This year marks the release of the fifteenth Final Fantasy title, aptly called Final Fantasy XV and scheduled for a worldwide release on November 29, 2016. Please be cautioned that as this review provides game background and information about the Platinum Demo, it may contain spoilers and so should be read with caution.
While its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Final Fantasy XV returns to an open world role-playing style that Final Fantasy XIII employed. The two titles (XIII and XV) also shares the Fabula Nova Crystallis concept, but the similarities stop there, even down to the current-gen hardware that the game will be played on upon its release. The focus of this review will be the Platinum Demo that is currently available for long-time fans as well as new and curious gamers to preview the game concept before the release of the full game.
At the start of the Demo, players are greeted with a title screen showing a white fox/rabbit like creature with a red crystal horn along with a background music that is new yet familiar. Players spawn into the Demo in a dreamlike sequence where the same fox/rabbit creature from the title screen guides the player through various phases of the Demo. It is a glimpse into a facet of the open-world that awaits players in the full version of the game. Just enough freedom is given to the player in the Demo to explore but not veer too far from the intended path.
While working through the Demo, players will note the superior video processing powers made possible by current-gen hardware the Demo is played on. For the longtime Final Fantasy fans the Demo has that familiar feel of drawn-out gameplay – one of the defining aspects of any RPG title from Square-Enix.
Without this perspective, the flow of the Demo could appear too slow paced to players. On the surface, the Demo’s game-play could be compared to the Kingdom Hearts titles or that of Alice in Wonderland, due to the dream sequence and the surroundings being entirely larger than the character one is playing. However a deeper look will present players key points that the developers wanted them to experience prior to the release of the full game.
For example, as you “tour” the game environment players will note a button on the ground that allows one to control the time of the day. It leaves behind questions and possibilities that there may be time related activities or enemies that only spawn at different times. A separate button allows players to change the weather among sunny, cloudy, and rainy. It is uncertain whether these buttons are for the purposes of touring the environment in the Demo or will reappear in the full game. It is recommended that players look up into the sky as the sunny sky changes into a cloud one or a rainy one.
A few other buttons remain as questions marks that may activate based on certain in-game activities. There are also buttons that transforms the player into a vehicle or a creature that resembles a mammoth. It is a dream sequence after all!
As a player nears the end of the Demo, there may be a rather odd feeling, like there is a disconnect between the puzzle-based aspects of the game, as opposed to the combat portion – there is no feeling of accomplishment in fights from the first two parts of the game. As if the developers knew exactly how players would feel at this point we are transported to the final stage of the demo. Right away, it is apparent that something is different or even wrong. Player spawns into a city with highrise buildings, but no hustle and bustle of an actual city. Also gone are any sounds or music in the background. Yes, the player is still in a dream sequence, but the player who stuck it out to the end of the Demo is rewarded by a very satisfying boss-battle, with three distinct and rich weapon/combat-styles to choose from. Defeating the boss ends the Demo and an option to purchase the full game is given.
For those who enjoyed the Demo, nothing further needs to be said. For those who didn’t necessarily find it as enjoyable as the previous Final Fantasy titles, play through the Demo again with an open mind and wonder at what the developers placed into the short demo to welcome us back to the Final Fantasy world.