Tuesday, June 14, 2016

—Demo Review— Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae

This demo came with my Final Fantasy Type-0 Collector's Edition. I'll be honest, it's part of the reason I wanted the Type-0 Collector's Edition. ;) 

***Final Fantasy XV***
Episode Duscae

Published and developed by Square Enix
Released 2015 | Action RPG
(Full game to be released Sept 2016)
For Xbox One, PS4 | Review: PS4
*Unrated Demo*

HGG rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 9/10

As this is nothing more than a demo, your goal is clear: Earn enough money to get your broken car fixed so you can get on your way. That's it. There's nothing more to it.

Prompto, Gladiolus, Noctis, and Ignis

First impressions? 
Honestly, I was slightly bored at first and the battle system took some getting used to. I've been playing FF games since FFVII on PlayStation 1 (and then I went back and played the first FF on the NES), so I'm pretty used to the old battle system, or perhaps more specifically and more recently, the battle system for the FFXIII games.

The graphics, however, were impressive. I didn't expect them to be that good in a demo, especially for a game that's still so far from release...at the time the demo was released, that is. I expected glitches in abundance and you know what? I can't remember a single one. Doesn't mean there weren't any, just not any bad enough to stand out to me. 

Graphics and voices? 
Like I already mentioned, the graphics are stunning. There were times I ran around with no clear goal in mind for that "day" and I'd just stop, slowly spin around, and take in the scenery. It really is beautiful.

The voice acting is really good, though the extremely deep voice that comes out of Noctis (the prince, aka main character, aka YOU) is a bit jarring at first. He's not a big guy. Makes me laugh, though. Especially when he mentions how much he likes to sleep. And his name is NOCTIS. That one really got me. :P And the big guy is Gladiolus. I wonder if he likes flowers...

Took some serious practice to get used to, but a dozen hours or so later I finally caught on. (I think I've mentioned before that I'm a slow gamer? No? Well, I am.)

That's the other thing. Over a dozen hours playing a demo. No, that's not how long it takes to beat it. I took my time, meandering along, killing things and leveling up. My characters were all over level 45 by the time I finally went and beat the end boss. But still. Whoever heard of a demo that lasted longer than an hour or two at most? The FFXV Platinum Demo only took 45 mins and that was with some pretty extensive exploration.

Leveling up is different in this. You collect EXP as you run around fighting things and completing side quests, but you don't actually level up until you go to a camp site and go to sleep. Your characters eat a meal that may or may not give them boosts for the following day, their EXP is applied and then it's the next morning.

Sometimes, you wake up and one of the other characters asks you to go "on tour" with them. That means it's just the two of you on a side quest that you must complete before you camp again.

Now that I've beaten the demo, I can say that the end fight was visually stunning, but doesn't really require your active participation. An eidolon takes over and kills the behemoth for you. Bit of a letdown, if I'm totally honest, but still pretty cool. And what's a FF game without some massive eidolon smashing the enemies for you?

There isn't much of one with this, but it's just a demo, so that's not really a big deal. The writing is pretty entertaining. I've laughed out loud more than once just listening to these characters talk to each other while running around killing things and leveling up. If there was more of a story to this, it would be a solid 10-heart demo.

It's a demo. There really isn't anything to complain about. Lack of an interesting storyline, maybe? That's really about it. The new battle system took some getting used to, but I knew that was gonna happen, so also not a big deal. 

This demo is better than a few full-length games I've played. And if they do it right, FFXV will be the BEST FF game ever made. If the finished product isn't rushed out the door, that is. And considering this game has been in development for-freakin'-EVER, I'd say it's probably not gonna be rushed out the door.

I will add that after playing the Platinum Demo, I think (read: HOPE) this is a better example of what to expect from the final version of this game. The Platinum Demo was cute (read my review HERE) but not a very good offering if their goal was to sell copies of FFXV. They should give the Episode Duscae demo away for free if they want to sell copies. My opinion. Maybe I'm wrong.

My rating? 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 9/10 life hearts. I wasn't really of two minds about buying FFXV when it's released, though I was planning to wait until the price dropped a lot before I got it. Now I'm pretty sure I'll preorder it, or else wait for the Collector's Edition to come out. After having gotten a glimpse of the Ultimate Collector's Edition, that's what I want. SO. MUCH.

Where to buy?
You can only get this demo in "Day One" releases of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4 or Xbox One), or the FF Type-0 Collector's Edition (PS4 or Xbox One). And even then, the DL code expired March 17, 2016.

*Screenshots and videos were done by LowliGiggre (The HGG) using the PS4 gaming system. © Square Enix, who does not in any way endorse this fan/review/gaming blog.

    Until next time... 

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