by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Editor’s Note: Some of these screens were taken while I was still fiddling with visual settings.
It’s no big secret that Square-Enix has developed almost every game that I truly love, from childhood to adulthood. It’s also no great secret that some/many of their ports have been, for lack of a better word, been dreadful. Final Fantasy XII was a step in the right direction, and despite the minor issues I had with it, it was a great port. Then Chrono Trigger happened. My morale slipped and fell right back down Sisyphus’ hill. Then I remembered there was a light at the end of the tunnel: Final Fantasy XV was on the way! And I loved this game on PS4. I think I spent a good 50+ hours on the main story, and that’s not including post-game content or any of the DLC. I actually didn’t play through all of the DLC, but now I can do it fresh on my PC so you know, it all works out! However, I will say, good lord, this game takes up a lot of space. One of the few complaints I’ve heard is from people that already owned the game on console.
This version of the game (FFXV Windows Edition) comes with all of the DLC, including the DLC that dropped the day this game released and for a very reasonable price (49.99). I can certainly understand that it would be pretty upsetting to spend money (possibly a lot of it) on DLC, only to see the PC users get it for essentially free, when the DLC was a bit on the pricey side. There’s also the Royal Edition on consoles, which does the same thing. I get it, that has to be awful, but it’s nothing that “Game of the Year” editions haven’t done for years now. I think though if the DLC had come out later, or the release of the game was a bit after that final bit of DLC content, maybe that would not have caused a ruckus. I will say though, some of the bonus content for FFXV on PC is just absolutely ludicrous. Wasn’t Cup Ramen Noct enough? Now there’s The Sims and Half-Life outfits? Ugh. Count me out of that. The game is already phenomenal, I don’t need to dress like a Half-Life character.
Final Fantasy XV is a sprawling, gorgeous game that feels both linear and open-world at the same time. The story generally guides you down a single path, but there are so many things you can do in the world at the same time, so it’s quite easy to get lost in the beautiful world of Eos. From the photo side quest, fishing, mastering all of the amazing cooking dishes, training with your team, upgrading your weapons, getting all of the Kings Weapons and that’s not even a quarter of it. Bonus dungeons, the skill system, the Hunts. . . yes, there’s tons to do in Final Fantasy XV. Sure, the story is a bit on the linear side, but that’s not a new or exciting difference in the franchise. Many of the most acclaimed Final Fantasy games were very linear for the most part. It’s very beneficial to do as many of the Hunts as you can and explore the world, and let’s be honest: It’s a very attractive world to be in. However, I am disappointed in a lack of a solid Windowed Mode. The screen gets a little weird if you tab away, and you have to alt-enter to set it right again. This can be fixed in an update though (and I pray it is).
Yes, Eos is gorgeous on Xbox One and PS4, but it’s even better on PC. I didn’t believe the game could get prettier, but somehow they managed to do it. There are lots of Nvidia enhancements of the game, to the world around you, to the boys’ hair. Yes, there’s a separate Nvidia option to make the hair look more realistic. Most of the Nvidia settings will eat up your fps unless you have a truly magnificent machine. Now, my PC is no slouch (1080, i7 7700k, 16 GB of RAM), but I did have some trouble running it on maximum settings while streaming. Simply turning off some of those extra settings fixed that, however. I do not have a monitor that’s set up for 4k, but I have seen the 4k graphics elsewhere and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The graphics are stunning, but I did see one or two very minor issues. The lighting at Golden Quay for example. It was night-time at the restaurant, and the candlelight was shining off the cook’s face. She looked like an eldritch monster from beyond the stars! It was horrifying. Other than that, high/highest look fabulous. The sound is terrific, and the option to listen to the Japanese voices was pretty cool. I didn’t need it because I love the English VAs, but I wanted to experience it in Japanese and was not disappointed.
Controller support was perfect, which is one of my big concerns. Sure, you could play this on a keyboard and mouse, but why in God’s name would you want to do that? As soon as my controller was plugged in, it swapped to my PS4’s controls and that made me deliriously happy. The controls were responsive, it played exactly like the PS4 version, and I had no problems controlling Noct. There is the odd fps dip when in a really busy/heavy fight, but that’s only on higher settings in my experience. This did not happen very often but it is worth noting. There were some updates I apparently missed on console, such as being able to pick up more than one Hunt at once, and I could not tell you how much joy I felt when I saw this. It was so tedious to finish a hunt, run back, pick up another one, run in the same direction again, do the hunt, and go back, to pick up another. Ugh, so tedious. Now I can do them all at once, and reap the rewards.
But Who Is It For? How Does It Hold Up? 4/5
This is easily the best port Square-Enix has come up with, and I hope this is the standard for every other port that comes after it. It’s not a “mobile” port, it’s a real port, with improvements, enhancements that make sense, that players are happy about. This is one of the best Final Fantasy games I have ever played and while I was hoping it would hit PC at the same time as PS4/XB1, I’m glad Square Enix took the game to give it the love and attention all of their ports deserve. But who is this for? It’s always a hard pill to swallow, to re-buy a game after you’ve completed it elsewhere. This is the definitive version of Final Fantasy XV though. Mostly I can see this aimed at players who don’t own a console and want to really get the most out of their PCs, or hard-core, die-hard fans who want to play through this gripping story again, and to be frank, none of these people will be disappointed. Did you hold off, hoping for a PC version? You will not be let down because it’s glorious. However, this is Loading Time the game. Initial load feels like it takes two or three minutes. I did not test it on my Solid State because frankly, I don’t think it has the space for it. Loading times are frustrating, but the game is still quite enjoyable. Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition has all the content you need and want from the original game, and then all the crazy DLC to play through. Looking for a game to sink hours into? Just get it again. Nobody will blame you. Sure, you could beat this game in 10-15 hours if you really rush. But that’s not the point. The point is to immerse yourself in this world and really get lost in it. It’s not hard to do, and you’ll thank me for it.
A key was provided for purposes of this review.