Monday, December 19, 2016


I've been behind in posts between busy weekends and, let's be honest, getting distracted by Final Fantasy XV. Nobody saw that coming, right guys? Right?

As is my usual, I'm dashing around doing the side quests, reaching level 40-something by chapter 4 and finally moving on only when all the reasonable, reachable sidequests have been finished. (Do the frog-lady and photographer-guy quests. Best money and XP.)

Picture from FFXV Wiki.
It's a Final Fantasy, so needless to say the graphics are pretty. This one has a real road-trip vibe going on... which, as it basically starts out as a road-trip bachelor party for a prince with his bodyguards, makes sense. You've got a lot of open-world to explore, and if you want to put Ignis to work cooking, you can run around collecting ingredients in a completely extraneous recipe-gathering sidequest that confers stat bonuses when you have him cook.

Also, I've noticed that someone who worked on this project is a huge Star Wars fan. Really. You'll know it when you see it.

The main weakness of the game is travel-time (loading takes a while, and you can't always fast travel where you want to go, so you'll have to drive there... which can take several minutes of low-interaction scenery-passing). It's a bit frustrating. But at least the scenery is pretty and there's lots to explore, so it could be worse. And sometimes there's a character-interaction moment that interrupts the monotony so you can do something. Consider keeping a book or a phone at hand for those long travel sessions, though.

I have noticed that chapters 4-8 go by very quickly. I can't really say how big an issue this is, as I've avoided spoilers and have no idea how long the game goes, but you can spend forever up to chapter five, and then bam, you've advanced the plot quite a bit very fast. It still feels like there's a lot left to the game, though, so I'm not too worried about a few quick chapters.

Being as it's a bachelor party, there is some attempt at romance build up between the hero and his would-be bride, but as of chapter 8 she's not really been an interactive character in the game, so it's pretty cursory. Again, holding judgement until I see how that turns out. Though am I the only one who sees a slight visual similarity to Yuna? She does at least seem interesting.

As far as other women go in the game, don't get me started on Cindy the half-dressed mechanic who wiggles when she talks. And the half-hearted Iris crush is about as road-worthy as a broken-down car in need of a repair kit (stock up on those, btw; you get a nice return on investment when you save a stranded motorist). Basically the only interesting female sidequest character so far is Sania the botanist. There are a few tertiary NPCs who run shops and diners and walk around cities, but they don't really do much. The only female villain so far has the standard female armor problems, which is to say it visually would not function to protect her in battle. So on the whole, I'm... not impressed about that aspect of the game.

High note: I think my favorite part of the game thus far has been Prompto. Prompto may be my new mascot, guys. Him and chocobos. Yes, there is a bunch of chocobo riding in this game, and it never gets old to run around on a bird, especially when your bird riding skills level up enough that it occasionally buffs you in battle. Go chocobo! Prompto is silly, sweet, and seems to have some hidden depths to him as a character. He's the comic relief of the group, and if he keeps dying in battle (seriously, stay out of melee range, Prompto! You have a freaking gun!), he's amusing enough that I still like him.

I do really like the warping aspect of battle, which gives some cool visuals and adds an interesting dimension to the combat. Since Prompto catches in-battle photos, this makes for some fun 'pictures' to go through later. It's not a complex fighting system, but the variety of weapons is enjoyable, and making magic is cool and also makes getting mobbed by a lot of Imperial soldiers much less irritating (Blizzara to their faces=quick XP and less time spent in battle). Of course there's a lot of combat, but I think the amount is about normal for a Final Fantasy, and you can avoid it if you really want to in most situations.

On the whole I'm finding it a very cute game and enjoying the side-questing a lot. As far as main plots go, I'm ranking it about par with XII so far. We'll see how that develops over time. In any case, I've been enjoying it, enough to distract me from blogging.

Anyone else playing? What are your thoughts on the game?

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