After the rather dull Platinum Demo, my expectations for Final Fantasy 15 somewhat faltered; and I wasn't alone. FF15's Titan battle demo at Xbox's E3 2016 showcase didn't help much, and then we had reports that the game was an unoptimized mess on consoles, barely hitting 1080p 30FPS. To address this and polish the game to a fine sheen, Square Enix delayed FF15 to late November.
But it looks like all of our fears and worries were in vain, and Square Enix has made great progress with the game. According to Polygon's Phil Kollar, the game is actually "very good" and "worth the wait," featuring a "story that's much more engaging than I had imagined."
Kollar played through the first 15 hours of the game's total 200 or so hours of content, taking on a portion of what the game had to offer in that slice of time: side missions, main quests, combat, open world exploration, etc. We're not sure if Kollar tested the final optimized version, or if he's playing the E3 2016 demo version, and I've reached out to him for clarification. Seeing as FF15 drops next month, I'm guessing it's the final version, or very close to the final release build.
Now I typically don't write about hands-on experiences from other sites, but I feel this is important enough to warrant a post, especially since this is one of the few hands-on previews from a site this close to the game's release. I think a lot of people are on the fence about Final Fantasy 15, and I think something like this could help them decide.
I think millions of gamers are worried about Final Fantasy 15, and given its troubled ten-year development cycle, it's a natural reaction.
But Square Enix hasn't been coy with its consistent updates on the game, and the team has shed a ton of light on what the experience has to offer and what we can expect. Square Enix dropped a ton of FF15 at E3 and Tokyo Game Show events, ceaselessly detailing the open world of Eos and how the RPG will take shape.
Tie this preview verdict with the E3 2016 hands-on demos and we have what sounds like a solid, stylish, and expansive RPG experience.
I've selected a few of Kollar's quotes that I feel are most apt, and you can find them below.
Final Fantasy 15 releases on November 29, 2016 on PS4 and Xbox One.
"While it certainly takes some inspiration from Western RPGs, Final Fantasy 15 manages to be great without giving up the Japanese identity that long-time fans will be looking for."
"Whatever path you choose to go down, most of Final Fantasy 15's quests revolve around traveling the world, delving into dungeons and engaging in increasingly difficult battle scenarios. Combat in the game is more action-centric than any previous mainline Final Fantasy, but it's still a far cry from a full-on action game like Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry."
"Final Fantasy 15's world is a strange blend of fantastic and post-industrial modern elements; characters wield swords and spears, but they also travel in cars along a fully-developed highway system and use guns. It's a world that feels simultaneously true to the series' roots but fresh and different."
"In 15 hours with Final Fantasy 15 I experienced dozens of moments like this, little developments that had me actually squealing with delight. I still have some concerns, like whether the story will pay off in the long-term, or why some of the voice acting is so rough, or how the camera can get really finicky during intense, close-quarters combat scenarios. But any complaints I have feel really petty right now in light of what Square Enix seems to have accomplished with Final Fantasy 15.
That is: It's made Final Fantasy relevant again. They've actually done it. I cannot wait to play more."