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

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - INSIDER -

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.

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