Genre: Action Role-Playing Game (RPG)
Initial Release Date: November 29, 2016
Royal Edition Release Date: March 06, 2018
Platform: PS4, XBOX, PC, Stadia
Developers: Square Enix, HexaDrive, XPEC Entertainment, Streamline Studios, Umbra, SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
Publisher: Square Enix
Writers: SaoriItamuro, Akiko Ishibashi, Takumi Nishida, Kazushige Nojima
Director: Hajime Tabata
Producer: Shinji Hashimoto
Designers: Tetsuya Nomura, Wan Hazmer, PrasertPrasertvithyakarn, Masanori Sato, Kunihiko Kimura, Kenichiro Yuji, Masashi Takizawa
Composer: Yoko Shimomura
Overview: Final Fantasy XV (FFXV) is the 15th major instalment in the "Final Fantasy" franchise, previously to be directed by Tetsuya Nomura and released as "Final Fantasy Versus 13," plans of which had been scrapped and remade into the game we know and love today.
The story follows Noctis Lucis Caelum, a Prince next in line to become the 113th King of the Kingdom of Lucis, and his three most trusted royal bodyguards, Ignis Scientia, Gladiolus Amecita and Prompto Argentum, setting out on a quest to seek out Noctis's betrothed, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, in order to fulfil his destiny by the order of his father, King Regis Lucis Caelum.
The story is comprised of 14 chapters, with an additional 15th chapter for post-game content. We see Noctis and his friends stumbling across many difficulties while travelling across the world in search of his beloved. One day, as they prepare to set out for Altissia - where Lunafreya is supposed to be currently residing, they are met with the news of an attack on the Crown City of Insomnia, carried out by Niffleheim during their peace treaty with the Kingdom of Lucis, resulting in the death of King Regis, the Crown Prince and Lunafreya, whom the Emperor had brought as a guest to witness the signing of the treaty.
Noctis quickly figures out his father's true intentions for sending him away, realizing King Regis must have foreseen these events and saved his son's life knowing Noctis was the True King of the prophecies; the harbinger of light into the world of Eos in its time of darkness.
While the fall of Insomnia and King Regis is certain, Noctis believes Lunafreya is still out there somewhere. But in order to save her, and to reclaim his throne, Noctis has to claim all his Royal Arms carrying the might of gods from the tombs of his Ancestors - a ceremony needed to be performed by all Kings of Lucis, that would eventually aid him in his final battle.
Throughout the game, Noctis has to encounter every one of the Astral Gods- Titan, Ramuh, Leviathan, Shiva and Bahamut to receive their blessing of the Mark, and even fight those who deem him unworthy to prove his worthiness.
After reuniting with Lunafreya in Altissia, she helps him with his battle with Leviathan, but is killed in the process by ArdynIzunia, a mysterious man claiming to be the Chancellor of Niffleheim. As the story progresses, we find that Ardyn is the mastermind who orchestrated all of these events and used the Emperor as a pawn to bring down the kingdom of Lucis for his own personal agenda.
It is later revealed in Episode Ardyn that Ardyn was the true First king of Lucis, but was betrayed by his younger brother, Somnus for the throne. However, curing people during the Starscourge- a plague that turns humans into demons - had demonized Ardyn to the point of no return, giving him eternal life, a curse from which only the True King of the prophecy could free him - at the cost of his own life.
FFXV is a highly detailed open-world RPG with stunning modern-day graphics, allowing the player to play as Noctis when exploring the beautiful world of Eos, but also allowing players to switch between Noctis's comrades mid-battle for an expansive battle experience.
Battle system - FFXV uses an 'Active X Battle' (AXB), which takes place in real-time, incorporating all of the player's surrounding environment. The player can warp to high points to assess the battlefield situation which also restores Noctis's MP to full, and the game has a Wait Mode which allows players to freeze surroundings and scan enemies for their weaknesses for more efficient elemental damage, a feature which can be turned on and off at will. Taking cover also recovers MP and player's HP is gradually restored mid-battle. However, once the health drops to Danger, HP has to be restored by the use of potions, or by the help of friends, which does not use up any potions from your inventory. This is a very useful method of potion conservation in tough, long dungeons.
Weapons - While Noctis can wield just about any weapon inside the game including his Royal arms, which drain HP upon using, each of his comrades have their own special type of weapon they can carry. For example, Ignis can use daggers or polearms, while Gladio can carry Greatswords and Shields, and Prompto can carry long-range weapons like Guns, snipers, crossbows, bioblasters, etc.
Armiger and Techniques- Armiger is FFXV's version of a skill tree, which can be unlocked by Ability points (AP) gained during the player's adventures. Unlocking subsequent Armiger nodes can allow the players to access various techniques used by each party member, which deal heavier damage than regular attacks.
Summons - As the storyline progresses, Noctis will receive the blessing of the Mark from various Astrals, allowing him to summon Gods during battle when he is in a tough spot. Summons cannot be done at will and only when a player's health is low and usually requires a recharge time.
Camping - EXP is tallied during camping, so it is essential to rest up frequently to level up. Ignis can also make delicious food during camping which gives players status boosts, more so if it's a character's favourite meal.
Special Skills - Apart from battle, each party member has their own special skill that can be maxed up to Level 10, and provides a refreshing experience for players. Noctis has fishing, Prompto has Photography, Ignis has Cooking, and Gladious has Survival which levels up upon exploration.
Exploration - For travel, players can walk on foot and chocobos for off-track exploration, while Regalia, a modifiable car, is used for travelling by road. Players can also use the Royal Vessel to travel the seas which unlock as the story progresses.
Music and additional contents
The game includes one of the best musical scores in the Final Fantasy franchise, such as the Noctis Theme, Somnus, Ardyn theme, Departure, etc.
The game also has heart touching and much needed additional content such as FFXV: Kingsglaive film, FFXV: Brotherhood anime, FFXV: Episode Ardyn Prologue along with the character DLCs that helps wrap the story beautifully, giving each side character their much-needed background story and justify their bonds with each other.
Keeping aside the fact that the game has spent 10 years in production and it still took the developers even 2 more years to deliver the whole story after its initial release, the game still depicts friendship, self-growth and destiny brilliantly.
Overall rating: 9/10