Final Fantasy XV had many development issues, a public opinion pitted against it, and plenty of delays. Yet Square Enix managed to deliver one of their most accessible entries in the Final Fantasy franchise while still being able to please long-time fans. Here is why Final Fantasy XV deserves another playthrough.
The plot sees you, Prince Noctis, leaving the Crown City Insomnia to get married to Lady Lunafreya in Altissia. While you are gone, your father, King Regis, will be holding peace negotiations with the kingdom of Niflheim. As you are on your way with your three friends, you discover that Niflheim has attacked the Crown City, murdered your father, and stolen the crystal that powers the kingdom. Both Lady Lunafreya and Noctis are declared dead. Here is where your journey really begins: you have to find all Royal Arms and retake your throne.
For newcomers to the series, Final Fantasy XV is a perfect starting point. The combat doesn’t require as much strategy as the older turn-based entries in the series, instead opting for a more hack-and-slash approach. It plays quick and smooth with different weapons for different playstyles. The game also doesn’t expect you to have played any of the previous entries in the series; it’s completely different from any of the other Final Fantasy games.
Some will argue that the story doesn’t make any sense without the Kingsglaive movie or anime series, but I disagree. Final Fantasy XV manages to tell its story through radios and books scattered around the world, but also through character interaction. For example, when you meet Gentiana for the first time, there is barely any explanation as to who she is until Ignis explains it as a side note to Prompto. If you don’t pay attention to the world and conversations around you, then yeah, the story won’t make much sense.
The characters in Final Fantasy XV are what really carry this entry though. The four main characters—Prince Noctis, his best friend Prompto, his bodyguard Gladiolus, and his adviser Ignis—are instantly recognisable. Each have their own character traits, and they play off each other perfectly. For example, Prompto is easily scared in dungeons and often lets the group know. The others are both quick to reassure him and tease him about his fears, as friends do. There are also plenty of little side quests you do with one of them separately, getting to know them better as people. By the end of the game, you’ll be sure to root for these “Chocobros,” as the fans call them lovingly.
For long-time fans, Final Fantasy XV is a treat, too—especially when we talk about the improved “Royal Edition.” Aside from some great patches the developers have put out before the Royal Edition came out—giving us the option to play Chapter 13 as Gladiolus and Ignis, for example—the amazing thing about this version is how it expands upon the world. There are more reasons to play the secret dungeons post-story now, because they added extra lore to each dungeon. There’s also the option to take your boat and go wherever, both for fishing and for new quests.
The Royal Edition also adds some new endgame content. You can now explore the ruins of Insomnia in Chapter 14; the ruins have side quests and some pretty challenging fights to test your power before taking on the final bosses of the game. If you manage to collect all 11 Royal Arms, there’s also a new power for you: the “Armiger Unleashed.” It’s a special version of your Armiger, which deals massive damage to your foes.
There’s even more to the Royal Edition—the DLCs are in it, too. This means you can play “Episode Gladio,” “Episode Prompto,” the multiplayer expansion “Comrades,” and “Episode Ignis.” The only DLC that is not included is the latest one, “Episode Ardyn.” Episodes Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis follow each of their respective characters in a part of the story where Noctis is not present. For example, Gladio decides to leave the group to get stronger in your main story—in his episode, you see what he was up to. It adds a lot more depth to these characters. Meanwhile, Episode Ardyn covers Ardyn’s history and explains how he became who he is in the game, adding another layer to this already compelling character.
Both the standard and especially the Royal Edition of Final Fantasy XV deserve another playthrough. This game deserves your love and it deserves to be celebrated as a great entry point in the series. It has rich storytelling and memorable characters, fun combat, and a compelling plot. It’s truly “a Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers.”