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E3 Show-Floor Impressions: ‘Final Fantasy XV’ may alienate long-time fans

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Final Fantasy XV was on display at both the Xbox and Square-Enix areas at E3 and they all showcased the same battle with that familiar menacing giant as was revealed at Xbox’s press briefing on Monday morning. Seeing that battle play out on a giant screen was magical but actually playing it, well, not so much.

To really get behind the combat of FFXV you must first realize the mechanics are vastly different from anything in the main series to date. It has an action RPG vibe that is brought to the forefront and it’s here to stay. While the problems certainly did not lie in the combat mechanics themselves, the problems arose with how scripted the scene felt.

The demo starts off with Noctis and his buddies running through a canyon slashing away at some guards. Here the new combat feels genuinely appropriate. Players can dodge, attack, change weapons, switch magic and warp around (as showcased in previous trailers). This change of gameplay, which keep the series fresh and relevant, along with the unique environments and the brilliant score (by legendary game composer Yoko Shimomura) give the game a great atmosphere.

When moving past these guards, players will meet up with the infamous giant and from there, the demo takes a dreadful turn for the worst. It is a plethora of QTEs, scripted events, and mandatory cutscenes. Instead of thinking of a way to slay such a titanic beast, players are forced to play one way and one way only: Press X to block the giant’s fist then press B to parry. Warp attack the giant then press X again to block and que another scene transition. The “epic” battle ends by switching to a “Blizzara” attack which triggers another cutscene just before the battle ends abruptly. There is no true gameplay; instead, it requires simply a few button presses, some fancy cinematic events, before the demo is over.

It was all an awkward showing for FFXV. Fans of the series surely loved the story elements and seeing the gorgeous scenes unfold but there is a time and place for narrative and cinematics and it definitely isn’t during an intense boss fight. The cutscenes did little in terms of story development, and in fact, they hindered and neutered an otherwise fast-paced action RPG fight by taking the control out of the players’ hands.

As stated in the opening scroll, FFXV is intended to be a Final Fantasy for old fans and new ones alike. While it certainly looks to bring in new players, it seems that this particular demo does more to alienate those fans who stuck with the series for so long. If this demo is any indication of the rest of the game, FFXV is taking the series in a wrong direction.

Gamer, Writer, and a lover of pro-wrestling. Being born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona he took up gaming and writing at a young age to shield himself from the blazing heat. Ever since he first got his hands on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at the age of 3, gaming has been apart of his life and wishes to revolve his life around the industry and the art of writing. When he's not gaming, he's attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU or watching some pro wrestling!

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