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Final Fantasy XV is a great case for patient gaming but it still wasn’t good enough

The amount of ways the game improved from launch is staggering, adding in so many improvements to gameplay and story, yet despite all of it's improvements, I can't recommend it to people, especially as their first Final Fantasy game, despite the game's opening title about this being for fans and first timers.

That being said, yes I did enjoy this game, even got a bit teary eyed at the end, but there are too many design decisions that got in the way during my 42 hour playthrough. For example, why can I accept only `10 hunter quests at a time? Before patches it was only 1 at a time which was even more baffling, but the titular hunter quests at give you a ton of xp can only be accepted at particular locations near where the monster is, yet you can redeem finished monster quests anywhere. that means whenever you level up your hunter level, you have to visit every single outpost to check for new quests, and they don't show up on the mini map unlike the side quests. Speeking of which, you can only have 1 quest selected at a time, there were moments where I would make the commitment to travel halfway across the map to kill something, only to discover later that I had a quest objective that I could've done along the way. The amount of side quests that open up in chapter 3 is staggering, and the trend continues until chapter 8, allowing you to become incredibly overpowered if you want to. I'm a 'almost' completionist type of gamer, and like to do all of the side quests before moving on. That combined with one particular hotel that doubles the xp you earned meant that i could run around for 10 hours, finish quests until they got too hard, then sleep at said hotel and gain 20 levels at once. The story quests became a joke until the final chapter, with me killing most enemies in just a single combo.

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Oh and if you want to get even more overpowered, visit the steam workshop and download custom outfits and weapons, you'll have end game gear right away.

I think what really bothers me though is that this game gets so close, so close to being something that I would demand people play. But the fun open world gameplay gets closed off after chapter 8, then the story basically rockets off to get to it's conclusion and I can't help but feel like it's rushed. At it's launch the game's story was so poorly explained that they actually had to add documents thrown on the ground to give further context to what was happening and frankly it still feels like it's not enough. There's even a pretty gigantic story element that happens in between chapter 13 and 14, the final one. Yet the game doesn't take the time to really flesh it out, and basically sais to you 'well now you REALLY got to kill the bad guy'. If you were to ask me of the finer story details beyond 'bad guy wants revenge' i'd be lost, and the game seems to practically scream at you to watch/read all of it's supplementary materials to understand the plot fully. For example there's a cutscene at the end of chapter 1 that looks phenomenal, but it was muted and instead had just soundtrack playing it. I thought, 'woah that looks incredible i want to see more of that!' but what do you know, it's from the movie. Also during particular bits of the story your party members will disappear and when they come back go 'you won't BELIEVE what happened to me while I was gone' and guess what, now you have to play the DLC to understand. It is included on the pc version, but man does it feel forced in.

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I haven't even really gotten into my gameplay qualms yet, like how jump is the same button on a controller as interact. So I arrive at a location to talk to someone and instead proceed to jump infront of them 10 times. Or when you use your ultimate ability, if you hit the button again within the time limit to do a sort of final attack with your teammates, but guess the amount of times the button failed to produce any results. Also this is yet another FF that should've used 12's Gambit system, as you can't control your teammates unless you unlock the ability to do so. Ultimately most of the squad felt useless, especially when I was running around the open world, got into a fight, and suddenly my teammates were half a mile away from me, not keeping up.

I really wanted to like you more than I did FFXV. You're not a bad game, you're a misguided one that had everything going for it yet made some bonkers decisions along the way. I hope XVI learns some heavy lessons from this and provides a more solid experience.

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