PS4 Review: Final Fantasy XV

The wait is finally over, but has it been worth it?

Final Fantasy XV has had one hell of a development cycle, lasting the best part of a decade to come to light and having all numbers of problems along the way…finally it’s here. But was it time well spent?

It’s been a while since I played a Final Fantasy game that wasn’t a spin-off of some kind…and with the long development time, I was curious to see just what direction they would go with FF XV. My doubts were answered in seconds with a message from the team as you begin, stating that the game is for both newcomers and series’ veterans…so they’ve tried to appease both camps with this long-awaited game, but has it paid off?

The story follows Noctis, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lucis, who embarks on an epic journey with his best friends through a world of larger-than-life beasts, amazing wonders to behold, and dungeons filled with danger in hopes of finding the strength to take back his homeland and end the battle. It’s one of the better FF stories and nothing quite tops the intro to this as Noctis and his crew drive down a road to Florence and the Machine’s cover of “Stand by Me”, which sold me instantly.

FF XV is open world in that you can explore freely, take on tons of side-quests and main quests, but it’s not such a huge leap from tradition as you can restock at towns or gas stations/hotels/restaurants. You will eventually get a car that drives you around, which you can either drive or get someone else to drive to a location for you, while also having to keep an eye out on your petrol meter. Yes, you can run out of petrol.

Combat is in real-time and you only control Noctis, but after a while you can issue attack orders to your crew, while chaining together attacks with them also pays off incredibly well. It’s a different, but very nice setup overall. Noctis can upgrade his and his allies powers up when he levels up, but there are also other things to level up for the other characters, including photography, fishing, cooking skills to name a few.

The great thing about FF XV is that it’s not too overwhelming, which some RPGs are guilty of. I felt it at first, but after a while…it became second nature. Lucis is a pretty kingdom to explore and I was lucky enough to experience it in 4K HDR, which the game supports and it looks incredible. Everything from the game’s locations to the characters and their animations all look jaw-dropping. The soundtrack is also pretty much perfect, easily outdoing the competition.

Voice-acting is also pretty impressive, which I was surprised about. JRPG’s don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to that, but the English voices are better than I could have hoped for and best of all, they make it sound believable. The game is a bit of a slow-burner at first, I will admit. But once you overcome that, you’ll see it’s potential.

The Verdict

The long wait has definitely paid off. Final Fantasy XV is right up there along the JRPG greats and earns it’s own place as one of the few games that have spent years in development hell and turned out to be amazing. Most that have haven’t had that luck…

Score: 9.5