Did you know that it’s been 3852 days since Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced? Back then, it wasn’t even clear what that game was. Was it another game in the Final Fantasy XIII universe? It didn’t sound like it, or look like it, but then why was it called “XIII”? And Versus what? But, after a decade of development, that kind of doesn’t matter anymore. It missed the entire generation of consoles it was originally supposed to be out on and got a name change. As hard as it is to believe, after all that time, Final Fantasy XV is out in a week.I’m really excited for the game, so much so that I replayed the first demo that had been put out, Episode Duscae. The demo first came out as an incentive to buy Final Fantasy Type-0 HD a couple years ago. The funny thing is, from what I can tell from trailers and the second demo, very little of Episode Duscae actually still applies to the game.
The battle system in particular seems entirely different. In the first demo, combat was pretty simplistic. Holding down the attack button caused Noctis, the main character, to dish out combos, while holding down the left bumper put him into defense mode. That’s kind of all you need to know. There’s skills that can be used that cost MP and a teleport that let’s you jump straight to an enemy or get out of danger, but I found that almost every fight in the demo could be beaten by simply holding down that attack button and occasionally defending.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the combat. The action was fast paced and exciting, and it allowed me to deal with large groups of enemies with ease in a way that made me feel like a real badass. It’s not unlike the Batman: Arkham Asylum games, who’s combat seems ridiculously simple at first but you grow to appreciate it throughout the game.
One of the weirder aspects of the demo was how you level up. In most RPGs, you simply get experience points after you defeat enemies and advance in level after you’ve acquired enough. In concept, Episode Duscae’s system is the same, except that you aren’t given the experience right away. Instead, you have to camp out at night. From the camp, Ignis, the party’s chef, will make you dinner, and then you’ll cash in all your points. This means that you’ll often go up several levels all at once. I’m not sure if this system will be in the final game or not.
While I very much enjoyed going back and playing through the demo again, one thing really stuck out that I didn’t like. Towards the end, you unlock the summon spell, Ramuh. In order to cast a summon, you need to be knocked down to one hit point, and then casting it simply destroys whatever you’re fighting. It’s basically a “get out of fight free card”. Hopefully, they’ll be closer to a traditional summon in the final release.
Also this week, I went back and played the Yooka-Laylee Toybox demo. I’ve already talked about it at length on the blog, so I’m not going to go to in depth on it again, but man, that game is going to be killer. Everything about it is exactly what I want from a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. The control is rock solid, the level design is great, the humor is really dumb in the best way possible. This truly is the third Banjo platformer that we never got and I couldn’t be more excited for it.
Speaking of things that I’m really excited about, have you been following all the Nintendo Switch leaks lately? Most of them are coming from Eurogamer and Lets Play Video Games. The biggest one in my opinion is the price. Apparently, there’s going to be two SKUs, and the cheap one is only $250. This means that Nintendo’s next home console would be launching at the same price as the 3DS originally did. In my opinion, the Switch is pretty much a guaranteed success at this point, unless Nintendo screws up the price. I think $250 is perfect. And the more deluxe package is only $300, so that’s not bad either.
I’m a little disappointed by the rumor that’s suggesting that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won’t make it out in time for the Switch’s launch. But, I’ve already waited so long, I can wait a few more months. Is long as it doesn’t turn into a Final Fantasy XV sized development, it’s all good. And if the rumor that the new 3D Mario game will be out at launch is true, it’s not like we won’t have something to play on it. I’m very excited for Nintendo’s livestream in January where we’ll finally actually know the facts about all this.
I wanted to get this post up a couple days earlier, but I’ve been kind of distracted by a little game called Pokemon Moon. I’m planning to write a full sized “first impressions” piece on it, so I’m not going to talk to much about it here, but I’m really enjoying it. The changes that have been made to the Pokemon formula seem really smart and go a long way to making the series very interesting again. Not that they’ve been bad lately, just very familiar.
So, this was the second episode of my more casual series. What do you guys think? Are you excited for Final Fantasy XV? What do you think of all these Switch leaks? Do you like that I’m naming these posts like they were episodes of Friends? Let me know in the comments.
Oh, and you might have noticed, there’s no screenshots this time. One of the issues with just writing about whatever is that if I’m not thinking “I need to write about this” while I’m playing a game, I’m probably not worried about capturing footage of it. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be screenshots in later episodes, there was some last week after all, but sometimes it’s just not going to happen. Oh well.
Keep your eye on the blog this week. There’ll be a new Random Game Wednesdays tomorrow and I’m hoping to get the Pokemon first impressions out in the next couple days. Be sure to check out those posts and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!