Final Fantasy XV Hands-On Preview – Left A Lot To Be Desired

Good things come to those who wait. At least, that’s usually what our minds let us expect when something we look forward to something that remains in development for a small eternity.

Having evolved from Final Fantasy Versus XIII into the 15th (well, technically anyway) installment of the franchise, it has always been pretty apparent that the game set out to distinguish itself from the rest of the franchise in a pretty heavy way, but today, just mere moments before I wrote this, I found out exactly what it’s like hands-on.FFXV1After setting the game to English, we were introduced into the world of Final Fantasy XV with a pretty lengthy cinematic introduction, which is arguably something you’d expect. However, from the first moments it was already hard to tell what kind of thematic flow was being showcased. Rather than feeling distinctively western or Japanese, we were instead met with what seemed like the Japanese interpretation of the Western market’s interpretation of what a Japanese game would be like thematically.

Clashing different styles and rather cliched dialogue that made the characters seem like they were parodies of themselves. Moody, yet witty characters, pretty designed faces and overblown accents seemed to be the norm. The Final Fantasy dubs have never been perfect, but with the dialogue adapting a bad level of quality down to the writing XV feels like a bad attempt of Western fanservice that the target audience didn’t even ask for in the first place.FFXV-3The visuals are a very weird aspect to analyse, because Final Fantasy XV is really two-faced in that regard. Starting off with a the earlier-mentioned narrative introduction, the game showcases stunning visual fidelity as the cutscenes are showcased in spectacular detail, but once you get into the gameplay, XV’s graphics are incredibly dissapointing in regards to the expectations that have been set the past few years. Showcasing okay-ish textures and geometry, its characters are probably the standout examples of the game’s quality at its best, but even in that regard the game never really shines as much as originally expected.

I went into demo expecting a certain downgrade in regards to what Square-Enix has led us to expect, but even with that in mind I found myself kind of surprised by the step downwards the game has taken now that we’re so close to release.Unfortunately I found no salvation in the gameplay either, as I was met by a weird mix of Japanese and Western tactics that has so many different gameplay element attatched that never quite get along. I wouldn’t outright call XV’s gameplay bad, but there was little in this demo that really kept me longing to play the game, though giving us a taster of the game that consisted of pushing a car and hunting down minor creatures throughout a desert landscape probably didn’t help much in that regard.

There wasn’t really anything particularly engaging about combat, traversal or even the RPG aspects of the game. I hope that I might warm up to the game gven more time with it as we approach release, with perhaps another section of the game, but what I got to play really didn’t give me a lot of confidence in what the game will end up being as a whole.

It’s usually not the best thing to speculate with rumors as a basis, but finally experiencing Final Fantasy XV for the first time hasn’t given me much hope for what has been one of the most anticipated titles of this, and even the last generation.