Final Fantasy XV Breakdown Review – Before You Play Gameplay Overview

Let me tell you,  I’m always on the lookout for another great game, and if your at all like me I guarantee you’ve wasted more than a few good hours on some crummy ones.

How will you know if the game your about to play is just another loveless affair doomed to spiral you into some twisted state of boredom?

Reviews are often biased as each person will love or hate a game for different reasons. (It’s why I never trust movie critics)

The system I’m heading towards are called breakdown reviews, a system that of course expose all the good and the bad, yet will hopefully give you a good outline of what it’s like to actually play the game.    I could really use all the help I can get, so if you happen across this Final Fantasy review, please send some critique my way and I’ll do what I can.


Lets get a quick look at what Final Fantasy XV has to offer us.

  • Huge Free to explore third person open world.  (bigger world, more travel)
  • Third person real time battle system (battles no longer portal you into a battle stage, no longer turn based.)
  • Realistic Graphics worthy of 2017
  • NPCs will always have something to say that will add to the story.
  • Level up your character and equip items to become stronger.
  • More to explore and accomplish after the main story is finished.
  • A sense of getting stronger and more powerful as you play.
  • Epic storyline with flaws
  • Lots of mini-games (fishing, racing, customization)
  • Customize and drive a car or explore by Chocobo

Unique final fantasy landscape and monsters

What other Final Fantasy games should I play first?

The game is based off the Final Fantasy 15 Kingsglaive movie, and a short Anime series called Brotherhood.   While most recommend watching these first, I do not feel it’s essential to enjoy the video game, especially if you like a bit more mystery in the storyline.      Brotherhood will cover the backstory for the four main characters and roughly the first 30 minutes of the game while the Kingsglaive movie will cover more on the Kingdom of Lucis and some mostly unimportant side characters.

I do recommend watching brotherhood first as the four main characters are much less likable without this mini series and the game does not provide background on them. (roughly 70 minutes long, does give away the first 30 minutes of gameplay, personally nothing I got upset about)

As for other games, none.   Almost all the Final Fantasy games have an independent and unique storyline.   If your looking for something similar as far as gameplay in the Final Fantasy series, you might look into the Crystal Chronicles, on the other hand if you want a highly recommended title the majority love, you might try Final fantasy VIII.



The world of Final Fantasy 15 is one of the biggest and potentially most accurate real world scale video games I have played.  (sure the places are much closer together than real life,  then again I would get bored of hour long drives.)

final fantasy 15, screenshot, Fantasy world screenshot

At first you explore the world in an Auto driving car called the Regalia.   The very questionable manual driving controls for this car only allow for slight variation on set roads and paths, so unfortunately we don’t get to go exploring off-road.   The car serves it’s purpose for a quicker automated travel to anywhere in the game.    Later you get to explore on your Chocobo, a fast running bird mount that allows you to explore deeper into the vast world and even assist you in battle.   The Chocobo’s can be upgraded to run fast, fly higher and even be used in some Chocobo racing mini games.

By visiting pubs and restaurants you can get markers added to the map that show the location of items and other treasures.   By eating the food at these places, or with your party members cooking skill you can gain temporary buffs to help you on your journey.    Some sample buffs include extra attack, hp or an experience increase from battling monsters. (While this is a cool idea,  the cost of food is unrealistic, costing way more than your average weapons and potions)

Battle System

While Final Fantasy 15 gave up their traditional turn based battle system for a third person style, I really feel they were just not entirely committed to doing so.  They incorporated an optional “Wait mode” that basically freezes the game time when you stand still.   This allows you to scan your enemy for weakness, find warp points and scope out the battle arena. (this mode is optional,  I used the Active time mode that uses real time and makes the game more challenging)

By holding down Square you will dodge everything as long as your not performing an attack and have MP to spare.   Other methods of dodging including Warping (direction + Triangle on ps4) in any direction or to a warp point on the map. (Screenshot below shows point warping to dodge in battle)

Final fantasy XV, Screenshot, Point warp, scorpions,desert

Weapons include a variety of Royal Arms, Swords, Greatswords, Daggers, Polearms, Firearms, Shields and the Armiger weapons of past kings.   These weapons can be swapped during battle to try and expose your foes weakness as each weapon affects monsters differently.   The game can be paused during battle and gives full control to changing these weapons.

Items can be used during battle and in my opinion make the battle system feel incomplete.   When the item menu pulled up (R2) the game is paused which really breaks the illusion of the real time battle system.    Even if your entire party is wiped out (Including you), as long as you have a revive you can continue the fight. (Yes, you can even revive when dead…)   Consumables have become a vital part to succeeding in the game, and make you invincible if you have enough.

The Ascension Tree includes many upgrades for your character and party that make the combat more complex and rewarding later in the game.   These Ascension abilities apply and improve on every aspect of the game from trade skills to exploration and combat.

Accension tree in final fantasy 15 menu screenshot

Your party members follow you around everywhere you go and are useful in battle.  They can perform teamwork attacks by pressing L1 that sorta feel like a cut-scene and of course make you invincible while you use them.   There are a variety of teamwork upgrades and attacks learnable through the Ascension Tree.



Final Fantasy is what I would consider cut scene quality gameplay.    The world is really huge, so naturally not everything looks perfect, however it’s easily one of the best games I’ve seen on the PS4.

The atmosphere starts out in a dessert scene, however as you travel you will see more fulfilling fantasy elements such as giant rock formation and snow capped mountains.

What is crazy is how much room for improvement still exists in Final Fantasy.     Take a look at this shot from the Final Fantasy Kingsglaive movie compared to final fantasy 15’s graphics.  Even the best will always have room for improvement, and I for one can’t wait to see what the PS5 has in store for us.




lunafreya HD movie vs video game screenshot comparison


Spoiler free version

The first half of the story is told very loose where you have lots of freedom to do side-quests and hunts.   While some of the side quests are fun, the whole group feels very pressed for time, and somehow I can’t see them taking a pitstop to get some rare custom wax for their ride.   These sidequests really break the atmosphere of this crucial moment in the storyline.  Continuity issues aside, the characters are always talking to each-other and give you plenty of backstory which in my opinion helped me get hyped for what will come.

Later the storyline switches to a more linear version of storytelling that I would compare to the God of War games with lots of cutscenes and a really dramatic sequence of events.

Luna and noctis when children in final fantasy XV


I will be roughly and vaguely explaining the first 30 minutes of the storyline.

*Warning Spoilers*

The story begins with prince Noctis setting out to marry Luna as a marriage treaty to secure peace between the garrison state of Niflheim.   Noctis is more or less a whiny arrogant brat who comes off as moody and entitled, yet is spoiled further with three very loyal friends.(In reality he has begun to crack under pressure)    They make way to the harbor where they plan on setting sale to Niflheim when they encounter a stranger who tells them there are no boats, throws them a coin and quickly vanishes.   Noctis and his group are further delayed by being forced on a side quest while their kingdom falls overnight to Niflheim.   The four irrationally rush back with hopes of saving their seized Kingdom.

Noctis touching one of the 3 magic runes in final fantasy XV



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