The only reason I have a PS4 is so I can play FF XV. So, you bet I was more excited than a weeb peeing their pants over the Love Live Final. As soon as I knew about the Platinum Demo, I immediately downloaded it and spent some nice time tasting the new Final Fantasy world coming in September.
The entire game is basically the dreamscape of young Noctis, split into four different areas of varying themes which offer a taste of what the full game has to offer. First, we start off in a generic landscape that transitions from forests to cliffs and rivers. Straight off the bat, I saw Square’s attempt to finally make a real, seamless Final Fantasy universe where everything happens on the same map.
As I progressed through the first area, I noticed some plates on the floor. Stepping on a plate causes an effect based on the plate’s inscription. Basically, I could tweak with some graphical settings, like the in-game time and weather. It’s purely cosmetic, just to show the player the different nuances in the game. I could change the weather from rainy to sunny to cloudy, and the time from day to night and to dusk. These plates are scattered across the four areas and some grant extra weapons, such as the overpowered Meteorain spell that instantly kills all enemies on the map. Other plates allow Noctis to morph into a car for faster navigation across the map.
To activate these plates, I had to collect the yellow crystals scattered everywhere. Just take some time collecting them to unlock all the plates. It’s an optional task, but might as well do everything the demo offers.
Speaking of enemies, the only enemies here are called Nightmares. They’re basically bluish goblins. Young Noctis is given two weapons: a sword and a hammer. More on that later, when I discuss the battle mechanics. Anyway, these enemies are a piece of cake and you can’t technically die because Young Noctis has no HP bar.
Now, let’s discuss battle mechanics because an FF game is only as good as its battles. The battle system in FF XV is blasphemous, in a sense that it defies the trademark ATB system and resembles real-time, seamless combat mirroring TPS and action RPG games. Of course, FF XIII was also blasphemous as fuck, too. Anyway, you can equip weapons and throwable grenades through the menu and assign them to the D-Pad, which is on-screen. To attack, you just simply press [O] and to defend/dodge, [Square]. It’s really that simple. What I like about this system is, it allows immediate change of equips to enable quick-paced combos. You can attack with the sword once, immediately switch it out with a hammer, and deliver your own combos. You can also throw grenades.
I’m not a huge fan of real-time combat because it’s tedious to grind. I liked the improved ATB/real-time system in FF XII with the Gambit system. This battle system gets boring real quick. It also takes some time to master. But on the good side, at least it’s not as clunky as the semi-realtime combat system in FF Type-0 or Crisis Core.
As you approach the final area, you can finally get a taste of real battles. In the final boss fight, Young Noctis morphs into adult Noctis and this is when you get real weapons. You get only 3 weapons to fight the Iron Giant: an Airstep Sword (or a 1H sword), the Broadsword (a 2H sword), and Fire. The Iron Giant hits hard, but whenever Noctis is about to die, he’ll get resurrected. Since there’s no such thing as a Game Over, you can take your sweet time in the boss fight and explore the complicated combos.
This is where the new battle system gets complicated. Noctis can now use his Warp skill, which allows him to teleport short distances by throwing his weapon. You can also cling on to targets, such as lamp posts and buildings. But the skill consumes MP. If you run out, Noctis staggers. You can also use the Warp skill to initiate a Warp Strike, which teleports Noctis to the boss and deals extra damage based on the on-screen multiplier.
At some times, there are also quick-time events where Noctis can carry out combos God of War-style. Though these quick-time events are really quick (as in, you need really good reflexes), they’re really cool and deal a lot of damage.
When the Iron Giant is dead, assuming that you have collected more than 300 crystals, you can revive the Giant by pressing its panel in the area. This way, you can fight the Giant over and over again.
I spent a good 1 hour with the Iron Giant, trying to master the new battle system.
And, to end the game, you just have to step on the Awakening panel. That’ll end the game… and also subtly force you to pre-order the game. Thanks, but not this time Square. I’ll get it when it comes out.
Overall, I found the demo to be quite pleasing. The graphics live up to expectations and we get to explore multiple areas — the forests and the city — in one go. We also get a taste of the battle system. The one thing that should have been in the demo was Noctis’ teammates, so we can get a taste of how party battles would be.
So, that’s all for now! See you later!