Zero Punctuation: Final Fantasy XV

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Makabriel:

First of all, they were never going on a vacation.

It sure feels like a vacation. It's literally road trip: the video game. Even if you choose to skip all the side material, the game is basically built around two ideas that don't work well together. One is that you're sight seeing with your chums, while the other is that you're fugitives running from the empire. It's difficult to take the imperial threat seriously when you're running around in the open eating cupped noodles in a pristine Venetian city. Nothing seems different as a result of the war. No one acts scared. No one is being killed. These beatiful cities aren't being scarred in anyway. If you live outside the capital, there's no reason to believe that the invasion bothered you at all. The tension doesn't exist. No one else seems to care that they've been invaded, so why should I?

Noct's father sent him away because he knew what was going to happen. He was ensuring the survival of his family's legacy.

When was this revealed in the game? Maybe I didn't get that far. Please tell me I wasn't supposed to buy the movie in order to get this information.

The rest of the game can go one of two ways.

You can follow the story line through without side quests and your "sight seeing" complaint becomes moot. It's Noct's story about regaining his birthright.

No it doesn't. The entire game is built around it. You're character sit leisurely in their sports car looking at the sites everywhere they go. They complain about wanting to visit the chocobo ranch, or taking pictures of sights, or try to sell me cupped noodles. They take fun camping trips, or stay in swanky hotels playing cards all night. Other then the occasional imperial drop, you wouldn't even know the country had been invaded by the imperials at all. The problem is that what we do and see does not match what we're being told the game is about.

Or you can play it like an MMO and complete everything you can. This will probably throw your sense of realism out the window... but guess what? It's a friggin video game.

Yes. A bad one. Saying that it's a video game doesn't absolve it of having a poor plot.

This whole thread seems to me based on "If all you want to see is a turd, then surely your nose will smell nothing but shit."

Look Final Fantasy XV has a lot of problems. I wont deny that. But there is something more to the game than meets the eye. Personally I think the game is fantastic, and I will defend it the same way people will defend The Last Guardian even though that game is trash in my opinion. I guess everyone has different tastes.

Yahtzee's never been a fan of JRPG's. WE already know this, but on top of that Yahtzee also has a very short patience for things that take him out of the gaming experience. I had zero hope that he would give this game his approval, frankly I'm impressed he got as far as he said he did.

But let's get something clear. FFXV is not a bad game. It is a great game surrounded by not so great things. But what it does is it makes you care.

These guys are leaving home on a trip to get their friend/prince married. Meanwhile their entire home city is being eradicated. The jovial nature of the trip though, is in the ignorance that they are not yet aware of what has happened. Once they do learn about these events, the road trip does get more serious. However the friends try to keep things light because they all know that what is laid before them is a suicide mission. Thus the journey is meant to be a group friend trying to make the most of the time they have left, while still pushing each other towards the end.

Final Fantasy XV has some of the best main characters I've ever seen in a Final Fantasy game. Because they are so real, and they have real motivations that are easy to relate too. While other FF characters are fantastic, sometimes it is hard to have such a connection with A member of a terrorist cell, or a princess wanting a basic-bitch life, or a guy who isn't real trying to get back at his dad who might also not be real? I dunno. The point is, these four dudes felt like real friends, real people, like the dude-bros you might have known in college.

While there are certainly problems, side questing can be mundane but some can be amazing, traveling by car is more of a auto travel system rather than an exploration one, and if you are looking for a complex and engaging story you wont find it here.

This is a textbook example of the journey being more important than the destination. I know that doesn't work for some people, but personally I found myself loving spending time with the characters, enjoying the combat, and wanting to do as much as I could with them.

If you are a Final Fantasy fan. Get the game. If you don't like JRPG's, or want something complex, stay away. Simple really.

CritialGaming:
This whole thread seems to me based on "If all you want to see is a turd, then surely your nose will smell nothing but shit."

[snip]

If you are a Final Fantasy fan. Get the game. If you don't like JRPG's, or want something complex, stay away. Simple really.

Agreed. I was going to try to rally a defense, but honestly if you're predisposed to hate it, there's nothing I can do to change that.

Does watching the movie help? Yeah, it does. It gives a very big boost of context to the game, and overall the movie is great as well.

Why aren't people reacting to the war? Again, it's one of those things you have to read up on (in the game or by watching the movie) but basically it would be the same to us reacting to a war in South America. The places the group are visiting are in another part of the kingdom. And there's been tension brewing long before the final conflict.

I have a level 68 Noctis, currently, and I still haven't really done everything in the game (fighting the Adamantoise was a 3 hour chore, but I got an item that gives 10000 HP for the trouble; so, it balances to some degree, in my book). Is FFXV a great game of epic proportions living up to the hype and run-up to the release? No, not in my opinion. Is it a complete and horrible dribble that one should steer far clear of? No, not in my opinion. It's an okay game with some gem moments and a bunch of warts. Honestly, I can say that I've had fun with it, considering that I've put 90+ hours into the game.

It is true that the story is a bit thin. This is not because there isn't a story or that it is incoherent. It's more that the story, in its full completeness, is not told. You get more the major plot points, but missing is all the extra fleshing that would fill out the story. There isn't as much character development in the game as I personally would like to see for a story driven game (although, Noctis does become less a douche at the end, so that's some development), but there is some if you're paying attention to the dialog along the way, especially in the latter half of the game (also, me being a much older gamer, my tastes tend to lean toward more nuanced and subtle content, but I'm also fine with just mindless head-bashing every so often). I'm not going to lie; if you just jump into FFXV without watching the Brotherhood videos (available on YouTube) and the Kingsglaive movie (which is actually a fairly good action movie and well worth a rental, which is what I did), you may feel lost or emotionally detached from what is really going on. Brotherhood and Kingsglaive put the story of the game into better context. However, I will admit, having said that, in my opinion, this is not really a good way to tell a story in a video game. The story of the game should be fully in the game and not require me to seek external sources to fully understand or appreciate the story (or, looking at you Destiny, even to tell some semblance of a story in the first place, even if as a loose collection of author's notes; but we understand that you don't even have time to explain why you don't have time to explain). But even given that, you are told enough of something of a story to at least put your actions in the latter half of the game into some context. It's just that context is much more fulfilled if you've watched the YouTube anime episodes and the movie. For instance, unless you watch Kingsglaive, you probably won't get a full sense of the treachery that the Empire pulled in attacking Lucis or of the desperation and self-sacrifice of King Regis in attempt to save his kingdom and thwart the Emperor's ultimate goal. Yes, I will wholly admit that all that would have been much better placed directly in the game and played out in its full glory within the game. The emotional impact would have been so much greater (in fact, I would dare say many would probably have to take moments to put down the controller and step away from the game just to sort out their own feelings before returning to the rest of the game).

As an aside, to answer Fox12's complaint about learning that Noctis' father had actually sent him away, this actually is revealed in the game. I won't say where or how to avoid spoilers, but it is in there.

You can play the game as a straight progression along the major story quests, which are clearly denoted from the side quest, or you can spend your time faffing about on side quests and fishing, which is a lot of what I did. Yes, spending a lot of time on the side quests does break the pacing and sense of urgency of the main story quest, but I did so knowing that that would be the case. So, for me, immersion was not broken because I didn't play the game in such a manner with any expectation of such immersion.

To be fair, I think it impossible (or, at least, extremely difficult) to have a fully free-roaming, open-world environment and still enforce a singular story plot without some significant compromise. You're either going to have severe disruptions of pacing or severe constraining of the open-world environment such to force the player back onto the rails of the main story. I suppose one could introduce some parallelism in which key events continue to happen on a well-defined timeline (in game time), and those key events have drastic effects on the nature of the game depending on whether the player dealt with them in time or not. But, then, I could see people complaining about that as being the game forcing them to do something they don't want to do. Or, you could simply have moments where, if you initiate a particular story quest, you are forced to complete that story quest and can do nothing else (this is, in fact, what happens in the latter parts of the game). But, doing so is a case of removing the open-world aspects for the sake of story progression in that singular instance. Once the quest is complete, you may be given access to the open-world aspects once again because there is no longer an urgency to progress the story (again, this is exactly what happens in the game).

To be honest, I think my only real complaints for FFXV is that the story needs to be fleshed out more than just delivering main plot points. Also, there are some performance issues and glitches that can cause the game to crash (yes, I am playing it on PS4 Pro, and the performance issues look to me to be more the software than the hardware). While Square-Enix played this up as a next-gen game, to me, the game's graphics look more like it was originally targeting PS3 and Xbox 360 and got hurriedly upscaled for PS4 and Xbox One. Otherwise, I've enjoyed the game. Considering that I've put 95+ hours into it, I'd say I've gotten my $60 worth of entertainment. Could it be far better than what it is? Absolutely. Is it a complete turd of a game? No, not in my opinion.

Surprisingly kind review from Yahtzee, given it's a JRPG, and his traditional treatment of them.

Hostile thread, but eh. I've beat it now, and I rather liked XV. Story was poorly implemented, but what was there was enjoyable, gameplay was solid, and it was a game that just felt good to play.

Weak main story, somewhat shallow, but engaging combat, the main four characters are enjoyable, and the villain is one of the best in the series. I'd give the game a solid 7. fans of the series or genre will be engaged, some casual fans of rpgs or people who don't hate jrpgs will find some stuff to like as well.

I feel like someone should have kept him going at least through Leviathan because holy shit that fight.

Too bad he stopped where he did, the bad stuff was just around the corner, waste of potential this is, yup yup.

Adam Jensen:
In all of my life I have not played a single second of a Final Fantasy game. I've literally never even picked up a controller while someone else was playing it. I've only seen trailers and footage of those games online. These games look fuckin' ridiculous, in a bad way. And this doesn't seem like something that would get me started.

If you think the games from nes, snes and playstation were ridiculous then stay clear from the recent ones.

Aiddon:
Now if only FF could go back to starting it off with something exciting or mysterious instead of a load of bullshit trying to mask nothing:

-FFIV: You're clearly the go to hatchet guy in a world-conquering empire and have been thrown away after burning down an entire village.

-FFVI: Same thing, except now you have these weird Esper things that are coveted by the Empire.

-FFVII: You are a FUCKING TERRORIST. What the HELL happened to the world to bring you to this?

Seriously, that at least gets the player involved because they want to find out what happens next. FF's since VIII onward have struggled to even do that.

FFX was OK in that aspect. You are some star athlete whose ball game got crashed (literally) by some sea monster and you end up in some strange world that is supposedly a few thousand years in the future.

KingdomFantasyXIII:
I see that Zero Punctuation's reviews are still biased as all fuck about JRPGs in general.

He did a poor job reviewing FF13 and I see he still continues the trend with FF15. Jeez Yahtzee, you suck at reviewing big time. If you actually played the games fully, you would have seen that FF13 is decent and FF15 seems to do a good job.

Seriously, if those games were Western RPGs, Yahtzee would be doing more 'praising' than criticizing because they would be western made.

Well, most of us long time viewers already know Final Fantasy isn't his type of game. Having him rip it a new one was expected. That said, he was a bit less negative about it than with previous FFs.

KingdomFantasyXIII:
I see that Zero Punctuation's reviews are still biased as all fuck about JRPGs in general.

He did a poor job reviewing FF13 and I see he still continues the trend with FF15. Jeez Yahtzee, you suck at reviewing big time. If you actually played the games fully, you would have seen that FF13 is decent and FF15 seems to do a good job.

Seriously, if those games were Western RPGs, Yahtzee would be doing more 'praising' than criticizing because they would be western made.

He didn't do a poor job at all, quite a few people disliked FF13(I.E. Jim Sterling)

Detective Cosmic McBeardyface:
So it seems to me the difference between Western and Japanese styles of open world is that the Japanese open worlds are not sandboxes. Ever since GTA every Western open world games have felt the need to allow you to mow down pedestrians and do jumps, even if it has nothing to do with the gameplay style of the rest of the game, while the Japanese worlds are more consistent with the rest of the game.
Sounds good to me. In the West game designers haven't been able to separate the ideas of open worlds and sandboxes, which are NOT THE SAME THING. Sndboxes are designed as spaces for players to invent ways of dealing with/ fucking about with the world. Open worlds are just one big connected area. If you're going for a sincere story, this Japanese style seems to make much more sense.

Or in GTA's case, used as a barebones basis for the actual game which an online game.

Gatlank:

Adam Jensen:
In all of my life I have not played a single second of a Final Fantasy game. I've literally never even picked up a controller while someone else was playing it. I've only seen trailers and footage of those games online. These games look fuckin' ridiculous, in a bad way. And this doesn't seem like something that would get me started.

If you think the games from nes, snes and playstation were ridiculous then stay clear from the recent ones.

I was explaining this to a friend. The plot for FFIV goes as follows: You are essentially Darth Vader, but then you get fired for questioning why you're stealing mcguffins from other kingdoms who aren't at war with you. Your best friend betrays and rejoins you multiple times because he was hypnotized by your Darth Replacement, who is actually your half-brother. But he was also hypnotized and a pawn to the real big bad who comes from the moon, which is really a space craft holding thousands of aliens in cyro-sleep waiting for the earth to be ready for colonization. Also, you and your brother are from the moon as well.

Then that's that whole wierd time-loop thing from the first game that's almost impossible to explain.

Spacewolf:
Surprisingly the Carrot farming is entirely pointless apart from one side quest and after that the game basically kicks into high gear and the last 5 or so chapters can all be done in less than four hours if you. Noctis also gets called out on getting everything handed to him.

I'd have to disagree. Carrots can be traded for stickers, berries and some rather neat nice-to-have weapons...

I think the story and the game mechanics offer themselves to inspire some reflection without forcing you to get all philosophical about it. I really, really liked getting the plat trophy for this one, and I do hope we'll get some noteworthy DLC/expansions/alt endings.

Getting the Black Hood won me over. It's been a while since a mainstream title dared to force me to master its jumping mechanics, even if it's only optional and a one-off. There's definitely room for more old-school platforming fare in modern gaming.

I dunno why so many people are saying this is short for a Final Fantasy. I think that, maybe, a lot of people just haven't played any of the older ones since they were kids. I've been binging on the series this year, including entries I've barely played before, and none of them were longer than 30 hours even with side content. I beat all three PS1 entries again last year, too, and they're all about 25-27 hours. They probably just seemed longer when you were a kid because you got lost or pissed around a lot.

ScrabbitRabbit:
I dunno why so many people are saying this is short for a Final Fantasy. I think that, maybe, a lot of people just haven't played any of the older ones since they were kids. I've been binging on the series this year, including entries I've barely played before, and none of them were longer than 30 hours even with side content. I beat all three PS1 entries again last year, too, and they're all about 25-27 hours. They probably just seemed longer when you were a kid because you got lost or pissed around a lot.

I've heard 40 hours. That's around my normal playtime for a JRPG though I also tend to do a fair bit of side questing along the way, and then do some of the optional stuff near the endgame.

Straight Boys XV

Today, I finally decided to try the demo for Final Fantasy XV.

I have literally stopped to watch some Zero Punctuation videos because the demo is sapping my will to live.

This does not speak well for the final product or the chances of me getting it for Black....Sunday.

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