When I’m riding chocobos across the beach at dusk with my three friends and hunting iconic Final Fantasy monsters in a huge, picturesque open world, Final Fantasy XV feels like nearly everything I could want from a modern Final Fantasy. But when it funnels me into linear scenarios and drab, constricted spaces that plunge the simplistic combat into chaos, my blood boils a bit. There is so much good here, so much heart – especially in the relationships between Noctis and his sworn brothers. It just comes with some changes and compromises that were, at times, difficult for this long-time Final Fantasy fan to come to grips with.
Final Fantasy 15's own opening text describes it as "a Final Fantasy for fans and newcomers alike." The game contains pieces sure to disappoint players in both camps, but it also provides a refreshingly human take on the classic RPG journey that I hope will inspire future games in the franchise. Final Fantasy 15 can be baffling in some of its questionable choices, but across the board, it hits more than it misses. It hums with an energy and compassion that I loved, a sense of camaraderie, friendship and adventure that fills an old and struggling formula with new relevance.
One of the first things you see when you boot up the game is this claim "A Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers." It's a strange statement; fans can't agree on what makes a good Final Fantasy game, and who knows why newcomers shied away from the series in the past. It's been a long ten years since Final Fantasy XV was first revealed, and tastes have changed in the meantime. While it's safe to assume fans and outsiders will find some aspect of Final Fantasy XV disappointing–be it the shallow story or finnicky Astrals–it would be hard for anyone to deny that Final Fantasy XV is a fascinating game after giving it a chance. Where its characters fail to impress, Final Fantasy XV's beautiful world and exciting challenges save the day.
8/10 – Great
This troubled history is one of the reasons Final Fantasy 15 is so difficult to pin down. For a series universally known and loved for its emphasis on storytelling, can I recommend a Final Fantasy game despite its unsatisfying story? Instinctively I'd say no, but even as someone who prized the narratives of previous games I still found myself going back to 15's early stages to seek out new challenges after I'd concluded the main campaign. And it's clear that Final Fantasy 15 benefits from a vision, one that emboldened its developers to try new things and reinvent a series while reclaiming the scale that its most ardent fans are used to. In chasing that scale the bigger picture can sometimes get a little obscured, but importantly Final Fantasy 15 retains that love of smaller stories, the ones that often prove to be so much more memorable.
No score (?)
Final Fantasy XV is unlike any RPG or open-world experience I’ve played before. It succeeds and struggles in finding its unique stance, but a few problematic designs don’t hold it back from being a hell of a journey. Just days after playing it, I find myself reflecting on it fondly. The thoughts of that damn car are recessed and blanketed by Noctis’ journey and some of the stunning moments that unfolded within it. I wasn’t a fan of Final Fantasy XIII’s sequels, but I hope Square returns with another XV or a similarly designed sequel to iron out the rough spots. There’s a solid foundation here that begs to be explored further.
As I'm typing this up now, I'm seeing a future where people buy Final Fantasy XV due to some of the more positive assessments (like this one), and walk away disappointed. Because if you loathe JRPGs, XV is not going to make you a believer. In a way it's silly that Square spent 10 years making this, and it feels like a really shiny version of something it would have actually made 10 years ago. While a complete overhaul of the genre would certainly suit someone's needs, XV suits mine just fine.
9 – Superb
Then again, the story behind the making of Final Fantasy 15 is kind of a mess too, and it's impossible to know how much of this mish-mash of ideas is the result of its tumultuous history as a spin-off that entered development hell a decade ago or whether this was always what it was meant to be. It's a beautiful mess, though; a fascinating, wonderful, exciting, bold, and often inscrutable mess with endless ambition and the fearlessness to at least try something new with staid genre conventions. Even when it falters, it's never dull, the humanity of its heroes and the warmth of its world shining through even when its story leaves you cold. And if that's not Final Fantasy, I don't know what is.
Final Fantasy XV was worth the wait
Final Fantasy XV is about adventure and excitement. There are oddities, and it's not the FF you're used to, but it's a good time with some good boys, and has an unexpected emotional resonance to it. Sometimes it seems like it shouldn't work, but it does.
Final Fantasy XV is a breath of fresh air for the series which was starting to lose its significance after the release of Final Fantasy XIII. It is one of the best open world games on the current generation consoles and a return to form for the franchise.
Final Fantasy XV is a very different title from what the series has offered us so far. Opting for a more compact narrative lasting about twenty hours, it leaves us spectator of a story much deeper than it seems, sort of desperate initiatory quest. But it also offers a gigantic and magnificent open world with panoramas that make drool. Shielded with ancillary contents to extend the lifetime to a hundred hours, Final Fantasy XV succeeds its bet and proves to be a must-have hit of this end of year, and this despite some finishing worries.
Gamekult.com – 6/10
LaPS4 – 95
Spaziogames.it – 9.0
Gameblog.fr – 9/10
Everyeye.it – 8.5/10
Vandal.net – 8.5/10