Monday, 4 April 2016

First Impressions: Final Fantasy 15: Platinum Demo

I'll be honest. I haven't really paid much attention to FFXV, as it was, in my opinion, just an obstacle to Kingdom Hearts 3. That is, I didn't pay much attention until I played this demo and got transported into a Kingdom Hearts-esque RPG with great mechanics and mind-boggling graphics. Here are my experiences of the Platinum Demo, a separate prologue to the main game: 
The demo opens to a cut-scene of young Noctis (the games protagonist) waking up in his own dream. Final Fantasy has always been known for its ambitious cutscenes and this one's no different. The characters looked real. That is until you spotted the little rabbit creature with a red gemstone in its head. This character is Carbuncle, a recurring summon in the Final Fantasy series and your dream guide. Together you learn the basics of fighting, magic and driving as you try to escape the dream.

Overall, I found the movement to be nice and fluid with smooth animation, that responded to the environment (water ripples in the lakes etc.). However, the jumping felt odd, like there was some artificial gravity or something - you jumped and were forced back down. I'm not sure if this was just because you were playing as a younger version of the character (for the most part) and they hadn't adjusted it or something like that, but it was a tad frustrating. 

It could've also been to do with the new warp points, which are awesome and offer new freedom. Basically you aim where you want to go and press a button (triangle for PS4) and you get teleported to that area. Now, the nice thing about it is that you can teleport to a higher area (a lampost/ledge etc.) allowing you to gain an edge on your enemies and allow the game to use verticality as a weapon.

Talking of weapons, being a kid in a dream, the weapons you were given were great. From 'toy sword' and 'squeaky hammer' to 'fireworks' and 'shower', they were quite inventive and fun to use, even if they seem to only be for the demo. Shower, especially was really well executed, showering vibrant blue rain onto the enemy. Weather was also used in the game and as this demo was designed to show you all the features, you could change the weather and time of day at will by stepping on plates. These plates could also unlock weapons, change you into cars and giant animals and show giant monsters as a taste of what's to come. It was a neat feature and I hope that some of it will be implemented into the main game

After travelling through a forest and what can only be described as the Wonderland room in the original, we arrived at a city, where we were tasked to find a long corridor to get back to our room and our supposed 'safe place'. Through a conversation with Carbuncle (via a smart phone) we learn that the child version of Noctis just wants his dad to spend time with him, again, hinting at things to come. After travelling to our supposed 'safe place' I was shocked to be transported to a plaza and a giant golem to appear out of nowhere. 

Of course, we are in Noctis's dream, a place he can do anything, so suddenly we are beating up this golem as fully grown Noctis, using fire (although only once), a broadsword and his specialist sword. A quick dispatchment of the foe, even after getting beaten back to our childike self (quite a cool effect and something that seemed to happen quite often as I just couldn't dodge) and we were ready to finish the story. However, I spotted a plate in the distance and was able to battle another, more powerful, golem, using the aforementioned warp points. 

Anyway, the story ends with the revelation that Noctis's safe place is his dad's car, as he knows that while he is travelling with his dad, he will always be with him (I'm not crying I swear), serving as a nod to the car used in the actual game. And we're finished, 33 minutes of travelling, fighting and gathering little crystals, all culminating in a boss battle against a giant golem. Not bad for a free demo!

Now, we do have to talk about the graphics really. They were amazing. I was worried when I first saw it as the game looked like just a collection of textures, all a bit out of place with the backrounds but it actually worked really well (with some help from some dynamic lighting). The music as well was awesome and varied but we've come to expect that from the Final Fantasy series. Although, I didn't here any prologue music...

Overall I really enjoyed the demo and my have been converted to try the game out when it gets released on September 30th. I do have to admit though, from growing up playing Final Fantasy X, this game is the least 'Final Fantasy' game of the series, and it might be better for it.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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