Operation Backlog Completion 2017

Aug 312016
 

KingsglaivePhysical copies of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV won’t be available until October 4, but digital copies are available now.

To say there is a difference of opinion between critics and fans about this movie would be an understatement. Critics seem to hate it, while Final Fantasy fans love it.

I watched Kingsglaive yesterday, and I enjoyed it. It would struggle to stand on its own, since it has many loose ends and unanswered questions, and that’s probably why it’s not a hit with the critics. But as a lead-in to Final Fantasy XV? It’s epic.

Kingsglaive is fully CGI, but it mostly escapes the uncanny valley. The visuals are impressive, as is the majority of the voice work. As for the action, it’s flashy and exciting.

The movie’s fast pace causes some difficulty with character development. Aside from a few core characters, you don’t have a good chance to really get to know the cast. In particular, Ravus feels as though he’s there solely to set up his role in Final Fantasy XV, and he could have been cut from the movie without much changing.

Click for Kingsglaive spoiler

But don’t take that to mean Kingsglaive is all action and no substance. On the contrary, the plot is exciting and often tense. I wanted to know what would happen next, and some of the character interactions were great. In particular, I loved the conversation about the “theft” between King Regis and Emperor Aldercapt, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the emperor as a villain.

There’s also a twist I never saw coming, which I won’t spoil.

Kingsglaive also sets up some intriguing situations for Final Fantasy XV to handle. For example, Regis consistently prioritizes Noctis over anyone else, and while it’s understandable (both because Noctis is his son and because of repeated hints that Noctis’s destiny is key to saving the world), it means many of his people don’t trust or like him.

Additionally, it gives a taste of the lore of Final Fantasy XV’s world, which I’m excited to see more of.

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s an epic lead-in to Final Fantasy XV that has me looking forward to the game more than ever. If you plan to play Final Fantasy XV, I highly recommending watching Kingsglaive, either digitally now, or physically in October.

Have you seen Kingsglaive? Do you want to? Share your thoughts or questions about Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV in the comments!


Buy Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (digital) from Amazon
Buy Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (physical) from Amazon
Buy Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (physical) from Play-Asia

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Aug 292016
 

Final-Fantasy-XV-trainThe news that Final Fantasy XV isn’t fully open world is still causing heated debates among fans. We’ve already discussed why you shouldn’t panic over it, but now we know why the second half is more linear, which should clear up concerns.

During the recent Dengeki PlayStation Premium Event, Tabata explained (warning: the summary contains information you might consider spoilers) that the party will travel by train during the second half.

You won’t be able to veer of the path if you’re on a train, so it can’t be as open as the earlier parts of the game.

Before you worry about this being a last-minute change, trains have been a part of Final Fantasy XV for quite a while. They’ve shown concept art of a transcontinental train, and in the Jump Festa 2015 trailer, there is a brief scene of Noctis in a snowy train car.

(Train at 2:00.)

When asked about it in a Q&A back in December 2014, Tabata clarified that “somewhere in the world, there’s a place that you get to by train.” He also said you can move freely around the train during the trip.

This all suggests the second half of the story requires you to travel somewhere only accessible by train. There is no reason to believe you won’t be able to explore and do side activities once you’re there. And remember, we know you’ll eventually get a flying car.

In other Final Fantasy XV news, Kingsglaive (digital) and Justice Monsters Five will both be available tomorrow. In fact, Kingsglaive is already out in the UK today!

Now that the reason has been given, how do you feel about Final Fantasy XV’s structure?

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Aug 262016
 

Final-Fantasy-XV-party-in-RegaliaSquare Enix has tried to distance Final Fantasy XV from being described like a Western open world game, and back in May Tabata said outright Final Fantasy XV isn’t fully open world.

But today, when fans learned Tabata said in a new interview that the second half of the game has a linear progression, panic ensued.

People claim Square Enix lied, Final Fantasy XV will have Final Fantasy XIII’s structure in reverse, and that this dooms Final Fantasy XV.

None of this is true.

First, if you believed Final Fantasy XV would be a true open world game, you should have started panicking a while ago. Again, Tabata already clarified the game’s structure a couple months ago:

The game isn’t set in an open world where you can freely go wherever you like. Since there is a main quest, the more you progress, the more places you’ll be able to go.”

He said it wasn’t fully open world the way players thought it might be. My takeaway from that explanation was that it was a semi-linear structure, similar to traditional Final Fantasy games (although without a world map).

With that out of the way, here is Tabata’s new statement:

The entire game structure for Final Fantasy XV consists of both open-world and linear parts. The first half keeps going as an open-world, but the story in the second half’s is led by a linear path. That way, you won’t get bored of an open-world as the rest of the game tightens, so we made it in a way that you’ll also get to advance through it as you have in conventional Final Fantasy games. If you play through the first half and only the main route of the second half, I believe the estimated play-time sits at around 40 to 50 hours.”

Now, let’s break it down and see why you shouldn’t panic over Final Fantasy XV not being fully open world.

“The entire game structure for Final Fantasy XV consists of both open-world and linear parts.”

At first glance, this is different from what he said before. However, it adds up with what we’ve seen. We know from Tabata’s earlier statement that Final Fantasy XV is not full open world. At the same time, they’ve shown open areas that allow a great deal of freedom and exploration.

Together, it suggested there were open world areas within a linear structure. This isn’t new.

“The first half keeps going as an open-world”

The open nature we’ve seen so far will be the first half of the game. Since Final Fantasy XV was estimated to have a 40-50 hour story plus 100 hours of side content, players shouldn’t worry about not having enough to do.

“but the story in the second half’s is led by a linear path.”

The wording here is vital. Unlike how it’s been reported, Tabata did not say “the second half is linear.” He said the story is led by a linear path.

It doesn’t become Final Fantasy XIII’s hallways. Its story follows a linear progression. This is normal for the Final Fantasy series and many other RPGs.

That way, you won’t get bored of an open-world as the rest of the game tightens

Some open world fans might object to the idea that an open world could ever be boring, but this re-emphasizes the previous point, that the change in structure is meant to support a tighter, more focused story progression.

“so we made it in a way that you’ll also get to advance through it as you have in conventional Final Fantasy games.”

This goes back to the implications of Tabata’s comments in May, that Final Fantasy XV’s structure is actually akin to conventional Final Fantasy games.

Note, he did not say Final Fantasy XIII.

Past Final Fantasy games have a semi-linear structure where new areas open up as you advance in the story. You have options, places to explore, and side content, but the story itself follows a linear path and the entire world isn’t free to explore.

That’s what Final Fantasy XV’s second half will be like.

“If you play through the first half and only the main route of the second half”

One key word stands out here: only.

If you play through only the main route of the second half.

This should clear up any lingering fears that the second half of Final Fantasy XV will be fully linear. If it’s possible to play only the main route, then there must be content in the second half aside from the main route.

In other words, Final Fantasy XV’s second half still contains side content.

“I believe the estimated play-time sits at around 40 to 50 hours.”

This goes back to the playtime estimate, and it’s interesting to note that the 40-50 hour range previously cited for the main story is how long Tabata feels it will be if you play through the first half and the main route of the second half.

It’s strange that he mentions “the first half” as a whole as part of that time estimate, which either means most of the side content actually is in the second half, or he’s just considering the story parts of the first half without saying so.

Either way, there’s one important thing to take away: Final Fantasy XV has a lot of content.

Finally, there’s one more reason you might panic over these comments, so let’s clear that up as well. Since the second half is the one with the linear story path, some fans worry this they’ll be railroaded to the end from that point on, unlike traditional Final Fantasy games which open up before the final boss.

Back when Tabata first mentioned the semi-linear structure, he also said “you can return to areas you’ve previously visited so long as it’s before the last boss.” Therefore, backtracking will be possible.

More importantly, Tabata told Game Informer that you’ll get the ability to fly “near the end of the game as an additional challenge.”

We’ve seen the Regalia flying across numerous environments.

This shows you’ll be able to freely travel through the world once you can fly. You won’t be able to fly until near the end of the game. Therefore, you’ll still be able to backtrack and explore in the game’s second half.

(Jan 11, 2017 @ 9:40 AM Note – Of course, I didn’t anticipate that you wouldn’t get the flying car during the main story, or that backtracking would be enabled in such an unusual way.)

Final Fantasy XV may not be fully open world, but that doesn’t mean it will be linear, either. In fact, from everything they’ve said so far, Final Fantasy XV’s structure will in many ways resemble the structure of traditional Final Fantasy games.

Any other reasons you’re worried about this new revelation? Do you still think Tabata and Square Enix are trying to deceive fans? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

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