Dear Video Games – Final Fantasy XV Review

Dear FINAL FANTASY XV,

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I was ready to fall in love with you the moment I first heard of your existence. You promised real time combat in an open world. You were known for your beautiful cut-scenes and this time it looked as if the in-game quality caught up with it, too.

But no matter how much I was looking forward to it, and how hard I tried to convince myself that what we had was great, I have to finally admit that you are not what I wanted you to be.

At first glance, you looked beautiful. However, I did more than just glance once and the imperfections started piling up. What the fuck was wrong with the character’s hair? All I could see were pixelated frizzles surrounding their heads. When I tried to ignore that, the render distance reminded me even more of your limitations. Sometimes patches of grass and rocks had to load right in front of my face. You see, I can take graphical glitches in THE WITCHER 3 any day, because everything else in that game draws me in so much that a Halfling merchant clipping through the floor won’t ruin my experience. But you don’t have that kind of substitute, do you?

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[Pictured: Screenshot from THE WITCHER 3 of what I find acceptable in games that aren’t shit]

I understand that you can’t be as gorgeous as HORIZON ZERO DAWN, even though it was released only three months after you. But you try to mask your failure to perform well graphically by starting the adventure in a barren wasteland. Without an area densely decorated and designed, there’s nothing that could look bad, right? Great fucking idea. There’s nothing to look at, there’s nothing to do, and travelling on foot was so boring I’d rather “fast” travel somewhere and stare at the never ending loading screen. I don’t want to run through an empty desert with maybe one enemy popping up somewhere and then keep running through nothingness again.

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[Pictured: Icons I’d much rather look at than the scenery]

Don’t give me that look, I know besides fast travelling to certain destinations you offer an alternative with the vehicle. A vehicle that is not only restricted to the road, prohibiting any exploration, but also basically on autopilot, with my only controls being “forward”, “stop” and “turn around”.

What the hell, FINAL FANTASY? You create an open world and you do nothing to make me want to explore it. There’s nothing interesting to see and if I would even want to try and find something other than the bland environment, you make it tedious as fuck to get there.

You’re damn right I’m getting angry. Look at your combat! Yes, finally you’ve not only abandoned turn-based combat from the good old days, you’ve also adapted to a more active version compared to the bullshit you pulled with previous modern installments. But what do you think “active” means? I guess you’re not wrong, I am pressing a button to attack in real time, sure. But all I’m doing is hold down the button and the character keeps attacking automatically, making their own combos. Let ME make the combos! Let ME decide when to switch from light to heavy attack. If I end up sitting there with one hand on the controller, holding down the attack button, how “active” is this combat really?

And by god, can these skinny boys shut the fuck up for once? Every step I take in your boring-ass desert, every blow I land in your dull combat, every chance they fucking get, somebody NEEDS to deliver a one-liner straight out of a 90’s action film. Followed immediately by another character who tries to up the ante with another cheesy line. Ironically, out of your four characters, only the buff and grouchy guy pumps the breaks on being annoying with this crap.

Which leads me to your story, or at least how it begins. Don’t get me wrong, I love anime, but this is agonizing. The prince gets send off to marry a princess, his comrades ask if he likes her, and he replies with “pfft, noooo” like a twelve year old boy who won’t admit he thinks girls are cute. That’s how your story begins, FINAL FANTASY. That’s what is supposed to invoke wonder and interest in me. A bratty prince and his douche squad on the way to a wedding. It gets interrupted with the prince receiving mail from his bride-to-be via…dog? What the fuck? He has a fucking smartphone, why don’t they just text or call each other? And fucking SPOILERS, but if my dad died in a royal coup and I was presumed dead by the media, I would probably text the girl I was about to marry and tell her that I’m good and still on the way to tie the knot. But I guess that’s just me.

It’s over, FINAL FANTASY, I’m done with you. I don’t want to keep trying. I don’t want to force myself through more ordeal. Your side quests are shit, your atmosphere is boring, and your characters have nothing to offer that could possibly interest me. If only your combat was fun and engaging, that might have kept me pulling through.

If this is what you believe an action RPG’s combat should be like, then my hope that the FINAL FANTASY VII remake will be any good at all died with the last remainder of admiration for you.

If I need space on my hard drive, I will not hesitate to make my PS4 forget you and I have ever been a thing.

 

Sincerely,

Alex

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