The Problems with Final Fantasy XV come together to create a mixed product.
Final Fantasy XV is the latest game in the overwhelmingly popular Final Fantasy franchise. Originally envisioned as the third part of the Fabula Nova Chrystallis project, the game was revealed to the public in 2006 under the title Final Fantasy Versus XIII. After many delays, a name change, and the original director, Tetsuya Nomura, leaving the project and being replaced with Hajime Tabata, the titled finally saw release November 29th, 2016. It arrived to much fanfare and some middling reviews. With a series as large and legendary as Final Fantasy, it’s impossible to please everyone. However, this title suffers from some of the biggest issues seen in modern AAA gaming.
The Initial Problems
One of the biggest problems that plagued the game was the incomplete state it existed in upon release. All of the Fabula Nova Chrystalis games faced issues upon release. Final Fantasy XIII received scathing reviews and is one of the most controversial titles in the series. The original version of Final Fantasy type-0, originally known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII, failed to see release outside of Japan until the HD version released in 2015. When Final Fantasy XV finally saw release, it lacked a few features present and previous games of the franchise.
The first problem noticed was the inability to play as the other major characters. Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis were all unplayable. While they could be commanded, there was no option to directly manipulate their choices. This is notably different previous games in the series which, at times, force the player to use different characters. The ability to play as different characters is locked behind three separate DLC known as “Episodes.”
The December 2017 DLC for the game did see the option to play as all the characters without purchasing the DLC, but their stories are still locked behind DLC.
But wait…there is more.
The story is also a little difficult to comprehend unless the player consumes both the prequel anime series and the Kingsglaive film. While the anime is freely available on Youtube, the film must be purchased by either purchasing a more expensive special edition of Final Fantasy XV or as a standalone Blu-Ray. In other words, a chunk of the story is sold separately.
The most egregious example of the lack of content is as follows: the multiplayer content is locked behind paid DLC. Many AAA titles in today’s climate shove multiplayer into games that don’t really need it. Some games even release with no single player options and little to no PvE. This game not only tacks on multiplayer to a single player experience but forces the player to purchase a pass in order to use the online multiplayer. Without the season pass, this pass costs 19.99 USD to play. This doesn’t include any additional fees such as a PS+ or Xbox Live subscription.
The Royal Problem
January 15th, 2018, Square Enix announced an updated re-release of Final Fantasy XV known as Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition. The announcement was soon followed by the announcement of Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition. This update will come with a new dungeon, several new bosses, new vehicles, new abilities, and the “Episodes” DLC as well as the “Comrades” DLC. This will all be available in a 49.99 USD package. For those who purchased the game day one, they will be able to purchase an upgrade to the Royal Edition for a yet to be disclosed price. That’s the good news.
The bad news is this edition is a slap in the face to everyone who purchased the Season Pass. All the new features of the game, the vehicles, powers, and dungeons, will not be included with the Season Pass. Those who purchased the season pass will have to purchase an additional upgrade. Also, the Royal Edition will not include the previously announced “Episode: Ardyn” or the rumored “Episode: Lunafreya.” Those who purchased the game on day one will end up spending 130+ USD in order to play the full version of the game.
Overall, Final Fantasy XV is a massive investment that is not friendly to the pockets of its consumers. While the mechanics of the game are okay, the amount of money Square Enix expects fans to spend is ridiculous.