Welcome to my blog about, at least mostly, games. Here you can find reviews, impressions, pictures and things that I think are interesting enough to write about. If you want me to speak up on something, then write it to me. Want to discuss something in a post then write it in the comments. Hope it will be good reading for you.

måndag 20 april 2015

Final Fantasy XV - Episode Duscae review

Wow, I really have been talking a lot about Final Fantasy lately. But as the Bible say, what your heart is full of, comes out the mouth, or the keyboard, in my case. The problem is I'm not done yet, I want to talk more about it, I'm going to start playing Final Fantasy Type-0 now and might have a review up when I'm done with it. Speaking of the blog in general, I'm aiming at posting a new post every Monday from now on, but I digress, let's talk Final Fantasy XV - Episode Duscae, will it save the Final Fantasy-brand and the JRPG's?

The effects of this scene leads to the most awesome part of the demo
For me, the Final Fantasy-brand was never lost, I loved FFXII, and as I've heard it, FFXI and FFXIV are great games, even if it kinda kills me to see them as numbered entries, they should be called Final Fantasy Online or something, why not just call FFXIV, "Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn"? But never mind, you know how I feel for the only bad numbered Final Fantasy, and if not, check out my rants. And even if there is only one bad numbered Final Fantasy, I haven't played FFXIV or FFXI. I am, like many others are, not interested in an MMORPG. Therefore, I haven't played a new good Final Fantasy in almost ten years. That's a long time, an entire generation of consoles have been born and died. Therefore, FFXV can't be bad, that would wound me.

So is it? Well, we need to take some time and realize that Episode Duscae is a demo for a game that still doesn't have a release date. My guess would be late 2015, but it might be later. This means that this is still an unfinished game, and by a lot. Have that in mind as you read on, because for every thing I say is bad or could be better, might be fixed for the final product. So lets get started. I'll try not to spoil too much, but still, I might so SPOILER ALERT. There isn't that much of a story going on but still.

At the start you have been stranded with your crew because your car have broken down. A girl named Cindy (I'll get back to her as well) tells you she will fix it, but it will cost you. So to get the gil to pay for it, you decide to hunt down the mighty Behemoth, nicknamed Deadeye, for he has one dead eye, ingenious naming there. This might be the most awesomely hyped up monster in the entire series, I mean, you start of by seeing these huge paw-prints in the mud, and later blood on the ground, and deep claw marks in the stone. What find of monster could have done this? When you finally encounter the beast you get to sneak past it, quietly trying to not make a sound, and it's really suspenseful. Later you stalk it back to its nest and device a plan including a way too conveniently placed tank of gas. I won't say more about where the demo takes you, but there is a lot more than this.

At least it looks spectacular
Let's talk combat, it takes a while to get used to it to be honest, and I'm not sure if I like it. It works okay, but it's a bit clumsy, and I don't feel like I'm always in control. A lot more in control than in FFXIII at least though. The combat works like this, you attack by holding down the "square" button, lock on by holding in R1 for a while, and goes to defensive mode by holding down L1, where you pretty much dodges anything. You can teleport-strike with "X" and use special attacks with "triangle". Dodging, teleport-strikes and special attacks drains MP and when you're out of MP you turn into a cripple with broken arms, and can't fight, so you need to get out of there and let it regenerate. When your HP reaches 0, it's the same thing as with the MP, and if you're hit during this time your max HP drops a bit. If that reaches 0 you die. Your team can heal you, and you can heal them when this happens, although in the heat of battle it's really just chance if you will heal your partners or if you will teleport to somewhere else. And your partners aren't that good at healing your either, but if you're tired of waiting, you can always use a potion.

So, let's tear this system apart! Not using too much MP takes a lot of getting used to, as do most of the system, I still hadn't gotten a good grip on it by the end of my four hour play through, but I got a lot better. The lock-on is the thing I like the least I think, as it only makes your character aim at that enemy, but the camera doesn't follow, so most of the time I'm just attacking something I'm not seeing, making the already confusing scene even more clustered, which means that it's hard for me to see when the enemy is attacking, so I rarely used the defensive stance, except when I could use it to parry an attack, when an indicator said that there was an attack incoming. Still, the combat works fine, I'll give it a pass all in all, but it is still not a good sign that I actively tried to avoid combat, when I could. Maybe it will get better when I get a better grip on the system.

The beautiful land of Final Fantasy XV
Let's spread the love, before I get into the really worrying things about the demo. The world is amazing, living and beautiful, and the seamless transitions from exploring and battle made everything come alive even more. The fact that I can see the huge creatures in the water, from quite far away, gives an even more alive feel to the world. In the part of the map I got to explore, there are two places that are inhabited by friendly people, both feel like real places, one rest-stop in the middle of the woods, and one gas-station. I keep saying it, but it feels like the places are alive, for real, and I never thought that I would be this happy to see inhabited places again, after number thirteen. If I had to complain on one thing, I would be that you can't yet talk to every character you meet, something I hope they fix, because talking to NPC's in cities and so on is another thing I've missed from not having cities and so on. The graphics need some work though, It's not the best looking game on the PS4 even though it's still ways to be done. I just hope that the game won't feel dated when it's finally released.

So let's get some shit on! There are some things I really hate about the game, but most are more of a worrying trend, that I hope they fix for the final game, no pun intended. The first thing, or the first couple of things, has to do with the combat. The thing is that there is no flow to it. Battling enemies actually takes a lot of time, one of the biggest complains I had with FFXIII as well. I hope that Square-Enix gets that the thing with moving away from turn-based battles is for the battles to run more smoothly, but the average battle in FFXV take longer than the average battle in most other Final Fantasy-games. The best combat in a Final Fantasy game, however bad and unnecessary the game was otherwise, is still Final Fantasy X-2. It was quick, fluent, there was urgency, but you still felt in control. If the numbered entries in the series are to move away from the turn-based combat, fine, but it must be to make the battles more fluent, faster, and more fun. The battles in FFXV aren't bad, but as I said, I'm worried that the battles will be long and drawn out as in FFXIII.
Prompto, Gladiolus, Noctis and Ignis, the gang we meet in the demo

Speaking of long battles, I often met enemies, that I at least think was way above my level, but I fought them anyway, and I didn't really lose, but the battle dragged on and on and on and on, and I more and more enemies spawned in on the battle I was doing, and in the end, I just got bored and rather than the battle ending with me lying annihilated on the ground because of the enemies strong attacks, I found myself running from the battles, not out of fear, but out of boredom. But then again, I hope they fix this, and it might be something they intend to do. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that I did this kind of thing with an enemy at the beginning of the game, felt the enemy too hard, and ran away, because the enemy didn't do enough damage to kill me. When the demo was over, and I was on my way back to Cindy, I tried again, having gone from level 4 to level 22, and I honestly couldn't tell if I had levelled up or not. The enemy still didn't do much damage to me, but again, the battle took forever. So I had enough and summoned Ramuth (Yeah, I loved it so much when I got to do that, amazing) and he pretty much insta-killed EVERYTHING! He seriously takes such massive damage that you win every fight. I mean, this guy is pretty much a rage quit button, that can be summoned when your HP reaches zero. Not sure how to feel about him really, because I hope that he doesn't make the game way to easy, that probably could be the case, but my guess is that they just put him in the demo for the awesomeness factor, and that they will dial the damage he does down for the final product.

And then there is Cindy. I think she's fine, I love that she is the daughter of a man named Cid, and she seems to have a fun personality too. I'm not a big fan of the object she pretty much becomes in some of the scenes, like the poor girl never learned how bend her frickin' knees, just to always show of her butt, but the thing that gets me the most annoyed about her is the accent. I'm sorry to anyone who takes offend to this, but a thick red-neck accent is probably the most annoying accent ever. I get that she is supposed to be sexy, yeah, but even when this is the case, it's, for me, the most unsexy accent there is, because there is few things that can turn me off a woman, as her being stupid, and that is what the accent makes the character seem, at first glance, unintelligent That is why Fran in FFXII is sexy, she has an intelligent accent. Cindy grew on me though, she seemed like a decent character in the end. Accents are, despite what I'm saying, just the first impression. Then again, the clerk in the store does it and has no character besides the accent, and I feel like, can I summon Ramuth right here?

All in all, Final Fantasy XV feels a bit too MMO-ish for it's own good, but I still left the demo wanting more, and that's a good sign. Fine characters that I think can grow on me, I just hope there are more than the guys I got to hang with here, I need the diversity of the other Final Fantasies! Now I hope that they can fix what can be fixed, and I'll be happy, and I am looking forward to it though, please, please, please don't let me down, don't make me do the Final Fantasy XV - ranting deluxe in a year!

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