Final Fantasy XV's Combat: The Next Step For RPGs


I will admit, I was very excited when XV was first shown at E3. I had just started to play through FF VII, and was beginning to fall in love with the Final Fantasy series. While the game changed pretty immensely over time, the look of the combat remained in tact, to my understanding. I managed to stay dark on the game, avoiding press input and previews until I got my hands on the game and I still have read very little on other peoples thoughts about the long-awaited title. I can say with certainty that the look, feel, and flow of Final Fantasy XV’s RPG combat is my favourite in any game.

Aesthetically, I absolutely adore the fluid (albeit glitchy) weaves and bobs all of the characters act out when they are fighting and dodging. The tag moves are clever, cool and mostly functional.

Speaking of functional, my favourite part of the combat and game, in general, is how easy the game is to pick up and play. I love the parry and block system, which adds some welcome nuance to an otherwise fun and seamless RPG combat experience. The game moves incredibly well both literally and metaphorically as fights begin smoothly, characters drop in and out, and weapons/play-styles can be switched on the fly. The control scheme for the combat is the most important yet simple design decision in the game. I honestly believe the two button system for combat is perfect for RPGs of this nature, and I would really love to see it integrated elsewhere.

I have never played a turn-based RPG and thought to myself I was having fun, in the moment. That’s not to say turn-based games can’t be enjoyable, but I certainly prefer the ability to simply and efficiently fight in real time combat with basically a single press. The auto lock-on, d-pad weapon switching, and option to long press the attack button to perform combos make for a system that works better than I would have ever thought possible.

The parrying and dodging is where the game truly shines in my eyes. When you’re not attacking, you dodge. It’s simple, efficient, and the addition of parrying allows for more skilled players to take bigger risks in hopes of more efficient enemy encounters.

Overall, there is less time fiddling in menus and more time watching some cool animations run through, with the option for complexity if you desire it. FF XV was far from perfect, but the game introduced some great ideas for modern RPG combat that I hope other games can take and improve upon.

It’s late, so I feel as though I am going to post this and then wake up tomorrow realizing nothing I wrote made sense, but I am very curious what others thought about the games’ combat. :blush:


I’m torn on the combat in XV. I agree with you that it’s a bunch of steps in a modern direction, and future RPGs could learn a lot of lessons on how to make a fun game without sticking to old tropes.

The thing is, you kind of have to squint just right at XV’s combat to see it. The animations, while very fluid, left me feeling like I was two steps removed from the gameplay. It never felt like I was controlling anyone, just… suggesting movements to them.

I also feel like they erred a little on the simplistic side for equipment and customization. Magic was also a bad combination of fiddly to make and hard to use effectively.

You mention liking how little time you spent in menus, and I can appreciate that, but I feel like there’s a middle ground yet to be discovered where you keep more of the complexity while making it easy to use. By rethinking the role of the menu, which is generally the holy center of a JRPG’s mechanics, they’ve opened the door to that.


I think there’s definitely smart elements in there. It was a refinement of the Kingdom Hearts approach that worked well enough for me for that game and, after a point, you wrap your head around dodging and it becomes much more seamless.

As for whether it’s the future? That’s hard to say. I think the variety of weapons (including a sniper rifle that I never saw?) might have held it back, although that was more down to my own lack of curiosity than the fault of the game. Perhaps a tighter focus on refining a key weapon set would have gone further for it?

(P.S. Gotta say that I loved the animations. Not quite Metal Gear Solid V, but still sublime and an obvious ton of work had gone into them!)


I am not a fan of FFXV’s combat system. I find it too repetitive, one-button mashing, and very cluttered at times. Maybe I was playing the game too casually, but I found no compulsion to master the battle system and try all my options (magic, for example, was quite underwhelming). Half of the time the battles just “played” themselves.

It was serviceable as long as the fight was centered around one enemy, but in every other scenario I wasn’t exactly aware about my surroundings, the actions of the party members, and the enemy’s attacks.

In my option the system has good ideas but has to be improved with better camera work, better locking on enemies, fluid and fast controls (a la Devil May Cry) and a solid framerate. As it is right now (or at least when I played it months ago) it’s just ok. The summons are easily the best part for me.

I hope SE uses the user feedback from this game to polish the combat system in the FF7 remaster.


I haven’t played XV, but i have to admit it kinda hurts inside to hear that real time combat is going to be the default JRPG combat. I have a deep affection for the theatrics of turn based combat.


I think FF combat in general recently has been too ‘fast’ to really be strategic.

FF12 had its gambits, which I do like but it feels like the real battles happen outside of battle and when the characters are actually fighting you’re just a spectator.

FF13 had the paradigm shift system, but again was more reactionary than proactive in most battles. You spend most of the time letting your characters auto fight.

FF15 again, it feels like your characters are doing their own thing. The ability to warp strike was the thing that made battling interesting, but it was often a bit fiddly to activate and hard to follow.

I stand by the opinion that the best battles in the series are those of FFX - the way the turn based system functioned with the strategic element of being able to see the order of attack and ‘push back’ enemy turns was great, I enjoyed it a lot and battles felt fast even though they never felt rushed.

I really, really hope we see a more traditional ATB Final Fantasy in the mainline series again.


It might be the default for mainline FF going forward, but I doubt it’ll disappear to any huge extent from JRPGs as a whole. It’s too baked into their identity at this point.


I think Kingdom Hearts has better combat then FFXV.

Regardless of that though I don’t think real-time is the next step for RPGs cause we do classify them as Action RPGs at that point.

It’s a step for Final Fantasy though.


I honestly think that’s what I liked about the game. I didn’t want a tight character-action game. I was so blown away at how close they got to creating a turn based real time action game that didn’t feel too far away from either style. The combat feels like you are directing it, versus having direct control.

Everyone has brought up some good points, interesting to hear.


I just say this, what old turn based games are missing is a Skip animation button after you have watched the animations a thousand times and grown bored, its really nice to be able to skip all that especially when you want to grind faster…

I think all turn based RPG’s should have this. it works in Trails in the Sky and it works in Neptunia to great efforts. of making tidious parts much more enjoyable.

Also i want to mention that if a game like Dragon Quest could be speed up with skip animations or speed up, i would have completed the game no doubt. as it stands the artificial length of game pacing introduced by waiting hours after you mastered the areas in the game, but still has to be forced into battle. makes it games only few people with lots of time at there hands or very selective taste in games. will complete.

As far as combat system in FF 15, i was bored a lot by the lack of control in that game… and i wish it had a more similar aspect to the battle system like in Kingdom hearts where you grew to be a really powerhouse later on. but you could always feel the abilities and turn them off… I feel personally that FF 15 didn’t communicate enough what the fighting system was about. and the feeling of hitting a monster was
similar to hitting liquid with a spoon.


Etrian Odyssey and Bravely Default have both featured a turbo button to speed right through all the animations of an attack.

Bravely additionally give you the ability to change the encounter rate meaning if you’re sick of trash mobs you can flip it off an proceed to the boss.

Pokemon also lets you turn off animations, though it should be a feature that you can flip on during battle.

One thing that I do really want to see more from the Final Fantasy series is a more laid back approach that FFXV did with it’s boy band.


It can’t be stressed enough how believable they made that friendship. You’re right, if it’s one thing they carry over, it should be that sense of camaraderie rather than feeling like six distinct characters jumbled together.


I didn’t like FFXV*s combat at all, but I doubt they’re going back to turn-based anytime soon. Personally I’d love to see something like FFXII again, but I’m in the minority there.


It just took me from expecting a game where stakes are high and serious to me discussing with hot dude what the best ingredient in a cup noodle is.


Kingdom Hearts is the one I like to play anytime. @CreamyGoodness
I usually like to play with my friends online or with my brother. My favorite gaming list goes from Pokemon Sun, Dark Souls, Assassin’s Creed, etc. Me and my brother have a collection of gaming consoles, which we bought from online sites like Green man Gaming, Press-Start, Games Deal, etc. over the internet.


I have bad visual processing so ffxv hits this really weird spot for me where its kind of casual and not too engaging but also really chaotic and hard to follow? but it feels good and i think theres good depth in how all the weapons interact (plus they all feel really unique). also the team attacks are so so good i love seeing my boys work hard and be strong together.


If the next step for RPGs is to have all my CPU controlled party members murder themselves repeatedly every time a Coeurl shows up then I’m out.