Final Fantasy with friends
Final Fantasy XV is at last letting you bring three pals to the party, but the closed beta doesn’t leave a thrilling first impression
Months after release, FinalFantasy XV is finally getting its long-promised multiplayer mode. It’s called Comrades, and it’ll be available with the game’s season pass, or sold by itself if you bought the standard version. The closed beta, which was running just before we went to press, doesn’t leave a great taste, however—if you hoped this would replicate FFXV’s charming road trip format, only with a few human buddies instead of AI, it’s much simpler and far less exciting than that. It’s more like a micro version of
Destiny: You create an avatar of either gender, gather in a base camp, pick a mission, then go tackle it with up to three other players. The quests in this demo take you to disappointingly tiny patches of FFXV’s gigantic map. You and three players then hit some creatures for a while, before being taken back to camp when the objective’s complete. Your rewards include new equipment to take with you during future quests, and an expansion of the main game’s cooking-based food buffs.
FFXV’s existing real-time combat system is retrofitted around the three extra players. Blocking an enemy attack protects the people behind you, and likewise, a healing spell can help your allies in range. Comrades also replicates the chain link combos of the main game: Successfully blocking an enemy attack opens that creature up to a flurry of swipes from your party. This is probably the best translation of FFXV’s systems to the co-operative mode, in that it can bring all the players together for a big action moment. Generally, though, it all just feels a little mindless.
Missed a punch
That’s mainly because everyone is doing their own thing. Each quest is like four simultaneous single-player fights in FFXV, making them noisy and incoherent. While XV’s combat system is flashy and full of spectacle, it has never had a lot of depth. Calling in the help of Noctis’ friends is one of the few things you can use to tactically shift a fight in the main game. In Comrades, you’re all mashing the attack button, healing when things get messy, casting attack spells and occasionally switching weapons— that’s about it. The quest types have some nice variation, though, and the finished version will have a city-based hub and story-driven quests, as well as the ability to play as the main game’s characters.
This is just a beta, and considering that it’s thrown in with the season pass—which most people will be playing for the single-player episodes—Comrades isn’t a bad way to kill some time. It’s just hard to envision it becoming anyone’s next multiplayer obsession when it launches in full.