Help me make sense of Final Fantasy XV?

This is gonna be a bit big for my first post, but I’m looking to get back into writing some game criticism after mostly stepping away from writing after finishing my internship at Game Informer in early 2015 (Intro Post for more). I’ve been catching up on some old games and finally got around to Final Fantasy XV. I don’t really have people to discuss this stuff with (turns out having friends that work at GI is cool until you realize they’re all WAY too busy to actually talk about games with you for more than a couple texts), so here I am.

Out of curiosity, and boredom because of how my job this week shook out, I dug through some reviews of the game was surprised to find I feel like I’m playing a completely different game from what most reviewers describe. Below are some big tent pole things I’ve encountered, and would be curious to hear about from people who have completed or walked away from the game.

Gladio: seems, not necessarily awful, but tedious. I had way more fun with the game when Aranea replaced him while he was off having a toxic masculinity party or whatever and having a sword shoved through his chest. His constant negging of Noctis over Luna really rubbed me the wrong way and I have seen anything that’s pulled me back so far. Is there something I should keep an eye out for in regards to this character (DLC excluded, I just don’t have the money), or is he just meh?

Combat: the game in general, but combat especially, seems sluggish and unresponsive. I often do what the prompts suggest I do only for it to not happen. It seems impossible to avoid mass damage, and most of the combat close to my level has centered around spamming healing items. Am I missing something? Did anyone feel the same way or have a moment where everything clicked?

World/Story Depth: the game feels really, really shallow to me. The dialogue around the really repetitive quests seems wholly throw away to me. The world similarly feels like it’s empty, and yet I see this stuff praised in writing about the game. I would enjoy seeing someone make a case either way, in case I’m missing something important or important side content.

And, of course, feel free to share your feelings about the game in general, I’d love to discuss more nuanced elements with people.

No that’s about it it’s just kinda a bad game with some interesting ideas a big brand behind it. It’s not the worst game ever by any means but I feel pretty comfortable calling it The worst numbered Final Fantasy

well, i guess i loved this game because it was a pleasantly homoerotic road trip with an eclectic, absurdly-talented/largely-doomed group of dudes. that the game permits you to put the car into autopilot means that i could do bong rips in between side quests, while listening to final fantasy greatest hits on the car radio.

it’s more than nostalgia for me tho. i loved camping, and i loved staying out too late, until my bros and i would be forced to do battle with giant demons at night. and it was beautiful. it was like a meat loaf video, which is ironic, because cindy looked like she was designed by michael bay. #justiceforcindy

but seriously tho, much of the game was shallow, at least on the difficulty level i played it on. it still felt glossy and indelibly weird. i know that taste is personal, and that ff xv is definitely on the cheesy side. but i loved it a lot more than i expected to.


These new Final Fantasy games do an incredible job of tricking me into thinking they are good while I am playing them. Just like when I finished 13, when I finished this one I had a wave of realization that it kind of sucked wash over me.
I had fun travelling with my boys. It’s gorgeous and the music is awesome. Apart from those things though everything else is kind of wack. The combat is pretty mindless, and as a result all leveling/skills/customization doesn’t really matter. The game is expansive but has only 3 memorable towns. Hunting side quests are abundant but joyless. The story is decent, but most of it is in the movie and not the game.

Older Final Fantasy’s were working with the limitations of SNES/PSX/PS2 hardware but still were able to paint a picture of an expansive world in your mind because of it. Locations like Deling City, Midgar and Lindblum were super iconic while only being comprised of a few interconnected 2D screens. They allowed your mind to fill in the rest while only focusing your attention on screens that contained everything crucial to the story, gameplay or just were interesting otherwise. FFXV forces itself to create a few big, open world cities so you can explore the entirety of them, but they just end up seeming empty, and also obviously not as big as an actual city.

Towns in open world RPGs take a ton of resources to make and they suck.


This is something I started giving them a pass for, until I remembered that most of those towns are the same rehashed assets with maybe some minor changes in greebles strewn about and that I’ve made more complex environments in mod editors for Bethesda games and Divinity II in a weekend. It seems like even by open world standards the FFXV team didn’t even try. Where do all those people come from? There’s no obvious residence anywhere and it takes most of a day to cross the world even by car. Like, do they live in the walls of Tetsuya Nomura’s 7/11 or what?

1 Like

I loved FF XV and did most stuff you could do in the open world (it helped that I figured out an easy way to break the game and level extremely quickly) before finishing it, though I will say I never did the postgame or played any of the DLC after beating it about a year ago. Coming back to it to do the Assassin’s Festival event before it expired reminded me of how much I love it, so I am very tempted to finally see that stuff I haven’t done yet soon. I’m also interested in trying the new iOS version of it, since it seems like a cute adaptation of the main story?

That being said: Gladio kinda sucks? He constantly whines about Prompto in battle, when Prompto’s a more interesting character who… also has outright expressed to Noctis that he feels like he might be useless, which just makes everything Gladio does more frustrating to me. I frequently wished I had a way to tell Gladio to grow up.

1 Like

it is not a very good video game