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.