I can still remember watching the trailers of Final Fantasy Versus XIII in 2008. Hearing Somnus Nemoris going over the images of what I and many others thought would be the rebirth of the FF series. And, Nearly 8 years later, amidst the news of recent delays, I got to hear that song again on the FF XV title screen, my faith rekindled.
Square Enix showcased 50 mins of gameplay from a playable Demo of the game at Gamescom earlier this week and posted to their Youtube channel. It shows off the some combat system, in game scene , cinematics and a closer look at the main character Noctis Lucius Caelum and some of the supporting characters including Prompto Argentum, Ignis Scientia and Gladiolus Amicitia. What struck me first was the tone and scale of the game. Many find particular elements and aesthetics dating back to older titles like FFVIII, FFVII and FFX. This isn’t anything entirely new. The FF series thrives on the uncanny feeling that links each of its iterations while giving players a new experience. Coupling the lighthearted with cosmically consuming epicness can be a tenuous dynamic, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my disappointment with how some of the more recent installments handled the balance of these two. It’s hard to say whether or not this installment will get the balance right either. The demo video jumps from scene to scene so it’s difficult to get a true sense of the game’s pacing.
As mentioned before, the music in a FF installment is incredibly important. With Yoko Shimomura as the main composer, who many might remember from the Kingdom Heart series, it seems like we’re in good hands. I was also dubious when I saw Florence and the Machine contributing to the soundtrack, but their cover of the song “Stand by Me” put the majority of my doubts to rest.