After watching Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV , I’m convinced that this is going to be the best Final Fantasy ever. This is coming from a long-time fan, and I’m picky; I still haven’t played a Final Fantasy that tops VII or Tactics in scope or impact. Perhaps the closest we’ve come to Final Fantasy greatness since the PlayStation 1 days is in Final Fantasy XIV . This game looks different, though. You can tell see the hearts and souls of an entire team of committed developers and story-tellers in every trailer, and I haven’t been this intrigued by a video game in a very long time. This could be the big one folks; not only the best Final Fantasy yet, but also the game of the year. I have my reasons for saying so, and in honor of my favorite Final Fantasy, here are seven of them:
Final Fantasy Radio
During Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV , one of the best surprises of the night had to do with the car. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not talking about the airship – you’ll see that next. I’m talking about the car’s radio. I know in-game radios are nothing new. We’ve been listening to them in Grand Theft Auto games for years, after all. What’s awesome about the radio in FF XV is it can be tuned to a Final Fantasy Radio station which plays all of the best tunes and compositions from various games in the franchise. I can imagine myself cruising down the road into a dazzling sunset when suddenly Cloud’s Theme (the main theme from FF VII ) comes on the radio. Oh, the feels…
A Flying Car
They made a big deal out of that one-of-a-kind Audi being built in honor of Final Fantasy XV during the Uncovered event, but I guarantee its video game counterpart is sporting one notable, extra feature: wings. In one of the biggest mic-drop moments of the night, we were all stunned at the end of a brand new trailer to see this already-iconic car, so central to the story, transform into a sleek little airship. I’m a fan of the Highwind myself, but I think I could get used to this. How can you not be excited to pilot a flying car?! I don’t see myself getting around any other way unless Square Enix decides to bring back Chocobo breeding, in which case my number one priority will be to breed a golden Chocobo.
I feel like it’s mandatory now for every big conference to conclude with the announcement of some big DLC, demo, or mobile game that’s available immediately. It’s a tired stunt, but I certainly don’t mind it. I still lost my sh#t when I heard that a new Final Fantasy XV demo was available to everyone following the Uncovered event. Platinum Demo follows young Noctis as he’s guided through a dream by his guardian, Carbuncle. The demo gives us a taste of how the full game will look and feel, and let me tell you, it looks and feels great. Knowing Square Enix still has six months to optimize and polish their game gets me so pumped because I thought Platinum Demo was inspired and looked wonderful, and though the new combat system may not suit old-school fans of the series, I had a blast with it. Check it out if you haven’t already.
Final Fantasy XV Universe
This game is going to take over my life. I have an addictive personality, so when I get into something, I get really into it. It’s one reason Dark Souls can be so frustrating to me; there just isn’t enough background lore or character information to invest in. That won’t be a problem here, as Square Enix is dedicated to bringing a whole Final Fantasy XV Universe to life. A five-part anime, a feature-length movie, a demo with some side story, a smartphone game that the characters themselves love to play… by the time this game comes out we’re going to feel right at home in the game world, and feel right chummy with all of its inhabitants. It’s brilliant, and in my opinion, there’s no better way to turn customers into fans than by getting them invested in the story as soon as possible.
Final Fantasy XV is really flipping the script when it comes to combat. While long-time fans may feel that turn-based combat in Final Fantasy games is sacrosanct – something that never be changed or altered – games like Crisis Core and Type-0 have proven that a more action oriented, real-time battle system can be perfectly suiting. I had a lot of fun swiping, smashing, casting, warping, and dodging in Platinum Demo . I even stuck around after the final boss fight and stepped on a special panel to respawn the giant and start the battle all over again. If you’re apprehensive, don’t be. I’ve only had a small taste of FF XV ‘s battle system and I’m ready for more. I have a feeling that after we finish the game we’ll be dying for more of the same in the Final Fantasy VII remake.
An Inspired World
The world and environments in Final Fantasy XV look nothing short of breathtaking. I told a colleague of mine, as well as my editor, that if this game world looks anything like what they showed off during Uncovered , and runs anywhere near 30 fps consistently, it’ll be a technical marvel. It’s a dizzying blend of modern city, old-world kingdom, and unspoiled alien world. It’s like Midgar meets Ivalice. Outside of a bustling city center with a crowded market we see towering skyscrapers contrasted against jagged crystals protruding from the earth, dark and glowing, a gentle blue flickering in their center. I can’t wait to explore this vast, beautiful, and dangerous world.
A Strong Core Cast
This is a Final Fantasy game. We’re expecting a stellar story driven by believable characters, and so far it looks like Square Enix has gone all out to make this the best lineup yet. On the face of it our hero and his crew seem like a rather typical hodgepodge of archetypes: youthful noble rebel in Noctis, brainiac adviser in Ignis, strong and brave warrior in Gladiolus, and we have our relatable “everyman” in Prompto. It might not sound like anything special on paper, but watching these guys interact on screen really is fantastic, and there’s a chemistry there that is going to give so much life and depth to this story. There’s also an enormous cast of fascinating non-playable characters like the wise King Regis and the mysterious Lunafreya. And you know what? The English voice acting sounds really solid, which is a relief. I have a good feeling that these characters will go down as some of the most loved in the entire franchise.