When I was younger I was massively into Final Fantasy games. I was seven years old and my parents didn’t really let me go out to play because we lived in London and there were bad people everywhere, so Final Fantasy was a good escape.
But it has been 10 years since FFXV was first announced and, after falling out of love with Final Fantasy after playing FFXIII (which, let’s face it, was shockingly bad) I never really thought I’d play again.
But I recently played the demo for FFXV at my boyfriend’s house and I fucking LOVED it. So I got FFXV the day it came out, and I loved that too. But then, I started to notice that it wasn’t getting better as the game went on.
It was getting worse.
So I noticed FFXV was getting worse as I progressed, so I started to compare it to the last good (emphasis on good) Final Fantasy game that I played – 12. I started to realise that 12 was actually a LOT better.
Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you why.
FFXV’s magic system is trash
The magic system in FFXII is good. Really well thought out, there’s plenty of spells, plenty of effects, magic of all different levels. I really liked it.
And then this. Let’s face it – the magic system in FFXV is absolute trash. Throwing magic balls at people?? What on earth??? Don’t even talk to me about how it damages your teammates. What the hell is that about?
Trash with a capital T.
But the story is worse
I mean, Final Fantasy games are never really ones for giving you an easy-to-follow, simple plotline are they? The plot in FFXII is convoluted, but you can still at least try and make a little bit of sense from it. You know, Larsa is related to Vayne. Vayne is an egomaniac and psychopath. Typical plot devices that we all know and love, but also – and most importantly – you sort of know what Vayne’s motivations are upfront.
Whereas FFXV is a whole ‘nother world of nonsense. How does Ardyn do all that stuff he does? Why does he wear a fedora and a scarf???? Who the hell is Ravus and why did he suddenly change sides? Why should I care about Lunafreya at all?? Burning questions that I’m afraid nobody really knows the answer to.
(Inb4 you tell me to watch Kingsglaive and Brotherhood, because I already did and I still don’t understand.)
There’s no real character selection
I was really disappointed when I found out that the only party characters in FFXV were all straight, white males. Like really disappointed.
Growing up as a gay kid, you look for the ‘other’ everywhere, to see yourself reflected. That’s part of why I love both FFIX and FFXII so much, because there was so much ‘Other.’
And then there’s this. FFXV has four, straight white males who dress like rejects from My Chemical Romance circa 2008 as the only playable characters, for the entire duration of the game. How disappointing is that.
That means there’s not a single playable woman in the game – bar Aranea, who briefly joins you for one dungeon.
Compare this with FFXII – where half the playable cast are female. One of them is even (gasp!) a person of colour!! Holy fucking shit!!!!!!
Seriously Square Enix. It’s 2016. If you can’t include playable female characters in a fucking fantasy game, you need to have a serious look at yourself. Look at your life. Look at your choices.
(Sidebar: can we talk about Cindy? Jesus Christ, who came up with that outfit? Was it specifically designed to give all those neckbeards something to fap over? Honestly…)
The maps are smaller
Everyone keeps harping on about how nice the game looks in FFXV, which to be fair, it does. It’s an incredibly pretty game.
But before the game had even hit the shelves people were very quick to get hyped about the size of the map – saying it was bigger than The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto. The director of the game even called the map size ‘incomparable‘, which is a big statement.
But do you know what? It’s not incomparable, and it’s really not that big. FFXII had the kind of maps you could be lost for days in. And I mean real, human Earth days, not in-game days. The maps for FFXV just leave me wanting more.
What end-game is there??
One of the things that I love about Final Fantasy is their endgame stuff. All the side quests, missions, extra bosses, ultimate weapons etc, all that kind of stuff really gets me going.
FFXII was the master of this. Do you know how many hours I spent getting all the Espers? Plus, collecting the necessary Loot to sell to the Bazaar to try and get the ultimate weapons (I’m looking at you, Tournesol.)
Plus, don’t even get me started on Yiazmat.
Whereas with FFXV it just feels a bit… meh. There are fun bits, and some of the bosses are a bit harder. But by the time I had finished the game I was already around the level 65 mark, so there really wasn’t that much further to go.
Don’t get me started on the story missions in 15
Two words: Chapter 13.
I know there’s rumours of the dreaded Chapter 13 being patched in the future, and I pray to god that it happens. I don’t want anyone to have to experience that two to three hours of gameplay because it was so fucking bad.
Honestly. I’m a die hard Final Fantasy fan and a through and through gamer. I’ll keep playing anything if I love it.
But Chapter 13 was so bad that it literally made me want to put the controller down and never touch FFXV ever again.
The blandness. The confusion. The repetitiveness. The fact you had no weapons apart from that goddamn ring. I can’t even with this.
Whereas the story missions in FFXII were lovely. Enjoyable. They weren’t rammed back-to-back in a never-ending corridor of shit that, once started, YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE.
But overall, FFXV was a good ride. I enjoyed it, despite Chapter 13 making me want to throw my xbox through a window.
But as I’m totting up these points, all I can think is ‘I can’t wait for the remaster of FFXII.‘ But maybe I’m looking at it with rose tinted glasses? Who knows. I guess we’ll see, in the Zodiac Age.