Two years ago to the day Final Fantasy XV was re-revealed to the public, initially under the name of Verses XIII the game saw a change in team members as well as a new direction in the way the game would run. In March Square Enix released the anticipated Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (you can check out our review of that Here) though fans went mad for what was included, a demo for Final Fantasy XV.
This past week Square Enix released a patch for the demo; that could be a first for the industry, well maybe not a first but it’s certainly very rare. With it comes changes that came from the player survey the company released with the original release of the demo. So whats new about it now? And has it impacted a different reaction to players, i went hands on with it to look at the new adjustments to see how much the developer has listened.
Upon starting the demo now you will instantly notice a change within the scenery as well as some new additions to the combat tutorial. The first new addition you’ll notice is the new ‘Dodge Roll’ which now gives the movement in combat a lot of fluidity, pairing it with the adjustments made to the camera and target locking the combat within the game now feels like the fast paced action you will come to see as a staple in the full game.
The other new adjustment to the combat is the addition to more radio like towers placed around the map, these aren’t here for aesthetic design but instead act as warp points for Noctis to take a breather from all the chaos ensuing on the battlefield. Other warp points now included rocks and cliff faces that were previously inaccessible. This new way of backing of the battle for a brief moment is all well and good but I found that I lost sight of the monster I was attacking.
One of the big addition to the combat is the new Cross Chain Attacks, that sees Noctis team up with another party member to do a double attacks. These new attacks make the battles feel more personal and seem to make the premise of the game more apparent.
To obtain these new Cross Chain Attacks you will have to take part in the new ‘On Tour’ side quests, these can be activated when sleeping at camp, occasionally you’ll get a new animation upon resting and you’ll be given the option to take part in bonding with another party member.
The only issue i had with the quests was they were either the other side of the map resulting in a long run across the Duscaen landscape for what seems like very little reward. This will probably be improved upon for the full game, though a little bit of variety; say multi-part quests may have been better.
The main show of the new update is the inclusion of a new colossal fight against the Catoblepas which makes the Behemoth feel like a wet paper bag. To trigger the monster to come out of the lake you must first get the On Tour quest with Prompto, at the end of the quest you have to “Run for your lives” away from the beast. Once you return to camp and catch up with your other party members, the Catoblepas will from then on roam around the grass area just out of the lake.
I first attempted to fight at the same level as I did with the Behemoth, level 26; whereas I got the Behemoth down a chunk the Catoblepas on the other hand I just two hits in the it wiped the party in one hit resulting in a game over screen. It’s recommended that your party be at the maximum level 99 cap for the demo, and even then it’s still a real challenge.
With all the changes and adjustments made the Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae feels more attune to how the developer is marketing it. With the new battle abilities that make you get closer to the other members of the party, and with the new dodge roll and adjusted camera; the game no longer feels like a clunky mess.
The new Catoblepas fight shows exactly the scale of the fights that are going to be included in the full game and the new side-quests give the game that much more to do and don’t leave the world feeling like an empty sprawling chasm.
The game still needs work done on it, with frame-rate drops and stutters here and there, but considering this is still a demo the team has plenty of time to work out the kinks. If you have yet to try the demo I would recommend it now more that ever, check it out and see if your open-world action-rpg taste buds can be quenched.