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Why Episode Duscae Made Me Excited For Final Fantasy Again


Final Fantasy has been the go to series when I think of RPGs and it's been that way for years. This is why I found myself a bit shaken when I bought XIII at launch and it ended up being a mess. There are a variety of reasons why I disliked the game and the whole 90+ hour affair left me heavily doubting the series. As well, the constant sequels for Lightning and XIII certainly didn't inspire confidence in the direction Square Enix was taking the Final Fantasy brand. However I completely changed my tune as soon as I started up Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae.

I'm a fairly late adopter to the demo, as I felt so burned on XIII that I held off on buying Final Fantasy Type-0 HD until I saw it for dirt cheap. I was lucky enough to get a working demo code in my used copy and was able to cash it in just before it expired. Even though I went into the demo full of skepticism I had an absolute blast and I'm incredibly glad I got that code. Final Fantasy XV made me excited for the series in a lot of ways and If you missed out on the demo, as I almost did, here's why you should be excited as well.

1) The combat

Final Fantasy XV boasts an all new combat system that is more engaging than it has ever been. While the battle system in XIII was probably the best part of that game, XV's battles just blow it out of the water. In lieu of the ATB or standard turn based system in previous titles, XV has a more fluid style in how you approach battles. Square Enix calls this new system AXB, or the Active Cross Battle system.

In AXB you can run around the battle field, circle your enemies, tactically take the higher ground, use special moves, and manually dodge or attack at any moment. The combat system feels much closer to an ARPG such as Kingdom Hearts or Type-0 where if you are skilled enough you don't have to eat damage from enemies before you attack again. You need to stay on your toes in an active environment or else you can get wiped. It's incredibly satisfying to be able to pull off a perfect counter or parry a big attack.

2) The characters and premise

The main characters in Final Fantasy XV are essentially a boy band on a cross country road trip. There's just something so endearing and campy about this concept that just makes me buy it completely. These guys feel like real people who are actually bonding and show development. It's not like in XIII where everyone was called together through deus ex machina crystals and go nowhere from that point.

The road trip is a great vehicle(puns!) for the characters to express themselves and become more engaging. It is because the road trip idea is so relatable to most people that you can get a better sense of what these new characters are like. It's a laid back atmosphere as opposed to other games in the series with the world hanging in the balance. These characters are able to be themselves in this situation.

3) Exploring and camping

One of my major gripes with XIII is that it took dozens of hours of linear tutorials until you finally get to the open world area of Gran Pulse. However, it would seem that XV learned from the critical reception of that design choice, allowing you get to the open world exploration much faster. A big part of this exploration that makes it so engaging is that there are no longer random encounters to worry about. You don't have to worry about fighting a ridiculous number of encounters while simply doubling back to an area. In Final Fantasy XV you see the potential enemies in front of you and can plan accordingly.

Another cool addition to Final Fantasy XV is the day and night cycle. Every day you start with some stat boosts while you go out and explore, battle, and complete quests. Then at the end of the night the boosts wear off and you set up camp to get all of the experience from the day as well as regaining the stat boosts. This changes the way you would traditionally grind XP in a Final Fantasy game. Instead of bashing monsters for hours to see little jumps in the XP bar, you explore, fight, and quest and get all of your rewards at once. I have to say it was extremely satisfying jumping up a bunch of levels while sitting at camp.

After playing Episode Duscae I am fully on board the Final Fantasy XV hype train. Square Enix just seems to have addressed all of the mistakes made in XIII and added new elements that make this a must buy for me. Final Fantasy XV is scheduled to have the final release date announced on March 30th at the Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV event in Los Angeles at 7pm pacific time. 

More info on the Uncovered event here

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About Garett Meffordone of us since 4:41 PM on 01.20.2016

My name is Garett. I play a lot of video games and write a lot of stuff about video games. I try to play as many different games as I can and I enjoy a bit of everything, but some of my favorite series are Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Pokemon, and I guess Assassins Creed? I mean, I've played them all, I must be a fan.

Anyway, I'm a pretty rad dude and it would be pretty rad of you to read some of my stuff and give me some feedback.I also write over at thatvideogameblog.com
Also I have a YouTube channel and it would be swell of you to come check out some videos.: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYukWA_cU7sSWNuU2-NG_LQ

Currently Playing:
Pokemon Silver
Titanfall 2
Final Fantasy X