The Final Fantasy series is a popular game series both here in the western world and in Japan. As a series, it has become a staple of gaming, and somehow I’ve managed to go my entire gaming career without ever even watching so much as a play through of a single Final Fantasy game. Today, I hope to explore the thoughts I’ve had about the most recent part of the franchise, Final Fantasy Fifteen.
This particular game, is available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and was produced by Square Enix. Based on review scores alone it seems that Final Fantasy Fifteen gave consumers what they wanted. It earned an 8.2/10 on IGN, and an identical 82% on megacritic.com. From the review on IGN, it seems that Final Fantasy Fifteen departed from the combat system in other parts of the series. Apparently, in prior games the battle system was turn based, but in the recent addition has switched to a real-time combat system. After watching examples of battle in both Final Fantasy Fifteen and Final Fantasy Thirteen, I can confirm that the combat is very different between the two.
In Final Fantasy Thirteen, and presumably every other game, the player would initiate battle, input a command, and watch the result play out. From my personal experience, it reminded me of a more cinematic version of Aveyond, an RPG made for the computer by Amaranth Games. That is to say, it felt like combat could get very dry and predictable; however, this problem is amended in Final Fantasy Fifteen, making combat more fluid. Allowing players to move freely during combat makes it possible to not only attack, but also to dodge and posture yourself for devastating strikes.
Another feature of the game’s combat are the AI-controlled companions who assist you in combat—a feature that my prior exposure to stories about Final Fantasy lead me to believe is a staple of the series. Your companions will freely attack your enemies, but will also listen to commands you can issue, similar to games such as Dragon Age or Mass Effect, except in Final Fantasy Fifteen the companion’s attacks and your own can be coordinated to do devastating cooperative blows, such as double parries, or unique 1-2 hit combos.
The companions also serve, naturally, as characters that drive the story forward. The relationship between the player character and the companions is a deeply crafted, and complicated history. While in most games the companions that assist you are ones you have no prior history with, the characters here are a close-knit, cohesive unit that’s known each other for years prior to the game’s opening. They’re as close as family.
The playable character is Prince Noctis, the heir to the throne of Lucis. On a road trip with his friends, he learns that his kingdom has been taken over by an evil force. The goal of Final Fantasy Fifteen is to, with the aid of your closest friends, reclaim your stolen kingdom and save the day.