Review Roundup: Final Fantasy XV


After 10 years worth of previews, trailers, and iterations, Square Enix has delivered a proper Final Fantasy Sequel with western influence written all over it. Reviews peg the game on the higher end between good and great, and it seems that how you feel about the game will largely depend on your opinion of the main cast of characters. Traditionalists may either find it all refreshing, or too big a change. Pixels Weekly will be picking up a copy to share more thoughts on our podcast.

P.S. Please forgive Sony and Square Enix choice of music with this trailer. Seems at odds with the series if you ask me.


Gamespot - 8.0

Gamespot gave FFXV a strong score, with a review that goes in depth into different mechanics and the smaller details of combat and character management. Peter Brown also cites the excitement that begins once the main story ends. Though he feels the story and characters are the most shallow we've seen in a Final Fantasy to date.

Astrals are powerful beings that align with Noctis throughout the story, to be summoned later in a time of need. They offer some of the most impressive moments in the game—typical of Final Fantasy “summons”—towering high above battles while unleashing incredible displays of power. But much like distant friends, you only see Astrals when it works for their schedule. Each of the four Astrals you acquire call for very specific battle conditions, but even if all criteria are met—being dangerously low on health in the vicinity of water, in one case—there’s no guarantee an Astral will actually appear. Where you could always count on summons to save the day in previous Final Fantasy games, it’s disheartening that they usually fail to appear during Final Fantasy XV’s most difficult battles.
— Peter Brown, Gamespot

Polygon - 9.0

Philip Koller of Polygon talks about how side missions make up the bulk of the game's content, and the main cast of characters resonated with him more than others, citing the game's attention to detail in it's design and execution elevating what would otherwise be a shallow romp.

Final Fantasy 15’s strongest moments are found in these more mundane elements, the bits that are about just hanging out. As they drive across the countryside, Noctis and crew share charming, everyday banter that’s all about building up their friendship rather than relaying plot beats. Prompto takes dozens of pictures documenting the trip. When they turn in for the night, the group sets up camp, and Ignis cooks. Each in-game day’s end is punctuated by the friends gathered around a fire, eating, enjoying each other’s company.

These slower elements transformed each of these characters from forgettable anime prettyboys into the virtual equivalent of best friends whom I felt like I’d known all my life. By the end, Noctis’ gang are three of the most well-drawn, fully-developed characters in Final Fantasy history, because the game lets you just spend time with them, as much in the boring moments as the epic ones.
— Philip Kollar, Polygon

IGN - 8.2

Vince Ingenito was charmed by the protagonist and his mates, and mentions the emphasis on melee combat above all else even with magic and summons still in the game. It seems though, that he had some of the same problems other did with the game's somewhat finicky camera that can effect combat, especially in an hours long segment near the end of the game.

This minimized role of magic hurts, though, seeing as how the melee elements don’t provide a lot of interesting decisions to make or techniques to master, unless you count wrestling with the occassionally unruly camera. Especially in enclosed spaces, and even during some climactic boss fights, the camera becomes your biggest enemy, sometimes completely obscuring the action from you, which can be frustrating. That all said though, the promise of gorging my retinas on more eye candy and watching these four bond ‘n’ battle like better-dressed versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kept me looking forward to my next scrap.
— Vince Ingenito, IGN

Kotaku - Mostly Positive

Jason Shreier weighs in, on the game's "warts and wrinkles" in typical Kotaku fashion with a detailed review that is filled with anecdotes about his time with the game. He calls the game beautiful, highlights the game's sense of humor and awareness of it's characters, and is frank about the technical issues and story telling problems with FFXV. Here he is talking about how the game has a tonal shift about half way though the story. 

Unlike some other recent Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy XV avoids taking itself too seriously. Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Promptus are constantly making jokes, trading barbs, and generally having a good time. That holds until the second half of the game, which is far darker and heavier on story, ditching the open world in favor of a more linear path. (You can revisit the open world at any time thanks to a weird but effective “time travel” mechanic that lets you go back and catch up on sidequests and hunts while carrying over all your levels and items.) At this point the humor fizzles—or at least gets more morbid—and Final Fantasy XV becomes less of a road trip and more of a straightforward RPG. It’s uncomfortable, bizarre, and full of weird twists that I won’t spoil, including one dreary chapter that changes up the gameplay entirely and drags on 30 minutes too long. But even the game’s most sluggish moments are worth slogging through for the finale, which is beautiful. The ending hits hard.
— Jason Shreier, Kotaku

Eurogamer - Mostly Critical

Eurogamer's review is less enamored with what other thought the game did well. Calling combat a "pleasant surprise" and the plot "bafflingly bad" saying the plot relies too much on the direct to video film the company released with a whopping 13% on rotten tomatoes. Noting that they otherwise wouldn't recommend the game to the franchise fans who value story, but the scale,  side quests are just so darn good.

Final Fantasy 15’s biggest problem is that despite a strong core cast it’s all far too vague, lacking the messy, human appeal of previous titles, which could distil celestial struggles and global plights down to something much more real and relatable. Final Fantasy 15 talks in sweeping generalisations and barely stops to tally up the human cost. When it does, it fumbles; there are several moments later in the game when you’re given an important bit of information regarding a major character, but the wider context is never addressed and, in one instance, it’s never brought up or mentioned again. It’s disappointing how 15 creates some of the most well-rounded characters in a Final Fantasy in a long time time, but seems entirely unsure about what to do with them.
— Aoife Wilson, Eurogamer