Final Fantasy XV drew some raised eyebrows from certain quarters for its focus on an all-male cast, but this was a specific decision made in order to support the overall tone and character of the story.
Despite what this might sound like, however, Final Fantasy XV does not make any particular effort to explore concepts such as traditional (or indeed “toxic”) masculinity and the like. In fact, at numerous points over the course of its narrative, it subverts expectations through the interactions between its main cast and the supporting characters.
Not only that, unlike most previous Final Fantasy titles, the experience is not intended purely to be judged on its main scenario. Instead, as we explored last time, much like other Japanese attempts at open-world games such as the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the intention is clearly to build up a comprehensive picture of how the game world as a whole works, supporting the main scenario with numerous intertwining side stories and background lore to create a setting that feels well-crafted and truly alive.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
Final Fantasy XV’s predecessor Final Fantasy XIII, despite attaining widespread plaudits on its original release, has become fashionable to bash in recent years.
The main justification for this is pretty much always the “20 hour tutorial” argument, criticising the fact that the game gradually introduces its various character classes and other gameplay concepts over the course of a very linear, narrative-heavy section that lasts approximately 20 hours.
Once this part of the game is complete, the experience opens up into a much more freeform affair with sidequests and optional battles aplenty, and at the same time the progression system also removes all restrictions, allowing you to develop all of the game’s playable characters as you see fit.
Apparently aware of this increasingly frequent criticism, Square Enix opted to make Final Fantasy XV the complete opposite of Final Fantasy XIII in terms of structure, in the process completely turning the standard JRPG formula on its head.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: Inverting the Formula
As we discussed last time, the Final Fantasy series is one that has rarely stood still or grown complacent.
Each new installment has represented a reinvention of the basic formula to one degree or another, with some offering a more radical new take than others.
Latest installment Final Fantasy XV is arguably the most significant and noticeable reinvention of the series since X abandoned the Active Time Battle mechanic the series had used between its fourth and ninth installments. And it’s an effective new approach that offers a blend of spectacular real-time action and the strategy of more traditional, conventional role-playing games.
Let’s delve into Final Fantasy XV’s battle mechanics in depth.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: The Latest Reinvention
“If it’s not new, it’s not Final Fantasy.”
According to World of Final Fantasy director Hiroki Chiba, speaking with Gamer Escape earlier this year, this is the attitude that Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi strove to work by. And it’s a creed that the various teams around Square Enix responsible for the continued development of the brand have maintained to this day, right up to latest release Final Fantasy XV.
The result is one of gaming’s longest running, most successful series that has managed to move with the times across six generations of console hardware and changing gaming trends, plus jumps to handheld and mobile devices. Your feelings about individual installments may vary, but it’s impossible to accuse Final Fantasy of stagnation at any point in its long history.
Let’s delve into the history of the series and see just how it’s developed over time.
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Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: A Series of Constant Reinvention