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The Final Fantasy XV demo is stunning
Mon, 23rd Mar 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

If you bought Final Fantasy Type-0 HD last week, you may have had a chance to play the Final Fantasy XV demo already.  The Final Fantasy XV demo comes as a download code for people that bought Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. Square Enix will not be releasing the demo for "free" at a later date, so this is the only way you can play the game.  Final Fantasy XV has been in development for many years. The game was originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, until it got rebranded as Final Fantasy XV. This is the first time the game has been made playable to the public, and it appears the long wait has been worth it. The Final Fantasy XV demo is around 5.27GB in size on the PS4. This is large for a demo, but there's a good reason for it. This is because you get to roam in a large area full of forests, fields, marshlands and even a cave. If you were disappointed with the linear level design from Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XV goes in the opposite direction. The demo takes place in a region in the game called Duscae. Eveything in this region can be explored on foot, and it can take you several minutes just to see everything. I would say the demo is larger than the entire base that was in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. It's also a pretty looking demo because it's set in an area full of trees and a lake littered with wildlife. It's a nice departure from all the recent video games that have opted for the more depressing post-apocalyptic look. Graphically, I thought Final Fantasy XV looked very beautiful on the PS4. It looks prettier than Final Fantasy XIII and the visuals are close to the quality you see from the FMV videos. However, the demo was only 900p on the PS4 and is a lower resolution on Xbox One. Square Enix is sure to bump up the resolution when the full game comes out.  I don't want to give anything away for those that want to play the Final Fantasy XV demo themselves, but I will give you a brief description of the "story" here. Basically Noctis (the main character) and his mates need 25,000 gil to repair their car. In order to get that type of money, they need to hunt down the huge Behemoth creature that is roaming Dusae.  The thing I liked most about Final Fantasy XV is that Square Enix has changed the combat system. The game now adopts are more action-RPG stytle of gameplay similar to the Kingdom Hearts series. Action takes place seamlessly which makes it feel like a hack-and-slash game sometimes, but there is still a lot of strategy that is involved. Noctis can evade attacks and even teleport short distances. The teleport move is arguably the best technique that Noctis has in his entire arsenal. Another great thing Noctis can do is wield many different weapons at the same time. The combat is very fast paced and a departure from the older Final Fantasy video games.

I liked the combat system as it feels fresh and exciting. It would have felt stale if they opted to just use the same combat style seen in Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels. This game feels like a more mature version of Kingdom Hearts.  Another great thing the about game is that it has a day/night cycle. During the day, enemies can be seen easily and are much weaker. At night, they get stronger and it's harder to see their positions. This is unique as a day/night cycle has never been implemented in a Final Fantasy game before. You can choose to camp at night if you feel the enemies are getting too strong.  Overall, I felt the Final Fantasy XV demo shows a lot of potential. It may have only been a small slice of the full game, but it's enough to convince me that Final Fantasy XV will be excellent. This is the same feeling I got when I played Metal Gear Sold V: Ground Zeroes last year. The only bad thing I can say about the demo is that it's made the wait for the full game even harder now. Hopefully Square Enix will announce a release date very soon.