It took ten long, arduous, and terrifying years, but Final Fantasy XV finally launched last week. As with pretty much every other Final Fantasy game, though, the reception has been very divided thus far. Some fans feel that it is too much of a departure from the original series, while others believe it is an awesome first step by Square Enix into modern JRPGs. So what do you think? Do you think that Final Fantasy XV lived up to all the hype?
As mentioned, the biggest point of contention seems to be whether or not we can actually call this a “Final Fantasy” game. Most of the negative reviews on Metacritic (for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions) all seem to say the exact same thing: “the game is Final Fantasy in name only.” In a sense, they are not wrong. Final Fantasy XV is massively different when compared to the previous single player entry, Final Fantasy XIII. Similarly, even if you do not count this one (as it is yet another entry that has an incredibly divided fan base), Final Fantasy XII is also a far cry from XV. All three of these games are totally estranged from Final Fantasy X, which also happened to be different from IX, and so on and so on. Do you see where I am going here?
While opinions may vary here, I believe that there is only one thing that actually holds the entire
Final Fantasy series together. Since the very first game, the central theme in all of the stories has always been “Warriors of Light” defeating the forces of darkness. It is not exactly the pinnacle of storytelling, but what sets the series and each of its individual entries apart is how Square weaves its characters, their motivations, and the world into it, completely transforming the base narrative. It is still your typical good vs. evil tale, but there are nuances, subtle or not, that really give each game their own identity.
Final Fantasy XV is definitely one of the less subtle steps in the franchise. It focuses on open-world gameplay as opposed to linear narratives. There is a major emphasis on the humanity and realism of the four heroes instead of just your typical JRPG archetypes. Ray Chase, Noctis’ voice actor, even admitted in an interview that the contemporary style of writing threw him for a loop when he was first going over the script. And yet all of these differences from previous entries in the series just gives XV that much more of its own identity. If anything, that cements its place in the series.
However, there is a lot more to discuss here than whether or not the game actually belongs in the series. Fans are up in the air on many aspects. Are the four characters and their interactions together likable? Is the open-world structure necessary? Was converting the original intro of the game into a movie a good idea? Even I, who just defended the game so valiantly, know there are some issues here. Let us know if you think
Final Fantasy XV lived up to all the hype in the comments below!