Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo: Proof The Franchise is Dead

Shouldn't we be more surprised at what is obviously a mediocre, technically flawed demo?

Shouldn’t we be more surprised at what is obviously a mediocre, technically flawed demo?

I’ve been a fan of Final Fantasy since the beginning. The very beginning. I am, however, one of those strange cases who say that despite playing and enjoying the initial entries, I finally fell in love with Final Fantasy VII. I know the so-called hardcore fans always say FFVII is “only your favorite if you started with it” but that is a mammoth fallacy. It’s most people’s favorite because it’s the best one, in my estimation. But that’s another topic for another editorial.

The point is, I’ve played every FF in existence (with the exception of spin-offs) and that even includes finishing, completing, and thoroughly enjoying FFXIII and XIII-2. Lightning Returns was the first FF I played and absolutely hated; the first I couldn’t actually finish, no matter how hard I tried. It was just awful. Since then, I’ve been hoping Square Enix would find their way with the next main installment, though it hardly gives fans the warm-and-fuzzies when they find out the new title is actually Final Fantasy Versus XIII and it has technically been in development for over a decade. sucks. The mechanics really suck. Somebody needs to say it.

Uh…it sucks. The mechanics really suck. Somebody needs to say it.

But even so, I was excited to try the Platinum Demo, released this past week. It was a chance for the developers to prove that Final Fantasy was back, that Lighting Returns was merely an anomaly, a misstep that we’ll soon forget. Sadly, this demo only proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this once great series is finished. And if there’s one thing I hate more than anything, it’s a bunch of self-righteous gamers bashing you for saying you hate it because it isn’t turn-based, or because it’s entirely real-time, unlike any of the previous entries. Yeah, well, am I allowed to hate it because it’s just BAD?

Why aren’t more people saying this? Is it the title that’s throwing people? Despite the obvious tailspin this franchise has been in for years, it seems the power of the Final Fantasy name is still capable of blinding a lot of people. Guys and gals, this demo is beyond mediocre; it’s poor. The mechanics suck. They really do. Beyond the obvious frame rate issues – which should scare the sh** out of you because these areas aren’t very big at all, especially not when compared to the big open-world areas of the final game – and the imperfect camera and lock-on system, it moves just…it’s bad. How many ways can it be said?

There’s an erratic, loose nature to the jumping, we should definitely question the collision detection, and the camera sits far too close (a problem many current action games have these days), thereby hampering visibility. And oh yeah, input lag?! Are you freakin’ serious? Didn’t we leave issues like lack of responsiveness behind in the PS2 era? Speaking of which, I will be brutally frank: I haven’t played a third-person action-oriented game – which FFXV most obviously is; as it barely qualifies as an “RPG” – that controlled this poorly since…I can’t remember. If Kingdom Hearts III is this bad, I will be immensely disappointed and strangely, I imagine that if it was KHIII, people would be freaking out more.

Actually, now that I think of it, imagine if this was any other game where real-time action is at the forefront. Imagine this technically flawed control mechanic in a Dark Souls, for example. And before everyone scoffs at the comparison, bear in mind that FFXV is more of a straight-up action game based on this demo; you can jump and string together attacks, everything is much faster, there are the standard action commands like guard and dodge-roll (and frankly, it doesn’t appear to have half the depth of a Dark Souls). And yet, if Dark Souls III controlled this badly, it’d get 5s and 6s. It really would; there’s just no excuse for this level of technical failure.

Now, on the flip side, I do like the atmosphere (even if it did remind me more of KH than FF) because it was creative, compelling and inviting. That’s nice. And Carbuncle is kinda cute. But the positive flip side ends there, because the graphics aren’t even that impressive. I could almost understand the frame rate issue if the graphics were blow-me-away amazing and quite simply, they’re not. We’ve already seen games this generation that look better. And we’ve certainly seen games that run better. Oh yes, and Square Enix said this demo was designed to showcase the “finalized graphics and combat/magic systems.”

Look, this has nothing to do with saying “it sucks because it isn’t turn-based anymore.” It’s an idiotic accusation, as virtually zero RPGs made today are pure turn-based. At best you’ll find hybrids on the Japanese side and on the Western side, you might get the opportunity to pause the game and issue commands, as you would in a Dragon Age, but that’s about it. No, turn-based is dead and we all know it. The problem is, there’s a very big difference between franchises like Dragon Age and FFXV; one is an RPG while the other feels like an action game first – where your button-pressing will determine your success far more often than your preparation and strategy – and a role-playing adventure second.

No matter what you do in this demo, everything feels slow, clunky, and awkward.

No matter what you do in this demo, everything feels slow, clunky, and awkward.

Compare something like FFXII to FFXV. You want real RPG complexity? A hybrid that might satisfy a lot of people?  Use an updated FFXII mechanic that actually forces you to think as opposed to being merely dexterous with a controller. Give me some evidence of an RPG. Can FFXV actually be in the same category as other games we call RPGs, like the upcoming Persona and Star Ocean titles? I’m not really sure about that. But all this aside, forgetting the genre debate, forgetting personal preferences, let me just repeat: Objectively, this game feels partially broken. Bad. Awful. Beyond mediocre. Whatever it is, whatever you want to call it, the core gameplay is seriously flawed.

Why aren’t we shouting this at the tops of our lungs? This isn’t exactly a rushed title, people; this is a game that is a decade in the making, though I know they restarted development at some point. The bottom line is I haven’t played a demo, or any game in this generation for that matter, that is as impaired as this one. And that’s that.

Disclaimer: Some of my favorite recent RPGs are absolutely action/RPGs, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and while I will always say the far more imaginative, creative and complex hybrid systems we often saw in the PS1 days (as with IPs like Shadow Hearts, for instance) were simply superior to this action-oriented, appease-the-masses, twitch-centric systems, that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a good game, whether I like it or not. This isn’t about me “liking” FFXV. This is about me saying it ISN’T a good game, plain and simple.

12 thoughts on “Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo: Proof The Franchise is Dead”

I’m glad someone had the balls to say it. Every time I say something like this, everyone screams at me for being “old” and wanting all my RPGs to “stay the same forever.”

Complete jackasses. If a game sucks, it sucks. Has nothing to do with what I like or don’t like, as this article says in the disclaimer.

I didn’t think it was THAT bad but I certainly was underwhelmed. This shouldn’t be a AAA game, that’s for sure.

I agree. mostly anyway. idk,i never had the money for being aull round well versed fan since I only ever played dissidia,but I don’t think this franchise is dead,i think its old fanbase is. it apparently caters well the newer generation and I guess they knew that, so its not dead, its just …”replacing its batterie” in a sense

No, it’s dying. The “old fanbase” is almost entirely gone and there isn’t much of a new fanbase. It’s why Final Fantasy XIII sold almost 6 million copies worldwide and Lightning Returns hit only about 1 million.

The IP has been on life support for years and based on this demo, it doesn’t seem like FF is going to last much longer. At least, not in its current state.

The franchise isn’t dead. The demo was fantastic FOR WHAT IT WAS. The graphics were GOOD. The atmosphere was FANTASTIC. I agree the targeting system could use some work. But the demo, as it stands, is GOOD.

This is not PROOF that it’s bad. That is just your opinion. Quit making click bait articles.


It always happens when an article gets big at N4G. The biggest losers on the planet show up and pretend they know something about video games.

No, it’s not good. It’s not an opinion to say the control is loose, which virtually every notable source has confirmed. It’s not opinion to say the frame rate is abysmal, something else everyone seemed to notice but you. It’s not opinion to point out MECHANICAL flaws, genius. These are structural and have nothing whatsoever to do with opinion. Nothing.

Atmosphere is subjective, so nobody can say it’s “bad.” That really is based on opinion. But as usual, the so-called gamers show up here proclaiming everything is “opinion.” People like you need some sort of education, and maybe read some of the editorials on this site. Maybe start with this one-

Now please, go back to the shithole that is N4G and toss around terms like “clickbait” as if you have any clue what you’re talking about.

Christ, you can’t actually read comments on N4G. It’ll make you retarded. Brain cells die at an alarming rate if you pay any attention to those egocentric, hostile, so-called “gamers.”

Yes, because god forbid someone try to write a comment disagreeing with the author, because that would make that person a loser. Let me shut my mouth so I won’t be a loser! And I kept my comment civil, no less. You brought name calling into this, don’t you forget.

I made a mistake in my comment. No, it is an opinion to say the series is dead. An opinion, and a blatant attempt to upset fans and get their attention. What bothers me about this article is not the fact that he found flaws in the demo (however ridiculous some are), but because the way he decided to present his thoughts BECAUSE of a DEMO.

I never said the frame rate issue was an opinion. The controls being loose? That is too vague, and I’ve seen plenty of reviews myself and played through the demo twice. I did find the targeting system difficult to use while running, but that’s it. The controls being loose? That’s way to vague.

The so-called gamer? I’m sorry, is it because I don’t have a gamer license? Fuck off with that comment. I play games, I love Final Fantasy. I don’t need to prove shit to you, and I don’t give a fuck about your self-entitled thoughts of what makes a “gamer.” These articles, whether opinion or not, are bullshit because they are meant to solicit a very specific response. Hence the word clickbait.

(on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.

Here’s a quote, so you won’t have to look it up yourself. You read the title and tell me how it’s not mean provoke fans. If the author had written a less ridiculous title and ridiculous thoughts on the graphics “not being impressive”, or the “camera sitting too close to the character”, DESPITE Square Enix getting multiple complaints about the camera from Duscae, I wouldn’t be on this website as a voice to convince otherwise to other people who happen to find this article.

And don’t throw me in with N4G people as if you know me. I don’t use N4G intentionally, I use MANY different sites to stay informed on games I’m interested in. So quit deluding yourself into believing someone is X just because their opinions are different from yours. I don’t give a fuck about N4G, and frankly I’m upset they would publicly link this article to upset a community because of a DEMO.

Now, lets talk about the article itself? The author says this isn’t one of those typical “it’s not turn based so it sucks” articles, but clearly it’s the underlying reason why he’s writing the article. Because it is not turn based, it moves too far from what defines the JRPG genre.

The heavy presence of magic, atmosphere, story, graphics, music, and other elements changes that for me. It’s similar to Xenoblade Chronicles. Did that game not have a battle system that was ENTIRELY different from every past JRPG game? And despite that change, it’s highly regarded as the best *JRPG* in a decade. And is Xenoblade Chronicles X not a borderline RPG game, but still regarded as a JRPG because of it’s heavy emphasis on story and atmosphere? How is FFXV any different in this case?

This game did not feel like an action game first to me. I was not swarmed by enemies constantly in order to progress. There was a LARGE portion of the game that lacked any sort of action at all. Some of what the author wrote can be easily countered by any person who played Kingdom Hearts, which is also a *JRPG*. I don’t recall casting buffs before battle in KH. You’d go in there with keyblade in hand and beat the crap out of an enemy, and if they had high defense you would use magic! This game clearly leaves more room for strategy than KH.

Dude, calm the fuck down. You weren’t “civil” at all. This-

“Quit making click bait articles.”

-is ridiculously insulting because it basically says the article is worthless as a piece of information, and only exists to get attention. You looked up the definition and you STILL don’t understand it, obviously. It’s called HEADLINE WRITING, genius. The article itself isn’t sensationalistic in any way. Nothing about it is. If the headline is about “baiting,” then you may as well write a nasty letter to the New York Times about how everything they write is “just for attention.”

The clickbait crap gets thrown around by people who have no clue how journalism – print or digital – works. None whatsoever. And that’s plain in your post.

You also can’t show up here and proclaim to know exactly what’s “behind” the words of the article. No, it says nothing about turn-based and it never even implies that FFXV should be turn-based. In fact, I think the implication is exactly the opposite, that the author wants to see progression but while staying WITHIN the genre FF was always in.

What parts of the demo weren’t action-based? Seriously? What the hell are you talking about? The entire demo was about action. Just like most action games, it mattered a little what you equipped but what mattered MOST was HOW you press the buttons. Dodge-rolling, guarding, countering, warping, back-flips, “throwing” your so-called magic spells like they’re freakin’ grenades, using “MP” for more combat skills…?

Hey, remember real RPGs? Like some of the older FFs? Where the ONLY thing that mattered was your planning, strategy and micromanagement of the characters and party? Think you needed to be fast on the draw when fighting Ruby or Emerald Weapon? No, there were ZERO action elements; what mattered was your brain. The brain comes first in RPGs and that’s the point; there is no brain in FFXV. The demo barely qualified as action/RPG; I see all those elements in goddamn Assassin’s Creed.

What makes it an RPG? That we can see damage numbers when we hit enemies? Is that it? The point of this article is plain; I’m just summing up. You’re pissed because you liked that shitty demo and you can’t stand the fact that it really does blow. Just admit it and then leave.

Franchise is most def not dead. The problem is the fact that all games are not as good as the hype or as we want them to be. They are still video games with multiple flaws. They are not real life… they wont be super duper awesome. They’re just video games… i can find flaws in every single game made but in the end I take note that its just a video game…. that’s it…

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