FFXV Spoiler-Free Review Article Time

AKA
Jason Tandro, Doc Brown, Santa Christ, FearAddict, Thibault Stormrunner, RN: Micah Rodney
#1
So... I think a decent number of us have finished or are near finishing FFXV. I want to do a Spoiler-Free Review roundup similar to what I did with the Kingsglaive Article.

I plan to do my own review of course. I'd like to get a second and third opinion but rather than a "good" "middle" and "bad" review, I'd just like three separate opinions. I imagine most of us think the same things are awesome and the same things are pretty weak but similar perspective can be just as telling as conflicting perspective.

So... any takers to write up, say like a 750 world review?

A Game Worth Replaying, A Story Worth Revising
By: Micah Rodney

Final Fantasy XV was definitely worth the ten year wait. They spent that time well creating a battle system that is fresh and exciting, an open-world that is rich, full and engaging and a brotherhood that feels uniquely human in a way no other Final Fantasy has before. It’s just a shame they didn’t bother to show the same love and attention to the story. Kingsglaive isn’t optional - it’s mandatory if you want to have any idea what the hell is going on. And Brotherhood doesn’t go amiss either. Because even with the last third of the game being a massive info dump, the tale of Final Fantasy XV feels incredibly amateur and obscenely rushed.

The positive first though - this is absolutely the most fun you will have with a Final Fantasy game to date. It feels like you’re taking a vacation in a Final Fantasy world, backpacking with your bros across the open world. The game is almost based around side diversions - whether you like to go out fishing with Noct, partake in Chocobo Races, or join the Hunt to tackle some of the most ferocious Final Fantasy beasties ever seen, including some old favorites.

And then there’s the Regalia, your personal chariot, which comes outfitted with a collection of road tunes from classic Final Fantasy games. Visiting each town has the added benefit of finding new decals for your car, as well new soundtracks to purchase. While some soundtracks feel a little light (Final Fantasy XIV being particularly shafted here with about eight tracks) they are still a wonderful nod to the fans. One of my pleasures was listening to Archylte Steppe or Movement in Green while cruising through the scenery of Eos.

The game’s combat is also top notch, providing the delicate balance between quick cathartic beat-em-up goodness and the tactics you’ve come to expect from Final Fantasy. Elemental and weapon-type resistances are crucial, and knowing when to safely use magic (this being key since, as a first in the series, magic is an area of effect that can harm your allies as well) are all part and parcel of the combat experience. It’s a rich, refreshing system that made every fight I got into an absolute joy.

And the main four bros are a great group. While some argue that they are a bit shallower than your usual band of Final Fantasy characters, they are also a lot more genuine. The banter in this game is where most of the humor and heart comes from and you genuinely feel connected to your allies in this game. One particularly fascinating touch was Prompto taking photos of the adventure, some of which are stock and others which are uniquely yours based on your combat exploits. The ability to share these directly to Facebook is also a great touch.

But I have to talk now about the major misfire of the game - the storyline. First off, the main plot is so much of a backseat that it’s absent until about Chapter 9, which depending upon your play-style may be anywhere from 20 to 40 hours into the game. Then, things begin to happen so quickly that it’s really hard to keep track of character motivations. Side characters flit in and out of the story completely at random and while the game does have some powerful moments, particularly it’s grippingly dark, if somewhat overplayed Chapter 13, it all feels like we’re being dragged along by the story rather than experiencing it naturally.

Not enough time is spent on character development where it is needed in the side characters. The main plot is paper thin, with a predictable twist. In many cases some of the decisions feel like they were added not because they belonged in the story being told, but rather because they needed to be in a Final Fantasy game - a rare care of Square-Enix pandering too much to the fans. One particular Chapter 13 revelation was a complete nonstarter, going absolutely nowhere, making no sense and leaving me feeling almost betrayed at how such a sloppy bit of writing could have been ham-fisted into this game so close to the finale.

The story isn’t what you’re here for though. Or if it is then you will probably be very disappointed. The game is otherwise a masterpiece, with great visuals, an incredible score and insanely fun gameplay. This is an open world that you really have to experience, let’s just hope that next time the writers spend a bit more time in editing.
 
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AKA
Jason Tandro, Doc Brown, Santa Christ, FearAddict, Thibault Stormrunner, RN: Micah Rodney
#2
Gonna bump this. Anybody up to it or should I just write a slightly longer review and do the article solo?
 

Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#3
I think everyone's too busy playing the game to contribute. :P I barely got any responses to my review roundup thread either. And I can't help you with this one because I haven't played it yet. :awesome:
 

Lex

Administrator
#4
Sorry JT, I like the idea and might have time to do my own write-up over the weekend now that I've had some distance from finishing the game :)
 
AKA
Jason Tandro, Doc Brown, Santa Christ, FearAddict, Thibault Stormrunner, RN: Micah Rodney
#7
Okay, well I'll buff this article out to a full length one and post her up then. And hey later on no reason we can't have a separate article for separate reviews. :monster:

Edit: Wait, I misread Lex's comment. Awesome! I'll look forward to your thoughts, Lexy Bro.
 

Lex

Administrator
#8
Nah JT I'd go ahead and post your own review if you can flesh it out honestly. When my own thoughts about the game are fully formed I'll need to write a fair bit or very little to actually portray my feelings about it. It was more just in the event that you needed more "opinions", but I'm certainly happy for you to post your own opinion piece.
 
AKA
Jason Tandro, Doc Brown, Santa Christ, FearAddict, Thibault Stormrunner, RN: Micah Rodney
#9
Nah JT I'd go ahead and post your own review if you can flesh it out honestly. When my own thoughts about the game are fully formed I'll need to write a fair bit or very little to actually portray my feelings about it. It was more just in the event that you needed more "opinions", but I'm certainly happy for you to post your own opinion piece.
Awesome! Well I'll go ahead and do that. And why shouldn't we have multiple review articles anyways? It's the first new FF in a very long time, it deserves it! :)
 
AKA
Jason Tandro, Doc Brown, Santa Christ, FearAddict, Thibault Stormrunner, RN: Micah Rodney
#12
This is an open world that you really have to experience, let’s just hope that next time the writers spend a bit more time in editing.

"Thaddeus on December 18, 2016 at 7:04 am said: Edit
Speaking of spending more time editing, have you heard of a comma splice?"

The irony is palpable. I knew with a cap like that somebody was gonna find something wrong with the grammar. That said I didn't see a comma splice. I found something that's more like a run-on sentence and fixed it but yeah if you all see something lemme know. I think the main problem is my writing tends to be very... uh... long-winded and I overuse commas and parentheses.
 

Mayo Master

Pro Adventurer
#13
Hey JT,

Finally read your review, good work. It's actually very much in line with what I think (and thus spares me of writing my own :wackymonster:). They developed a great universe, the world-building and the open-worldness sides of the games are excellent. The combat system is really awesome (seems like I'm more into A-RPGs), my favorite among all FFs. But the narrative and the storytelling aspects of the game are big letdowns. You got to wonder why they couldn't pull off a better story, or at the very least, a better narrative, with so much time spent of the development and such a big world at their disposal - it almost felt like they didn't know what to do with the world they had created. And it's not like Japan is lacking talent when it comes to storytelling, so I'm quite perplexed about all this.

Funny though:
- Party of 4? Check.
- Vast open world? Check.
- Awesome world-building? Check.
- Insanely fun, action-based combat system? Check.
- Many one-dimensional NPCs with cheap sidequests? Check.
- Paper-thin storyline with poor narrative? Check.
=> Dragon's Dogma much?

And like Dragon's Dogma, my overall feeling is that of a very good game, but with lots of unfulfilled potential on the story side which leave a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction. It could have been so much more with better storytelling execution, it's quite frustrating.
 

JechtShotMK9

The Sublimely Magnificent One
AKA
Kamiccolo9
#14
Hey JT,

Finally read your review, good work. It's actually very much in line with what I think (and thus spares me of writing my own :wackymonster:). They developed a great universe, the world-building and the open-worldness sides of the games are excellent. The combat system is really awesome (seems like I'm more into A-RPGs), my favorite among all FFs. But the narrative and the storytelling aspects of the game are big letdowns. You got to wonder why they couldn't pull off a better story, or at the very least, a better narrative, with so much time spent of the development and such a big world at their disposal - it almost felt like they didn't know what to do with the world they had created. And it's not like Japan is lacking talent when it comes to storytelling, so I'm quite perplexed about all this.

Funny though:
- Party of 4? Check.
- Vast open world? Check.
- Awesome world-building? Check.
- Insanely fun, action-based combat system? Check.
- Many one-dimensional NPCs with cheap sidequests? Check.
- Paper-thin storyline with poor narrative? Check.
=> Dragon's Dogma much?

And like Dragon's Dogma, my overall feeling is that of a very good game, but with lots of unfulfilled potential on the story side which leave a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction. It could have been so much more with better storytelling execution, it's quite frustrating.
Dragon's Dogma had better gameplay and a waaaaay better final boss fight, but yeah, I can see the similarities here.
 

Blade

That Man
AKA
Darkside-Ky/Mimeblade
#15
And it's not like Japan is lacking talent when it comes to storytelling, so I'm quite perplexed about all this.
I'd love to know of whom you speak when saying this, because of late, I've been getting disillusioned with the state of writing in Japanese games.
 

Mayo Master

Pro Adventurer
#16
And it's not like Japan is lacking talent when it comes to storytelling, so I'm quite perplexed about all this.
I'd love to know of whom you speak when saying this, because of late, I've been getting disillusioned with the state of writing in Japanese games.
While I certainly do not have the greatest knowledge in anime/manga/light novels, I did come across some very fine pieces of work in the recent years (IMO, for this year, the anime of Erased, Re:Zero, and March comes in like a lion stand out - they're derived from manga, light novel, and manga, respectively).
For instance, I find that the anime of "March comes in like a lion" has excellent quality (I got hooked while the original premises - an introverted high-school professional shogi player dealing with depression - didn't seem in my alley at all), not only in the way you get attached to the characters, but also by how they manage to get the audience through a whole range of emotions simply by the pacing and the use of color palettes. IMO, the writing, direction and execution are spot on.
I feel like Square has lost their way when it comes to storytelling - I don't know if it's a problem of competence or if storytelling is so pushed to the back seat in video game production that it ends up in the trunk.
 
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