FFXV The game I love to hate
BLUF: I played about 15 hours of this game before I got hit with the bug that prevents the game from saving. There was absolutely nothing I could do to fix this so I never beat the actual game. However, I feel like in 15 hours of gameplay I got a good feel for the over all game minus the story.
I originally bought FFXV back when it released years ago and started playing it. On my first attempt at playing I sold the starter Engine Blade (not realizing that it would become the best weapon in the game) and unfortunatetly there was no way to get it back. I was 7 hours into the game and distraught at the idea of starting over, so I took a break. During this 2 day hiatus I was taking a break my 2 year old son managaged to shove 2 Bob the Builder CDs into my PS4 that still had the FFXV disc in it. It took some time but eventually I got all three discs out of the PS4 and to Sony's credit the PS4 disc tray still works perfectly. The FFXV disc however was damanged beyond repair. Cue up 2 weeks ago and Google's Stadia releases with FFXV Royale Edition as a launch title. After some debate I decided to buy it again.
FFXV is an interesting game. I like to refer to it as a beautiful relaxing search the big ass circle JRPG. This really is a difficult game to talk about because on one had I loved it, and on the other I hated it. This is a great game to play if you're looking for something relaxing that you can play while watching TV.
There is a lot of waiting in this game. I think the bulk of my 15 hours was spent in the Regalia, a land boat of a car, driving around the world. These drives can take anywhere from 1-10 minutes of real world time where you'll be doing nothing but waiting as you drive around this beautiful world. Strangely enough I actually enjoyed these drives and while a fast travel option is available most of the time, I would prefer the drive. It was relaxing and I liked to passively observe the world as Ignis drove the Regalia around. You can "drive" the Regalia yourself but you'll quickly learn that it's more of a train than a car, and the roads are its tracks. It can only go forward or backwards and must stay on the paths, so there's really no reason to drive yourself. Normally I hate artificial wait timers like this but FFXV is really a story about 4 guys on a road trip than anything else.
Unfortunately I didn't make it past Chapter 3 of the story, and there are 14+ Chapters so I can't talk much about the large story. I did enjoy the brotrip story, it genuinely felt fun. Sometimes you'd start combat and the AI would rush to Noctis and push him back before the fight so they could rush in, characters chain off each other, and I had some touching conversations with the some of the characters in cut scenes (damn you Pompeto for breaking my game with your feel good story).
Combat was simple but enjoyable. To put it bluntly, you can basically win the game by just holding B. Occasionally you'll need to hit Y to warp strike at an enemy and break their armor, but once that happens it back to holding B. When your health gets low warp off somewhere to heal then go back to holding B. Even though it's simple the real time combat actually works well for FFXV because it took the Kingdom Hearts approach; make it fast, make it flashy, keep it simple. There's no great depth required to this. It's fun because it looks pretty and that's it. However much like FFXIII when your combat relies on one gimick (breaking in FFXIII) it gets boring and I found myself actively avoiding it as much as I enjoyed it when I was in it. Unfortanely no ammount of bro-fun or flashy combat can make up for FFXV's most glaring flaw. It's broing.
I will always remeber Borderland 2's tongue and cheek joke about searching the "big ass circle" to find the battery to power sanctuary. It was a meta commentary on one of gaming's worse trends; scavanger hunts. I wish I could say that FFXV was chalk full of well written, fun, and engaging quests that I spent my 15 hours on, but I can't. I spend 15 hours on scavanget hunts. Whether it's; go find frogs, go find dog tags, go find ingrediants for food, go find weapons, go find a chocobo, go find, go find, go find. Evey "go find" quest took you to a big ass blue circle where you ran around like an idiot praying to the Emperor, beloved by all, that the damn icon appears on your screen so you can grab whatever it is and be done. That is really why I hate this game. It's scavanger hunts; boring, annoying, scavanger hunts.
To be honest here I would have kept playing FFXV, something about it's world and characters drew me in even when the combat and quests tried so hard to keep me away. However, thanks to a bug and SquareEnix's terrible response I'll probably never get a chance to finish it. Thankfully Google gave me a full refund because the game is unplayable.
I like to love FFXV but I hate it. It's boring scavanger hunts in a beautiful world with flashy animations, and compelling characters