written Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
With the release of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, not only do Western audience get the chance to play the game originally released as a PSP title in Japan, but we also get some hands-on time with the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XV. A small slice of gameplay spent in the Duscae region, a wide sprawling plain filled with deadly beasts and random patrols of robot soldiers.
Your car is broken down and before you can continue on your journey, you need to raise a considerable amount of Gil to pay mechanic extraordinaire Cidney (the series first female "Cid:" character) to fix up your ride. One means to that end is to hunt down the deadly Deadeye, a gigantic Behemoth with an appetite for hunters.
Combat plays out in real time, you control Noctis with the remainder of your party acting as back-up. Noxious has the ability to materialize weapons out of thin air, in the tactics menu you can pick the order in which Noctis materializes one of his celestial blades. Along with standard attacks, each weapon comes equipped with a special attack that consumes MP. Speaking of MP, this bar turns out to be the most important bar for Noctis, dodging and teleporting around the battlefield consume MP while standard attacks refill your MP bar.
Combat is challenging and death looms around every corner, but it never turns out to feel overwhelming. If you master the combat system you can survive most anything the world has to throw at you. Leveling up plays out differently than previous entries. Strewn about the Duscae region are camps your party can retire for the day, it's at these camps all the experience points you rack up are applied, furthermore the meal you make for dinner at these camps (determined by ingredients in your inventory) bestow the party with stat buffs that last throughout the entirety of the next day.
Hands down the highlight of this demo was taking down the Behemoth and getting our fist glimpse of summon magic. Summons are absolute last ditch abilities, activated when Noctis hits a critical state... but this prerequisite comes with a massive payoff, allowing you to practically decimate anything in your way with one summon. A familiar face makes his return with Ramuh, not appearing in a single player Final Fantasy game since inal Fantasy IX.
Final Fantasy XV isn't set to be released for quite a while, sometime in 2016 at the earliest. This game has been under development for damn near a decade, but after playing this demo I feel this wait will be well worth it... and I gotta say it's been a long enough wait.