Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Final Fantasy XV: A Perfect Clusterfuck

I came in to the Final Fantasy series rather late. I started delving in to the series when I heard about the almost universal gamer love for FF7, so I decided to see what the fuss was about. I first played 10. That was a weird game, which I didn't particularly love. 10-2 was even weirder and I lasted perhaps an hour before I gave it up. I didn't play 12, although I hear it's pretty good and I've also heard it's getting a HD remake for the PS4 so I might delve in to that when it comes out in 2017.

Then came the big pile of steaming poop that was the 13 series. The characters were unlikable and I could not relate to them. It was a pile of hallways and boring combat. But I persisted and finished the game. Shitty story. I then played 13-2. Even worse story, which I did not complete. Perhaps I got a quarter of the way through. It was awful. I even played 13: Lightning Returns. Lasted an hour at most. Fuck that game.

Needless to say I came in to 15 with a fair amount of trepidation. Just to start off I'll give a quick summary of the plot of the beginning of the game. You play as Noctis, son of the King of Lucis, setting off on a roadtrip with his three best friends: Gladio, Ignis and Prompto. The four of them are headed to get Noctis married off to his betrothed Lunafreya The Oracle. And that's the start of the game. Off you go. Those who have seen the FF15 movie Kingsglaive will know what occurs within the first chapter of the game, but I hadn't seen the movie. I'm more interested in seeing it now and not just because I love the sound of Sean Bean's voice.

Ok so let's get in to the negatives first, because there are a lot of them. The small stuff first which is the bugs and graphical glitches. They're there and boy are they there. It's locked to 30fps on the PS4 and still there a frame rate drops. The controls are often unresponsive, so the phrase "but I hit the button" or "c'mon you bastard I'm hitting the damn button" were uttered more frequently that I would normally use them.

Also, I like to refer to this type of game as "open world" with the hand motions. It's not really an open world. Yeah it's a pretty big space, but the amount of invisible walls drives me crazy. The map isn't exactly clear either, showing possible paths that just don't exist in the game world. Even the driving is restrictive and so very very boring. I just make Ignis drive.

And oh god the most infuriating thing in the game is the combat, especially in tight spaces, wooded areas and dungeons. Trying to lock on the a particular enemy or body part is next to impossible when the camera whizzes around Noctis, constantly changing targets or putting trees in between the camera and the action, making it so very difficult to coordinate attacks effectively causing hair pulling, controller throwing, foot stomping acts of rage. My poor cats think I am mad at them as I suddenly rage whilst they are curled up next to me on the couch. Poor dears. I might have started to overfeed them just as an apology.

The crux of my experience with Final Fantasy 15 is this: I fucking love it. It looks beautiful, the music is amazing, the story is very anime but I was fully invested, the combat at it's best is a joy, and it's the best Final Fantasy experience I've had in my short history with the franchise. Running around the wilds on a chocobo, searching every possible corner of the world for new treasures and monsters to fight is great. I really love the fishing, which is not something I have enjoyed in other games. Pulling in a monster catch after spending 10 minutes winding it in on so very satisfying.

The story is, well, crazy. I am keeping this spoiler free, though I might writer a blog later about exactly how crazy it is later on, so all I can say right now is that it is very difficult to follow. I hadn't seen the Brotherhood anime nor the Kingsglaive movie so I missed a lot of the references made in the game. A lot of characters are introduced, given names and such, but don't last very long in the story, possibly only a scene or two. That being said, I felt invested in the story of the 4 friends. I may have teared up a few times during the game. Just a few, mind you.

This game is not for everyone. It is oh so flawed and yet I love it. There is no perfect game. If there is, I haven't played it. Of course a game can be perfect in your eye and mind and can do no wrong. Fan boys and girls world over will rage if you say anything negative about their favourite game. I am not that guy, I see flaws in all my favourite things and am willing to discuss them.

I don't know how to end this post. I am on a new medication and am feeling a little wonky myself so I'm just gonna shut up and go play Samuari Warriors 4 which is also a wonky, crazy, fun as hell game. Doesn't really have a narrative to write home about, but I do get to decimate thousands of enemies per map so...that certainly is a thing.