A Road Trip With the Boys: Final Fantasy XV demo impression

It’s demo time again! Yes, yes I did spend an inordinate amount of time playing demos this month. Don’t judge me!

So today I’m talking Final Fantasy XV demo, otherwise know as Episode Duscae (yeah, I totally just had to Google how to spell that). I know this demo is old, but I just took my Type-0 pre-order out of the wrapping a few weeks ago, so I just got around to it.

I, at first, felt woefully let down by this demo. I’ve been excited for Final Fantasy XV since it was announced as Versus XIII way back when. I’ve endlessly held out hope for this game, and actually? I couldn’t even necessarily tell you why any more. My excitement for FFXV is simply one of those things that just is. I have accepted it as fact and know it will never change until I finally get my paws on this game. However, I digress. I said I was woefully let down at first, but I will say that upon finishing the demo, I felt a little better about it.

So first of all, it’s pretty, but by this point, I feel that’s a pretty obvious given for the franchise. Final Fantasy has never slouched on graphics. Heck, even VII looked pretty dang good looking back in the day. All that is to say that I’m not going to harp on the graphics. They are what you’d expect, which is very pretty. I stopped plenty of times just to admire my surroundings. However, lighting in some areas could have been a little better because while it may be realistic to not be able to see in the woods, that doesn’t make for a great gaming experience.

Next, the characters. Oh, the characters. Prince Noctis and his band of merry men are basically a bunch of frat boys out on a road trip. That’s not bad, per say. It didn’t do much to endear them to me at the start of the demo, but by the end, I actually did like them. You get the opportunity to do a side quest with each party member, and through those you get a better idea of just what these boys are about and their history together. They can actually be pretty sweet. So yes, while they may be frat boys on a road trip, they’re at least kind of derpy, lovable frat boys when all is said and done.

The gameplay mechanics are what made me very unhappy. There is a lot to learn, and it’s honestly a little clunky. They throw most of it at you in one big go, as well, which was just… too much. Never mind the fact that a lot of things were simply not explained at all. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to get to a specific area just because I didn’t know how to jump (or even that I could jump)! Likewise, it took me way too long to figure out how to set waypoints and use items.

Overall, the concept of an open world Final Fantasy game both excites and terrifies me, and there’s a lot to be improved upon. However, I have a lot of faith in the team developing this game. The demo has been out a year, and they’d even released a patch for it based on player feedback. There’s a lot going right for this game, and even thought my experience with the demo was dicey at times, my excitement remains undeterred!

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