Just a momentary diversion on the road to the grave.

Final verdict: D+
Final playtime: 194 hours

Aight, look. The bar for this game was set at rock bottom from the very beginning. FFXV was going to suck dick and everybody knew it. Everybody who's not a total retard, in any case. I mean, Final Fantasy not being terrible? That's absurd! History teaches us things and Square-Enix's incompetence is one of them. They have no idea how to make a decent game and likely never will for the rest of time.

As I've said before, there are only two things that SE is good at: having money, and making beautiful things. And in that respect, FFXV does not disappoint. This is easily one of, if not the, most beautiful game I've ever seen. And I mean that not just in terms of raw graphics but also art direction, style, and setting. Even by SE and FF standards this game is extraordinary in this regard and I feel relatively confident in saying that there will most likely not be another FF that looks as good as this. They just won't be able to hit the perfect combination of these aspects again. Or more than likely they won't try to. They'll probably go back to a shitty FFXII type of setting. Eeeugh. But seriously everything in this game looks super pretty, and unlike western games where it's only the environments that look beautiful but the characters look atrocious, in this game the characters look great as well. And nowhere is this more apparent than the main character. Noctis is the most beautiful man I've ever seen in my life, and it's obvious how much work they put into him. Even his hair looks like it has better resolution than everyone else. I'm even more confident in saying that there will most likely never be another protagonist, in any game, that looks as good as Noctis.

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Speaking of characters, it's pretty weird and unique that they decided to have an all-male cast for this game. Having no female party members is extremely unusual. All-female casts are common in games, but the opposite is rare. And for good reason. Nobody wants a sausage fest. But it's so rarely done that it's interesting just based on the novelty of it. That being said, another weird thing they've done is limit the cast to only 4 guys (not counting temporary guest characters, obviously. I played the fucking game, okay? I know what I'm talking about. Jesus. You people and your doubts). It's weird because having no party options is something that hasn't been done in a really long time. It's not a good thing because I like having different characters and making my party out of the ones I like the best, but on the other hand having a small cast that you can't switch around does allow for them to be better developed and more work to be put into their dialogue, personality, appearance, scenes, relationships, etc. In theory, anyway. Truth is that, while the characters in FFXV are decent, there are definitely games with bigger casts that do it better. So even though there are theoretical reasons to justify having a tiny cast like this, they don't apply in this case.

Final Fantasy has never been known for having great stories and XV is probably one of the worst in this department. The plot is extremely basic and uninteresting. What's funny is that this game has a huge feature length film just to set up its shitty generic plot, and watching the movie makes it feel like the story is going to be WAY more epic than it actually is.

Look. First of all, making a movie to set up a game's plot is retarded. Fuck you. I don't wanna have to watch a fuckin' anime to know what's going on. All of this movie could've EASILY been part of the game. And in fact, parts of the movie ARE spliced into the game, except heavily cut, edited, and with no sound, so it's only barely helpful for people who didn't watch the movie. There is really zero reason why this movie should exist other than to rob you. They're basically the FMVs that should have been part of the game, 'cept now you gotta pay extra for them. Technically you don't HAVE to watch it, but it sure helps in knowing what's going on since the game clearly expects you to have watched it and doesn't explain things very well on its own. And it's not even HARD to explain what's going on in the game, it's all super straightforward and basic. It just doesn't because it wants to rob you extra. So my advice concerning this movie is to pirate it. That's right, I'm condoning criminal activity because fuck Square Enix with their terrible games and underhanded jewish tactics. They've been cheating us for years with their bullshit. This wouldn't even come close to making things even. And before someone gets on my case about what I just said: yes, I am fully aware that saying "underhanded jewish tactics" is redundant. In all seriousness though, the movie isn't that bad. Honestly it might be less bad than the game itself. Not that that's very difficult considering how fucking terribad this game is.

And my god is this game awful. For MANY reasons. But let's start with one of the biggest: as so, so many other franchises have done, and are doing, FF has now officially gone Open World. Hoo boy. This old song and dance again. I shouldn't have to keep saying why Open World is the single biggest plague to have ever defaced gaming. Unfortunately it has become apparent to me... that devs just never learn. This right here is one of, if not the biggest, mistakes of this game. For obvious reasons. Open world is HORRENDOUS. There is so much pointless fucking driving, riding, and walking in this shitty game. Drive to this place, kill this monster. Walk to this place, pick this shit up. Drive to this other place, do this other stupid bullshit. That's practically the ENTIRE game. As fucking usual with open world garbage like this. The areas are too vast and open, which makes it a tedious fool's errand to explore thoroughly. And of course, you're not SUPPOSED to explore thoroughly in open world games. And that's why I hate them. There's actually a ton of items to find scattered all over the world, but generally not anything particularly special or unique. Because it also has the OTHER open world problem, which is that all items you find eventually respawn. So you're never finding anything special. You're just finding throwaway infinitely respawning horse shit. And that also leads to the other problem which is that you can just keep picking up the same of an item in a certain spot infinitely if you so wish. Which obviously detracts from the value of finding things in the first place. I can't believe I have to keep saying this basic fucking shit every time, but all these FUCKING RETARD DEVELOPERS NEVER LEARN. How fucking STUPID are these people that they can't see something so simple and obvious? Disgraceful. Open world sucks dick and everyone with a brain knows it. But guess what. You can't just say "Fuck it, I won't explore thoroughly" either! Because there are a FEW unique quest items hidden throughout the world mainly in the form of little scraps of paper that supposedly combine into a treasure map and little frogs for another quest. And holy shit those things are SO HIDDEN it's actually retarded. You will NEVER be able to find them all when they're so hidden with a world this vast. Better just fucking kill yourself than subject yourself to this bullshit. This game also has the typical open world problem where you find enemies and stuff that's way too high (or low) level for you. For example, the first dungeon that you find in the game is level 45. And you're level 1. It also has the open world problem where you're doing so much side stuff that you're already level 50 while the main plot is still level 10. And note that this problem is actually PREFERABLE to the open world alternative of having enemies scale to your level. So I'm actually GLAD that they made it this way. But not as glad as I would've been if they hadn't done this open world horse shit in the first place. The game would've been WAY better if they hadn't.

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Seriously they've almost gone full Bethesda with this shit. The main plot is relegated to just being the "main quest", which is honestly probably less than 10% of the game. So almost 90% of the game is all stupid, pointless, lazy, fake, open world, filler "content". Disgusting. To make matters worse, the latter half of the story feels pretty rushed. And keep in mind that we're talking about a pitiful 20 some hours here. So there's already a PAINFULLY low amount of content in this story to begin with, without even getting to how much filler there is or how rushed the latter half feels. They spent like 95% of the game on the first continent (Lucis) and then it's like they were like "oh shit you guys, we set up all this stuff in the story about Tenebrae, Nifleheim, and Insomnia but the deadline is next month and we only have Lucis!" So Tenebrae ends up being only one tiny outpost that you stop at for 15 minutes, Nifleheim ends up being one shitty dungeon with bad stealth/horror mechanics that's mostly a straight line, and Insomnia ends up being a tiny dungeon that you run through in a few minutes. Pretty inexcusable when you consider that this game took 10 years and $600 million to make. How the FUCK do you have this much money, and this much time, and you end up with something this awful, this rushed, this buggy, and this full of lazy filler? There is NO reason why a game needs to cost 600 million to make. None. I mean are you fucking kidding me dude? 10 years and 600 million dollars for THIS trash? Un-fucking-believable. Do you have any idea the glorious things I could do if I had $600 million?! I could get SO MANY prostitutes.

Alright, I know what you're saying. "Durr, you complain about the world being too big, but then you complain that they made the rest of the game too small. Contradiction!" Listen, you fucking morons. You obviously haven't understood a thing. Yes, thank GOD that this game didn't have a second continent like Witcher 3. That would've been the last straw, especially considering you're already level 85 by the time you leave the first continent and you already could barely take much more of this game's bullshit by that point. What they SHOULD have done is make Lucis much smaller, not open world, with less filler, certainly not with so much crap that you're 85% maxed out before you even leave. Then make Altissia, Tenebrae, Nifleheim and Insomnia bigger and with more places and things (but do NOT make them open world). That would be the first step to actually making a respectable game.

Obviously turn based combat will always be better in an RPG, but the combat in this game is surprisingly decent despite being real time. You attack with O and dodge with square. Holding it down automatically dodges attacks and pressing it rolls. But certain attacks can't be dodged by holding down square and you have to either roll away or not be there. Also you can't cancel your attack animations and recovery into dodge, so there's a lot of situations where you see an attack coming but can't do anything about it because you're stuck in an animation. You can parry certain moves when a prompt comes up with square and then hitting O quickly, which usually results in a cool animation. You can warp around and warp strike enemies with triangle but it uses up a lot of MP. You can't control your party members but you can have them do their techniques when the tech bar gets filled. Their techniques get higher level the more you use them, which is nice, but the biggest advantage to using them is actually that the game gives you invulnerability while a technique is being executed, so their most interesting usage ends up being as a way to avoid damage when you see an attack coming but you're stuck in an animation, or as a way to have your friends avoid damage from an attack that they're too dumb to get out of the way of.

Time freezes when you stop moving, which lets you do things like switch targets, analyze enemies, see what's going on, think about what to do next, etc. What I think was a huge mistake though is that they mute the music during this pause. This causes the battle music to be constantly muting and unmuting during battles, so the music doesn't flow well. It would've been better to just leave the music playing the same regardless of whether you're paused or unpaused. You're given the "option" of turning off the ability to pause the action when you stop moving, but this is a bullshit fake option because the game is clearly designed with this mechanic in mind. It's the only way to allow you to scan for enemy weaknesses and there is even an entire section of your skill tree dedicated to this mode.

This annoying constant muting and unmuting is a huge disservice to the music of this game, because there is actually a lot of really good music in FFXV, but you end up not being able to appreciate it as much as you would in older entries because of the stunted flow caused by this glaring oversight. On top of that, they've also made the mistake of having some really great songs that are tragically only used once or twice in some whatever spots of the game and then forgotten. Rookie mistake. It's like these Square Enix assholes don't know the first thing about games. You're supposed to use your best songs in a way that the player gets to hear them a lot so they can really appreciate them. So you use them in either a) a lot of places (such as many boss battles), or b) in a place where the player will spend a lot of time at (such as a big post-game dungeon or a really difficult battle that you have to spend a lot of time trying to beat). You do NOT just use it in one shitty battle that's over in a couple of minutes and then never use it again. It's like these assholes have a movie mentality where you only use a song once at the most critical and appropriate moment of the plot. Fuck movies. Games are better and we do things differently here. The reason why Calling That Detestable Name from Etrian Odyssey III is so memorable is because it's used in the most ass raping boss battle that the player has to spend myriad tries and possibly days attempting to beat. And that makes it far more memorable than if you use it in some shitty main plot battle or scene that nobody will care about or remember.

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Also in regards to the music, I have to give props for them having an absolutely excellent song for the final dungeon. Great song, emotionally appropriate, and used in a good place. That's how it should be. It's a shame that the dungeon itself was too short and simple, which is what I already mentioned about the game feeling rushed at the end. Interestingly, this is the opposite problem to what happened with the final dungeon of Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, which was extremely big and complex but had offensively bad music and visuals. But yeah, Somnus is a really good song and this whole last part as well as the ending is quite emotionally powerful even despite how bad the game is in general.

Aside from being an open world game, the other biggest flaw of this game is how unbelievably easy and simple it is. I mean, it's mainstream ass FF, so it's expected that it will be simple and easy, but this game just takes things to a whole new level. And I'm not saying that a game is automatically bad if it's too easy, but this game takes the cake and its other aspects don't make up for it. It's IMPOSSIBLE to die in this. When your HP goes to zero instead of dying you're put into danger state, where you can't do much other than crawl around and either one of your party members can come revive you, or you can use an item to heal yourself. During danger state enemy attacks start taking off your maximum HP, and if all of your regular HP and then maximum HP gets depleted... guess what! You STILL don't die. At that point you're given like 10 seconds to use a phoenix down to revive yourself. So the only way you can die is to let yourself die. This makes the game waaaay too easy even though there are plenty of enemies that one shot you in the game. It would've been better if they just outright killed you. And as if THAT wasn't bad enough, the game even has an easy mode which you can switch to at any time. It doesn't have a hard mode. Only normal and easy. This game is made for women, babies, and casualfags. And as if THAT wasn't bad enough, once you get summons it's practically an instant win button. Not that you need it, but for example if you're fighting something you're not supposed to be fighting, even if you can't die you can't damage the enemy either. But with summons you can instakill all but the beefiest of enemies. The trigger for you being able to summon seems to be random, but it seems the longer a fight drags on the more chances there are of a summon prompt popping up. It sucks too because the summons are actually super sick but the way that they're implemented as an instant win button is terrible. My favorite part is the BOOM sound when Ramuh strikes. They made it so loud and awesome sounding. And then the way he lingers in the sky for a few seconds looking down at the devastation before disappearing. It's just so fucking sick. That stuff SHOULD be in the game, but they should have implemented it into the gameplay better. For example, instead of making it a random instant win button, maybe make the summon a finishing blow for certain special battles so that you still have to win the battle yourself. Or maybe make it so that the criteria for being able to summon is tied to the player doing certain things really well or perfectly during a battle, as a special reward. Or maybe make it like in Bayonetta, where the summons happen at certain points as a natural progression of the battle, but they don't outright win for you. These are just some basic ideas of how things could work better. But clearly Square Enix has no grasp on even the basics of making a game.

And then there are all the bugs. Oh boy. As if this game needed to be any shittier. I can't say that it's Elder Scrolls or Witcher 3 levels of bad, because I didn't encounter anything like outright uncompletable quests. But it's close. Bugs in this game are frequent and infuriating. Let's not get into the graphical glitches. Those are shitty and annoying but at least you can keep playing and just kinda hope they go away. But the really bad ones? I've fallen through the floor and gotten permanently stuck. I've gone through walls and entered bizarro parts of the world that shouldn't exist. There's an annoying bug that makes the battle music keep playing forever, even after the battle is over, and wherever you go, even towns until you reset the game. Then another bug that makes it so no music plays at all anywhere until you reset. Then another bug that makes all music play at a really low volume until you reset. By far one of the most annoying bugs of all is the one that disables your ability to move the camera. And this is a game where the camera doesn't automatically adjust to face the direction in which you're moving, so it's even more awful than it'd be in a lot of other games. Basically it makes both exploring and fighting almost impossible because you can't look in any direction other than where the camera got locked at. Only way to fix it is to reset the game but if you're in a dungeon you're fucked because you can't save in dungeons. So you have to leave the dungeon in order to reset and then you have to start over again and hope it doesn't happen again. Even WORSE than this one is a bug that disables all of your controls except for menus and items. Means you can't move,jump, attack, nothing. Can't do SHIT. Gotta reset. Reset, reset, reset. That's the name of the game here.

I hate what a shitpool game development has become. Companies putting out clearly broken, unfinished trash on the regular because "Ohhh, whatever, it's okay that it's broken, we'll just put out a patch later" "It's okay that it's unfinished, we'll just put out DLC later". And all for what? All because of trying to make overtly complex open worlds that were never even a good idea in the FIRST place. I don't give a shit about your patches and your DLCs. By the time that shit comes out I'll already be done with the game and won't get to see any of it. Or, what, do they expect me to play it again? Apparently, yeah they do. SE said that they have tons of DLC planned for this game and that they expect people to be playing it for a long time to come. I mean are you fucking kidding me? The HUBRIS on these motherfuckers to assume that this garbage has any kind of staying power. What a joke.

This game has so much bad design and rookie mistakes that it's hard to even cover everything. A good example is the fishing. The minigame itself has good enough mechanics and I was having fun with it at first, finding new fishing spots and increasing my fishing skill to catch new types of fish. But the problem is that, firstly, for some dumb reason they made the fishing skill only go up to level 10, which kills the sense of progression and a big part of the reward of doing it. You're maxed out on your fishing rank before you've caught even a mere 20% of the fish in the game, for fuck's sake. Terrible judgement on the progression of the fishing rank. They should have had the fishing rank go all the way up to 100 to keep the progression intact. And all they had to do to know that was test the game and have a little SENSE. The second problem, though, is that fish just aren't valuable enough in this game and that kills the reward of doing it even FURTHER. They're really only used for a few cooking recipes and that's basically it. And that's only some of them. The others are even more useless and only used as catalyst fodder for your magic like most of the other useless trash you find in this game. Or to sell for money that you never need and which you always have too much of. And finally, there are too few quests in the game involving fishing, which plummets the usefulness of the doing it even further. This turns the fishing from something with potential to be a lot of fun, into a pointless waste of time. And all because these people have no sense of basic gaming concepts. They don't even think about these problems.

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Another example of stupid design is the fact that this game transitions seamlessly from field mode to battle mode when you get near enemies instead of the traditional way of battles moving you to a separate generic arena. The exact same misguided design choice that I talked about in Star Ocean 5. This causes a whole slew of unnecessary problems. For one thing there is WAY too much foliage, shrubbery, trees, plants and other bullshit all over in this game's world, and not being able to see anything during battles because there's crap like this blocking your view is insanely common. And then there's the fact that forcing you to fight in tight cramped spaces that aren't meant for battles is directly responsible for some of the bugs I mentioned like going through walls or getting permanently stuck, on top of it just being annoying. All this could've been EASILY avoided if only these devs understood basic gaming concepts and used effective, practical, tried and true methods instead of some stupid and misguided desire to make it look more realistic or "next gen".

The game systems in general also feel too simplified. There isn't much you can play around with here other than using catalysts to give power and special effects to your magic, which is extremely basic. No cool job system or junction system or item creation or anything. It is better than FFXIII because you are free to spend your AP on the ascension grid at any time as much as you want, and unlike exp and your levels which eventually get maxed out, AP is always in demand. So that part's good. Feels bad to praise the game for something so basic, but that's where we've gotten with SE. They're like fucking infants and we gotta clap when they manage to take two steps without falling over.

Still, I gotta be fair and mention the few good aspects that this game has. My favorite thing about FFXV, and what I would say is its strongest point, is how much dialogue and little details it has everywhere. How there's tons of little things to check out and the characters comment on them, even trivial shit like signs, flyers, and trash. How they're always saying shit during car rides or walking around. How they'll randomly talk about what you had them eat last night. Or the place you were just at, or the people you've talked to. How they'll comment on every quest that you do, both before you do it and and after you've completed it. How it has different scenes for every place that you sleep at. Even in the same one it'll have several different scenes and they'll say different stuff and it'll change if you have guest characters around. Sometimes it even randomly gives you special events with a character. Like I had rested at a motel several times before but then one time I went back and rested there and I got an awesome special event with Prompto opening up to me. Just random character events like that happening is really cool. Like you're camping somewhere one night and Gladio asks you to exercise with him in the morning. Or Ignis asks you to cook with him. Or Prompto asks you to go pick mushrooms and take a photo of a catoblepas with him. Or like there'll be benches you can sit at and Prompto will take a photo of you. There's a lot of photo op places like that. Or during car rides he'll ask you to take a detour because he wants to take a photo somewhere. Sometimes if you're driving and it's getting late they'll say they're tired and ask if we can go back to the hotel and sleep. Or how they'll talk trash to you while fishing if you get unimpressive catches, and also gather around and congratulate you on a particularly big catch. All of these little things are the best part of the game to me. By the same token, the dungeons, though sadly a very small part of the game, are generally well designed and fun. The most exceptional thing about them is how much scripted dialogue they have. Your party members will talk about everything going on, what you find, what they think, what troubles you're going up against, the layout, the puzzles, locked doors, how things look, everything. This combined with the good design makes every dungeon feel like something unique and special, which is unusual for an open world game. And I guess that's probably the reason why there aren't very many of them.

Hwell. I gotta qualify that statement. The dungeons in the main game are good. The post-game dungeons are AWFUL. Ugggghhh. They're exactly like the disappointing post-game dungeon of Star Ocean 5. Absolutely no effort or creativity at all. It's literally all corridor > room with monsters > fight > item > corridor > room with monsters > fight > item > corridor xN... > boss. Only one of the postgame dungeons had any work put into it. A weird unorthodox dungeon without battles or regular gameplay that turned into some kind of platforming tomb raider shit. Aside from that it's the exact same shit copy pasted over and over just with different enemies and loot. They even did the bullshit of having no map so that you get extra confused by all the identical rooms and corridors. AND they even pulled the same SO5 shit of your party members not having dialogue in them anymore, which as I said before was one of the best aspects of the dungeons in this game. Just absolutely terrible all around. And to make matters worse they made them so fucking long. Because if you're going to copy paste shit a few hundred times, you might as well go all out, right? Jesus christ this shit was brutal. One of the dungeons was so long I thought it would NEVER end. It just kept going and going and going, fight after fight, floor after floor. It must've been more than 100 floors. And to make things even worse, at this point you're already maxed out at level 99 so you're not even getting any exp for all those fights anymore.

Then the last of the postgame dungeons was the most brutal one of all. Not only was it also long and full of crazy strong enemies, but it was also the only time that the game became legit difficult because they disabled the usage of items in it. As I said earlier, what makes this game retard-level easy is the fact that it's impossible to die because when all your HP gets depleted you're given the chance to heal or revive yourself and your party members with items. Welp. That completely goes out the window for the last postgame dungeon. You can't use items AT ALL throughout the whole dungeon. If your HP gets depleted it's actual game over. But it's much worse than you think. The dungeon is super long, with a ton of crazy fights with crazy strong enemies, and every little bit of HP that you lose in every fight adds up because you CANNOT heal even after a battle is over because the only way to heal is with items and they're disabled. And if your friends die you can't revive them. And they will die because you can't control them so invariably they will get hit. So you have to be constantly babysitting them taking them out of danger state as soon as possible before they die on top of not letting yourself get killed, but taking them out of danger state only recovers 15% of their max HP so they're ripe to keep getting KO'd over and over. Oh, and in case you were wondering, summons are disabled in all of the postgame dungeons. So no get out of jail free card. I had to win fights where everyone was dead and I only had a sliver of HP. I died several times including twice at the final boss, and the worst part is that when you do you have to redo a whole bunch of crazy fights to get to him again. Not only does it take a bunch of time but all the fights leave you weakened by the time you get to the boss. Fuck, that dungeon had me sweatin' bullets. In all honesty, the entire game should've been like this from the beginning. The only reason I didn't like it was because by this point I was so sick of this shitty game and just wanted it to fucking end already that every potential death and having to redo more shit again was like having the sweet gates of freedom kicked shut right in my face. AND that's not even counting the times I had to reset because of bugs. You think you're just fighting the enemies in this game? HELL naw nigga. The monsters aren't even the scariest thing. Nothing's scarier than a looming bug ready to permanently disable your controls in the middle of the dungeon at the worst possible time.

Then there's the stupid shitass petfucking joke of an ultimate boss. It was as big as a mountain and it had so much HP that it took an entire in-game day and night to kill. It wasn't hard, just excruciatingly long and boring and shitty. It was super poorly designed and bugged too. It was so retardedly big that it just continuously clipped through every terrain. The camera would go completely bonkers trying to target such a massive thing. Every time it moved a paw it would slide me around for miles with it. It'd constantly clip into me and I'd get stuck inside of its humongous body (it's completely empty inside), and once I'm stuck inside of him I couldn't damage him because his hurtbox is only on the outside part of his body, so I'd get stuck waiting for another of his movements to pop me out of him. I fully expected this buggy garbage fight to troll me by throwing me out of bounds and making me have to start the whole thing over again from the beginning, but miraculously that didn't happen and I only had to do it once. Musta been all the karma I had built up from all the OTHER times I had to reset and redo shit in this game.

Ugh. I don't even wanna talk about this game for another MINUTE. In conclusion this game is trash. Do not buy it, do not play it, and ESPECIALLY do not spend 194 hours doing everything in it. You would REALLY have to be the biggest retard of all to do that.

Final Verdict: D+

Final Playtime: 194 hours