Final Fantasy XV

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Sonic#
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Final Fantasy XV

Postby Sonic# » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:25 pm

So I got a PS4 on sale last week and decided to play Final Fantasy XV. The reviews were good and I completely skipped all of FFXIII because I didn't have a PS3.

Anyone else playing? What do you think? (Spoiler tags for particularly key story information, please.)

I've been averaging about an hour a day, and I've been relentlessly exploring, so I'm only in chapter 2. Overall, I'm pleased by a few things:
1. The exploration. Besides being a pretty game, the open world has enough items, camps, monsters, and beautiful landscape that I'm always looking to see what's over the next ridge. In new areas I'm constantly stopping my car to go explore.
2. The characters. Even in this short a time I care a lot about them. No one thing makes that true. Maybe it's all the little conversations they have while wandering the world or riding around in the car. They aren't silent and they aren't constantly nattering on. They're friends.
3. The little things that make RPGs: the wide array of consumable food that provides important benefits and makes me hungry. Figuring out I can play darts at an outpost. Customizing my car. Hell, I don't like fishing minigames, but I'll go fishing every once in a while since they seem to have implemented it pretty well.

Two things are bothering me a bit:
1. The storytelling. It's not terrible, but it feels like they expected me to know more about the world I was entering. Like, why were we at war? Why are we in a ceasefire? What are the country names again? Mentally I compare this to Trails in the Sky or even FF4 or FF6, all of which developed the stakes of its world gradually.
2. Gender. I'm totally fine with the four main characters all being guys. It feels right to the game. I'm even okay with Cindy being a sassy attractive Southern-ish mechanic. (Yeah, I'm playing with English dubbing.) However, I've really rolled my eyes at the way they use cutscenes to deliver tit-shots of Cindy when she's washing the car, and so far it seems like women are fairly rare as key NPCs or potential party members (Lunafreya seems like the latter). I'm hopeful for improvement.
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:28 pm

Sonic# wrote:3. The little things that make RPGs: the wide array of consumable food that provides important benefits and makes me hungry. Figuring out I can play darts at an outpost. Customizing my car. Hell, I don't like fishing minigames, but I'll go fishing every once in a while since they seem to have implemented it pretty well.


Obviously the definition of RPG depends somewhat on the person, but in my opinion, the real thing that makes an RPG is TURN BASED COMBAT. Which FFXV lacks, so it's a hack and slash/action game, not an RPG. Can't stand an all male party, my fave FF character ever is Celes.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby jay_are » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:16 am

It's difficult to say what 1 thing makes an RPG. Maybe the story/dialogue for me.
If Lunar was remade as an action game, but still has the whole story and every NPC, it's still an RPG to me. So, Action RPG.

I'm so surprised at how unsurprised I am reading Sonic#'s early review.
That's pretty much my opinion about the game judging only by the Duscae demo.

In it, I enjoyed exploration and pretty places! Made me feel like I want all Final Fantasies remade with this detail starting from FF1.
Well, the characters, nah, they didnt leave any positive impression on me at all. I mean, at least in the Duscae demo, they were less interesting than an NES era RPG characters. I wanted to throw the controller the moment the characters wake up in the tent before the game even starts.

The storytelling, just as I expected, you're supposed to have seen an anime and a movie (and I dont know how many other things) related to FF15 before playing the game. This is a complaint I've heard almost everyone talk about, even the biggest FF15 fans.
Storytelling has been bad to me since FF7, though FF7 is the least offensive, it's the first FF game that made me feel like:
"Wait, what's really going on in the story? I don't think I got all that. Why am I doing this? Am I supposed to care?"
I played FF8, FF9, FF10 and FF13 btw, and they made me feel that too. The supposed important and epic parts of FF13 felt like some SNES RPG cliche just with strange pretentious names and more complicated execution than should be. Even if it made sense and was easy to understand, it still would be far from brilliant or exciting.

Cindy shots, yeah, there was that in Duscae too. So the full game is plagued with this as well? Eeewww...
I like girls, but I don't like thirsty devs or a thirsty audience...
I don't have a problem with an all male or all female team. It just depends on who they are.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Sonic# » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:04 pm

It wasn't my intention to define RPGs, but rather to say that I enjoy the minigames and small details that RPGs tend to capture well.

What's an RPG?
I don't think there's any one thing that makes or breaks RPGs, but a long list of things that the games we call RPGs always have, usually have, and sometimes have. To give examples of each, RPGs always have character-driven stories where players play a role, they usually have stat-based systems for adjudicating combat, and they sometimes have minigames. In that light, whether the combat is strictly turn-based like in Phantasy Star, active time based like in most FF games, ability-timer based like in many MMORPGs, or action oriented like in FFXV may determine a subgenre and it may determine whether you enjoy it, but it doesn't determine whether it's an RPG. The more essential features of all of those combat systems (the usually have and must have) are the stat-and-item-based gameplay and the idea of "combat" as a kind of magic circle players enter and leave. FFXV features both of these.

In contrast, non-RPGs may or may not have stats, but they're frequently obscured and there's less emphasis on customizing stats with equipped items and abilities. Similarly, non-RPG FPS games allow one to draw a gun and fire it at most points. One doesn't enter a combat mode only in the presence of enemies; the entire map, mode, or level is a combat zone.

Back to topic
jay_are wrote:Well, the characters, nah, they didnt leave any positive impression on me at all.


We may disagree there. I like the characters a lot. I think they go beyond their respective archetypes, as small moments and cutscenes give the main character Noctis one-on-one time with them. After a particular scene with Prompto  on the roof of a hotel near the game's starting point, I see his relentless joking around for what it is: part rapport-building and part profound insecurity at being (slight spoiler)  a lower-class person thrust into this noble group. He's not just the clown of the group. I think, like them or not, they've got a lot more going for them than an NES RPG character does.

I played FF8, FF9, FF10 and FF13 btw, and they made me feel that too. The supposed important and epic parts of FF13 felt like some SNES RPG cliche just with strange pretentious names and more complicated execution than should be. Even if it made sense and was easy to understand, it still would be far from brilliant or exciting.


Some of that is in FFXV too. I get what you mean. I laugh a little at RPGs with names that hold a Lot of Importance (see: Xenogears and Xenosaga, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross). I hear "Noctis Lucis Caelum" and I think "Sky of Night and Day? What?"

At the same time, these elements didn't prevent my enjoyment of SNES RPGs. A character named "Crono?" Three wise men of time named after the three Magi? Names and common tropes haven't helped or hurt FFXV for me. Nor do common story elements; they're part of the theatricality I expect from RPGs.

I go back and forth on the story overall. I think the game's inability to convey more of the world's present situation is a problem, especially since that political situation is so central to the core storyline. On the other hand, playing the game as a kind of coming-of-age road trip adventure between four friends, these broader story notes seem less important than getting how party members are affected. I think the game does a much better job of focusing on characters, at least the main ones, than many RPGs. Otherwise, at this point I'm hoping for the worldbuilding to do something similar to what Chrono Cross did: start local and slowly build outward in concentric circles to learning about the Dragoons, Terminus, Lynx, the conflicted timelines, the Dragons, and on and on. That's a game where I didn't come in with much information on the world, but the game did a better job of providing me with information as I needed it to understand what Serge, Lynx, Kid, and other characters were going through.
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby jay_are » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:38 pm

Sonic# wrote: I hear "Noctis Lucis Caelum" and I think "Sky of Night and Day? What?"


This is very important to me.
See, Noctis means nothing to me.
Lucis and Caelum means nothing to me either.
See, if you hadn't translated it for me, I wouldn't have gotten it.
Still, how is that any brilliant? It's trying too hard to be cool.

Ok, Crono's name is weird too. I can't imagine why his parents named him like that. Or the devs. But almost everyone else had nice and natural names.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Shiva Indis » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:50 am

Sonic# wrote:I go back and forth on the story overall. I think the game's inability to convey more of the world's present situation is a problem, especially since that political situation is so central to the core storyline.

I know next to nothing about the game, having observed about 15 mins of it, but the reviews said that watching the anime helps. I hope to play it someday. The comparisons to Xenoblade make it sound very appealing, though I don't know how I will muster interest in this latest pack of dewy-eyed youths with their intricately styled hair.
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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Alunissage » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:53 am

My husband has been playing it with me watching. Actually, since he's doing All The Sidequests (it seems), after 50+ hours he's also only in Chapter 2, or is it 3? This works out because I've been playing Hyrule Warriors Legends on my 3DS at the same time in the same room, and the only issue (for me) is that the surround speakers in our living room mean the FFXV sounds obscure my own game at times, which occasionally makes things difficult. But the characters' distinctive voices means I can easily appreciate their interactions without watching constantly.

I really didn't like the idea of the all-male cast when I first heard about it, but I have to say I really like this quartet's interactions. They work well together. I'm not a huge fan of Noct, but admittedly he's not in the best personal place right now, and I like how they all relate to him, supportive without coddling. We didn't watch the anime and have little backstory, but I don't mind working out their relationships from their attitudes, or at least guessing at them. Likewise the current story situation.

And I could really do without Cindy. Hoo boy. Prompto's reactions are kind of funny though. Generally I think the characters' appearances are well done, other than her and her Barbieness. And (@ Shiva Indis) they don't strike me as having too much in the way of improbable hair styling and such thus far.

There's a lot of lampshaded fourth-wall breaking. Prompto keeps commenting on how this is just like an RPG ("I mean, look, there are four of us, and..."), and that there should be treasure lying around, only to be told by someone else that it doesn't actually work like that. Except that obviously it does. I'm sure someone will snap that this isn't a game at some point.

Most of all, though, I'm wondering if their whole world looks like California. Which then makes me wonder if players elsewhere see the resemblance (or see a resemblance to other places), or if it's mainly in my head. But I've spent a lot of time thinking, I swear I've been there. And the cars and stuff. Though clearly there are no seatbelt laws.

Oh, the names. My reaction to Noctis's was similar to Sonic's, except that I was thinking caelum = heaven, not just sky. But it's been literally 30 years since Latin, and that wasn't in the vocab (though it doesn't look like a genitive to me...?). Also, having the big beefy guy named after a flower is startling, though it made more sense once I looked it up and found that Gladiolus is Latin for "small sword". Still, I wonder why they didn't stick with the usual pronunciation of Iris for his sister; it's not like it's a secret that those are both flowers.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Sonic# » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:43 am

Caelum can equal heaven too. I hadn't thought about Sword-Lily Friendship (Gladiolus Amicitia); I just read it as "little sword." The names seem no more silly than the second meanings of many of our own names. Substitute Latin for Germanic and Hebrew, and suddenly I'd be named Supplantus or Iacobus and would think it pretty natural. (Again, this isn't new for Square-Enix. For some names with more or less obvious second meanings from FFVI: Terra [earth], Celes [heavenly], Locke [lock], Edgar [rich spear], Cyan [the color], Shadow [read the name], Setzer [price setter], Magus [magic-user], and so on. Knowing the etymologies of these names adds something to the game, but I don't need to know it, just like I don't need to know what "Noctis" means.)

I spent today driving along the coast finding items and opportunities for combat. I bought a really expensive bag of cat food, just in case it comes into use later. (I'd honestly find it funny if it didn't.) I've never been to California, but I keep thinking it looks more like the west coast than the east coast. There's lots of brown and yellow dirt rather than red clay, and the hills seem more jagged and newer than the old, rounded hills around here.

Compared to Xenoblade and Xenoblade X, I've found less range in the kinds of areas I'm exploring. This open world certainly feels big and open. The areas feel like typical biomes: dry areas, savannah, forest, hills, grasslands, beaches. Xenoblade had a slightly otherworldly feel to it with a greater range to its biomes and a vast expansiveness that I appreciated. Xenoblade's progression was like a chain of large bubbles; one could explore a lot or a little but the story had to proceed to go to the next area. FFXV is more like a couple of huge bubbles: it feels like they've given me most of the overworld already, and I'm sure I'll find more when I'm able to fly. It's the kind of openness often reserved for the endgame (or at least FFVI's World of Ruin), and I appreciate it.
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Alunissage » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:56 am

I guess Gladiolus seems to stick out more to me because a lot of people will know it as a pretty common flower, no research required. He may as well be named Daffodil. The other Latin words are probably not common knowledge. Though it's hard to know what's "common knowledge" sometimes... like Luna = "moon".

Spouse ran out of things to do for a bit and advanced the story a little. He's now in chapter 5, 61 hours in. Mind, all of chapter 4 was done in an hour or two.

By the way, I'm glad you mentioned the scene with Prompto above. We'd missed it, and went looking for it.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Alunissage » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:00 am

We finished the game last night. 80 hours, probably 60 of which were in the first six or seven chapters. The last few chapters are very closely packed together storywise. There's a gimmick-thingy that lets you return to the first continent to do more sidequests, but it's out-of-storyline (by which I mean  you "travel in time" to before leaving the continent, except that all your exp and stuff goes with you, so there are no story effects). However, there are some HARD battles at the end so you might want to do that to level up and whatnot. (I haven't done any of the actual playing, only watching/listening.) We didn't open the strategy guide until after that, and I will say from quickly going through it that it's remarkably spoiler-free, with nearly all spoilers confined to a single short chapter marked as such.

The relationships really are beautiful. There's a point where (I'll keep this vague even inside the spoiler tags)  an antagonist is trying to torture Noct by hinting at a Dire Revelation about one of his friends, and when the party is reunited and the secret is revealed the other three are all "so?" Their friendship is too strong to be subject to that kind of thing, probably to the annoyance of the antagonist.

I should probably leave it at that because it's hard not to talk about some developments. I got pretty emotional at the end, to the bemusement of my husband.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Sonic# » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:20 pm

I'm still about 25 hours in and still in chapter 3. Almost level 40. I finished that drive along the coast, which included finding a dungeon, a few difficult monsters, and a combat that I died in and now consciously avoid. I continue to be charmed by small things, like seeing a tram line above me. At some point I'm going to follow the tram just to see where it goes.

I know I can return to here whenever, but I'm stuck in a completionist mindset that has sunk playthroughs of other Final Fantasies in the late game. I want to see how many king's weapons I can find before progressing the story; I was surprised I could find them. Still, my attention is sustained. Unlike most of the FF games, I think I'll end up finishing this one. :)
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Alunissage » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:00 pm

Well, it probably does help finishing the game that nearly all the plot/story stuff is packed together closely at the end. What tends to happen with me in RPGs, even (or especially) ones I've played before, is that just before the end is when things open up and I go into completist/collection mode and never get back to finishing the story. But the structure of this one does, I think, make it a little less likely that that will happen, since you have to use the abovementioned gimmick. At least right now. After DLC, I dunno.

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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Zero » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:43 pm

I've been enjoying the game quite a bit. I'm only at chapter 3 due to putting a lot of time into the sidequests. I think I have around 25 hours in. Definitely ready to progress with the story at this point and take a break from the sidequests.
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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:44 pm

I absolutely LOVED this game. The graphics were absolutely gorgeous and the story was very well done! I haven't had a chance to play any of the new DLC yet, but I will get to it.
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Re: Final Fantasy XV

Postby Sonic# » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:15 pm

I stopped playing right when the game was transitioning from open-world to the later-chapters-on-a-train. I'll go back to it, I'm sure; I just found I'd completed most of the open-world stuff and had less appetite for the main story.
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time


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