Warning: Post contains major spoilers.
Angsty teenage boy sets off on a trip across the lands with his friend, trainer and mentor to be married off to his bride across the seas. Fun, action-packed, daemon-fighting, military missions along the way pre-Chapter 9. Main plot still well-paced, everything going according to plan. Enter Chapter 9 and the game suddenly propels forward, and ultimately the main plot loses direction and everyone dies.
I think the time has come for Square to either rotate their storyboard writers or just hire new ones to begin with. As an avid fan of the Final Fantasy series, this is a drawback I have seen many times in the games. The only death that had to be necessary in this game was Regis’. Other than his, why did the writers opt to turn into George Martin? What was the point of Luna dying? The game builds up her character from the beginning, with frequent flashbacks to her childhood with Noctis, and hyped talk about her abilities as the Oracle. When I thought we were on the verge of adding her as a valuable party member (finally, a healer!): boom. Dead. Just like that. No time to even develop any connection with her whatsoever. The whole game thus far has been leading up to Noctis’ reunion with her, and without warning, she’s just dead before doing anything truly significant. Okay, so she helped take down a couple soldiers and we now have Leviathan, but was it really necessary? What’s the point of building up a character so much to have it end before it really even started? And then our boys die protecting the throne room from a horde of daemons that just respawn indefinitely. Unceremoniously, might I add. I won’t even talk about the cutscene with Noctis catching some Zzz’s in the afterlife (what?).
Oh, and Gentiana turns out to be Shiva. No big reveal either, the fact is nonchalantly revealed. Just like Prompto, the magitek soldier (yeah) and poor blind Ignis.
Also, what happened to the rest of the government officials? I was really shocked when I realised that Ardyn was the boss of the game. ARDYN. I never even took him seriously. Knowing that FF is famous for having several “final” bosses leading up to the real final boss, I basically stocked my items with potions, hi-potions and equipped the finest of defense accessories to be able to take the oncoming beatdown. Then you lose all your party members and take Ardyn on in a one-on-one battle and eventually you get Armiger help from all of the past kings of Lucis and what should have been an epic showdown turns into what I consider a cutscene where you just sit back and hit the “O” button when prompted. How did this get past developers? FFXV had, by far, the weakest ending and the worst final boss in a Final Fantasy (in my opinion). They should have ended it with Ifrit (coolest design of Ifrit I have ever seen), since they had already thrown storyline to the dogs by then anyway.
Rant on the ending being over though, it was also the most beautiful Final Fantasy to date. There is absolutely no doubt that Square really outdid themselves with the graphics and the gameplay. Fantastic! Bringing back the sphere grid design through the ascension grid, diversifying magic use with elemancy and absorption crystals, the clothes which increase party member stats, and of course Armiger with its limit break-esque powers. Shame we couldn’t get an airship, though.
In the weeks to come, I’ll be reviewing the game with fresh eyes from a New Game+ perspective. Stay tuned.