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Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix

Final Fantasy XV is the latest iteration in the franchise published and developed by Square Enix and released in 2016. The action role-playing videogame is the 15th in the series and will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Compared to previous titles, it invites players to explore a different universe and has an original approach, by promoting realistic human characters.

Key facts about Final Fantasy XV

  • Final Fantasy XV is an original take from previous installments, with a darker atmosphere and realistic settings and characters.
  • The game has an open world environment and a unique gameplay, with players wielding a broad array of weapons.
  • Vehicles are more important in Final Fantasy XV than in any of the previous games of the franchise.
  • Noctis Lucis Caelum is the central character in the action role-playing videogame, heir to the throne and imbued with magical powers.
  • Final Fantasy XV was developed by Square Enix's 2nd Business Division and uses the Luminous Studio middleware engine.
  • The videogame was announced back in 2006, but due to numerous changes it was postponed multiple times and set for a 2016 release.

The Final Fantasy XV games

Final Fantasy XV only has a single player mode, with players roaming a world that is similar to modern Earth. Players explore a huge map which has the kingdom of Lucis at its cornerstone, the only country not incorporated in the empire of Niflheim. Action revolves around Noctis Lucis Caelum the true heir to the throne, hunted by the agents of Niflheim and its invading armies. As players conquer new frontiers, they meet increasingly powerful foes and need to rely on the help of allies to survive in the hostile world.

The game bears many similarities to the previous installments and certain game mechanics return in Final Fantasy XV. It spent a lot of time in the making since it was announced one decade ago and the single player campaign has changed several times since the original unveiling. The Final Fantasy XV games are more dynamic thanks to the new game engine and run smoothly on the eighth generation platform.

What is Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is an action role-playing game taking place in the kingdom of Lucis, besieged by the forces of the Niflheim Empire. Players assume the role of Noctis Lucis Caelum, the only playable character in the game and with the assistance of trustworthy allies, tries to rescue a powerful crystal from their control. Players wield an impressive arsenal, but the main strength of Noctis is his uncanny ability of wielding magic, a power gained after a near death experience.

Gameplay of Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV retains all the classic elements of action role-playing video games, while adding new concepts inexistent in the previous installments. The complex gameplay allows players to move quickly across the map, which comes in handy given the huge environment. The combat is more dynamic and players frequently encounter larger enemies, with unique skills that require them to use advanced strategies to prevail.

The Final Fantasy XV gameplay allows players to use various vehicles to traverse the landmass and there are only a few loading screens, for a more streamlined experience. These vehicles have an auto-drive option, although players are expected to unlock their full power by taking control when behind the wheel. There is an indissoluble link between the time spent playing and game time, with one in game day being the equivalent of one hour of real-time.

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix

Resting is also an important activity promoted by the Final Fantasy XV gameplay, as players who don’t sleep are less effective in combat. The strength of opponents also changes depending on the moment of the day and the game features a dynamic weather system. The strength of the latest consoles makes it possible for players to appreciate the transient effects not only during fights but also while resting.

Final Fantasy XV features camps, where players can take some time off and regain their strength in a safe environment. By doing so, they are rewarded with status buffs, which improve their abilities and enhance their strength, but they get weaker as time passes. Players can embark on epic quests that are taken from NPCs or sign up for missions displayed on bulletin boards. All successful attempts are rewarded with in-game currency and experience, which is necessary for leveling up.

Plot of Final Fantasy XV

The plot of Final Fantasy XV revolves around the adventures of Noctis Lucis Caelum the Crown Prince of the kingdom. He fights seemingly unstoppable forces, but with the assistance of key supporting characters such as Gladiolus Amicitia, Ignis Stupeo Scientia and Cor Leonis he battles on. Both the central character and the secondary ones are voiced by famous Japanese actors, for a more convincing and immersive gaming experience.

Final Fantasy XV’s narrative starts with the armistice between Lucis and Niflheim at the end of a bloody war fought for the control of the world’s last crystal. The peace doesn’t last and when Niflheim forces invade, Lucis has no choice, but to take the path of exile and try to avenge the betrayal.

Noctis tries to escape the hostile forces surrounding him while marching on to the final quest of retrieving the powerful crystal. The storyline evolves naturally and players who pay attention to all the details, will better understand the relationship between the central characters. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, Cindy and Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII also play a significant role in the plot and prove to be an invaluable help.

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix

Development of Final Fantasy XV

Development of Final Fantasy XV started a long time ago in 2006, which means that the team has worked on the game for nearly a decade. Initially intended to run on PlayStation 3, the game was ultimately scheduled for international release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox one. Tetsuya Nomura is the game and character designer as well as the director and original scenario writer, with tremendous experience in developing other games for the franchise.

The game bears many similarities to the previous titles in the series, but is also inspired by the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Many concepts were scrapped and the development team chose to remove completely the first-person view as well as the heads-up display. The preproduction continued in 2010 and was pushed into overdrive by the emergence of the eighth generation gaming hardware. Major changes were made to the original concept in the upcoming years and the recent trailers highlight these transformations.

Hajime Tabata joined the team as a codirector and eventually emerged as the sole director, with few members of the development team retaining their positions. Few non-Japanese collaborators were involved, including league character designer Roberto Ferrari and Wan Hazama who worked on artificial intelligence. Final Fantasy XV has one of the most impressive staff, with nearly 300 people working on it

Where can I download Final Fantasy XV?

The game will be available for download on the Square Enix official website, where the fans can also purchase the previous versions. In anticipation of a major release such as Final Fantasy XV the developers might offer special deals and players also have the possibility of making a preorder. Meanwhile, gamers can treat themselves to other Square Enix classic games such as Hitman, Deus Ex Mankind Divided or Tomb Rider.

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV. © Square Enix

What are others saying about Final Fantasy XV?

Final Fantasy XV came under heavy scrutiny after it was first announced in 2006 and the official release was delayed several times. The slow frame rate of the demo game as well as the numerous changes prompted the critics to lower their expectations and preliminary ratings. There is no shortage of positive articles, praising the impressive storyline and the revamped game engine as well as the gameplay.

Final Fantasy XV tournaments

Final Fantasy XV is essentially a single player game, with the only interactions between players being the ones made with NPCs. The arching storyline should keep the fans hooked for many hours, but sadly there is no multiplayer. This means that there will be no Final Fantasy XV tournaments either. If you fancy some player vs player action while still playing a RPG, check out Mass Effect Andromeda, Gears of War 4, Dark Souls or Tom Clancy's The Division.

My rating of Final Fantasy XV

It’s been so long since I’ve play the game belonging to this franchise, that I no longer know exactly what to expect from Final Fantasy XV. I love the previous games, but I totally agree with the developers that something had to change and I’m happy that the new game offers a fresh perspective. Square Enix came up with some intriguing concepts, an impressive combat and a huge open world to explore.

The story is just as convincing and it is easy to relate with the characters, which are definitely the most believable ones ever featuring in a Final Fantasy game. I’ve waited for a long time, but I’m happy to say that it was all worth it because the game is spectacular and deserves a review score of 9.5 out of 10.

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