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Final Fantasy XV: The Early-ish Impressions

final-fantasy-xv-noctis-gladio-ignis-prompto

I mean, I’ve clocked in about 64 hours according to the in-game clock. But that includes ‘paused time’ where I was making food or running errands, etc.  Still at 64 hours, I’m only about half done with the main story (but have the achievements for 80 side quests, unlock 50 ascension nodes, and sitting just shy of level 70)  But yea, I think I can share some of my early-ish impressions of the newest addition to the Final Fantasy series.

Gameplay

  • The action is fun and chaotic.  I often find myself biting off more than I can chew.  The wait mode helps some but takes some getting used to.  It only activates when you stop moving, so there’s a bit of a flow to combat you have to figure out.  My suggestion would be to get used to it early.  Wait Mode is SUPER helpful, especially once you upgrade it in the Ascension menu.
  • Speaking of the Ascension menu, it’s a neat system.  It grants you more stuff you can do, empowers your existing stuff, but it gives you lots of choice on which tree to build on and what you want to empower.  It also has a bunch of ‘do X to get more AP’ stuff so you can spend AP to make more AP (but warp-killing low level baddies is still probably the most efficient way to do it)
  • I wish I had some degree of control over my party members.  Other than Ignis’ gather ability which huddles you around HIS position instead of yours, they kinda just go wherever and attack whatever.  This runs into problems when Magic has these huge bursts and does friendly fire. I get around this currently by just popping a mega-potion or megalixir after scorching the earth with a massive 300 power firaga.
  • Director Hajime Tabata’s influence is ALL over the side quest structure in this game.  It honestly shares a ton in common with Type-0’s side quests.  Pick up shiny dots. Turn in shiny dots. Give items to people.  Some actually have cutscenes tied to them but they’re brief. So. Many. Shiny. Dots.  Just remember, when side questing, the ORANGE shiny dots are the important ones.

Story

  • I know it’s almost sacrilegious to say this, but damn am I missing FFXIII’s datalogs.  There’s so much interesting stuff I’m curious about in the world of Eos and I have NO way to find out more.  From the Gods and their war and its effect on the world, or the sharp cultural divide in Lucis between those outisde of Insomnia’s walls and those inside.  I think more history and cultural info would be a great read to understanding some of the context to the world.
  • Speaking of context, I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to be accomplishing in the plot.  Now, granted, I haven’t even made it to Altissia yet, but so far its been ‘collect ancient weapons’ and then ‘collect God power’ without a great explanation as to WHY Noctis needs to do all of this.  Other than ‘retake Insomnia’ which doesn’t seem to come up very often as a goal on the road trip.  I know Lunafreya wants me to do something but I have no clue what.  Seems like this game might be up there with FFX in terms up loading all the crucial plot points in the back end of the game.
  • I think it’s fun that you can still spot a few places where the Fabula Nova Crystalis stuff was before it got changed.  Like the Gods only communicating in visions, similar to how Focuses were delivered to l’Cie.
  • The whole evil empire thing confuses the heck out of me too.  They don’t seem evil beyond backstabbing Lucis during a peace treaty.  They actively drop out of the sky to fight monsters to protect people where Insomnia pretty much left everyone outside of the walls to fend for their own, and they seem to be prepping for some big evil.  Honestly, they more come off as ‘doing the right thing, the wrong way’.

Other Observations

  • While you don’t get a lot of written history or cultural background, the game does an AMAZING job of world building through natural interaction.  The fact that the boys from the Crown City have names like Ignis, Prompto and Gladdio and the folks outside the wall have names like Cindy and Dave gives quite a bit of an impression of the difference between the areas.  Or the funky looking outfits you see women wearing in Cleigne are actually radiation/heat suits because women are the only ones who work the power plant.  Hell, the game starts with Prompto asking “What’s a Gil?” at the gas station.  This does a great job of building an atmosphere, I just personally wish to devour more.  Like getting a nibble only makes you want the whole thing.
  • What exactly is Luna & Noctis’ relationship?  Their marriage is described as a political one – for what purpose I don’t know – but they were childhood friends and they send letters to each via magical teleporting dogs, so they do care about each other it seems.  Noctis seems to be genuinely looking forward to reuniting with Luna at points.  Honestly, I’m really hazy on this.  Do they actually have a relationship or are they just childhood pals pushed into an arranged political marriage?
  • Seriously, if you’re not going to give me a codex or datalog, don’t hide the lore books in random order all over the bloody kingdom.

Final Early Judgement:  REALLY FUN, but from a Lore fans perspective very frustrating early on.  I’ll give a full rundown when I finish it.

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