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Final Fantasy XV



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U.N. Owen

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And to be honest, Fabula Nova Crystalis wasn't that bad. It's just that the delivery sucked.
The problem with the FNC, as many people pointed out, was that it was poorly exposited. I barely understood anything about Bhunivelze and his mother. In fact, I didn't know Mwynn existed until I read the wiki.
 

Ballad of Caius

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The problem with the FNC, as many people pointed out, was that it was poorly exposited. I barely understood anything about Bhunivelze and his mother. In fact, I didn't know Mwynn existed until I read the wiki.
Me neither. FNC was plagued by not so good writers.
 

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The Lightning Trilogy was created for the sole purpose of recuperating costs from the Crystal Tools dev engine. And yeah, Ardyn and Caius are similar, because of their immortality and Shakesperian like inspirations (Caius = Romeo and Juliet; Ardyn = Hamlet), but they're really different at the same time. And I presume the subject of cursing your immortality may be a piece of lore from the FNC days.

And to be honest, Fabula Nova Crystalis wasn't that bad. It's just that the delivery sucked.
See the one thing that I'll always maintain is that the essence of the stories that exist have never left the Final Fantasy franchise after XII. And what I mean by that, is... If we were to lay out the entire scenario of the FFXIII trilogy, line up the other FF scenarios and compare them together, they really don't seem all that different from one another. Same with FFXV, actually especially FFXV. So when I hear people say that the FF franchise is dead, I disagree.

I actually like the FFXIII trilogy, I remember being pretty hype for it and I still own my PS3 copy from back in the day. But I agree completely with what you said, the execution just wasn't there and it really did a number on the story as a whole. It doesn't help that a ton of the lore is in the Datalog, and not explained on-screen, so you have to sit and read a lot of what's going on in order to really get it. FFXV didn't even have a datalog at all at launch, so a lot of it was reading random articles around the world, trying to piece things together given the context of the plot, and interviews/Ultimania/DLC.

I love FFXV (I even bought my PS4 specifically for XV and KH3), and Noctis became my favorite FF protagonist, but I feel like if they were able to nail the scenario and flesh out Luna way more, XV would've been seen as one of the strongest entries in the franchise. The lore and everything that encompasses XV could've been turned into a masterpiece if done correctly, but it missed the mark. Ah well.
 

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I honestly don't feel like Luna needed to be fleshed out much more. Especially not since she had a pretty big role in Kingsglaive, which you really should watch before playing the game. The issue was that 1) people assumed she was a re-design of Stella, whom they in turn wrongfully assumed was going to have a major role in Versus and 2) Tabata and the PR team decided to reiterate how "strong" she was when promoting the game.

The game is not really about Luna. We saw enough flashbacks to know how she worked as an Oracle. What they should have done though was to show more scenes fleshing out her relationship with Noctis. They're by far the least believable "ship" in the entire series. The most direct comparison can be made to another arranged marriage, that of Ashe and Rasler, where she gets multiple scenes to reflect on their relationship and it's made clear that there's love involved. Another fairly shallow portrayal of romance would be Cecil and Rosa, who are already in a couple when their adventure starts and thus the player can just fill in the blanks. Heck, even Snow and Serah have more chemistry than Noctis and his bride to be.

In fact, the more we learn about him and Luna the less likely their supposed romantic feelings for each other seem. They literally haven't met for like ten years prior to their reunion in Altissia, and back then they were still kids. You can only do so much with writing messages back and forth in a notebook. It's obvious they care for each other, but actual love? No, it feels incredibly forced. Especially when Luna has better chemistry with Nyx and Noctis has better chemistry with pretty much everyone else, from Prompto to Sarah from Terra Wars.

But their wonky relationship aside, she does what she's supposed to in the game. If anything, I think her brother Ravus and his motivations could have been better explained.

Aranea is the strong female character in the game that people wanted Luna to be. We get to see more of her in Episode Prompto too, and it's a shame we'll never get Episode Aranea as it would have been canon (unlike the other two cancelled episodes) and according to summaries of the novelisation she's amazing in it as expected.

The main focus of the game is the "chocobros", and their bonds are very well written. Especially when you take the DLC epsiodes into account (which at this point you should). I think they come off as a much more believable group of actual friends than any other main cast ever did. And as for the main story, Ardyn is of course the driving force behind everything and he is also very well developed.

The game is not without its flaws of course, but I don't think the main cast is an issue at all. I would have liked to see more of the minor characters, like Loqi (who would have appeared in Episode Aranea) and others from the Empire. The open world could also have used a few more memorable NPC's and it's a real shame we don't get to explore the continent of Tenebrae and Gralea (at least we got a taste of it in Episode Prompto). I really would have wanted to go there before things went south.
 

Ballad of Caius

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See the one thing that I'll always maintain is that the essence of the stories that exist have never left the Final Fantasy franchise after XII. And what I mean by that, is... If we were to lay out the entire scenario of the FFXIII trilogy, line up the other FF scenarios and compare them together, they really don't seem all that different from one another. Same with FFXV, actually especially FFXV. So when I hear people say that the FF franchise is dead, I disagree.

I actually like the FFXIII trilogy, I remember being pretty hype for it and I still own my PS3 copy from back in the day. But I agree completely with what you said, the execution just wasn't there and it really did a number on the story as a whole. It doesn't help that a ton of the lore is in the Datalog, and not explained on-screen, so you have to sit and read a lot of what's going on in order to really get it. FFXV didn't even have a datalog at all at launch, so a lot of it was reading random articles around the world, trying to piece things together given the context of the plot, and interviews/Ultimania/DLC.

I love FFXV (I even bought my PS4 specifically for XV and KH3), and Noctis became my favorite FF protagonist, but I feel like if they were able to nail the scenario and flesh out Luna way more, XV would've been seen as one of the strongest entries in the franchise. The lore and everything that encompasses XV could've been turned into a masterpiece if done correctly, but it missed the mark. Ah well.
FINAL FANTASY XIII felt like a departure to what made FF what it is, reason as to why FFXIII has just a divisive crowd, and why Versus XIII was so looked upon into with high hopes and expectations.

FINAL FANTASY XV, on the other hand, feels more "FINAL FANTASY" than what FFXIII did.

ON THE OTHER HAND, FFXIII handles its characters better. FFXV feels like a giant mess of disconnected, individual approaches. Even Ardyn, who I dearly appreciate as a character.
 

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Another problem with FFXV I've had, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is that it went multimedia. I need to watch an anime (Episode Ardyn Prologue), another anime (Brotherhood), a film (Kingsglaive), play the game, play the DLC, and play the game again, and read a novel (specifically Episode Aranea) just to get the full story. Am I missing anything?
 

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I like multimedia games, it was something I loved so much about .hack as a kid. Watch this anime, then play each of the 4 games with an ova in between each, then read this manga, new anime, then the next three games. I know some people aren't into it, and I know it would be a daunting task to get into something like that years after the fact, but even as a kid I was able to keep up and take on each piece of the multimedia as it was released, and rather than feel like a chore it just felt like an awesome journey to me.

Even Zone of the Enders did this. Movie, 12 episods of an anime, PS2 game, next 13 episodes of same anime, GBA game, then second PS2 game was the full chronological experience.

FFXV wasn't the first game to take the multimedia approach, so I wasn't necessarily surprised by it, and I really enjoyed the previous multimedia games I played. BUT, I do understand that this approach isn't for everyone. I get that it's easier to have everything included in a sole package, and some people don't want the hassle of following all of these multiple things over however long. This post was just strictly my take on my personal liking of it.
 

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Another problem with FFXV I've had, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is that it went multimedia. I need to watch an anime (Episode Ardyn Prologue), another anime (Brotherhood), a film (Kingsglaive), play the game, play the DLC, and play the game again, and read a novel (specifically Episode Aranea) just to get the full story. Am I missing anything?
The anime is available for free and definitely isn't something you need to watch to understand anything, but it helps fleshing some of the characters out a bit more. Kingsglaive is more essential, and that's about it. The DLC, which is both meaty and fun and part of the actual game experience, is not cross-media in any way so it's really unfair to include those in your criticism. The core story is all there in the main game, even if it doesn't fill you in on all the details. It does however do a better job of it now compared to at launch.

Meanwhile, Persona 4 had two fighting games and a Dancing game, all with canon story, as well as two animes and an updated port! Persona 5 also has an anime, an updated version with updated story which isn't even compatible with the vanilla release despite being on the same console, as well as a Dancing game and a Musou game. Not to mention the Persona Q games. Yet, I rarely see people blast Atlus for this the same way they do with Square Enix and Final Fantasy.

FFXV is still not as convoluted or as big of a mess as the Compilation of FFVII.

Also, to get the "full" story for most FF games you have to buy the Ultimania books, which are only available in Japan.
 

Ballad of Caius

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The problem with FINAL FANTASY XV's multimedia approach are the writers. Every single experience, minus the DLC Episodes, feel disjointed from one another.
 

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Yeah, we dodged a bullet when they cancelled Episode Noctis and Episode Luna. If you've read the summary of what those were about... oof. It's X-2.5 levels of bad.
 

Ballad of Caius

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When this game gets remade 20 years from now, I hope in high hell that the non-canon aspect is completely ignored.
 

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Yeah, we dodged a bullet when they cancelled Episode Noctis and Episode Luna. If you've read the summary of what those were about... oof. It's X-2.5 levels of bad.
Oh Jesus, for real? Because that is baaaaad.
 

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Yeah, we dodged a bullet when they cancelled Episode Noctis and Episode Luna. If you've read the summary of what those were about... oof. It's X-2.5 levels of bad.
I’d laugh if these non-canon stories were actually the Versus XIII story condensed.

Keep in mind I haven’t read the summaries yet. I’m waiting for the novel itself, but I’ve seen the artwork and that was gorgeous.
 

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I’d laugh if these non-canon stories were actually the Versus XIII story condensed.

Keep in mind I haven’t read the summaries yet. I’m waiting for the novel itself, but I’ve seen the artwork and that was gorgeous.
I've also just been waiting for the actual novel so I can judge it myself.
 

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I'm not gonna spoil anything then. I wasn't a big fan of the alternative ending in Episode Ignis, but at least it gave you the canon route first and then snuck in a "what if" scenario as more of a bonus (let's be honest, it was basically an excuse to add that one boss fight).

Episode Noctis and Episode Luna pull some -Will- / X-2.5 levels of nonsense to justify the "perfect happy ending" that some Japanese fans apparently had requested, because they couldn't accept the real one. It's not decapitation by way of a blitzball mine levels of bad, but certainly rivals the lazy writing that is "Guess what? Sin is back!" and the stupidity of the plot twist with Hojo in Dirge of Cerberus.

Episode Aranea was, and still pretty much is canon. And it's a shame we never got it. It wouldn't have added much actual plot, but it would have fleshed her out a bit more. It also features more of Loqi and introduces another cool female character. So yeah, kind of a big loss. Resources spent on Comrades should have been spent on completing this instead.
 

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I’d laugh if these non-canon stories were actually the Versus XIII story condensed.

Keep in mind I haven’t read the summaries yet. I’m waiting for the novel itself, but I’ve seen the artwork and that was gorgeous.
With how much of a Versus tease Ardyn's Episode was, I wouldn't doubt the rest of the Episodes having Versus content.
 
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