This week I'd planned to play more Final Fantasy X-2 or maybe even start up Final Fantasy II on my PSP, but neither of those things happened. Instead I mixed in a couple of other oddities with my playthrough of Stormblood, both of which I had an interesting time with since they don't fit my usual mold. Let's dive into the discussion.
If you want to catch up on my prior pieces, here's a link to Issue 29 from last week.
Final Fantasy XV: Comrades (PS4)
Since it was available, I decided to check out the closed beta for Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, the online multiplayer mode for FFXV. First off, I'm not typically one for online gaming. Even when playing an MMO, I tend to go at things solo until I'm forced to group up for a dungeon or boss, so it was interesting to see how much I enjoyed what I got to play of Comrades. After creating a character and being dumped into a camp, I quickly joined a group of three others and we began roaming the countryside killing monsters. Combat was much the same as the main game, so it was easy to acclimate to fighting with others. While the starter missions I took on weren't super exciting, I can see the potential here as things progress.
The main problem I have with Comrades is that I can't see myself going out of my way to dig into this mode. It would have been a tough enough sell for me had it been in the game from the get go, but I have no reason to return right now. Even games like Mass Effect 3, which offered this type of content at release, didn't do enough to make me want to stick with it, as I'd have preferred something woven more seamlessly into the story mode. That said, this works and could be a lot of fun for those dedicated enough to gather friends to play, but it's not likely going to be a thing for me after a few plays. Who knows, I could be proven wrong.
Final Fantasy Dimensions (Android)
I'd been curious about this game since I played the free prologue when it first came out. Dimensions felt slow and grindy, and I had no interest in paying for the game in chapters, so I bailed pretty quickly. Now I have a new phone that can run this without killing the battery and saw that Dimensions was on sale, so I figured why not try it out, especially now that the game can be bought as a complete package. Once again progress starts off rough, though that's really not much different than say the first Final Fantasy, as you can't just plow along with no cares and expect to survive these early moments. If you put a little effort into building up your party, it will make all the difference. The controls are still my biggest problem with this and most other mobile RPGs. So many either use a virtual D-pad or the sliding method, but they just can't seem to nail the precision needed for me to be able to move as smoothly as I can with an actual controller. Fighting through that, I've finished the prologue and am still waiting for the job system to become available, as that's the reason I wanted to check this out as my Final Fantasy V alternative. The characters are pretty one-note, so I'm hoping there's something interesting to play around with as far as jobs go.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PS4)
As I moved from the boring, sandy areas of Ala Mhigo to the lush Far East lands, Stormblood has improved greatly. The locales are prettier, the side characters are more engaging, and the dungeons are fantastic. In fact, of the three dungeons I've done so far, they are all top notch with one focusing on some very original mechanics and another just being an epic set piece that I've replayed three or four times willingly over the past few days. I can't say much else without getting into story spoilers, but I can say that I am much happier with this segment of the expansion than how it starts. I'm rounding the corner and still have plenty of playtime left, so hopefully I can get a few jobs to max level before my time is up. Saying all that though, what is the point of swimming? It really doesn't add much and is super slow, so I could have done without that. Thankfully, you don't have to engage with that mechanic very often.