Review: Demo Final Fantasy XV

First thoughts on Final Fantasy XV


After a decade of development hell, Final Fantasy XV finally has a release date. The game will be available on September 30th this year. It’s taken ten years, a renaming, and what appears to be a complete story and design overhaul, but now the game is only eight months away.

Until then however, fans can play with the game's new demo, The Platinum Demo to tide themselves over for the next eight months.

The demo itself doesn’t really give much away in terms of story, only basic stuff that feels like what could be the opening level of the final game, though it does show off bits and pieces of what the true FFXV will have to offer.

The demo focuses on a young Noctis, the game's protagonist, as he wanders through his own dreamscape, guided by a cute, furry creature who will no doubt be sold as a plushy before the year is out.

Unlike the previous demo, which focused on the bromantic aspect of the upcoming story, Platinum instead focuses on Noctis himself, exploring his inner self and traveling through bizarre, Alice in Wonderland like.

Visually speaking, the demo is jaw dropping gorgeous. The shiny new Luminous Engine really packs in the details, from tufts of glass swaying in the wind to magic particle effects that hang in the air after each high powered attack. There’s a lot of raw imagination going into the designs here, and I can’t wait to see what crazy stuff will fill up the rest of the adventure.

Though we don’t see much of it until the very end, the pseudo realism of the game's setting, mixed with the ethereal, otherworldly fantasy settings, makes for what could be an incredible world to explore.

Like with the previous demo, the combat is a bit of a mixed back. On the one hand it feels like the next natural step forward for the Kingdom Hearts battle system, with the clunky deck system stripped out. On the other hand however, it feels really sticky, and has a few little hiccups that take some getting used to.
Why, for example, is attack tied to the circle button, and the dodge/block tied to the square button instead of the other way around?

Also, what is up with holding down buttons to dodge and attack continuously? There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but it’s a control paradigm that isn’t all that common.

My only real complaint is that the game feels rather empty. There are gorgeous environments, great music and some good combat mechanics, but the tiny bits of story aren’t really enough to catch any interest.

It’s essentially just a toy box to explore the new mechanics and give players a sample of what’s to come. I’m definitely excited, though not without a few caveats.

The demo is free to download on PSN, and well worth checking out for those hyped about the game.

For those really desperate for more, however, you may just want to wait a few months and experience the whole thing at once. 


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