What is Final Fantasy XV?
Final Fantasy XV is a Japanese-style role playing game that tells the tale of a prince, and his quest to reclaim his kingdom. The story focuses around a young man named Noctis, crown prince of Lucis, and heir to the throne of a kingdom that's long been at war with the Niflheim Empire. Betrothed to marry Lady Lunafreya, a princess of the Niflheim Empire, it's hoped that their wedding will bring peace to the two kingdoms - but things don't go according to plan. While the prince is en-route to the wedding, the Niflheim Empire invade his homeland, killing his father, and taking over his kingdom. With his world turned upside down, Noctis sets off on a journey that's as much about finding himself as it as about doing what's right, as he comes to rely on his friends, his band of brothers, and restore peace to the land.
How do you play Final Fantasy XV?
As a role playing game, Final Fantasy XV is all about two things - quests (and character progression), and battles.
With an incredible story to take in, Final Fantasy XV offers hundreds of quests for you to try your hand at, with many lying off the beaten track, just waiting to be discovered. While the main quests let you progress through the game's narrative, following Noctis' journey of self discovery, the side quests offer enticing distractions, giving you a chance to explore the game's world, and meet some of its more unusual inhabitants. Whether you're searching for one of the game's giant yellow land-based birds, a chocobo, who's gone missing; setting out on a quest to find a legendary weapon; or sneaking in to a humongous monster's lair to save a populace that have been living in fear, there's a lot to see and do here, and a handy quest log to help you keep track of everything.
Of course, it wouldn't be a role playing game without battles, and Final Fantasy XV offers something of a break from the series norm. The battles here are of the real time, reaction based variety, and see you facing off with all manner of fantastical beasties in a test of reflexes and speed. While all you need to do to attack is hold a button, you'll need to time your dodges and blocks well to avoid taking too much damage, or get a key counter in. With tough enemies, and the odds often stacked against you (you can face off against a dozen or more enemies in a single battle), it can be a genuine challenge.
At the end of both battles and quests, you'll earn experience points, which let your character level up, growing stronger, and ready to take on more quests!
How easy is Final Fantasy XV to pick up and play?
Final Fantasy XV is a game that offers a tougher challenge than most role playing games, due to the complexity and pace of its battles.
Enemy encounters are often frantic, with a camera that zooms in and out, and twirls round throughout the fight. It does make things look more cinematic, but it also makes it that much harder to keep track of your enemies. As combat plays out in real time, there's an awful lot you'll need to keep an eye on at once - from keeping a tab on you and your team mate's health, to staying on top of what all the numbers that appear on the screen are actually telling you (is your strategy working? Do you need to change weapon? Are you taking too much damage?), or keeping an eye out for enemies charging up attacks, as you'll only have a split second to dodge. While the game does give you a signal that your health's very low, it's not always obvious whether it's your character, or one of your team mates that's taking damage mid-battle. With an emphasis on reactions, and a lot of plates to keep spinning, the battles in Final Fantasy XV provide one heck of a challenge - especially during boss fights.
It's not just during battles you'll need to keep your eyes peeled, though - when you're roaming around the world, you'll often come across monsters that are a much, much higher level than you (often 5x or more in the early days), who can often dispose of you in a single hit or two. It's best to simply avoid these whenever you can, rather than get drawn into a battle, so you'll need to keep an eye open. Enemies that are closer to your level can also simply teleport in to attack you too, with other enemies sometimes appearing to join in mid-battle, making things even more complex.
Outside of the battles, it's perhaps the magic system that's the most complex. Rather than simply having a number of spells you can use, you instead have to craft your own, choosing to add a mixture of three different elements (fire, ice and lightning) in different quantities to each concoction. With no set templates for you to follow, you'll have to experiment to find something that works for yourself.
Final Fantasy XV contains only a mild amount of mature content.
Violence and gore
While battles may use swords, guns and pistols, there's little in the way of realistic impacts from weaponry here, with enemies instead giving off sparks/puffs of cloud when hit, if anything. There's very little in the way of blood in the game in general, with no blood found in regular battles, and only a handful of cutscenes/boss fights featuring anything in the way of claret at all. On those rare occasions where blood is shown, it's used sparingly. Some cutscenes do show characters impaled on swords, but again, any blood is kept to a minimum if it's even used at all.
In terms of bad language, Final Fantasy XV is again pretty clean. For the vast majority of the game, there's nothing in the way of swearing or bad language, and only the very occasional use of the words "sh*t" and "ass".
Similarly, there's very little in the way of sexual content in Final Fantasy XV. Bar a female mechanic who wears hotpants, and a male companion who wears an unbuttoned shirt to show off his abs, perhaps the only thing of note is one of the game's "summons", Shiva, who will sometimes appear in battle. Shiva is a mostly nude character, with an ornate bikini style outfit that all but matches her skin tone providing her with her modesty - although as a magical creature, with light blue skin, it doesn't look out of place.