When I borrowed my roommate’s hastily purchased copy of Final Fantasy XV I wasn’t sure what to expect. The teaser and gameplay videos, not to mention the demos, were promising. However, I was so badly scarred by FFXIII that a certain level of doubt was still casting a dark shadow over my confidence in the franchise. In short, it seemed to good to be true, but this turned out not to be the case. Instead of being let down I was enamored with the game. The combat was exciting and complex enough to keep you from getting bored during countless encounters. The world was expansive, seamless, and designed to let the player explore it in their own way. While the overarching story seemed to come off a bit weak, the connection between the core group was one of the strongest I had seen in an RPG. The important takeaway thus far is that I felt FFXV improved on the enormous faults that FFXIII left in its unimpressive wake.
It seemed like everyone else was on board with this presumption. Then I started to see the negative impressions that stemmed from chapter XIII (the irony is not lost here). At first I chalked this up to nitpicking. I’ve dealt with annoying sections of video games before, and it’s not a deal breaker if I need to trudge through a slow chapter with little payoff. Adding to that, the Devs announced that they would be patching the chapter in response to the complaints. So we’re good right? Not exactly.
As I began nearing the halfway point where the game takes its big linear shift I started pulling back a bit. I was spending more time exploring the land, dungeon diving, and looking at Cindy for unhealthy lengths of time. This was still an enjoyable way to experience the game, but no matter what I did to prolong the inevitable, something kept prodding me to move on. I then realized that this looming chapter of bullshit was ruining my FFXV experience before I even arrived at it. This was when I made the choice to put the game away and wait for the patch. That was two months ago.
Now that we’re finally getting this updated chapter I’m not sure what to do. Its been a hot minute since I’ve taken the full dive into a video game like I did with FFXV. I’m talking about a missed phone calls and online radio silence type of dive. I had to buy my own copy so I didn’t feel like I was working one over on my roommate. I was invested in the experience and giddy in my nostalgic bits from playing a straight up Final Fantasy for the first time since FFX. Then I had to make the choice to abandon that organic allure, which I’m now thinking was a mistake.
Put it this way: you know how when you’re dating someone and everything is going really well between you two, but then a bunch of your friends tell you that in a few weeks that person is going to cheat on your and ruin everything…so then you take that person and lock them away in your closet until they promise not to cheat on you, but now everything is a little awkward and you’re not sure if you made the right choice? Basically the same thing! Now that I’ve been spending time with Breath of the Wild, and Nioh, and a little bit of Overwatch the mood seems different. I find myself less motivated to push through to the end because I’ve reset myself on other adventures. Should I have just bit the bullet and progressed through the game as others did before me?
I guess the main point I’m trying to make is that for a while Final Fantasy XV was restoring some of that old world charm that had been missing from the last decade of games. I felt an homage to the Ocarina of Time’s and the Kingdom Hearts’ of my youth. Those games resonated with me and came as a complete package. They didn’t need to be adjusted after launch to appease the community. I’m not sure when requesting that a game be changed after release even became a thing, but I digress. It was a little disappointing to have a huge wrench thrown into my playthrough. I hope when I finally decide to get back on the horse I feel that same connection.