I love Final Fantasy XV, and yes, I was surprised. I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy it at all, considering the last instalment I remember adoring, was Final Fantasy X. The very first in the franchise to include voice actors, which lead to the famous Tidus laugh. Since then, the world of Final Fantasy has been adapting and changing, and not always for the better. With Final Fantasy XV being a huge design shift, not only from the older games of the series with it’s turn based elements, but also the newer additions like Final Fantasy XIII using it’s paradigm system. I didn’t really know what to expect, but Final Fantasy XV sold over 5 million unit’s on it’s first day!
No mystery as to why. The voice acting is impeccable, the game design is gorgeous and it’s open world leaves heaps to explore. I soaked in the rapport between our possé of Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto. You can explore the different regions, with no linear hallways piecing one part of the story to the next, you play at your own pace, with an abundance of side quests to keep you occupied. There is so much room for activities!!! Right up until Chapter 13…
Chapter 13…God..Damn you!
If you haven’t finished Final Fantasy XV yet, then I must warn you of spoilers from here on.
Chapter 13 ruined the flow of the game, bringing it down to a friggin’ snail’s pace and primarily involves the player doing typical “first level” shit that we commonly see in other games. By this I mean, using a story trope that requires taking away your powers/weapons, leading to the lead character to improve throughout the game to retrieve them. This old trick makes sense for the story, strengthening your feeling of accomplishment once you get those skills back. Of course, you’re shite at the beginning, that makes sense according to a standard time line.
Square decided to pull this manoeuvre in Chapter 13, taking away everything you held dear. This is near the end of the game too, where even the most novice of RPG players will have levelled up to a god like state. Now, not only do you have no weapons, but you’re on your own, in a drab, grey building filled with linear halls and suicidal robots. I’m talking hallways for daaays! You’ll traverse these halls from Point A to Point B, only to be told you need to backtrack to Point C if you want to get to Point B. Yup, that’s what you’ll be doing for what seems like eternity.
I, as many of you most likely did, merely powered through in hopes of character or story development. Noctis now only has his Ring of Lucis as a weapon. It’s powerful and slow, also you can’t move while using it, (I’m having Apple of Eden flashbacks, surely we’ll learn about this and how it works. Nope, not much of, any of that that was there? It feels like a scrapped level for FFXIII that got snuck in there.
As for story development: Ardyn basically fesses up to being a relative of Noctis, Prompto is a robot, Ravus is a deamon now and Noctis gets eaten by a Crystal where Bahamut lives. We’re at the end of the game now people. It’s an info dump of important information, leading to bigger questions.
Then BAM! It’s 10 years later.
On to the final battle with Ardyn.
An update to the chapter was on its way. Director Hajime Tabata stated in a blog post “Our early plans are to enrich certain aspects of the game, adding gameplay enhancements for Chapter 13, buffing ring magic, etc……After that, we’re hoping to delve deeper into the story, adding scenes that will give you new insight into character motivations, such as why Ravus walked the path he did.” So we got Chapter 13 Verse 2, which also has an added bonus of allowing you to play as Gladiolus and Ignis.
So, if you play through Chapter 13 as Noctis, what differences will you see? The Ring of Lucis a more powerful weapon, which in turn, allows the chapter to be completed quicker. That’s it. That. Is. It.
Now, Gladiolus and Ignis’s story wise is beyond pointless. The duo are being guided through the maze of tunnels by Ardyn, guiding them towards Noctis. This isn’t new information, Ignis explained this to Noctis when he inquired about their arrival. Do you need to see how they got there? No. Not at all. It’s just shoehorned in their to try to get players to pay for the Gladio DLC. I see what you are up to Square Enix.
There are some added cut scenes in Verse 2, “explaining” Rayvus becoming a deamon and the Niflheim’s emperor dies or whatever. These characters weren’t built up well enough in the story, but these cut scenes add more questions about characters I never gave a shit about. I mean, Iedolas Aldercapt wasn’t even an important character! He’s a background bad guy I don’t give a monkey’s about, and neither did the writers, otherwise, he’d have been way more prevalent throughout the game.
I still love Final Fantasy XV, but I’d rather chew on lego than play through the last few chapters of the game again. The update had me thinking it might suddenly be more enjoyable, but fucking hell did it miss the mark.
More updates are still to come, both free and paid DLC. The Gladiolus Update is available now, allowing you to follow him when he splits up from the group early on. Is it worth it? That’s a rant for another day, my friends.