Final Fantasy XV - Like a Matured Whisky.
Final Fantasy. Two words that can make memories appear from pretty much anyone who's ever played a video game. And after a long wait, FFXV came rushing in. And it was oh so worth the wait.
First impressions for FFXV were difficult to put into words. It took over 5 to 6 hours before I was ready to begin even typing about it, which is what most games now take to beat. The vastness of this title is amazing, but what makes it incredible is that none of it seems tedious. With a variety of missions and opportunities within the game, you never feel like you're grinding the same tasks for progress and the story matches the pace perfectly.
Trying to merge the open-world aspect of Final Fantasy and the new sandbox mechanics most are used to in blockbuster games, Square Enix had an easy time. With campsites, towns, cities and of course the new addition of having a car, the open world is spot on. But the car isn't the only mode of transport. Some old FF series friends are back to help ease the pain of using roads, but I won't spoil that here.
The story mode won't be discussed too heavily within this review, but it makes you feel like you're playing a blockbuster film title. A huge array of characters and plot points can make it difficult to keep up with, but the in game lore guide helps to keep you in the loop at all times. But what also makes this feel like a movie is the visuals. The cinematic cut-scenes are just that, but the game play just floors everything else out there. After the initial credits faded, I waited a good minute as I thought it was still just a cut scene, so when the realisation sunk in that this was the game, it was magnificent.
The combat system in FFXV has taken a bit of a new turn however, with it ditching the 'standard' RPG-esc turn based gameplay and opting now for a more 'hack'n'slash' gameplay. However it fits and flows with the gameplay perfectly. With the ability to 'wait' and essentially stop time to scan enemies, decide what your team mates should do next, what your next move will be and so many more options, it feels like excatly how you can imagine an action Final Fantasy title. With bonuses for flanking, using elemental type advantages and teaming up with fellow members, tactical combat is the name of the game.
The game isn't all about exploring and fighting however. There are tons of mini-games to occupy your time with. Noct is a dab hand at fishing, so you can head to a coast and enjoy trying your hand at landing a fish, a pinball-like mini game that you can find in nearly every diner on the map and even photography!
While some may argue that the game isn't a Final Fantasy title, they're in the vast minority. This is FFXV, a true new-gen Final Fantasy game. Carrying on the legacy of stunning visuals, amazing gameplay and engaging story. Like a fine whiskey, it took some years to get it right, but by god, did Square Enix get it right.