By: Jed Murphy
JEDMURPH3

A game spanning back to the Nintendo Entertainment System days in the 1980s, for three generations the Final Fantasy series has entertained both kids and adults and showed the world a certain kind of role playing game. Now in its fifteenth installment (if you don’t count the endless amounts of sub sequels and spinoffs) the crazy people at Square Enix have put together one of the best games yet in the series.

The story follows a young prince named Noctis on his journey from his sheltered life in the kingdom of Insomnia to meet his wife-to-be. On this journey he is joined by his three best buds/ bodyguards Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto who in their trusty car the Regalia go on the most epic bachelor party road trip the Final Fantasy series has ever seen.

From the very opening scene it is clear the mission behind FFXV was to combine all the things long time fans have loved with a new, sleek, younger and shinier Final Fantasy. For the most part this is accomplished as themes and tropes that have been a tradition in the franchise are done justice while at the same time the realtime combat engine causes the game to move quickly.

As far as the plot goes, the game offers little back story to the world around you and it often unfolds itself to you in a casual manner that caused me to do a few double takes. If it weren’t for the character strength of Noctis’s companions there would be little to keep the player interested in the main story and not simply vanish into the seemingly endless amount of side quests.

Visually, FFXV is second to none in the series and the next-gen consoles basically crank the game up to eleven. Taking up a whopping 50 gigs worth of space on the PS4 hard drive, this game has a lot going on. While this eye candy is amazing and a lot of fun, there is a tiny, diehard Final Fantasy fan inside of me displeased by the theatrics of it all.

Up until FFVIII the series had a quaint cutesiness to it, while the turn-based battle system made the fighting feel epic and serious. The space in between would suspend your disbelief and force the imagination to fill the gaps and added to the gaming experience (although this is largely due to the graphics capabilities of the Super Nintendo and Playstation 1). Although not a bad thing, with FFXV what you see is what you get but that’s just me sounding crotchety and old.

Final Fantasy XV is a great game and a worthy addition to this epic and storied franchise. Like many of the FF games to come before it, there is greatness in the little things. All the mini games and things to discover make it a game worth exploring.

When playing the game keep an eye on the strange product placement and I suggest a sativa strain to fully enjoy what the game has to offer.

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