FINAL FANTASY XV
By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on December 5, 2016
Do you hear what I hear? It's the song "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King. It's coming from my TV and I see four guys having the greatest and most exciting adventure of their lives. There is a smart nerdy guy, one is sort of a doofus, one guy has the muscles for the dirty work and the fourth is naturally selected by the group to be the leader. What? You think I'm watching the Stephen King movie Stand by Me? Nope, you guessed wrong. I'm playing Final Fantasy XV!
Final Fantasy starts with a statement: For the fans and First timers. And just after the first hour of game play, I must say I couldn't agree more. For first timers, it's an awesome game! This also goes for the fans, but they will, contrary to the first timers, recognize subtle hints to previous Final Fantasy games. For example, I love it that Sid is now an old guy know who owns a garage and fixes your car. And I definitely recognized the good old victory theme.
In this latest installment in the Final Fantasy series, you will be playing as young prince Noctis. He's just on his way to get to his future bride Luna. He is being accompanied by his best friends and that's his luck. Because, right from the start, there are enough dangers and troubles coming Noctis' way. It's not just a matter of driving a couple of hours to his future bride, walk to the altar, say yes and live happily ever after. No sir, it sure isn't!
The friends of Prince Noctis are Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto. Gladiolus is the strong warrior type of guy. He has the most health and will throw himself directly at the danger. He is also the survivalist. Ignis is the cook and assists the battles with his spears and daggers. Prompto is the funny one and he love the Chocobo's. He makes pictures during the adventures (which you can share through your social media by the way) and brings guns to a swordfight. As you can see they all have their own special abilities and this goes also for their personality. Apart from being the support he needs in battle, Noctis' friends are never the ones to shy away from a couple of jokes and one-liners.
When playing Final Fantasy XV, you will have a lot exploring to do. Don't forget to visit the tipsters in diners to learn all there is to know about hidden treasures and new quests. And whether you want to continue the main story or go on one or more of the numerous side quests, it's totally up to you. You can travel by foot, by car and by Chocobo of course. Hiking will give you the opportunity to scout the area, but it will take you a while to reach your destination. The car gives the possibility to fast travel, but keep an eye on your fuel, or you will be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Travelling by Chocobo is faster than traveling on foot and has the added advantage of not needing to stick to the roads, like you'll have to do when traveling by car. You can only use/rent Chocobo's after you completed a certain quest.
Final Fantasy is an RPG, that means there is a lot of leveling and upgrading involved. You will level up by earning XP, but there's a catch. For the actual leveling up, you'll need to rest. You will also earn AP, which you can use in the Ascension menu. In this menu, you'll find upgrades to make you stronger, smarter, etc. And then there is the gear menu, where you equip the members of your party with the weapons, spells and accessories. I must say the menus are very self-explanatory, so you can easily figure out what to do. The aforementioned rest, needed to level up, can take place in most of the motels you come across during your travels, but you can also choose to set up a camp in the wild. If you decide to build a camp, Ignis will prepare a meal. Some of these meals are the favorite meals of the party members. If you choose to prepare such a favorite dish, then the healing and power stats of that meal will increase.
Especially when you are new to the Final Fantasy series, it's wise to go through the tutorial before you start running around this beautiful yet extremely dangerous world. Having said that, I would like to point out that, even if you're an experienced Final Fantasy player, it still might pay off to take a look at the tutorial, seeing as how it gives you a complete overview of all the new moves and possibilities that have been added to the game. A new feature in Final Fantasy XV, for instance, is the Warp mechanic. You can Warp to selected places and perform a Warp attack on enemies. If you do this exactly right, you might even somersault over them and land at their backs, making it easier to finish the enemy in question. The whole combat system is different in this series. Forget about turn based combat, you can slay all you want, when you want. And you can actually see your enemies, so you can decide to start a battle or evade it.
Graphics-wise I can only say: IT LOOKS AWESOME!! Final Fantasy XV looks great in HD, the creatures looking great in HD, Cindy's boobs are looking especially great in HD. Oh, I'm sorry, I let myself go there for a sec. (But really, the look awesome!) Square Enix has proven once more that they are really good at this. While fighting, you can even see shirts getting wet from the sweat of the character. Sure, you can certainly enjoy a game without this feature, but it gives you a good idea of how many attention to detail has been incorporated in the game.
Everything about this game is great. The developers really stepped up their game. Don't get me wrong, Final Fantasy was already an awesome series with brilliant stories, music and graphics. But with Final Fantasy XV, they literally opened the game genre for everyone. So yeah, if you're a first timer or a long time fan. Do yourself a huge favor and buy this game!
FINAL FANTASY XV
November 29, 2016