Monday, 19 December 2016

Final Fantasy XV Review (No Spoilers)

I realize that I'm a bit late with this review but as a long-time Final Fantasy fan, I wanted to properly immerse myself in the game before giving my final opinions on it. So, after finishing the main story, completing around 100 side quests, collecting all 13 Royal Arms, defeating the Adamantoise, toppling the level 120 superboss Naglfar, receiving all the legendary weapons and in the process unlocking the game's platinum trophy, I'm finally ready to share my thoughts on Final Fantasy XV.

Graphics & Design

Final Fantasy XV is a beautiful game. There's no denying that. I played this game on a regular PlayStation 4 and during my playthrough, I didn't notice any significant graphical issues. There were some texture pop-ins at times especially when flying the Regalia over denser areas but for the most part, the game looks incredible. Besides that, the frame rate never fell to stupidly low numbers. Even in hectic fights against 20 or so enemies with sparks and particle effects going on, it still felt relatively smooth.

Considering the sheer size of the world map, it's amazing how much detail was put into it. Each structure and creature was purposely designed in order to fit the world of Eos. What's even more astonishing is how all the different structures are put together. You get a sense that the map was properly planned out in order to make it feel like a real lived-in world and for the most part it does feel that way. Each area you visit looks and feels a bit different but at no point during the journey from one place to another do you feel a jarring and sudden change in aesthetic design. It all flows together very well. The only complaint I have is that many of the outposts in the game reuse the exact same diner and motel designs with very minor tweeks. It's by no means a big issue but I would have liked to see a bit more variety in that respect.


The music in this game is absolutely amazing most of the time. While you do hear some uninteresting music when you enter certain areas on the map, these instances are few and far between. Adding to the enormous amount of music from past Final Fantasy titles available in this game, most of the new music composed specifically for Final Fantasy XV is brilliant as well. Yoko Shimomura did a truly fantastic job. The original pieces she composed for Final Fantasy XV like Somnus and Gratia Mundi are just beautiful even on their own. Final Fantasy XV's battle theme may have become my favourite battle theme in the series. Even the classic Chocobo theme has been revamped in a way that enhances the musical depth but at the same time preserves the charm of the original. Overall, Final Fantasy XV's music is some of the best I've heard from any game in a long time.


Being a long-time Final Fantasy fan, I was a bit worried about the new active battle system but after spending a few hours with it, my worries faded away and I began to understand why they opted for the active battle system over the classic turn based system. Firstly, what you need to understand is that the active battle system in Final Fantasy XV is not like a typical hack and slash. You do have control over a lot more than just swinging your weapons about. It's hard to explain it in words but if you took some time to get acquainted with this new battle system, it's immensely satisfying even if, like me, you're not very good at it.

(Gladio's epic faceplant!)

The primary complaint everybody seems to share is regarding the camera. The camera does struggle to keep the attention on Noctis during battle. It works fine in open areas but when fighting in denser areas, you will find yourself looking at some leaves or a wall or whatever structure is present at that particular location. This is a bit annoying but I can understand why this hasn't disappeared even after the huge patch. Programming the camera for an open world RPG such as this isn't a simple task. What makes it even more difficult is Noctis' fighting style. Can the camera be improved? Yes, I think it can be slightly improved. Will it ever be perfect? No. Realistically, the real time camera angles could only be significantly improved if the developers also altered Noctis' fighting style and the environment design. That seems very unlikely. That said, the camera issue does not make the game unplayable in any way. It can become annoying at times but it still works quite well for the most part.


Here lies my biggest complaint. It's not the story itself because I love Final Fantasy XV's story. It's an amazing tale which I shall not spoil. The complaint I have is in regards to the pacing of the story. Due to the poor pacing, the game's story just feels rushed. There are many points throughout the story where I felt the plot could have been fleshed out a bit more. Some characters felt as though they weren't as integral to the overall plot as they really were due to their lack of participation in the story being told to the player. Many have expressed their disappointment and outright hatred for Chapter 13 which, again I shall not spoil. All I have to say is that Chapter 13 isn't actually bad. It's actually very appropriate to the plot of the story. However, the way the game is paced makes Chapter 13 feel like such a sudden change and this has caused many players to dislike it. Square Enix have said that they will be addressing this soon. I'm not sure what they plan to do exactly but I just hope they don't change it too much and in the process neglect what that particular section of the game is supposed to be.

Side content

Once you're done with the main story, I'm sure you'll want to do more stuff with your now quite powerful party and thankfully that wont be a problem at all.

Just like many Final Fantasy games before it, Final Fantasy XV has a lot of side content. This includes monster hunts, fetch quests, optional dungeons, secret bosses and mini-games. While not all of Final Fantasy XV's side content is incredibly interesting, there are quite a few that will keep you excited long after you've finished the main story. Some of the optional dungeons are amazingly well designed and are extremely fun to attempt even if you aren't quite able to reach the end. The secret bosses provide a welcomed challenge besides just looking incredible. Fighting them takes quite a bit of skill and quite a lot of patience. Overall, despite some quests being overly simplistic, the side content in this game is abundant and enjoyable.


This is what I believe to be the most important aspect of any game. A game can be very well designed and developed but if it doesn't charm you into loving it as more than just a game then a good game is all it will be. I'm very glad to say that Final Fantasy XV has become more than just a game to me. Throughout my time playing this game I've grown to love the world of Eos along with all its quirks. It's a game that is truly worth more than the sum of its parts. 

Score : 8.7/10

This game is incredibly enjoyable. I love it but as a reviewer I have to be objective so I simply cannot overlook its flaws. All things considered, 8.7 just sums it all up nicely in my opinion. Hopefully the game will become even better after all the updates and DLC have been added to it. 

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Last Guardian - Do People Still Care?

I'm sure most of us are aware of The Last Guardian's extended development time. It was announced at the 2009 E3 event but had been in development since 2007. It was believed to be canceled on more than one occasion. It was supposed to be released as a PlayStation 3 exclusive but plans changed and it was then announced as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. Now, after all those setbacks, the game has finally been released and we can finally go to a shop and get our hands on in. This begs the question, "Do people still care about this game?".

Even the game's director, Fumito Euda, was worried that the long development time might affect the game's sales numbers but it turns out that The Last Guardian has been doing very well in terms of pre-order sales. In a recent interview with MCV, Sony's product manager, Joe Palmer, revealed that pre-orders for the game was exceeding expectations.  He went on to say, "We've seen a really positive response to the Collector's Edition in particular, which despite its higher price point proves there's a huge appetite for the game."

The Last Guardian - PlayStation Experience 2016 Trailer | PS4

The new trailer shown at PSX 2016 looks amazing. It has obviously gone through a significant graphical upgrade since its initial reveal. So far the game has been very well received by reviewers, receiving high scores from several parties. Gamespot gave it a 9, Metacritic has it at an 83 and Destructoid gave it an 8.5. We'll have to wait for the game's sales figures in order to determine if it has suffered from the long development cycle but as we've recently seen from Final Fantasy XV's incredible sales numbers, the fans are willing to support a well developed game despite its long development time.

So, to answer the question, do people still care? Yes, I believe they do.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

The Last of Us Part II - What We Know So Far

As I'm sure you all know, Naughty Dog recently announced The Last of Us Part II at PSX 2016. If anybody still hasn't seen the trailer, please do so by clicking here. Later on, there was a panel discussion regarding The Last of Us Part II involving Neil Druckmann, the writer and directer for the franchise, Ashley Johnson, the voice of Ellie and Troy Baker, the voice of Joel.

The Last of Us Part 2 - PlayStation Experience 2016: Panel Discussion | PS4

The entire discussion is almost 40 minutes long and includes bits about the voice acting process for Joel and Ellie as well as how the dialogue in the game is developed. Among the various topics being discussed were a few details regarding their upcoming sequel to The Last of Us. So, here are a few things we now know about on The Last of Us Part II.

Play As Ellie

Joel was the leading role and the main playable character in The Last of Us but in Part II, it will be Ellie. We will be in control of her throughout most of, if not the entire game. It goes without saying that Ellie will feel quite different to control compared to Joel. We've been able to play as the younger Ellie for a short period during the first game as well as in the Left Behind DLC but I'm sure she will be quite different this time around. 

Hate, Not Love

Game director Neil Druckmann has made it clear that the new game will be a continuation of the story in the first game and will also be focusing on the same two characters we've grown to love. However, he said that while the first game was about love, Part II will be about hate. The Last of Us had its story based around the relationship between Joel and Ellie which started out as a business arrangement but became something much more by the end of the game. The first game highlights how Joel and Ellie progressively become more trusting and loving towards each other but we can expect this new game to go in a completely different direction. 

Ellie is now 19

This game will be set about 5 years after the events of the first game. Ellie was just 14 when we got to know her in The Last of Us and soon we will be able to get to know a more mature and also more hateful version of her in Part II. I'm sure we can all remember how strong and independent Ellie was even at the tender age of 14. Now just imagine how a 19 year old hate fueled Ellie will be. 

New Music by Gustavo Santaolalla

If you're wondering who this is, Gustavo Santaolalla composed the theme for the first game. Yes, he's the one responsible for that chilling acoustic piece that plays during the first game and he's also been working on new material for the sequel including a revamped version of the original The Last of Us theme song. There will also be completely new compositions in The Last of Us Part II which I expect will be just as beautiful.

New Engine

Naughty Dog always tries to produce games which don't just have great stories and characters but great graphics as well. Naughty Dog worked hard in order to make Uncharted and The Last of Us some of the most graphically impressive games when they were released and The Last of Us Part II will be no different. Naughty Dog is using a new graphics engine for The Last of Us Part II in order to achieve a higher degree of fidelity. Neil Druckmann said that with the new engine they will finally be able to zoom in on a character's eyes, something they couldn't properly do before. Judging by the trailer, there is no doubt in my mind that The Last of Us Part II will look absolutely amazing.

There is still no release date or even a release window for The Last of Us Part II so we'll just have to wait a bit longer. I, for one, have no problem waiting so if anybody from Naughty Dog is reading this, please take your time on this project and deliver another wonderful game for us to enjoy.

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Naughty Dog has been busy

Naughty Dog has just made a whole lot of people very very happy with their announcements at PlayStation Experience (PSX) 2016. Sony obviously wanted to start the show with a bang as well as end it with a bang and Naughty Dog was able to cater to both.

Uncharted : The Lost Legacy

UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy - PlayStation Experience 2016: Announce Trailer | PS4

The very first thing we saw at PSX 2016 was a nearly 9 minute long trailer for a new Uncharted game entitled "The Lost Legacy". This time. it seems we'll be playing as Chloe instead of the beloved Nathan Drake but by no means is that a bad thing. Chloe clearly doesn't lack charisma or physical prowess. This was made very clear by her performance in the newly revealed trailer. Another character also seen in the trailer fighting along side Chloe is Nadine, the woman who made light work of the brothers Drake when she engaged them both in a fist fight in Uncharted 4. The trailer has been confirmed to be the very beginning of the upcoming game. So far, what we do know is that the game will be set in India but we don't know how the story will pan out just yet. Whatever Naughty Dog has planned for this upcoming game, I'm sure they will will pour their hearts and souls into it like they've always done. 

The Last Of Us Part 2

The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation Experience 2016: Announce Trailer | PS4

Naughty Dog closed the show with a trailer for a sequel to their other the massively popular game, "The Last of Us". We've been asking for this ever since we reached the end of the first game back on PS3. The trailer starts out showing Ellie's hand trembling as she begins to pluck the strings on a battered old guitar. Ellie's singing was haunting enough but the most chilling part came at the very end of the trailer when she says "I am going to find and I'm going to kill every last one of them.". Who could she have meant? What caused Ellie's blood lust? What has happened to her since the end of the last game? I'm sure you're all just as excited as I am but we'll have to wait just a bit longer. 

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this and I surely won't be the last but it is truly a good time to be a PS4 owner. Thank you Sony, Thank you Naughty Dog. We can't wait to give you more of our money.

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

"Final Fantasy died after 10" ...Nope!

First off, sorry for the long absence and utter lack of content. I've been quite busy over the past few months. A lot's changed recently! Now, back to the topic at hand.

I've heard this so many times lately due to the recent release of Final Fantasy XV. "Final Fantasy died" some say after 7 or after 8 or after 9 or 10. Let's get this straight right off the bat. What you actually mean is that there hasn't been a Final Fantasy that appealed to you as greatly as that last one did. I love Final Fantasy 10 just as much, maybe even more than you and I also love the ones that came after it. I love Final Fantasy 12. I love the entire Final Fantasy 13 series along with Type-0. Just because you didn't like the new ones doesn't mean the series "died" and Final Fantasy XV proves that the series is very much alive.

As we all know, Final Fantasy 15 was released just a few days ago and it is glorious. I've played it for 10 hours or so and I'm thoroughly enjoying every bit of it. The banter among the 4 lead characters is very enjoyable, the world is beautifully designed, the animations are amazing and so is the creature design. Granted, the camera is a bit wonky but overall it's a great game! Also, no matter what the elite "FF has died"-ists say, it's a great Final Fantasy!

I will surely  be spending a lot of time playing this game over the coming weeks and I will be writing a lot more about this game because it's a new Final Fantasy and we don't get those very often. Also, because I absolutely love it and can't stop thinking about it. While you're reading this, I'll probably be playing it or writing some other article about it. If you haven't played Final Fantasy XV yet, I suggest you give it a go even if you've never played a Final Fantasy game before. You might just like it.

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