I guess by the title you can already tell that I was a big fan of Final Fantasy XV's demo for Xbox One, but without knowing my background you really can't understand the weight those words carry. In the 26 years that I've been alive, I've played one Final Fantasy game. I don't even know if it really counts because it was FF Tactics for Game Boy Advance.
It was never intentional. I was too young to really grasp the gameplay when I owned an SNES, and FF jumped ship as I dedicated my life to Nintendo consoles right up until a couple years ago. So before reading this, know that my bias is never having played a true Final Fantasy game.
Now that my conscience is clear in telling you that HOLY S*** THIS DEMO WAS AWESOME.
The visuals, the music, the story, the exploration...I could go all day but it's easier if I just show you this clip and you see for yourself.
That's from about halfway through the demo so it needs a bit of explaining. The demo starts with you (Noctis) unconscious or in a coma, they don't really say. You know you're unconscious and in a dream-like state, but you aren't sure why. After running around a forest (not really all that interesting but just as gorgeous as the other sections) and being guided by a rabbit like creature (as seen on top of the toy castle), you are transported to a giant room.
I really loved the giant room. The sense of scale was unbelievable, and I really wanted to explore more than I did! The only thing that kept me from doing so was wondering how fast I could reach one side of the room to the other. Even when I transformed into a car it felt way too far, which again was super cool.
From there we visit this city...
and wrap it all up with a fairly simple boss battle...
Before I knew it, my time with young Noctis was at an end and I was prompted to buy the game. I didn't click it out of principle, but I want you to know I struggled very hard with that decision.
What I loved most about this game is that it took a decade to make, and in 30 minutes I experienced every day of work put in. This isn't the Duke Nukem Forever experience that felt like a rushed homework assignment. This felt like a doctorates dissertation or something. I've never experienced the latter, but I would imagine they require a lot of hard work, experience, and grit...emphasis on the grit.
Honestly, it's pretty hard to nail down anything that was a misstep in this demo, but if I had to nit-pick, I'll say this. There were times the combat felt a little clunky. That's hard to say given it's a two button system (attack and dodge) but I felt the dodging system needs a little work. The game does warn me some attacks can't be dodged, but I shouldn't barrel roll under a sword and catch it to the face. I'm being really nitpicky on that but they have 6 months to iron things out so I'll put it out there into the universe.
Other than that I consider this demo a success on all fronts. The music was fantastic, the visuals the best I've seen on my Xbox One, and the story memorable and left me wanting more. I guarantee I'll be playing the demo at least a few more times leading into September., One of those times I might just order the game at the end!