Hey everyone, are you as excited as I am about Final Fantasy XV? Probably, probably not, I don’t judge your ability to fan. Chances are, you’ve heard about, if not already played, the new Platinum Demo available for PS4 and XBox One owners. It features the main character Noctis as a child, traveling through his dreams, led by a small creature canonically known as Carbuncle. This won’t be a review, as this is only a small demo, but rather a first look into what we can expect from the next Final Fantasy installment.
From the moment you start at the launch screen, with Carbuncle gazing off into the distance, you can see the Unreal 4 engine at work. All his little white hairs look so realistic, his nose and ears twitch, and his eyes reflect light like a real animal’s would. Once you launch the demo, you get to see the same level of detail in Noctis, referred to with the shorter nickname of Noct by both his guide and the few times we hear his father. Noct’s clothes wrinkle and bunch like true life material would, and his hairs seem to be crafted individually, similar to the same effort we’ve come to expect from a Pixar film. The environments, ranging from a mountain forest, to a stately private room, a small town square, and finally the Citadel from the trailers, are all gorgeously designed. Rain causes ripples in puddles, the light from a chandelier illuminates the individually placed wood paneling on the floor, trees sway in the wind. ‘Beautiful’ is too simple a word to describe the visual aesthetic of this demo.
Gameplay-wise, Noct handles wonderfully. Actions available are the ability to sprint, dodge, and even guard and attack at the few enemy nightmares haunting his dreamscape. A few weapons are given to you: the fast but weak Toy Sword and the stronger but slower Toy Hammer (which squeaked on impacts… guess which one I used more often). The combat allows for easy weapon switching, and I found myself intuitively using the sword to dash in to stagger a foe with a few quick swipes before finishing them off with a hammer strike. Spells are given to you as bombs, ranging from the fairly weak Fireworks to the area clearing Meteorain.
The demo ends on a climactic fight between Noct, who takes on his older form for the fight, and a shadowy armored giant wielding a giant blade. Your weapons are upgraded for the fight, but the skills you gleaned from earlier still play into your approach. It introduces warping, in which Noct throws his weapon then teleports to it. Do this toward your foe for a warp attack. Taking lethal damage is no worry as Carbuncle, your little spirit guide, heals you through it. Felling your opponent rewards with the choice to either continue fighting it over and over, or proceeding to the ending, at which point you are prompted to purchase the game if you wish. You are also asked to change your little friend’s name and have it carry over to the main game, which I did. Hail Yipyip.
If this is just a taste of what is to come, I cannot wait until September 30th, when the game will be released. If you haven’t given the game a try yet, and you own a PS4 or XBox One, i strongly urge you to. Its free, and only takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Give it a try, and I’ll see you later!