Final Fantasy XV Demo Review (Spoiler Free)

In a Word? Incredible.

This is in part a follow up Article to a previous one I wrote before I played the Demo.  Lets run through each hope I had one by one.

A Fun Combat System.
Nailed it.  As you may or may not be aware, ever since Final Fantasy VII, each of the following titles of the series has featured a slightly (sometimes drastically) altered combat system.  These systems can range from terribly simplified to overly complicated for its own good.  Combat can be way too short or drag on for far too long.  In either case, you dread getting in a combat situation because it’s a waste of time.

Not so in Final Fantasy XV!  Combat length feels just right.  As a fan who prefers turn based strategy, I have now completely abandoned that preference for what FFXV now offers.  It is wickedly satisfying to throw my sword at an enemy dozens of yards away and instantly warp to him.  It is visually stunning to watch different weapons materialize in your characters hands while fighting.

Combat is fairly straight forward, but don’t think you can just button mash your way through or you’ll end up dead as you face tougher battles.  You’ll need to recover health, counter at times, use abilities when possible, warp away to recover MP, the list goes on.

Surprises
Yes.  I won’t mention anything too specific to keep this review Spoiler Free.  I was pleasantly surprised by its resting system.  Final Fantasy XV has a day night cycle like most open world games.  Final Fantasy has always had a “rest” option in all of its games at an INN.  The biggest benefit was restoring everyone’s stats.  Early in the games this was often cheaper than using precious potions on your party.  But as the game went on Inn’s became less of a need as you began to get more expendable money.

Final Fantasy XV introduces a extremely cleaver mechanic for resting.  You can fight all you want, for days on end if you like, but all the experience you receive won’t mean a thing until you rest.  Meaning you fight all day, then rest at night and all the experience you’ve gained only then will level up your character and grant you new abilities.  Throughout the world you will find camp sites where your party will literally set up camp with Japanese Jazz music playing in the background.  Very relaxing!

There are also some small jump scares that I simply wasn’t expecting that were well placed.

Finally, we all dread exploring cave levels right?  Caves or “Dungeons” are often lifeless and a pain to get through.  Again, Final Fantasy XV breaks the barrier here by really crafting the cave you explore from the ground up.  I never felt like I was going through cut and paste halls.  But that this was a real live breathing place.

A Place I Don’t Want To Leave.

I was so sad when the Demo was over… took me about 5 – 7 hours to work my way through the whole demo.  Massive Demo.  If you did a speed run you could probably do it in about 3 hours time.  But if you simply take it in, explore, find hidden gems, chase Chocobos, and admire all there is to do and see, you’ll be there for a while.

A Nod to Previous Games
Cid.

Was it Worth the wait?
Yes, Yes, a thousand times yes.  This is what a Demo is suppose to do.  This demo isn’t even part of the game – they crafted this experience specifically to seduce players into buying their game and I have fallen victim.  I can only hope it comes out this year.  Whatever year it comes out, baring any glaring issues with the game, this is a strong contender for game of the year.

I certainly hope you, the reader, will get a chance to play this demo to see what I mean.  Don’t settle for a “Lets Play” you need to experience this for yourself.  Clever of Square to bundle the Demo only with a brand new copy of Final Fantasy Type 0 HD.  Looks like a good game, but I had no intention of ever buying it or playing it.  Now that I’m done with FFXV I guess I’ll install Final Fantasy Type 0 HD…