Final Fantasy XV Hands-on Preview – So This is What Friendship Feels Like


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I’ve been excited for the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV for a very long time.

This is a game that has been in development hell for ages and I finally got a chance to get our hands on a sizable portion it. The wait was worth it as my expectations have not only been met, but fully blown away. Between the graphical capabilities, the amazing combat system, to the way that the characters interact with each other, it impresses.

To start off with, this game looks like a visual masterpiece. The effort put into making this game beautiful can be seen in almost any frame. When I saw the opening to this game my jaw dropped by the sheer capability of the Luminous Engine. From the wrinkles on the kings face to the fire coming from a gigantic monster, I was drawn in and felt myself absolutely consumed by the sheer scope this world had to offer.

It’s not only the games graphics that have me excited, this game looks like it will have an amazing story that I can absolutely sink my teeth into.

final fantasy xv justice monsters five 03-31-16-1

From what I’ve seen, there are several different aspects to this game outside of the main disc. These can range from a full length movie that’s appeared in theaters, Five 12 minute anime episodes, and an IOS game all that all help to build the entire world of Final Fantasy XV into an what will be an amazing experience.

The story itself follows along the story of two countries with immense powers. I can only equate this to something like Russia and the United States. They appear to be fighting over what appears to be either a significant grudge, territorial control over the majority of the world, via a powerful crystal that plays a role as well.

To create a lasting peace between these two countries, a peace treaty was brought up. This treaty would see the prince from one country and the princess from the other country married together. Throughout the demo you follow Prince Noctis with his trusty bodyguards, as they travel to a destination to meet up with his bride to be. The goal is to prepare for his marriage, though things are never as simple as they appear.

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The story can seem simple at first glance, but I feel that the introduction of the side materials could significantly change the understanding of the games story.

Having just watched Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the first chapter of this game is significantly clearer. If you get a chance I highly suggest watching it to learn a bit more about what’s going on, though it might be better to watch it after playing the first chapter of the game.

One of the things that shot me through the heart though was the character interactions with each other. The way these characters talked with one another felt genuine. As you travel around, these characters would talk about the current objective in a way that felt genuine to their character.

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They would joke around, insult one another happily, or even talk about things that they felt were important.

In a small one hour demo I was left with the impression that these were some of the best written character interactions I had ever seen in the Final Fantasy series. You could feel how connected they were with one another and it honestly felt good.

There were many things about this demo that I absolutely adored. I got a chance to check out the main menu of the game and it looks like it will have the four characters sharing experience.

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While each character has their own chart for self improvement, there is a limited resource in experience to share around.

So while you might be giving one character a few skills, other characters might not be able to perform as well as you’d like. It was a really interesting idea that forces a more tactical deployment of skills. The combat system was also something I didn’t expect from a Final Fantasy game.

You will be primarily controlling the Prince. Prince Noctis is a very interesting and unique character in this world. He’s able to utilize very high levels of magic and summon three different types of weapons at the drop of a hat.

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You’ll be hacking and slashing at enemies while trying to just stay alive during combat. Coming from this, there are multiple ways to take down enemies and your friends will give you their suggestions on how to do it.

You could take them up on their suggestions, which will often lead you to having more experience in the long run, but if you’re like me you’ll pointlessly flail at the enemy until it dies. I’m horrible at tactics.

Players will be able to slightly control your teammates as you can give them specific orders at times, which can sway the flow of battle. In the demo you were tasked with facing down a threat to the area for a little bit of spending money, so you can get your car back from the chopshop.

final fantasy xv 03-31-16-(13)

In order to defeat this mammoth I had to utilize a timed attack between my heavy hitter to get its defense down. After this I came in with my own heavy weapon to deal a decisive blow, stunning it and racking up some much needed damage.

That’s not to say I didn’t almost die from this thing, I simply lost all of my HP twice over to that monster.

When that happened I went into a sort of “limping” mode where one of my friends came to help me get back on my feet to keep fighting. Whenever I was brought back onto my feet, I lost a significant chunk of my HP and was forced to think more strategically.

This limping state also applies to your friends as well. Each time you or your friends fall, you will loose a chunk of your HP; and if you lose your entire gauge, that character will be knocked out for the rest of the fight. This can cause a game over if Noctis falls, so it’s better to run away from the fight and heal your party instead of being stubborn and ending up restarting from your last save.

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Eventually I was able to beat the monster, and then my party decided to call it a night and set up a campfire.

Each character had their own objectives they had to complete while camping. As they set up the tent, gather supplies, cook, and even take pictures of everyone, each played a central role in a complete party.

This actually played a significant function, as each job has specific stats and could be improved the more times they went camping. I don’t really know what everything does, but I did find out that cooking meals based on what was harvested gave certain significant boosts towards combat capabilities.

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This game would have to be one of my favorite games I played recently. It is a unique twist on a series that I have loved ever since I was a child, and it is fantastic.

From being able to actually drive a car, switching between old Final Fantasy themes, hunting down dualhorns, to diving between the legs of a massive winged monstrosity, this game had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Final Fantasy XV is launching on November 29th across both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, worldwide.

Editor’s Note: Updated for clarity regarding combat / game over’s and more information about the anime that supplements this game.  More information on the anime can be found in the comments.

See more posts on nichegamer for Final Fantasy XV


Cody Gulley

About

I am a research student with a history in psychology. I am a fan of tactical rpgs and I love to travel. I hope to one day be a clinical psychologist.

  • OSad

    A lot of people feel very negatively towards this game since it’s been in development for so long, but to me it looks different enough that I’m pretty excited for it.

    If they embrace some goofiness to go alongside the seriousness of it all (and it looks like they are with the banter between party members, Cid being a hot as heck mechanic that works on big trucks, convenience stores next to a wilderness with gigantic beasts in them, all the brand shilling and probably a lot more), then I do think this game will be legitimately good.

  • Raspberry

    Fujoshi Fantasy XV, not gonna touch this “Bro trip” trash with a ten foot pole

    Good thing Lost Odyssey is BC with Xbox One so i can play the REAL final fantasy and ignore this shit game.

  • Noctah

    I actually quite enjoy the fact that it’s going to be 4 guys together as the main party.

    It’s been too long since I’ve seen a story driven game with an all-male cast, that played with masculine friendship/rivalry/banter. Feels like every other game NEEDS to have “The Girl” in there somewhere, with romantic subplots as par for the course.

  • Honestly, from everything I’ve seen over the past two years, it doesn’t look like a bad game at all. It will, in fact, probably be quite good. Yet, I can’t shake the feeling that this is not what I expected a final fantasy game to be like. It feels like some kind of friendly (albeit obviously going to be dark at some point) game in a fantasy-steampunk environment, but not the quite “high fantasy” I would expect. It looks fun, but I have no interest in it.

  • Mr0303

    “You will be primarily controlling the Prince.” – I wish:

    https://s14.postimg.org/uyuqlhvzl/ba0c85181ecb3d7c67f7348d54942c6b.jpg

  • Madbrainbox

    In Ubisoft’s current state?Bad idea.

  • sanic

    I had enough fun with the demo so I’m in, Getting it for $35 before tax anyways,

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    I thought they shafted the Luminous engine for something else.

    Only reason I’d watch Kingsglaive would be to pick at the series more to bother an incessant fan since my library has it so I don’t have to spend money.

    “facing down a threat to the area for a little bit of spending money, so you can get your car back from the chopshop”
    What happened to the princes Gold Standard American Express?

  • Mr0303

    You are probably right, but I would still gladly play a good POP game. The Lost Sands was surprisingly good and hearing Yuri Lowenthal again was awesome.

  • NuclearCherries

    How was the combat? Has it improved from the combat in the platinum demo?
    Also, is Terra’s theme playable on your car? Single most important thing.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    FFVI DLC Fam.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Even if it keeps par the course of going to shit halfway through at best?

  • NuclearCherries

    Better not be. Unless it has costumes. Then they will truly look stylish as hell.

  • Madbrainbox

    I never played that one.Didn’t like the Prince.I’d personally want a continuation of the 2008 version but with some challenge in it and actual combat this time.I liked that kind of Prince and Elika.Plus,the game was gorgeous.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    It’s Square, it gonna be with the costumes being character decals on the car.

  • NuclearCherries

    Well that’s a dealbreaker. Unless we get a Tifa decal in the same vein as the Cidney decal.

  • Mr0303

    I played very little of the 2008 reboot and found it kind of cringeworthy. Perhaps I was getting really tired of Nolan North.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Still waiting to hear about airship car models.

  • OSad

    At least if it goes to shit… it’ll go to shit with the bros.

  • Montrillian

    He spent the entire limit on High Class Porn, Doritos Chips, and Mountain Dew. The prince is a man of high tastes.

  • Madbrainbox

    I really liked the way the environment transformed after you completed an objective.The story and the setting were quite interesting as well.And playing as a tag team felt good.Sadly it was a mixed bag.

  • Uncle Ocelot

    They have ditched the Luminous Engine for Kingdom Hearts III and FFVII Remake in favour of UE4 but I guess XV was too far in development when they made that decision to make the switch.

  • Warrior90

    Yes, Terra’s theme is included in the radio. Here’s the full list of songs included if you’re curious http://www.novacrystallis.com/2016/09/heres-music-can-listen-final-fantasy-xvs-car/

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    I just wonder if the combat at all improved from holding down a button to win from the Platinum demo

  • Uncle Ocelot

    Hmm… it could be fun, but the season pass is putting me off. Not a fan of being told the full price I’m paying won’t have everything months before release, I am curious to see how it turned out after a decade of development however. I’ll probably buy World of FF and get this as a Christmas gift or something.

  • Montrillian

    It didn’t work out well for the Ninja Turtles. I’m looking at you Venus

  • Montrillian

    Oh how I long for a good Prince of Persia game. I loved that series and got every ending to those games. It was fun as hell.

  • Warrior90

    You could wait for the inevitable GOTY edition.

  • Nah, still not a FF i’m iinterested with. but hey, it will finnaly be released.

  • AT-LOW

    Thanks for your impressions! I was interested in this game, but I’m sick of all the ridiculous hype that comes from mainstream media outlets about it.
    This sounds cool! I might buy it when it’s out!

  • 2501

    Honestly, i’m pretty excited to play it. This is the only FF game to hold my interest since XII and that was over a decade ago.

    It’s a shame that promo/marketing treatment of this title is abysmal, a shitty cgi film that has no reason to exist and a season pass with missing dlc, yeah… good move SE.

  • NuclearCherries

    Lovely. Nice to see Vivi’s theme is also there.

  • Will3316

    Sands of Time is one of my favorite games ever. The 2008 game is pretty good too, deserved a proper sequel.

  • chocodino

    “a full length anime”

    five episodes of twelve minutes, coming out once a month…..how is that full length?

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Cody sounds like he’s outside people who ignore television.

  • Montrillian

    Thanks for the info, I’ll clarify. I had only heard that there was an anime coming out about it!

  • Montrillian

    I haven’t watched TV in years

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Well, you’re not missing anything.

  • Montrillian

    The only thing that I do miss is sitting down and watching tv with family. The shows didn’t matter as most of it was trash, but the fact that it brought family all into one room felt good.

  • Para-Medic

    XIV and Type-0 music…

    Fuckin’ hype omg.

  • Jack

    No Homo

  • chocodino

    just to clarify, 12 minutes is an estimation, a quick check on youtube [where the chapters are officially hosted on the final fantasy XV channel], they go like this

    Ch1 – 11:56
    Ch2 – 14:47/14:45 (i don’t know why the multiple language subs version is 2 seconds shorter)
    Ch3 – 13:42/13:41 (same as above)
    Ch4 – 17:33/17:31 (same as above)
    Ch5 – 12:18

    although the actual animation starts between the 10 and 15 second mark, depending on the chapter, and the credits last between 1:00 to 1:20

    so actual animation time would be around

    Ch1 – 10:25
    Ch2 – 13:15
    Ch3 – 12:00
    Ch4 – 15:00
    Ch5 – 10:50

    giving an average of 12:18 per chapter (estimated)

    also, there’s supposed to be sixth chapter, exclusive to the people who buy the ultimate collector’s edition.

    just to let you know, in case you want to put more information on the article

  • Obbliglol

    Yeah, really looking forward to this.

  • Obbliglol

    Liberi Fatali and The Extreme, awesome. That’s actually a much bigger list than I was expecting.

    Servants of the Mountain will be super comfy to listen to while driving through a tundra or something.

  • Lucky

    There’s a lot of good TV out these days if you know where to look.

  • Cael

    I just want more Cidney and Aranea.

  • Edward

    Shut up you whiny little bitch.

  • Smug

    How does it feel to have absolute shit taste?

  • Guin

    I still can’t shake the fact that this is probably the most Westaboo pandering FF to date (All dudes going on an epic quest while seemingly goofing off a la Stardust Crusaders.). And that is bothersome at best.

    Hope after this “experiment” is over and done with, they go back to their roots along the lines of FF9, 4, 6 or even 7. Until then P5 will remain GOTY for me.

  • Nisani

    It just feels too gay to me.

    4 guys that seem to have come out of a boyband
    unbuttoned shirts
    washboard abs in every trailer

    This is probably done from a marketing standpoint to attract gay guys and some female players, but I’m straight and this does nothing for me.

  • Nisani

    It just feels too gay to me.

    4 guys that seem to have come out of a boyband
    unbuttoned shirts
    washboard abs in every trailer

    This is probably done from a marketing standpoint to attract gay guys and some female players, but I’m straight and this does nothing for me.

    Even the pictures in this article are just too gay for me. Maybe some people are into that, I’m not, I’m completely uninterested in gay guys. To each their own.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a8754565dfdc337d96a63b86ba5d67ec2f2147daa4e86c30b5916916c9d1ba60.png

  • John Smith.

    Eh, looks interesting and different from the normal stuff coming out of Japan.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Like what?

  • Moon Strife

    Yes, a lot different I would say!

  • Moon Strife

    Maybe cuz you have no confidence in your sex, you think everyone who plays a game with with no playable females is gay like u

  • Moon Strife

    Yah plz homo, dont buy the game

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    What’s different about it?

  • Obbliglol

    Final Fantasy having very pretty male characters is not new, dude.

  • Moon Strife

    I am so buying the deluxe version if this game!

  • Nisani

    There’s tons of games with only male playable characters. No one is calling those games game themed.

    But these characters are metrosexual males, spending a lot of time on their looks, walking around with unbuttoned shirts, showing off their abs, muscles, shoulders, and enjoying each other’s presence…if that’s your thing, go for it. Just not for me. Like I said, to each their own.

  • Nisani

    There’s tons of games with only male playable characters. No one is calling those games Gay or Fujoshi themed.

    But these characters are metrosexual males, spending a lot of time on their looks, walking around with unbuttoned shirts, showing off their abs, muscles, shoulders, and enjoying each other’s presence…if that’s your thing, go for it. Just not for me. Like I said, to each their own, enjoy yourself.

  • sagewisdom

    I don’t know, but I’m sure you can explain.

  • sagewisdom

    …One guy has an unbuttoned shirt showin off his muscles. One guy. Prompto is wearing a sleeveless jacket. This is honestly a case of feeling insecure. I mean, seriously, guys can’t hang out? Hell, Prompto talks about wanting to date Cindy several times.

  • sagewisdom

    …You did not cite FFIV, FFVI, FFVII, and FFIX while complaining about characters goofing off.

  • Nisani

    “I mean, seriously, guys can’t hang out”

    of course, and a good example is God of War, where Kratos hangs out with his son, which is touching and interesting to me.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a6ebeb0967b52f024523c1bd975d3ca15d9db7dff4b910574ff1ce73f83b119c.jpg

    However, Final Fantasy has been going into a certain direction, which is hard to describe to me as anything but catering to Gay males and Fujoshi women.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aec9bb6ffb0be29e2461d8ced8f4b6d42bca8f310da449db9c58706b31e6cf69.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f23e4a8651bd3872b6cc94da007c0d9cca5d0b252ddd096cc2a44037bb2b2a38.png

  • Guin

    Those games didn’t advertise said goofing off as a selling point.

  • Smug

    >all wearing black and the same style of clothes
    >no facial hair
    >all pretty boys by fujoshit standards

  • Smug

    I prefer something that doesnt look like a faggot boy’s band

    Then again, fujoshits hate anything remotely manly

  • Smug

    Him defending this game and Mafia III: “Dindu Nuffin” edition is enough to judge the character

  • Alistair

    So a sixth chapter main story for exclusive for the people with big pockets.

    What devil is this so you finish chapter 5 thinking the story has ended but another MGS5 farce that didn’t end as well so, the game will feel disjointed good job I’m not getting this gay game.

    Yes I said Gay gay as buddy Men together, answer me this which Final fantasy did this before just forces on male characters?

    You can’t as none of them did.

  • Lucky

    Things I heard was good from people who have similar tastes as mine: The Expanse, The Americans, Sillicon Valley, Last Kingdom (?), Dark Matter, etc.

    Stuff I personally am keeping up with is Daredevil, Stranger Things, Better Call Saul, Ash vs Evil Dead, and I guess Rick and Morty. Though naming cartoons might be cheating.

    Though I mostly download this stuff and watch it on TV. So I’m not saying cable is any good.

  • Alistair

    TBH square Enix is taking a risk with a all male story it not for me.

    Question should it exist? Well yes as in free market.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Ah. I’m just looking for shows to watch

  • Lucky

    http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/best-tv-shows-of-the-last-few-years-best-seasons.99062/

    I thought this thread was pretty helpful in finding normie non-Animu stuff. Of course opinions are divisive but hey, helped me.

  • Raspberry

    lul found the butthurt faggot fanboy LUL hhahahahahaha

  • Noctah

    Well it’s not like it’s an “all male story”, it’s just the main cast. I’m sure there’s plenty of females in the supporting cast and linked to the narrative. They just seem to be outside of the main focus, which would be male friendship and growth.

    But considering the imprevalence of all-male main casts, can you really be sure that it’s not for you?

  • Alistair

    I keeping a open mind so far it’s no doesn’t mean I won’t ever get it.

    I was like that with FF13 as well I wasn’t keen of break away of the battle system. But it grew on me.

  • Marc Duarte

    Final Fantasy: Yaoi Edition

    I don’t mind males in my party, but I need some females for balance purposes (and eye candy).

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Thanks broham

  • Obbliglol

    …Fujoshi women only? So not straight women, then? Sorry dude, but you’re coming across as pretty insecure – stop obsessing over the gender of what’s in-game and the gender of the apparent audience. What about Kuja from FFIX? The Emperor from FFII? Tidus and Seymour? I mean, this is the game series that has Sephiroth in it. Pretty boys are not new at all. Even if we start at Vaan from FFXII (the last pic you posted), that game came out in 2007. That’s nine years ago, dude. Again, this is not a “certain direction” SE is going in – it’s always been there.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Stop lying Lucky, it’s all shit with the few that escape the group being mediocre at best.

  • Lucky

    Sturgeon’s Law. Good television exists, even if a majority of it is crap.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Name 10.

  • Lucky

    Already gave 10 to @shiggy_diggy_doo:disqus

  • Flamingfighter

    To be fair, the DLC/Season Pass Announcements don’t usually bode well this day in age for other titles.

  • Narmy

    Pretty costly experiment though. If it fails there may not be another FF.

  • NeoTruth

    “The Girl” character is still in this one though, just not playable, so it is the same as every other game. Having all the “playable” character be one sex makes things feel stale. Having a variety allows for both male and female players to familiar themselves with the characters a little more.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    I said TV, not Internet.
    I’ll believe SyFy made something interesting when I see it.
    Oh shit, Mike Judge is still alive.
    Naming cartoons would be hell mode.
    And yes, Cable/Satellite is dogshit. I’ve been using digital channels for my entertainment.

  • Lucky

    No point in making the distinction, you can stream to your TV easily.

  • sagewisdom

    And your definition of manly is roid rage bald guy in a soldier’s uniform or something instead of buff guy with a deep voice that shows of his washboard abs and muscled tattooed arms with facial hair and mullet? You’re hating to hate, at least admit it rather than trying to make up reasons for your stupid hatred.

  • sagewisdom

    Neither has Final Fantasy XV. It’s advertised “best friends acting like friends” and a theme of Brotherhood.

  • sagewisdom

    Father and son are not the same as best friends. Final Fantasy has always had pretty boys. It has all types. And, you act like they don’t have females in just as ridiculous outfits and looks. Have you seen Ashe and her micro-skirt? Or Fran? Seriously, you sound insecure.

  • Smug

    >still defending the boy’s band obvious design
    spotted the fanboy

    Not to mention the game hardly looks like fantasy, with such uninspired design and the products placements

  • Moon Strife

    Much much smoother and responsive, improved enemy AI, power level and enemy abilities, party members, magic, links, party abilities, ascension to unlock passive skills , back attacks and side attacks.

    If you press 1 button now,enemies will shredd u

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Oh thank god

  • Guin

    Codename for fujoshi pandering.

  • LibidinBoy

    Its funny how many people here is bothered by having an all-male cast

  • GrimFate

    I agree. A realistically portrayed single-gender cast has a different dynamic than a mixed gender cast, so I hope they pull this off. Can’t remember the last time I played a game that (I assume) somewhat focuses on male bonding. Might not be as enjoyable for the female fans, but then again they might find it interesting too, as it’s not a world they will necessarily have seen much of before. Here’s to hoping, anyway.

  • Moon Strife

    Agree with u, The game really hooked me up.
    I expect it will get really good reviews even though it is not Turn based anymore