Final Fantasy VX Demos Review – Part 1, Platinum

There will be spoilers.

This is a completely unprofessional review, written by a random person on the internet. 

SPOILERS

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160406195957
Final Fantasy XV: Platinum Demo

I am going to refer to the Duscae demo as ”Demo 1” and Platinum demo as ”Demo 2”.

First of all, I have been keeping myself as far away as possible from Final Fantasy XV, except those trailers we watched some years ago..or was it last year? Heh, sorry, I don’t remember.

But, I might be stating the obvious or repeating some things that you already know. I am currently (as of writing this) watching ”Active Time Reports” from Square Enix where they talk about the game and its development, to get a better understanding of the game.

Both of the demos were played on a PlayStation 4, without any upgrades.

Keep in mind that this review is based on playing the demos.

A demo is a demonstration, meaning that it is not the final product.

What I say about it, and the thing that I point out, might change completely when the final version of the game has been released.

So, I came into the first demo (which for me was Demo 2), maybe, a week after it had been released on the PSN Store, I think.

I put everything I was doing aside and just focus on the demo. I was happy to be playing it. There was some hic-cups, which I noticed but I just thought that, that was the way it had to be because it was going to be a beautiful game.

Now, I will be judging the demos graphics and it may seem a bit harsh of me some of it, the reason really not that I am mad or anything, however, I am a game developer and a 3D modeler, I work with the Unreal engine and I know what I am talking about. I am not just making things up as I go.

I know, I say that I used to be a ”graphics nut” but not in the traditional sense of the word. I am not the type of person who needs the game to be running 60fps, 4k monitor with 8192×8192 resolution textures, in order to just being able to look at it. I don’t want you to think of me as -that- kind of person. I am actually not that much of a gamer, anymore. I just play some games from series that I have been following since I was a kid.

That being said, I do not know everything. I am far, FAR, less experienced than they are at Sqaure Enix, and I will be retracting some of my statements here, at the end of this review/report.

But for now, I am just going to write it as I remember it and as I felt at the time I was playing the demos.

Back to what I was saying before; it’s going to be a beautiful game, that’s for sure, and I didn’t mind the framerate issues that much, due to me not being so picky about it.

I went into this, with a sort of ”analytic” approach, yet, still to enjoy it but I took my time scanning the scenery, every nook and cranny I could find, was explored.

The first level (the forest area) was okay but it felt a little underwhelming to me.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160405113833
First level.

We play as kid Noctis and we are greeted by a little white creature, called a Carbuncle, who gives Noctis a phone. It uses the phone in order to communicate with him. He tells that Noctis is in a dream world and that he has to wake up and so he is essentially the guide of this game. I also believe that he is referred to as ”the dream guide” by the game.

The first thing I did, was to inspect how the character model looked.

I liked Noctis’ character model, I liked his eyes a lot.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160405114046
I like his eyes.

Then I looked around the environment. The rocks were okay, the water was nice, however, the foliage was not as good as I had hoped. It wasn’t really that bad but it was a lacking, although, there were some weirdly lit models, which you could walk through. Maybe they did not stick out to you but to me they surely did. Like a sore thumb.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160406184505
“Look, I am a tree!”, he said. (At least he did in my head.)

It might be a technical issue, i.e. engine limitations, however, I’d say that it’s more likely an oversight by the developers. Of course, I am not saying they should put collision boxes into them but the grass and bushes will move when you pass through them.

I looked at the rock formations and immediately thought about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain because they had some nice rock textures and models, as well.

METAL GEAR SOLID V_ GROUND ZEROES_20140423153916
This is from Ground Zeroes, though….

cough …which pretty much sums up the whole game… cough

Sorry about that, well, after running around collecting all the yellow crystals, I came to the combat section, where I had to fight ”Nightmares”.

Going through the level, I saw that it had a lot it wanted to show. Real time day and night cycles, different weather and two summons, which I believe is Titan and Leviathan.

The battle system felt a lot like Kingdom Hearts with a bit of Batman: Arkham style. You get two weapons to start off with: A toy sword (light) and a toy hammer (heavy).

You have to put them into your weapon slot, which is mapped to the directional pad. That means you can have up to four interchangeable weapons.

The fighting felt disconnected to me. When I pressed a button, it would take half a second before executing that button press. I felt I could get used to that but I did not like how Noctis would snap to his opponent as if he was a magnet. That is what I mean about the Batman: Arkham style. I know a lot of people like this style of combat but the snapping just felt unnatural. Being able to switch weapons when you want to, was pretty nice.

This level showed off the character, the outside environment with day and night cycle, cutscenes and the combat system.

After all that, we follow our guide into water, through a glowing ring, which takes us to the next level.

We are shrunk down to mini-size, well, Noctis, is. Our guide seems to be the its regular size, so pretty big and pretty cute.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160405114828
Noctis in Wonderland?

More importantly, we find ourselves in a living room. Again, I scanned my surroundings. And it looked okay. It was clear that the whole scene was upscaled. Looking at the textures they were blurred and I felt that they could have done some better tiling.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160405115235
Nnnghhh…

Another thing which annoyed me was the fact that there were multiple copies of the same asset, a magazine, scattered all over the room. I know that it takes time to make multiple assets. But just making a lot of textures for the object would be a nice and simple way to add variety. Of course, I expect to see some of the same objects in more than one place but the whole thing felt lazy to me. Especially the textures. They would look really bad at times. (Again, keep in mind that this is a demo, that this was probably rushed and that this is my opinion)

We get some “Fireworks” and “Thunderbolt” which you throw at the enemies and if they are standing close enough to each other, then it will have an area of effect, meaning it will damage multiple enemies. I feel that it takes you right out of the battle because you have to aim where you throw it which is slow and the enemy does not stand still.

This level showed off the interior lighting and the physics of the blocks, as well as letting us try to drive around in a car and…..the throwing mechanism in this game. I did not like it.

On a little side-note; I quite liked the details lot with the car. Because I was working on something similar to that and I added some ”funny” features, such as: turn signals, brake and stop light, brake and turbo. It handled a lot like the one I made, so I really enjoyed that. Hahaha.

But enough about me.

After getting all the crystals, I went through the block-castle and onto the next level, pressing the hidden button near the chair, getting some Meteorain which is also in the throwing category but really nice to use. But…

Now, we are back our normal size and we find ourselves in a city, a citadel. Our little guide tells us to find a looooong hallway. Okay. Let’s do that.

This time we get to try out how the enemy fights by transforming into a giraffe-thing, a rhino-thing and a crocodile-thing. It was fun for a little while.

We also get a handful of different ”throwables”, thunder, raindrops, fire, meteorian. Which made the whole crystal hunt from the previous map a bit useless. Oh well!

We kill everything, get all the crystals and go through a long hallway, to which, I have to add, looks really nice. I thought they used YEBIS post-processing here but it doesn’t seem like they are.

And now, we are at our final destination. Our little guide steps forward, sensing that something is wrong but is in that moment sent flying by a giant metal cauldron which comes out of nowhere. Shocked! The little fellow is up on its legs again and steps in front of us, telling us that everything will be fine because he will protect us.

We then get a little cutscene where we see King Rieges putting a little plastic Carbuncle on the table, next to Noctis’ bed, telling him that ”it will protect him through his darkest dream and that in the dream world, Noctis is the king”. It then goes back to Noctis who then transforms into his adult version of himself.

So, the battle system was okay, it got the job done. There are few things I hope they will either change or tweak. Mainly the whole throwing mechanic.

After research:

The thing about the trees and such, might be because of them rushing to put this out, as this was meant as a test1, so it wasn’t about having a stable framerate but to test out the ”dynamic resolution” which is a real time screen size resolution changer, which will change according to how much stress there is going on.

A lot of the visual/graphical things that I was talking about have been made and/or fixed in newer videos of it, foliage, decals, etc.

You sound like you are annoyed at the game, yet, enjoying it at the same time? I am getting some mixed messages here…

Hmm…well, I like the demos. But Demo 2 left me feeling that it could do better than that, which apparently, yes, it could. It’s not the final release. They are still doing a lot of optimisations and tweaking.

You sound like a stuck up know-it-all? Why don’t you just make the game yourself if you know how to do it so much better than them?

No, no. I said that I wasn’t better than them. I don’t know everything. I know something

Why all this praise when you were being so hard on Demo 2?

Because I liked the game. I spent a lot of time, just looking around the environments. And since I work with video games, I can tell a lot of things simply by looking at them. I can tell that a lot of work went into the models, for sure. But I can also tell that it was very compressed. I tend to be a little harsh on things that I like.

I am not going to be so mean as to judge the final game, which, at the time I am writing this, has not even been released. It’s still in development and I am just giving my opinion on my experience with this game.

Why do you hate Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain?!

Huh? What? Where did you see that?

Look, most of MGS5:TPP is located in Afghanistan and there is not much there than rocks and sand. Sure, there is Zimbabwe but still, it’s a lot of rock.

I do not hate Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

(C) 2015 KONAMI

(C) 2016 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

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