So, I’ve been babysitting most of the day, and one of the girls wanted to draw with my ‘proper artist pencils’. So I drew her a quick, scruffy face just to show her how you’re supposed to hold them and be gentle with them. And then I said she could draw the hair, if she wanted, but she went another step forward and drew a body as well and
I got to play the full version of FINAL FANTASY XV at gamescom yesterday!!! :D
We were able to play the game from the very beginning, including the complete intro sequence, cutscenes and chapter 0. Starting from the title menu we even had the option to change settings such as difficulty, language, audio, subtitles etc. to our liking before actually heading into the game. I didn’t waste much time on that, though, because we only had 30 minutes of playtime. But I did take a quick look at the language options and was able to choose between German, English, Japanese and French. So that’s awesome.
Even though 30 minutes of playtime was more than most other games were offering the players, it was still far from enough time to check out everything thoroughly. I chose to follow the main quest closely to see how far I would get, which meant that I didn’t get to see very much of the area as I was sprinting only to the related points marked on the map. I didn’t bother with the in-game menu, character settings etc. either.
I won’t spoil anything story-wise (not that there’s much to spoil in the first 30 minutes). The quest at hand was to do some monster-hunting for Cid and Cidney in order to get them to lower the price on the repairs of our car. So that’s what I did. The first few enemies and fights were very nice and easy to understand tutorials. Compared to the Duscae demo the battle system has changed quite a bit. Nothing drastic, but it is different, much more elaborate, complete with team attacks and an updated evading/counter feature. It also feels like the rest of the team fights much more efficiently. So even if you don’t or can’t do anything in battle, Iggy, Gladio and Prompto might very well take care of it for you.
What stood out in my opinion was that the rest of the team is really focused on Noctis. As long as you’re doing fine they’re minding their own business more or less, but as soon as Noct’s HP are dropping dangerously low, at least one of the three will fall back to your position to shield and/or heal you!
The AI works extremely well in that sense and the way in which the developers made this whole feature work is even better, because it doesn’t feel mechanical at all. You don’t feel like your sorry ass is being saved by a computer because the difficulty is set too high. All you get is Noctis being saved by his friends. That’s because the characters communicate with each other during battles, and whenever Noct gets hurt badly, it’s not like everyone rushes to his side immediately.
I managed to get to the first small boss battle of the game, and because I hadn’t had the chance to level up beforehand, the fight was pretty tough. More than once Noctis was on the brink of death. I managed on my own until I ran out of potions. From then on I HAD to rely on my team mates. Admittedly, I was very skeptical at first. Every time my HP dropped to 0 I got out of the enemy’s reach and waited. And every time, one of the three guys eventually noticed Noct wasn’t doing so well.
The thing is, the situation was always different. First time I needed help, Ignis excused himself out of the active battle to fall back to my position where he shielded me at first and after noticing I wasn’t going to heal myself, also healed me. Then I broke down next to Prompto, who was by my side and quickly healed me in passing before I even needed to move out of the monster’s reach. Another time I wasn’t doing well and stepped away from the fighting, Gladio noticed, but instead of helping me himself, he told Prompto and Ignis to take care of it. I don’t remember what exactly they said, but they exchanged a few words on how to best go about it, before Ignis eventually came over and shielded me until Prompto also reached us to heal me.
Those little and absolutely precious interactions in battle make the system quite unique and refreshing. It’s also bound to get very, very emotional, I can tell you that.
Apart from that, there’s also a new feature that allows you to talk to Ignis, Prompto or Glaidolus before certain fights in order to come up with some kind of strategy. If you follow the plan during battle and win, you’ll get bonus EXP. This is kind of like what we’ve already seen in the DUSCAE demo with the first fight against Deadeye.
If I had been fast enough, I could’ve even gotten our car back and taken it for a drive around the area! But after barely winning the boss fight I didn’t make it back to the garage in time…
All in all I can now safely say what we already knew: THIS GAME IS GONNA BE AMAZING. :)