiful scenery. While still not a fan of the character art, models, the rest I can’t complain about at all. There’s a world that goes between night and day. The transition between is also another place I was happy to just sit and watch, my camp site ready made for just this.
Where I want to complain is the HUD, combat warnings. I’m never sure of what’s a telegraph and what isn’t. Nor am I sure on how to block or parry in this game. Is it press and hold? Hold only? It’s going to take me a while to work it out.
Another compliment, credit I want to give here is to what you can hear. Rather than it being obtrusive, out of place, even offensive, the ability to listen to music from the previous entries is a welcome feature. Not only that, the ability to listen to while driving, exploring is great. Not only that the character voices themselves are from a wide cast and I have to admit they’re growing on me. I can recognise them after only a few syllables. Even with so little time in.
Multiplayer here is present in a piece of DLC. While it’s a well thought out feature, it’s not why I’m here. What I’ve seen shows a well thought out mode and a clear goal. Not only that, a way to advance your character as well some decent customisation.
This was a hard one for me to review, not just for it being my first Final Fantasy, but the length of time it took me to get into it. It was only after five, six hours in did I feel I have an understanding of the world and the characters as well as what’s going on. After that, I definitely could say I enjoyed it and got lost in it. Taking a chocobo and just running around the map is a pleasure. The same is the joy of crossing the map by car, whether I’m driving or not. Forming spells and hunting for parts to upgrade my weapons has kept me busy. Same as for the car, looking for parts and items, for paint jobs and more. This is a Final Fantasy for fans and first timers. There’s plenty to be found and discovered here. It will keep me busy for a long, long time.
We’d like to thank Bandai Namco for the review copy provided.