Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts are pretty much the only video games I play. I have a PS2, PS3, and PS4 pretty much exclusively because of the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy 15 was the latest release, which I ordered as a pre release, so I had it on the release date. Of course, I started playing it almost right away, but the timing of the release coincided with my upcoming move, so I wasn't able to play it much.
Before actually moving, I played the game as much as I could, going through all the random side quests and hunts without moving the main story along. I wanted to build up my strength and accomplish as much as I could before moving to the next stage. I think I played around 40 hours, but was only in the third chapter of fifteen before it was time to pack up the games and electronics in preparation for the move.
After moving to the new house, I didn't get my game systems set up right away, there was still a lot to do. Then, the depression began to hit me harder. This caused even more delays in getting back to the game. Having no real desire to log into Second Life, I would watch some shows or random YouTube videos. After a few days, though, I decided it was time to get back to the game. I was still fighting my depression, but the game was one of the things I wanted to do, so I made sure I continued it.
As time permitted, I continued the game, again working on the various side quests and hunts before moving the story along. All in all, I spent over 100 hours playing the game, and reached level 70 before actually completing the main story. Since I still didn't really want to do much else, I decided to start what is known as New Game+. This allowed me to restart my game, keeping my stats and equipment as I moved through the story. I wanted to get things that I didn't get before. The flying car, the fight with adamantoise, along with any special weapons I might have missed along the way.
I'm currently back in Chapter 3, at around 140 hours or so, and level 75. There are some new additions to the game that I haven't tried yet, which should make things even more interesting, and more is coming later. All this is something I want to do, and also an excuse to stay away from everything else. As of this past weekend, though, I'm starting to shift my focus to some of those other things, such as this blog, in order to continue to work my way out of my depression.
As I've had a full play-thru of the game, I thought I'd give my opinion on it as well. There have been a lot of reviews on it, some good, some not so good. Mine is just going to be another voice in the sea, easily forgotten, especially since we've long since passed the release when reviews were actually relevant.
First off, the graphics are pretty amazing. Except for some glitches here and there, the graphics were beautiful. The scenery was beautiful, the depth and detail were amazing. You could see a mountain in the distance get larger as you got closer to it. Ripples could be seen in the water when it rained. Clothes became wet in water and rain, and dirty from the travels.
Sound quality was good, but unlike other games in the franchise, there wasn't music through the entire game. As you're out in the outdoors or driving between destinations, there was often silence. For those times, you could turn on the car radio, or your portable music player, and listen to select soundtracks from all the other Final Fantasy games, which you could purchase at various stores in the game.
Combat was a big change, and took a bit to get used to. It is much more action based than the active time battle of previous games. I used the Wait Mode a lot, to allow me to scan enemy weaknesses, but there were times that the Wait Mode caused more trouble than it helped. I'm not a huge fan of the action based style, so for me, that was a bit of a drawback. Another drawback was not being able to more directly control the other characters in the party. There were times I wanted to unleash a powerful spell, and had no choice but to get them caught in the middle of it, as I had no way of getting them to fall back to safety. The friendly fire from magic was an interesting addition, but one I wasn't particularly fond of, due to having no control over where my teammates were.
The hunts and side quests did get tedious after a while. They were entertaining, but having to drive across the continent to complete a quest, drive back to claim your reward, then drive back across the continent for another quest was tiresome. The rewards were often worth it, but waiting five minutes while you drive (unless you pay money to skip the drive) then another couple minutes walking across the wilderness did make things boring at times.
The side dialog while you were roaming tended to get very repetitive after a while too. I've heard the same things so many times, I can hear it in my sleep. "Imperials! Above us!" "Magitek engine! And it's close!" "That's it! I've come up with a new recipe!" It was entertaining at first, but it didn't take long for it to become a joke. In fact, the latter quote is actually a meme now.
Fishing, Cooking, Survival, and Photography. Survival isn't bad, letting Gladius find items when defeating foes. Cooking is sometimes helpful for the added temporary stat boost prior to a huge battle. Fishing and Photography, though? What is the real value in either of these skills? You're only allowed to save so many photos, and after a while, they start looking very similar. It looks like the developers created a series of poses and just chose random poses to include with one of the backgrounds of a location you visited. Overall, though, these four skills were pretty pointless for the overall game.
Chocobo racing was something I didn't do much of. Couldn't beat Prompto at first couple of attempts, so I didn't bother after that. Might try my luck again this time around, but who knows.
That leads to the overall story, and for this I will include the anime and the movie as part of the review. Each stands well enough on its own, but taking all three together gives a much richer view into the world. The anime allows you to see how the characters met and some of the circumstances of their youth, while the movie dealt with the fall of Insomnia, which happens at the end of the first chapter of the game. When taken as a whole, I found the story very interesting. I didn't expect some of the twists along the way, which, in this case, was a good thing. Even some of the added story points through the side quests helped enhance the story. Other side quest stories, though, didn't really do much to add to the story. In that case, there was a trade-off.
The characters and the stories are what continue to draw me into the various worlds of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 13 is my favorite, with Lightning being my favorite protagonist. The world of Final Fantasy 15 is another of my favorites, and one that so far has a nice bit of replay value. Overall, I would give the game a 9 out of 10.