Final Fantasy XV has attained a mythic status in the echelons of the gaming community. It has existed as vaporware, to varying degrees, for almost a decade now. This weekend, however, changed all that for the better. With only a week to go until Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and, by extension Final Fantasy XV -Episode Duscae-, become available worldwide, Episode Duscae was made playable to members of the press at PAX East. Here are some impressions from around the web!
Via IGN's Luke Karmali:
When we spoke to director Hajime Tabata recently, he said the team wanted to create a living world, and Episode Duscae suggests they succeeded. Where other Final Fantasy titles see enemies either absent from the map or wandering around fixed positions chained together, here they move of their own accord. Packs of hyena-like Sabertusks patrol the map, ready to spring at you. Peaceful mammoth-like Garula graze in herds unless you engage them. After night fell, Goblins appeared and began attacking both my party and the otherwise peaceful herbivores. After fleeing from Garula I’d over-ambitiously attacked, I set up camp and slept for the night, only for the beasts to recognise me the following day.
However, there were also plenty of times where I was surprised and disappointed to see poor anti-aliasing and dips in the frame rate. Overall, the game's art is splendid, but perhaps too ambitious given that the PlayStation 4 was struggling to keep up. Everyone wants Final Fantasy XV to be a beautiful game, especially given it's prolonged development cycle, but I'd rather there were a few less blades of grass and a few more frames per second than the otherway around. Hopefully this is ironed out in the long run.
Those are all problems that can be fixed, though. They've got plenty of time to polish, to refine, to keep tweaking and taking feedback and eking as much as they can out of the PS4 and Xbox One. What's way more critical—and what I'm way less worried about after today—is that Final Fantasy XV feels like a Final Fantasy game. And it does. It's grand, yet it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. It's totally unorthodox, totally weird, and, from what I've played so far, totally welcome.
Early impressions are positive, which is good, except for the technical issues, which are bad, since Tabata claimed last year that the game was over halfway finished. Either way, it seems that the stigma of the Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy and Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 are well behind us.
Episode Duscae will be available on Type-0 HD's launch day next week.
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