Roadtrip!: Final Fantasy XV! (5ish hours in)

 Let me preface this entire piece with an acknowledgment that many people who have come to hate this game do so because of Squares implementation of DLC, and the numerous patches with bits and pieces of content thrown in. Yes, A game should release in a 100% percent finished state. Yes, DLC should not stand in for content that should be there. I hope as I write about my experiences with this game I can see this game with fresh eyes and figure whether or not the DLC seems like torn out content rather than small experiences the Devs created to supplement the main game. So, I simply ask that you withhold your judgment of me, until the end of my adventure.

It’s hard for me to imagine or even think about the fact Final Fantasy XV came out nearly 3 years ago, and despite grabbing the game at launch, buying the season pass, and the game sitting on the eternal backlog for all this time that I only now get the urge and desire to pick it up and really dig into it. Much of this was spurred on by my fellow Podcast mate ColdDeath, and by the many wonderful people, I interact with on Twitter. Before I was willing to jump in I wanted to be sure that I was getting the complete package, so I also went and grabbed myself the Royal Pack add-on to add a little extra icing on the cake. Unnecessary? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t be here writing a piece on Final Fantasy XV in early 2019 if I only wrote about necessary things.

 If I had to sum up XV so far, it would be “Detail” so much of the game can be seen simply by the main characters interactions with each other. Throughout my long-winded hikes across the first map of Eos, I get to listen to Prompto, Ignis, Gladio, and Noctis go back and forth about a variety of things. And while I am sure many will remark about how annoying that will become later, In many ways, it feels as organic as it should. They are a bunch of friends, Hell easily the funniest moment was having to push the car together, because let’s face it, if you are on a road trip and get stranded sometimes, you gotta get out of the car and push. It’s these kinds of moments that make me smile.

As a side note, why does food look so damn good in this game? It’s not even just Ignis’s recipes, I mean like MOST food you can buy looks fantastic. I see why this game took so long to come out now.

(Also points to Prompto to singing the Fanfare theme after a random battle, that made me grin)

 The battles feel surprisingly really good, I was a bit caught off guard how they had streamlined some things since my experience with the demo but I can easily say that nothing feels better than getting a combo going into a nice duo attack with one of your teammates! That feels good every time especially when it kills. A new addition is how magic is a resource in the game instead of something you just HAVE, I initially felt like this was gonna be an odd change given how magic in most games always felt like it was there, here if you want magic, you have to go get it, and you better plan around good usage, because gone, are the days of auto-targeting spells, now spells (So far) seem like a Area of Effect deal. Which seems like a good move to make the use of magic more strategic and less spam happy. As far as I have notices spells seem to actually have an effect on the terrain, use fire? Better not get to close because the characters are gonna get burned, use Ice? Enjoy watching Noctis be covered in ice.

Credit to itzwooo

I suppose I wouldn’t be doing a good job If I did reference at least one meme.

 If I was going to have a gripe at this point and for me, I am straining to come up with anything substantial and not something nitpicky. It’s the leveling up after going to sleep. Interesting enough you gain XP bonuses when you stay at nicer and nicer places so that something I am hoping to take advantage of. So when you do finally go rest, you will sometimes have your characters level up quite a few times. I would have been happier with a normal level up, but there something rewarding about going to sleep and seeing your level raise 2 and 3 times. Surprisingly enough they split the leveling between XP and the use of AP which is pretty interesting, considering how you will get AP from quests and other activities, but XP is given most through fights and battles. Surprising even me, you have quite a few skill tries to mess with me and add points to, even if they are small, they do seem to hard stop you after a point, where skills went from being worth 20 ap, to being 99 to well over 300 ap in some categories. I’ll take that as a “This is for later”

Yikes! I haven’t really talked about what I have been doing in the game, because it damn sure hasn’t been the story, every chance I get I am grabbing new items, finding interesting side quests, taking on hunts, or just straight up hiking around Eos and fighting whatever comes my way. So far I haven’t accidentally run into death, I did find a level 30 plus enemy who I was easily able to run away from. Good Square at not letting enemies chase me to the ends of the earth because that would have been downright tiring. Along finding an excuse to go camping just so I can make Ignis better at cooking, Food buffs are amazing, and when you have the supplies to make super good ones, you will gladly do so than paying one of the dinners (Admittedly Money or items have yet to be a concern or a problem despite me taking on monsters at time 5 or so levels higher than me). So my neglecting of the story has not been because it is not good, its been because the game offers me so much to do.

 I can happily suspect that one of the primary reasons the game has been such a blast as stated before is because of the numerous patches Square has given the game over its life. As it stands I am playing this game primarily on a PS4 Pro, on Steady Mode, and I have yet to witness a single hiccup during my gameplay, but I am aware of one town that apparently drags the framerate down, I am very interested in seeing how that plays out. Count on me to keep you update on my progress as time goes on. Very much looking forward to seeing this game with fresh eyes.

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