Final Fantasy XV - Review
For the past week I have lived inside a bubble. A small and comfortable alternative reality in which there was only a sofa, a PS4 connected to the TV, sporadically the home deliveries of a pizzeria and, of course, Final Fantasy XV. But before I even got into that bubble I forced myself (or at least I tried, but we'll get there) to leave out all that Final Fantasy XV has brought up to now: in the bubble there was no room to be influenced from the misadventures related to the change of platform, to the new director or to infinite delays. And this is, on balance, not only the greatest favor I could do to live this experience serenely, but also a due sign of respect to a development team that, after years of work, managed to give birth to its creature . It only needs to be understood now whether it is the feared mouse or the hoped-for mountain.
In spite of a reputation somewhat tarnished by a series of not entirely successful games, the name Final Fantasy is of those that count. Its importance in the history of video games has never been in question, but there is no doubt that the release of a new chapter of the main series has lost in recent years that event aura that instead had its predecessors. However, Square Enix must always be acknowledged that it has always wanted to experiment and re-invent itself, sometimes failing, but at least trying to keep the Final Fantasy name always relevant for everyone, not only for the niche that was created in the NES era and that he then expanded beyond belief during the roaring years of Super Nintendo and the first PlayStation.
Final Fantasy XV, among other things, also marks the debut of the series on the (now no longer) new consoles: if it is true that historically the first chapters of a generation have always been a bit desired (also PS1, PS2 and PS3 / Xbox 360 had to wait at least three years before having their first Final Fantasy), it is equally true that it had never been so long between two releases of the main series: Final Fantasy XIII, it is from 2009, and since then, to exclusion of the two XIVs which are a bit separate, the series was stopped in Cocoon and Gran Pulse, which for heaven's sake ... beautiful but I wouldn't live there.
If even each chapter of the saga makes history in itself, some elements, and above all some themes, are recurring: there is always a hero who is suddenly on the back of the task of saving the world, there is the history of formation which sees the aforementioned protagonist arriving at awareness of his role and total self-realization, there is (often) a love story as a backdrop to the events. To never miss, then, is the group of friends / subjects / supporting / red or blue dogs on which to rely, because Final Fantasy are almost always games in which, also for gameplay needs, everything revolves around the relationships between different protagonists and the way in which they discover themselves as a team to make a superior good triumph. Noctis, Gladio, Ignis and Prompto are first of all a group of friends, and the story revolves around them: if not for some specific phase linked to the plot, the party is always and only made up of the four of them.
It is not necessarily a step backwards for the series (which made the selection of party members one of the trademarks in the past), both because it has already been seen throughout the Fabula Nova Crystallis, and because this allows you to focus only on the four protagonists, taking the time it takes to characterize them in a dignified way (the standards of Uncharted 4 to say are far away, but it is also a game that has different rhythms and dynamics), both because to properly master a combat system with good ideas but some uncertainty there is a need to have fixed points.
And Gladio, Ignis and Prompto are, in both cases, excellent shoulders. There is not only the story of the four big boys, however, but a narrative line that, while not saying anything really new, tries to go up in tone giving a more realistic and realistic cut (in which it is therefore easier to get down, on closer inspection) not only to the script, but to the whole game system. Final Fantasy XV effectively leaves part of the "fantasy" imagery (which in the various iterations has been declined in a thousand ways, from the VII steampunk to the classic and rigorous one, for the JRPG, of the IX, obviously passing through the more modern one of the XIII) in favor of a more realistic setting, which affects every single aspect of the game (and this is one of the best things done in the entire production), spreading to the very foundations of the saga.