Final Fantasy XV was at the South African Rage Expo today and I got to play about 30mins of it. Here are my thoughts:
I was convinced this was the Gamescom build, because the game starts out with the 10 year time skip with the fight against Ifrit supposedly before returning to the start of the game of Noctis and co pushing the Regalia to the gas station. However it contained the expanded Skill Tree seen in later demos. Im not sure what version of this build is or if it's reflective of the final game.
I thought it was an older build because it does not look as good as the latest Twitch stream; with the same flat copy&paste grass all over the place, bad draw distance and bad anti-aliasing.
The anti-aliasing is especially bad on NPCs like Dave the shack guy you go look for early on in the game. His hair and beard looked really bad.
Frame rate was consistent however; I didn't notice any serious dips.
You can hide the stamina bar when sprinting (something that I liked)
Also looks to be the case with the special ability bar for Noctis' friends.
Magic casting feels a lot tighter than in the Platinum Demo especially with the target lock.
Sometimes when you attack you'll do a buddy attack that's not prompted by a parry. It kinda feels like you're not in control despite how cool it looks. (Ignis buddy attacks are the best)
Enemies will sometimes appear out of nowhere like the scorpions out of the local vegetation.
Sometimes you can walk for ages and find nothing to fight.
I could change Noctis' clothing in this build, so Im guessing you can do the same in the full game this early too.
Which is good because sometimes its hard to tell where you are when everybody is huddled together with all of them wearing black.
It gets kind of confusing during the heat of battle when the BLOCK prompt appears as you're either pulling a special move, dodging the enemy, multiple enemies coming at you, attacking enemy gets attacked by a party member. I get the feeling this will cause some unwarranted inputs and unexpected HP loss.
The Dualhorn mini-boss you fight early on was rather easy depending if you heed Ignis' advice and make camp before the fight.
The banter between the characters is generally quite alright. Noctis is a lot more laid back and nowhere near the emo stereotype his image gives him.
I unfortunately could not get to drive the Regalia as my time was up before I could test how much control you actually have. I may be going there again sometime this weekend. If you want me to check something do let me know. Otherwise feel free to ask questions or add your input if you have played it at Rage too.
So today I went to Rage again and stood an hour in line to play the game again. Here are some additional thoughts:
The anti-aliasing is definitely worse on the hair than everything else. Majority of the things like the character models are fine. Dave still looks bad though.
Conversation reaction commands dont seem to really make a difference as I gave Cindy a different answer to my earlier play through and she just responded the same way.
The lip sync in the mini in game cutscenes are way off. I suspect it's because they use a lower poly model in game compared to the cutscene ones. Characters mouths just move but the sounds they make dont match. Not sure if this is their original Japenese mouth movements or the game has auto sound syncing that's just off.
I had a look at the HUD options in the game. When you press the options buttons it brings up various game options - here's concerning the HUD:
HUD - On/Off Turns everything off. Strangely I dont recall getting a BLOCK prompt, but I did get a PARRY one however.
Stamina - On/Off Turns the stamina bar off when sprinting
World Map - On/Off, Rotate On/Off - Turns the map off in the top right corner and whether you want it to rotate as the character does.
The Ascension grid although split into the 6 categories was rather simple. Consisting of around 20 abilities each. These normally consisted of very basic abilities like the air step, uninterrupted linking, etc costing around 10 AP. I suspect that as soon as you acquire all the abilities the grid will either evolve into a higher tier one or just further expand as you go.
Once again my time was cut short before I could get to the Regalia - unfortunately the first mission is the Pauper Prince that requires getting money together for the car.
I dont think I will be going back tomorrow, but honestly I enjoyed my time with the game. I feel like there still needs a bit of polsih, so I hope this isnt the final build.