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


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


Cody Gulley


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.