Before anything else, I want to say that this is an amazing game. Whether you have never touched a Final Fantasy game before, or are an avid, longtime fan of the series, you should definitely give this game a try.
I ordered the game on a whim when I saw it 30% off on amazon one day. I figured “I was looking at buying it anyway, may as well grab it while it’s cheap!”, and while I was expecting great things from it, the game was a bit different than I thought it would be. I got the action-packed and exciting combat I wanted, but I was surprised to find my heart being plucked a few times throughout the story, as most of the reviews I had read said the story was somewhat quick and flat. In light of that, I have decided to do my review of the experience I had with Final Fantasy 15 while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind. There will definitely be spoilers in there, but this is what I personally experienced throughout the game, not a review, so what big events made me feel will be very important for me to discuss.
The very first experience you get on Prince Noctis and his three companions journey, is actually them pushing a broken down Regalia down the road; they’ve run the car out of gas. It doesn’t sound all that exciting for an intro, but listening to the characters chatting as they achingly push the heavy car forward, and looking at the scenery as it passes by, I found myself feeling quite relaxed and reminiscing about times spent with my friends dealing with my own broken down vehicle. The VERY first thing this game gives you is not blood-pumping excitement, but rather a deep feeling of kinship between four friends, and that is what this game is about to me; camaraderie, and carrying each other along through whatever life throws at you. Now buckle up, this is gonna be a long one!
For the first – lets say half – of the game, things carry on with a rather simple pace; you hunt some monsters, do some jobs for people in different communities as you travel, and enjoy fun times on your road trip. You’ll be fishing, camping out under the starts with your buds, and then rolling out in the Regalia for whatever jobs or adventures you had planned for the day. During this period of the game, I found myself growing very sentimental toward Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus. Their friendship is the pinnacle of what the word can embody, and watching them chat while driving around, talking about the days events while eating a meal around a campfire, or even just their remarks on the world around them made for a very memorable experience. Because of this, this part of the game is my favorite, and I was very glad to learn I could continue journeying with the gang after finishing the main story despite how it ended.
After this more relaxed section of the game, you will find yourself moving through the journey with a much more serious tone behind it. Hearing news that Insomnia, the gangs home city and seat of the king, has been destroyed and the king lay dead. From here the story progresses quite quickly at times, and you will find yourself battling Titan in an attempt to gain his blessing before too long. After earning his token that allows you to access his power, you will do the same with Ramuh, and then find yourself travelling to the beautiful city of Altissia – where the prince was to be wed with Lunafreya before everything fell apart – to earn the blessing of Leviathan. Before travelling there, you are given a warning that you will not be able to return for some time, only to discover the only way of doing so is by using Umbra’s power to travel to the past in your dreams. This part of the game was where I really felt the pace of the game quickening; Luna’s death, Ignis losing his sight, and the turmoil it all causes in Noctis made me burn to see the story through to the end. One thing I can’t lie about here, is that while Luna’s passing was tragic, it was only when I learned that Ignis was blind that I felt the sting in my heart, and from that point on I felt a legitimate concern for his well-being. This was the point when I finally realized just how attached I had become to the guys.
Leaving Altissia in an awful mess, Noctis and the gang travel across the sea to Niflheim, boarding a train toward the capital city. During this section of the game, a great deal of things are thrown at Noctis that he wasn’t mentally prepared for – after all, his beloved had only recently died in front of him. The thing I wasn’t prepared for, was how Ignis’ initial issues after losing his sight hit me WAY harder than I thought they would. Maybe I was over tired at the time, maybe I really am just a man with a marshmallow heart, but when travelling through the mine zone with Ignis slowly making his way around behind me, I felt a large range of emotions in succession and quickly found myself in awe at what this game was doing to me. First I felt bad for Iggy watching him struggle to keep pace, then I felt annoyed that I had to move so slow in order to not lose him and get yelled at by Gladio or Prompto, then I noticed I was looking at the situation as if it were me personally dealing with a blind person following me, walking at his pace and looking back to check up on him every dozen feet or so. Not long after realizing that, I thought “I actually get worried and feel bad when I don’t keep an eye on him. My god, this game.” and resumed bouncing between wanting to walk him back to the dungeon entrance and leave him there if the game allowed it, and feeling like I should put an arm over his shoulder and help guide him along, eventually having to pause the game because tears were streaming down my face after seeing Iggy swing his dagger blindly and call out “where is the enemy”. I’ve never personally had to deal with helping a friend with such a disability, but if someone you are really close to suddenly becomes totally blind and unable to do pretty much everything they usually do, I imagine seeing them in such a state would stress you out in a similar way and lead to a similar burst of emotion. The fact that a fictional character gave me this experience still amazes me.
From that point on the story feels much more dark and dramatic, and the pace continues to quicken. The next series of events will have you fighting off masses of demons, gaining the power of Shiva, and making your way to the Imperial Capital. In getting there, the Regalia is destroyed, the gang loses the ability to summon their weapons, and Prompto is lost for a short while. Not long after reaching Gralea, you will get to taste the power of the Ring of Lucii – which was quite underwhelming to me – and regain the sword of Noctis’ father. Between Ardyn’s constant trolling over the intercom system, losing and finding your friends again, and fighting up through the floors of the keep with unfamiliar weapons, I enjoyed this chapter of the game, but it did feel like it could have had more to it. After reaching the top you encounter Bahamut, who is one beautifully savage-looking god, and are informed Noctis will have to die to banish the demons plaguing the world before a 10-year time skip.
This final part of the game was over WAY too quick in my opinion, and they could/should have added more in this part to give it more depth, but I enjoyed the way the story ended nonetheless. Seeing Talcott all grown up after the time skip made me tear up a bit, but hearing that Iris was known as “the demon slayer” now made me wince. I did NOT want to imagine Gladio’s cute little sister having to kill demons. I was a bit sad that we didn’t get to see what Cindy looked like in this distopic future (hopefully she learned to wear some real clothing), but immediately stopped caring about anything else once I saw the guys; Gladio looking pretty much the same, Iggy looking like a total bad-ass with his new shades and walking around blind like daredevil or something, and Prompto with his scruffy little chin-beard. The reunion felt properly heart-warming.
From here you move on to Insomnia, where you fight some fittingly tough demons, and find yourself in combat with Ifrit himself. Using the powers of the other gods throughout the fight, I honestly felt the battle was really fun and exciting. Seeing Bahamut fly in and slap him with a hurricane of blades was beautiful to watch, and I mean that literally – the animation and graphics were downright gorgeous. After putting down the god of fire, you march your way toward Ardyn for the final battle. Choosing a photo for Noctis to carry with him for the fight and what he must do after, really hit me, and I ended up looking through all 130 photos I had saved up to that point, before finally choosing a photo of the entire group before leaving Cape Caem. I felt having a photo with not only the main four, but Cid, Talcott, Iris, and the others all together felt right.
The battle with Ardyn was fun, and quite intense honestly, but I was expecting it to have more mechanics or something. It just seemed sort of hollow and felt like it was over without enough of a struggle. Ifrit kicked my ass wayyy worse than Ardyn. After the fight though, the scene of Noctis sacrificing himself to bring back the light felt deep and well written, and I felt satisfied once it was all over. I made it through him giving his little speech to the guys, and repeating the “walk tall” bit his father said to him just before he set out on his journey with them, but during the after-credits scene showing the guys when they made camp for the last time outside Insomnia, my fortifications collapsed and I found myself breaking down and letting the water run from my eyes.
I can’t really think of anything else to mention at this point, so I’ll finalize with this;
I went into this game expecting giant swords being swung at bigger monsters, and a story revolving around four guys going on a road trip, and while at its core that’s exactly what this game is, it gives you so much more than that.
Thank you very much for reading (Hot damn, that’s a lot of words up there!), and be sure to leave your opinions of the game in the comments section below! I’d love to hear what experiences others got out of this. Hopefully someone else is as big a wuss as me when it comes to emotional junk.
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