Our next Final Fantasy podcast recording (14.12.19) - 400: Final Fantasy XV

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JaySevenZero
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Our next Final Fantasy podcast recording (14.12.19) - 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 11:27 am

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Final Fantasy XV for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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DaMonth
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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by DaMonth » April 15th, 2019, 11:26 am

I'm just gonna start and say that the cup noodle mission was the best one and FF15 should have hammed it up more often like that. But yeah, the only FF game I've finished to this day and it was mostly good? Except the end, but everyone says that. More than the plot, I was always excited for Ignis to say his recipe line. The actual combat was a bit awful though, since all the fights were basically consequence-less if you bought 99 potions.

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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Chaos9001 » May 1st, 2019, 7:13 pm

I enjoyed this game quite a bit, but I have to say my favorite moment is the end when Noctis shows the picture that is supposed to signify his time with his friends to the love of his life in the next world. It is my favorite, because instead of a meaningful picture, I chose to use one of the default pictures of Cindy.....awkward.

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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Nupraptor » June 15th, 2019, 11:19 am

A critical part of whether this game works for you is whether you actually find it appealing to spend time hanging out with Noctis and his friends. Fortunately I did. I thought they were a fun bunch and I liked the banter between them. I enjoyed the little campfire moments, cruising in the car and the jaunts that Noctis would occasionally take with one of them on his own. I don't normally have much time for cooking mini games, but I never got tired of Ignis creating a new "recipeh".

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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Alex79uk » June 15th, 2019, 3:04 pm

Has anyone played much of the pocket version of this? I'm tempted by it on Switch, and wondered how it was. I know it's pretty much the full story, save for a few side quests and a stripped back progression system.

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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by ashman86 » July 19th, 2019, 3:51 pm

E3 2006 felt like such a magical time. The Xbox 360 wasn't even a year old, and the PS3 and Wii just a few months away. I, like so many other Final Fantasy fans, was eager to see what this new generation of hardware would mean for the next entry in the series, and a trailer was all but assured for the conference. And then Square Enix dropped not one, but three announcement trailers on us: FF XIII, FF Versus XIII, and that other one (Type 0?). The games were all related to some shared universe or theme or something called the Fabula Nova Crystallis: "a new story for the crystals." It was ambitious, if a bit silly, and I couldn't have been more excited.

As time proved, the project was probably too ambitious. FF XIII was a massive disappointment for me, I can't even remember Type 0, and Versus basically became vaporware for years. But, masochistic fans that we are, we held out hope that Versus would return. After enough time had passed, most of the community seemed to have reached the consensus that Versus XIII should come back as FF XV, and, sure enough, that's just what happened. Sort of.

FF XV isn't really the same game we saw teased more than 10 years prior to its release. There were similarities in world and character design, the protagonist was more-or-less the same person we'd seen in the original trailer, but so much had changed over the years as the project presumably got shuffled from one team and director to the next, that the final product seemed markedly different. In retrospect, it's a miracle the game ever launched at all.

After a prologue that shows our heroes at an uncertain point in the future fighting against an evil we know nothing about, the game's opening chapter is promising. Four friends are on a road trip, and of course the car's broken down on the side of the road. Florence Welch's cover of "Stand by Me" sets a nostalgic and wistful tone for the adventure to come, and it's obvious from the get-go that the relationships between these four young men will be the driving force behind the narrative.

It all makes for some strong imagery, even if the game's visuals themselves are inconsistent. While the world seems huge and awe-inducing, with some very strong sky lines and vistas, the graphical engine seems to struggle with the weight of it all. At times, the environment looks practically last-gen. I originally played the game on a vanilla Xbox One and later returned to it with a moderately beefy gaming PC, and while the latter certainly offered an upgrade to frame rate and graphical fidelity, it couldn't fix the underlying design.

I wasn't certain about the game's combat at first either, but it grew on me and felt in some ways like an evolution of the system I'd loved in FF XII. While I missed being able to take control of my party members, the act of teleporting around a battlefield with Noctis was just plain fun. That said, combat always felt a bit unresponsive and button-mashy to me, and turning the series' magic into what amounted more-or-less to a grenade felt like weird choice.

Inconsistent is probably the word I'd say best describes the game, really. There are a lot of very strong bits here, but each one seems undermined or undercut by a very weak bit. The summons look incredible, but they're few and far between. Teleporting around a battlefield feels great, but combat itself is clunky. The world seems open, but you're bound by invisible walls throughout. And, perhaps most disappointingly, the narrative seems to be attempting something unique, but it just sort-of falls apart towards the end. The characters in particular feel compelling and interesting, but I'd argue that nearly none of them get the kind of arc or development they deserve, with maybe the exception of Noctics. Lunafreya is perhaps the most egregious example.

At least the chocobos are pretty cool.

In the end, I think I liked Final Fantasy XV more than some but a lot less than I wanted to. Again, it's a bit of a miracle that the game launched at all, but I think the seams where multiple iterations of the same project were stitched together show, and many of them are sloppy at best.

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Re: 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Doctor Raphael » August 22nd, 2019, 11:04 am

I picked up the Royal Edition on a whim in a sale. It is the first Final Fantasy I have not bounced off of quickly and now I have 90+ hours on the clock for as well as completing all DLCs. I fell in love with this game, and would easily rate it as one of my favourites of the generation. This is despite it probably not being a great game, with easy to spot shortcomings.

Whilst technically a nice looking game, with postcard perfect locations (anyone up for a holiday in Altissia?) and those *chef kiss* RECIPEHS, I found most of the game world rather creepy. Industrial grunge was ever present but never blended in with the world of magic or futuristic technologies. Worst of all, the minor NPC characters all looked like robots with latex faces designed to mimic human movements that really just mimic my nightmares. When next to the stylish main cast it is incredibly jarring. Likewise, although the main story beats were fine: Predestined Christ figure runs from then embraces destiny, bad guy tries to destroy the world that shunned him, the gods have suspicious motives etc, everything always felt muddled or not quite fully baked. Even if you play the DLCs when they are set chronologically it does little to help that feeling. Key characters (for example Ardyn) were never fully fleshed out even with the extended media or just randomly appear and vanish without even a 'by your leave'. The side stories in the main game are just fetch quests.

Despite those issues there were two compelling aspects to the main game that kept me hooked. Firstly, whilst offering very little challenge throughout (I rarely changed my gear other than for aesthetic reasons and I levelled up Noctis' first sword and stuck with it), the combat felt cool as hell. The multi-enemy fights always felt chaotic in a good way, with friends and foes zipping about in all directions like some anime bar brawl, especially with the combo attacks. Flying Noctis about the screen before raking up huge damage from a well timed technique or spell was always satisfying. Couple that with music like the great Hunt or be Hunted, which is so epic that every time it played it made me feel like I was taking on skyscraper sized super monsters even though mostly it was just weird looking dogs, and fights always felt exciting and never a grind.

Secondly, the game does a great job of capturing a feeling of being on an adventure with friends. The car journeys, camping trips, holiday snaps, mild banter, brotherly quarrels and matching clothing styles are all there. While the main plot may not be stellar the more subtle development of Noctis's relationships with the main party, and how they help move him through his transition from teen to adult as he faces highs and lows holds the entire game experience together for me. It added significant weight to the later sequences of the game and by the end I probably had a greater attachment to the party as whole than I have had even in games such as mass effect and dragon age where individual characters are much better developed. The post credits scene around the campfire is, as far as I can recall, the first time a video game as moved me to tears. This is the perfect time to mention Florence and the Machine's cover of stand by me, which is just superb by any metric and I'm surprised I've never heard it outside of the game (it reached number 2 in Belgium apparently). Whether by association with the 1986 film or not the song encapsulates the games themes of friendship supporting us through adversity, coming of age and the inevitability of impermanence perfectly. For my money it is the best version of this song I've heard and in my head will forever be associated with all those emotions played out around the campfire as the game ends.

For all its imperfections FFXV managed to maintain exciting combat and remain emotionally engaging throughout. How it achieved that for me may not work for everybody but if you like the idea of a road trip with your pals and can live with an 'all flashy shirt but no trousers' battle experience I think this game is worth a punt.


As a P.S. I have to give a shout out to the incredible puzzle dungeon, Pitioss Ruins. Whilst the games controls may not be very forgiving, once I'd gotten the hang of things I felt I was more than able to platform hop reliably. There were many deaths along the way but they always seemed to be my own fault and never cheap. The rapid resets stopped the challenges getting frustrating. The only part of the whole multi hour experience that did wind me up was trying to land the flying car on the tiny run way to reach the ruins in the first place. The game play challenge would have been entertaining enough on its own but what really transforms the experience is all the mystery oozing from the dungeon walls. Just what were the architects of the place trying to say? There are so many little tricks of perspective, purposefully placed objects and sudden changes in pacing that it is hard to ignore them. Prior to playing myself I had come across a theory by the redditor perona77 that the dungeon tells a story, a sort of Greek chthonic myth like Orpheus descending into the underworld to save Eurydice, based around the gods of FFXV . I 100% bought into the idea and spent just as long trying to decipher what the statue placements and puzzles were attempting to tell me as I did repeatedly falling into spikes. When I finally emerged back into the over world I felt all the satisfaction of having just enjoyed a tragic play alongside the usual triumph over a video game. I have no idea if that is what the designers intended but that probably only further cements it as a work of art.

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Re: Our next Final Fantasy podcast (14.12.19) - 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Heavener » October 27th, 2019, 9:09 am

I bought FFXV at release and played it right away.
Back then, you couldn't drive off the main roads with the Regalia, you couldn't control any other party member besides Noctis, and story aspects were missing, so you had no idea why Ignis suddenly had a scar over one of his eyes after some story events.

With all the updates this game has received, I feel like it's almost a different game altogether. On the one hand, I'm happy that I can replay it and experience many new things. On the other hand, I'm frustrated all of this wasn't in there from the beginning. Because FFXV is a long game, and it's a time commitment (especially when you have a huge backlog). I intend to replay it, but somehow the time this would require has put me off. Nowadays, I barely replay games - feels like a waste of time when I have over 200 other games I still need to play for the first time.

In any case, what I enjoyed most in FFXV was the friendship between the cast. At first, I thought an all-male cast would be disappointing, because most of my favourite characters are female, but I grew to like the boys very quickly. As a man who has very few male friends and mostly connects with women (a curse and a blessing at the same time I guess XD), I have only little experience with all-male-friendships. This game made me feel like I could be a part of this, at least for a while. And I enjoyed how human the characters felt.

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Re: Our next Final Fantasy podcast recording (14.12.19) - 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Superuser » November 22nd, 2019, 9:31 am

Fifteen is one of the many games that almost made me buy a PS4. But the reviews were middling, so I held off for the PC release, which I preordered. So bear in mind I played a heavily-patched version of the game, which was said to have fixed the game's core issues.

I'm sorry to say that I too, was massively disappointed.

The game is brilliant in concept. A road trip with your buddies through a modern but still beautiful, fantastical world is a perfect setting for an RPG. I'm surprised few others have thought of a car as a literal vehicle for moving through an adventure plot in a party-based RPG.

What I found was a very boring game that had a structurally-sound core, but failings in every other aspect. I didn't play for more than 15 hours.

Firstly, some praise.
  1. This is a gorgeous game with an art direction that's massively up my alley. It blends a present-day setting with fantasy and nature really well. What surprised me is the breadth of its environments; it has cities, but it also models people living on dirt tracks and in caravans out in the country. It's a very American look, and it executes it perfectly. The costumes are a bit silly, but I got along with them. They're hardly Seymour's hair in FF10.

    There are more traditional fantasy environments, like caves. And they really look like caves! It's the first game since Dragon's Dogma to get darkness right.

    Did I mention the food? The food though. How can food be rendered this well in 3D, in all its smokey, gelatine glory? It's a sight to behold every time and I can't get enough of it.

    The artwork is magnificent, as is the particle work on the effects, which is all programmatic. All in all, this is a great looking game.
  2. I give full praise to the chemistry between you and your companions. It's rare for an RPG to start with all your party already being friends. The dialogue between them is very natural and you get the sense they all have a long history with each other. While starting from caricatures, like the emo, the happy but stupid one, the buff dude who doesn't talk, and the smart and uptight British guy - all the boys are fully realised characters from the start. That's because you see them interacting with each other about entirely banal things on their road trip.

    Every place you stay at has a cutscene or short bit of dialogue to show you what they'll get up to before they go to bed, implying they'll spend hours playing a mobile game, or telling stories between themselves. The game does a lot to make these relationships come to life. Genuine male friendships are honestly rare in games, and this game portrays them faithfully.

    The first scene is the gang pushing a car together, and it takes a long time for the main plot to start after that. I defend this decision as it establishes relationships instead of dramatic stakes. It puts across what the game is really about, and what the game gets right.
Now for criticism, I'm afraid. It's a shame I have to leave a negative review here on this forum. I know C&R stands for being positive towards games and the people that make them (the latter should always hold true!), but some decisions must be rightly criticised.
  1. The game's endless loading screens also wiped away my enthusiasm. On my PC's hard drive, it took almost 10 minutes to fully load into the game. You'd think that's the end of it as an open world game, but it has zones with constant loading that you have to frequently shift between. It makes you remember why open world was cool in the first place, but I suppose it doesn't load between every screen, like classic FF did!
  2. The weakest aspect by far is combat. I'm not an RPG fan so I approached this as an action game. It fails at both.
    From an action perspective, you just need to hold the combat button until you win, with a rare dodge inbetween. The bounds on enemy attacks are set so poorly that you'll get hit even if you are dodging. At other times, the game is too fault-tolerant for its own good. It makes your actions meaningless. If you're lazy, you can just warp away, wait for your energy to come back, and do a strike. Rinse and repeat until the enemy is down.

    Every combat encounter is like this. It's not resolved by the preparation going into the fight either, which is nonexistent. I never felt an urge to invest in its systems because I could cheese every fight. And when I tried to, I found my options limited. It adds up to the single worst combat system I've ever experienced in an action or RPG game.

    From an RPG perspective, it has some of the most frustrating level scaling I've ever seen. You're always skint unless you do sidequests, and more specifically, hunts. They either give you nothing, or next to nothing, so you must take the hard road. I have had fights with trash mobs that last for almost 20 minutes because of this. You also need to wait for the right time of day and take massive trips each time...
  3. And that's the other problem with the game. Travel is a huge part of the game, but they could have done more to make it less annoying. I spent much less time in the car than I thought. Most of the time, I slowly jogging to the area I'm meant to go to. Oftentimes, you'll be dropped off on the nearest road and then need to jog 5 minutes into featureless plains to find the person or event you're looking for. Then you need to go back and find your car when you've finished up with an area, which is even worse if you're forced to exit from another angle.

    The game's runtime is spent jogging with nothing interesting going on, like parkour in Assassin's Creed or driving dangerously in GTA. You're just holding down the left stick and waiting. Eventually, I gave up.
I won't comment on the game's story in terms of praise of criticism, as I saw little of it., The main plot is surprisingly limited and you rarely see glimpses of it. I did watch Brotherhood and Kingglaive, and I thought both added a lot to the game. They should, however, have been in the main game, especially the film. A couple of brief cutscenes aren't enough to cause interest in the drama of your father and city if you've just played the game.

Finally, there are a lot of side activities in the game. A lot of these are really cool and they constantly introduce more. I still don't get how the pinball machine works, but it's impressive to see all these systems so fleshed out. As nice as they are, they are still linked to my complaint about travelling - you need to cross a huge distance to get to them each time. So they get little play because of it.

It has become a rare purchase that I was warned about going into it, was still excited for it. The trailers leading up to it, like TGS 2014's, genuinely captured my imagination. As a fantasy, I still want a game that can fulfil the promise they showed. Fifteen is not that game. Between the loading screens, dull combat and endless travelling of the bad sort, it fell so flat that I lost all will to persevere. Perhaps I would have been moved later on by the story, or found that the long journey added up to a great memory. I can't know. If Dark Souls couldn't beat the fight out of me, Fifteen must be a special kind of masochism that I can't take. And after a fair shot, I'm entirely happy with my choice to give up and do something better with my time.

Thanks for reading, If you're a C&R editor, feel free to edit as you see fit. :)

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Re: Our next Final Fantasy podcast recording (14.12.19) - 400: Final Fantasy XV

Post by Nyx-Blaster » December 4th, 2019, 4:55 pm

Final Fantasy XV holds a very special place in my heart due to the atmosphere / aesthetics and the welcoming nature of the game that makes itself known as you play. There is something really cool and satisfying about the idea of this fantasy world with magic and monsters combined with a very distinct modern flavor of these characters and their 'mafia-esque' attire of wearing suits and leather jackets and driving limousines that works a lot better than i feel it should. The sleek aesthetics bleed into the U.I. as well with the main menu screen having this chilling steel blue background and borders that is really pleasing to look at as you deck out your characters.

In fact if i had to describe Final Fantasy XV in one word it would be "Pleasing". There are some big issues with the story and how it is paced, as well as how it fails to showcase character development for many of its characters (which i imagine is addressing somewhat in the DLCs), but Final Fantasy XV is one of the few games ive played alongside Assassin's Creed Origins that genuinely felt relaxing for me to play. I loved driving around the world with the guys and hearing their banter throughout the duration of their 'road trip'. I loved stopping at a new town and going into a new restaurant to see what new kinds of food the chef had in store for our heroes. I felt at home whenever i would have the guys set up camp for the night and share a delicious looking meal with each other around the campfire. And i became excited whenever i stumbled across a new 'dungeon' for the guys to traverse through and discover a new kingly treasure. I think this is where Final Fantasy XV's strengths lie, in how the world just seems so welcoming to the player and subtly encourages you to explore what it has to offer and watch our heroes reaction to that world. I feel like Final Fantasy XV loses a bit of this charm at around the Leviathan chapter though, because from that point onward much of the game feels a bit more streamlined and less open to the player.

Also P.S. did anyone notice the reoccurring theme of dreams and sleep in the game with the city of 'Insomnia' and how Noctis dreams alot? I'm not sure if it ever went anywhere but im curious to hear if you guys think there is any merit to it.

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