Hello, humans! Still alive and kicking, huh? Damn…er, uh, I mean, damn, that’s great. Yup – look at you, all not-dead and whatnot. Fan-fucking-tastic. This is what I get for taking evil shopping advice from a goddamn coyote – he never even did catch that bird, useless bastard. ACME better have a good refund policy on partially-used plagues.
Anyway, since you’re still breathing, I suppose I should at least attempt to entertain you. So first, I guess we could delve into my thoughts as I have begun playing Square Enix’s recently released Final Fantasy XV. This isn’t going to be a full review yet – this is a large game with a ton to do, and I simply haven’t had the time to play it thoroughly enough to give my final thoughts on it. But I can tell you how it’s compared with my expectations going in.
Speaking of those expectations, they were…well, let’s be polite (Editor’s Note: for once) (EWE’s Note to Editor: you shut the fuck up right now) and just say that they were “low.” Now, it isn’t as if I’m not a fan of the series – quite the opposite – but this game had raised some alarms for me. First of all, I’m kind of old-school in my taste for RPGs. I mean, for shit’s sake, look at me – I’m an 8-bit wizard. My DNA is pixel-based. Swords and sorcery, some steampunk, turn-based combat…this is the stuff I look for in an RPG.
But starting with FF VII, the main Final Fantasy series has started moving away from traditional settings and gameplay elements. That isn’t to say that this has been entirely a bad thing – taking chances and changing things up is how a long-lived series keeps from getting stale. But like any experiments with a proven formula, some alterations work…and some not so much. FF VII was a smash hit, but FF XIII took some well deserved criticism for essentially featuring a 20-hour corridor at the beginning of the game with no real options to deviate. So when the announced concept of FF XV was revealed to essentially be “Bro’d Trip!” I was…cautious. When SE announced that there would be an entire universe of products revolving around XV, including anime film and series prequels, visions of the ill-fated Compilation of FF VII swam before me. And most alarmingly, when I played through the demos of the game that were made available…I was underwhelmed.
But thus far into the release of the full game, I am happy to report that my concerns have thus far proven to be…well, not “wrong” because that’s impossible, but perhaps “addressed” is a better term. The combat system that had felt so obtuse and unresponsive to be in the demo is in actuality one of the best systems that the franchise has had since the old ATB days. Battles zip along and are action packed without (thus far) becoming overwhelming. And while you can only directly control Noctis throughout, you can trigger his three besties to perform joint attacks with him. And even on their own, the AI for your party members is adequate as far as I’ve gotten into the game.
Story wise, I have not progressed too far yet, as this is the first FF game to feature a mostly-open world with a TON of sidequests and loot scattered all over the map. But I can say that thus far, the dynamic between the four best buds has actually been handled quite well. Sure they’re dressed like something that should be on a catwalk in Milan, but their personalities and banter mesh well together without getting (too) cheesy. There is still a lot of room for character development, but I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of this game based on my first impressions.
Now as a last tidbit for you…you all remember my best friend, THE best friend, Malevolent Moogle, right? Of course you do! Well, MM and I had an exchange the other day that was so enlightening and life-changing, I simply had to share her wisdom with all you meatbags out there. Here is MM offering me her, uh, we’ll call it “advice” for lack of a better term, on my personal life and dating.
MM – “Listen up. I’ve appointed myself your datekeeper. If you haven’t found a nice girl by my birthday, you have to go out with anybody I say. Deal?”
EWE – “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…HAHAHA..HAHA…Ha…oh, fuck, you’re not joking, are you?”
MM – “You didn’t say no, so, that counts as a yes.”
EWE – “Uh, we’re both lawyers, and I’m reasonably sure we both know that clearly IS NOT how ‘no’ works…”
MM – “Under this highly particular set of circumstances, and applicable only to you, it does. Now, we can compromise – you will message any girl who has a cat with her in her profile pic.”
EWE – “Wait…how is that a compromise? There are a lot of girls with cats…”
MM – “Cats cats cats cats cats!”
Now, for those of you who may still at this point be asking yourself “man, what is EWE’s deal? What is wrong with that guy?” I want you to reread that conversation, and then realize that the person I’m talking to is essentially THE SOLE VOICE OF REASON in my existence. That should clear up any questions you may have had.
Until next time, kiddos, may you all have a merry happy whatever-the-fuck-you-celebrate – just please do it quickly, because I just honestly want it all over as soon as possible. Thanks in advance. – EWE