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The demo shows great potential for the full game with beautiful art, a compelling character, and a moving soundtrack.
Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo is a side story of young Noctis which about 30+ minutes of gameplay. Noctis goes through four different dream worlds before waking up from his dream, rather reluctantly. In his dreams, he starts off in a little tutorial mode lead by our little magical guide that he soon learns is called Carbuncle. Carbuncle talks in cute little squeaks but we can understand him because our smartphone can do the translation.
Carbuncle knows a lot about Noctis. He knows the dream world that Noctis is in and his mission is to protect young Noctis on his journey to wake up. Our first location we wake up in is a leafy green area with rocky platforms to explore. We learn the basic functions of running, jumping, dodging, equipping our toy weapons, collecting shiny golden gems and eventually entering into another realm.
Our next realm turns Noctis into a little person in a big playroom. There are children’s colorful building blocks and we can start unlocking different plates. It is unsure whether it is the enemies defeated or the accumulated gems but it opens up bronze, silver, gold and platinum plates. In this playroom, plates unlock different types of cars and trucks that Noctis can transform into or drive around. In this world, we start having other weapons that we can equip.
In the next realm, we enter into a European looking city. This is where our playthrough (on the Playstation 4) starts. We encounter different types of plates. One thing we need to know is different plates have different functions. Some will speed up time which are useful in battles. Noctis can step on plates that will transform him into bigger creatures while others will change the weather. He will encounter enemies here as he explores to find a memory and weapons, meanwhile looking for that long hallway to escape this realm and wake up from his dream.
Stepping out of this realm, Noctis enters his last realm of the demo. Noctis creates a giant monster that he has to encounter and he changes from young Noctis to the grown up Noctis that we can only assume be who we will play as in the actual game. The giant monster is menacingly huge and deals great damage. However, in a dreamscape, Noctis doesn’t die as Carbuncle will revive him when needed.
Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo has one goal. It is a short playthrough demonstrating the game mechanics we will encounter. Like many Final Fantasy games, the artwork, graphics and music are the centre of its world. Many times, the desire to run around to more just to enjoy more music was the case. In the many realms, there was snippets of calm, adventure and battle music and all of it was beautiful as expected with the Kingdom Hearts composer, Yoko Shimomura at the helm.
The combat mode is not turn-based like many role-playing games but more of a Radiata Stories style where its free play combat. Noctis can roam around and interact with the creatures while jumping, blocking and defending. Overall, the battle mechanics work great except for the slight delay in the defense mechanics as the game needs to wait to determine that the player is holding down the defense button before engaging it. In boss fights or tougher enemies, that might prove to be a nuisance in the long run.
One of the biggest issues of this demo is the camera controls. While it is normal for 3D games to allow the players control over the camera angles and freely move it around to observe the surroundings, Final Fantasy XV demo has a bit of a glitchy issue of where it jerks the camera around especially near objects and walls which causes it to shift angles by itself making it a hassle at times to move it around again while shifting away from that corner to turn the camera properly again.
Overall, the Final Fantasy XV platinum demo shows great potential for the full game set to release in September 2016. Although with a few minor issues, the game has beautiful art, a compelling character, and a moving soundtrack. The combat mode is fun and the creatures are creative. It hopefully will continue the Final Fantasy series successfully when it is released and one to look out for later this year.
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Director: Hajime Tabata
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4