After years of delays, Final Fantasy XV is finally here. Does it live up to the hype? For the part, it does. However, there are some little nagging issues that prevent it from being the truly great game that it so often comes close to being.
Specifically, the following improvements would make Final Fantasy XV one for the ages.
A Meaningful Magic System
Magic in Final Fantasy XV is very strange. It’s similar to previous games in the series in that you are required to draw from certain elemental source and use what you acquire to build your own spells. It sounds interesting, but it doesn’t result in much more than the ability to acquire a couple of powerful items.
If future games are going to continue using this system, then there needs to be a way to truly build a character that can use magic as a primary combat method and not an occasional assistant.
Deeper Attack Mechanics
Hold down the circle button in FF XV, and you’ll never stop attacking. Hold down the square button, and you can avoid nearly every attack. Sneak behind an opponent, and you can pull off critical hits.
So far as the melee combat in FF XV goes, that’s about all there is to it. There are a couple of strategies introduced later in the game, but the basic combat just asks that you stay alive. It takes way too long for the game to present more meaningful combat options. What’s missing are ways to make it feel like you are truly impacting the outcome of the fight.
Better Individual Character Leveling
With the exception of some special attacks and a few story moments, you really only control one character throughout Final Fantasy XV. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but it does become an issue when you consider that the game puts so much focus on its four main characters.
It would be great if the game allowed you to really build each character how you want instead of making them better at the specific skills they start the game with. The current system makes it feel like you’re furthering along someone else’s agenda.
More Creative Side Quests
Occasionally, you get a side quest in FF XV that is just incredible. Actually, most of the best stuff in the game is hidden somewhere just off the beaten path.
For the most part, though, sidequests mean clearing out an area of monsters, collecting a reward, and repeating. The moments when you encounter some legendary beast or stumble across an ancient tomb suggest that there is much more that can be done with these missions. It’s just a shame that few of them take advantage.
Most of FF XV’s story is told through its characters. The story’s best moments typically come through character interactions or some little detail built into the world. The story’s worst moment, or at least its least interesting moments, usually occur during some cutscene or non-interactive moment of storytelling.
That doesn’t have to be the case. FF XV really does have a good story, but it’s hampered by cutscenes that are awkwardly shoved into this large game. If Square Enix can find a way to tell you the main story more organically, they may be on to a great new formula.