Saturday, 31 March 2018 16:19

REVIEW: Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition (Xbox One)

Written by Brett Hale
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Having not played any game of the franchise since the days of the Playstation 1, until now I’ve always thought the franchise was complicated and just grinding out battle after battle, but Final Fantasy XV is a game for fans and better yet, for first time players.

I wasn’t playing the standard edition of Final Fantasy XV, I played the Royal Edition. Which simply means I got the base game plus a ton of DLC included, and as a bonus Bandai Namco hooked us up with the Blu-Ray of Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive. The DLC included can be used in the base game such as weapons, and the ability to play online, DLC also adds the choice to play in first person gives new gear and bosses.

This tale of Final Fantasy is spread out over 15 chapters, and it revolves around you, Noctis, who’s a prince from the kingdom of Lucis. He has those typical prince problems needing to reclaim what’s his, being his throne. Final Fantasy XV’s story has a lot to do with friendships, destiny and of course legacy. Though the world the game takes place in looks very much like Earth, it isn’t the planet is called Eso. FFXV is an open world action RPG, you’ll do everyday things from driving a car, fueling it up, even eating food and camping, sounds fun doesn’t it. Well just like the real world nothing is free, you’ll need the FF currency known as GIL to purchase everything including all food, except items you can catch on your own, like fish.

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Selecting a difficulty at the start is one of the first thing’s you’ll do, but you can change the difficulty later on if you find the challenge not enough or maybe it's far to difficult. The choice to do a tutorial was great for someone like myself, as I’ve not played a Final Fantasy game in years, but maybe playing prior games this is still something all players should do in case there are major changes since the last game.

Noctis and his crew Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus can all level up, as well as leveling up the skills they each possess. Noctis has the skill of fishing, Ignis is cooking, Prompto's is photography and Gladiolus is survival. Being a quite large game you could assume if you die you could lose a lot of progress, but there is an auto save system as well as being able to manually save your game so this can’t happen. When characters interact with each other, you’ll have control on what your response is, sometimes there’s more choices than other times. What the gameplay mainly consists of is fighting creatures and so on, but you’ll be running around from one place to the next doing main missions as well as side quests which putting those all together makes this game quite long, which isn’t strange to hear when your talking about Final Fantasy.

It’s common these days in open world games for gameplay to be even more real than ever before, such as day and night cycles, which I love in any game that has this feature, it just shows the world in two different settings, but there is even a weather system in use which can make it rain as well.

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Being an open world, you’ll travel around a fair bit, so a mini map is important but what’s needed even more is one that shows waypoints in a way there easy to find and Final Fantasy XV does this perfectly. Besides skills and leveling up there is something in this game called Ascension. This is where you can unlock a range of things from techniques, magic, combat and team working and not just for Noctis but everyone else too. Pausing the game you’ll be able to check stats, skills, quests and change your gear on characters and more.

When Final Fantasy XV first launched there was no multiplayer, but thanks to some DLC there was an online expansion added. Playing multiplayer is very much the same as the single player, but the first difference is the person you play as isn’t pre made, you actually get to create your very own character from voice, attire and facial features. When playing online you can obviously play with 3 other players but say you only have 1 or 2 others well in that case all others will become AI controlled.

To access online multiplayer you’ll need to go into the downloadable content option found in the main menu, it's also here you’ll have all episode DLC’s as well. There are 3 episodes you can play each fits into a chapter of the base game episodes have you able to play as Ignis, Gladiolus and Prompto.

NOTE: When first going into the multiplayer option the game does state you should complete the single player for the best experience but you can not complete it and still play multiplayer.

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I know for a fact there were issues when Final Fantasy XV first launched, but sometime later when the Royal Edition released it seems to have improved, it’s not perfect but I played and enjoyed it for what it was worth. I'll get the audio and visuals issues out first. There were moments that textures from a far distance looked horrible, than there were the signs you’d be walking near taking a long ass time to actually go from pixelated to crystal clear. While playing on the high setting for performance the game did stutter a bit from time to time, something I didn’t see as much when playing the other two settings. There were also glitches with sound, when I finished chapter 1 and went onto the second the sound for the entire game vanished, I had to shut the game down and start it up again and I had no issue past that point.

Not all was bad though, textures for the most part looked great on Xbox One X, and Final Fantasy XV has 3 performance settings that differ with resolutions and frame rates. High, allows the highest possible resolution with 60fps. Lite is 1080p but attempts to reach 60fps but was my least liked option and then we have steady 1080p locked 30fps. Final Fantasy XV won’t reach native or even checkerboard 4K on an Xbox One X but it does have the highest resolution between the base Xbox and PS4 and it also beats the PS4Pro. Playing on Xbox One X on high setting you’ll get a low point of 1440p and reach as high as 1800p. The PS4Pro is pretty much the same but still, the One X beats it. Final Fantasy XV also supports HDR.

If there was ever a Final Fantasy to suck people back in this is it, it states right out the gate this is a game for fans and first timers. It looks great and combat flows perfectly, especially when combo attacking. The characters work well together and sure it's a game that requires you to play a lot to finish it but die hard fans can do that with ease, a n00b like myself might take a little longer. If the franchise sticks with this sort of style i'll continue to keep playing them.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Role-Playing