Final Fantasy titles are like buses; you wait years for one and three show up at the same time. Not only is there the remastered Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age just around the corner, we also have World of Final Fantasy set to release soon as well as the tent pole title, Final Fantasy XV. All three were at EGX in Birmingham but I only got to play the latter during my visit.
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• Developer: Square Enix
• Publisher: Square Enix
• Previewed on: PlayStation 4
• Also Available On: Xbox One, PC
• Release Date: 29th November
There were two places to see Final Fantasy XV at EGX – in the Square Enix section with the other Final Fantasy titles or in the PlayStation section. After queuing for over an hour near the PlayStation stage (as that had a much shorter line), doing my best impression of a non-complaining British person, we finally got hands-on with the game. My experience prior to this with the title was limited so I was ready to jump head-long into the game.
Donning the damp headset and picking up the well-worn PlayStation 4 controller, I took controller of Noctis. The prince and his band of brothers were stranded in a desert area as their car was in for repairs. After speaking with the distractingly-clothed Cindy, I was able to reduce the cost of the repairs by agreeing to clear the area of vermin. This was an introduction to the game’s dialogue options mechanic – a welcome but not exactly game changing inclusion.
Immediately, my next task appeared on the map so I made a bee line for the first group of pests. Combat is introduced slowly, with the primary mechanics involving hammering the circle button to attack, using square to dodge and pressing R1 and triangle to perform a vanishing jump where Noctis launches his weapon at the targeted enemy before appearing immediately next to it to continue his attack.
After making short work of the first group, we ran to the next bunch and the next, traversing the terrain slowly. Clearly the car will be the primary mode of transport here, with only brief interludes on foot. Once complete, Cindy calls to tell us that someone is missing and we need to find them. Ignis, the spectacled member of the group, suggests that we rest up before taking on the next challenge.
After finding a suitable spot, marked on the map, we set up camp with a brief movie showing the characters building the tent and setting a fire. It is during this section that character load outs can be changed and other options selected. My primary concern was choosing a meal. The stew I chose improve my team’s attack stats and increased their HP so I think I chose wisely.
After finding the missing man, he confirmed he was attacked by a large beast so we decide to track it down. Providing a much more steep challenge, the hulking monstrosity introduced a team up mechanic. Choosing another member of the team, Noctis can attack enemies with his companion and inflict higher damage by completing a quick-time event. Each of the three guardians have different team-up skills so I can see this playing a big part in later battles.
After defeating the mini-boss, we make our way back to the garage and collect the newly-repaired car. Ignis asks me to drive and it is possibly the worst aspect of the demo. It doesn’t so much steer as move along a rigid track. I am hoping the main game offers more freedom in this regard as it felt entirely too clunky.
It was at this point that our demo ended. Overall, I enjoyed the taster but know there is going to be a lot more to the full game. The combat felt good, with room to go deeper as the game progresses. Driving was a chore so hopefully I can leave that in auto from the beginning. Visually the game is stunning and the world and creature design looks impressive. While I am still more intrigued by World of Final Fantasy, it would not take much persuading for me to pick this up too.