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Thread: Just got this on Steam!

  1. #46
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    Ok, that’s Episode Ardyn done. I have some gripes but overall I really enjoyed it! The gameplay was actually really fun. Ardyn is just really fun to play as, being similar to Noctis but different in a few notable ways. Shadowstepping made him feel much more speedy and finishing off enemies through daemonification felt super rewarding. I also mostly really appreciate the story. As I’ve mentioned before, a ton of the lore is expanded and the game feels that much more complete thanks to that. I also think they’ve done a really good job with Ardyn’s characterization and backstory. I usually find it frustrating when a deliciously evil villain is given a tragic backstory to make him more sympathetic, but here it really works. Not only is Ardyn’s entire arc absolutely tragic in the classical, Greek sense (much like Noctis’ story is - seems to be a running thing here), but seeing him be kind in the past doesn’t take away from his cruelty later on. Part of the reason Ardyn is so fun to play is because it’s so cathartic. This dude is going on a rampage basically out of spite and you get to enjoy every minute of that violently gleeful revenge spree. Ardyn remains as bad as he was in the original game even with his tragic backstory expanded. So kudos for that since I really feel that’s hard to pull off.

    Another cool thing that I liked was that we got to explore an un-ruined Insomnia. Feels like fan service for those who followed the game since it was announced as Versus. But herein lies the biggest problem of the game. Ardyn invades Insomnia with Ifrit in tow a good thirty years before the main game’s finale. There’s absolute chaos, and yet this is an event that no one remembers or mentions later on? It makes sense that his face isn’t recognized later since he’s in disguise, but it still feels like a pretty big deal that this happened. And then there’s the fact that you get to fight a younger Regis. I was under the impression that this wasn’t possible because Regis didn’t recognize Ardyn later on in Kingsglaive - but then I remembered he made a face as he saw him that could mean he did recognize him but said nothing due to his dangerous Ardyn was. Still doesn’t explain why Noctis got no warning. But then, Regis didn’t really get to tell Noctis a lot anyway, so ok, we can let that slide.

    But then at the very end Bahamut shows up and he’s got a completely different air about him as he talks to Ardyn, and then everything clicked. This isn’t just a prequel to FFXV - this sets up Dawn of the Future. It is kind of infuriating to see Bahamut go from a legitimately incomprehensible god that seems mostly benevolent towards humanity, if demanding big sacrifices, to a generic tyrannical JRPG deity that says the characters have to fulfill their destiny while said characters say smurf it and proceed to defy destiny and destroy god with the power of friendship. If the taste of what happens in DotF has to linger, despite how I loved it, I think XV could’ve actually been better off without Episode Ardyn. Besides that’s it’s also just a reminder of how badly SE wanted to milk XV for the most money they could make of it instead of just creating the best piece of art that they can. But what can you do.

    That said, I’m still happy XV had genuine artists on board who tried to create something poignant despite SE’s attempts to make FFXV into a service. Aside from it just being a fun game to play, I really love how the story plays out. Episode Ardyn is no different, despite my criticisms. Also, it’s got music that really surprised me, since I really didn’t know anything about who the guest composer was beforehand, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Turns out it’s Kenji Hiramatsu, who is the “+” part of ACE+, who were responsible for some of the music in Xenoblades 1 and 2, alongside Manami Kiyota, as well as Yasunori Mitsuda and Yoko Shimomura, who have contributed to XV themselves. There’s another guest composer, Taku Iwasaki, who is mainly known for his anime work (e.g. Gurren Lagann and Noragami) The music has been enjoyable throughout. I’m gonna finish this off by linking three tracks I feel stood out the most. Conditioned to Hate is what’s heard throughout most of the game and it’s a surprisingly gripping rap featuring none other than Lotus Juice. Then there’s the very Xenoblade-sounding guardian battle theme and I’m gonna finish this off with the very Mozart-esque main theme. Enjoy!






  2. #47
    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    Well, thatís the main campaign of Comrades done. Overall, I liked it. I mostly enjoyed making an avatar and decking him out with cool clothes. But even though I pretty much just rushed through the story - which was quite minimal as most of my playtime was just grinding for the necessary map unlocks - I donít think Iíll be coming back to see the side content here. This is for the pure and simple reason that this game is dead. During all the hours I spent here not once did I manage to connect to actual players, having to rely on AI companions. And while they were fine for the most part (though I still carried this team), I imagine it would be pretty impossible in the more challenging missions.

    But while Iím kinda sad Iíll never be able to appreciate this expansion as intended, Iím still glad I played it. Made me feel even more connected to the world of FFXV, and it was a pretty nice bow to tie the whole thing together. So now Iíll just see the alternate endings to Episodes Ignis and Gladiolus and Iím back in the post game.

  3. #48
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    So Iíve finished up pretty much everything I wanted to. Did Pitioss, those dungeons for Daveís mom, the hunts and Adamantoise and Omega. Ended up at level 112 by the end. Overall, Iím pretty impressed with this post-game!

    Pitioss was immensely frustrating, but it was also so satisfying to beat. Weíve really never had a dungeon like this in an FF, and itís really refreshing. It was pretty beautiful too, though personally I kinda wanna personally murder whoever thought those 45į platforms in the dark were a good idea. I was pretty sure Iíd throw up most of the time. Still, it was endlessly engaging and stimulating and j never want to do it again.


    The side quest with the dungeons was pretty long and tedious, but it was also kinda fun to get all the stuff there, and the Ring of the Lucii pretty much trivializes it all - if something isnít vulnerable to Death, 99% of the time itís vulnerable to Alterna. If anything, those dungeons were a great way to gain EXP since they were long but had camping sites, so it was easy to cook up some Lasagna al Forno for bonus EXP. the dungeon underneath Costlemark Tower was by far the most interesting as it didnít allow me to use items. Since I could t cheese Alterna there, so it was nice to have to do it differently for once.

    I wish there had been fewer hunts and that theyíd be more fleshed out a la XIIís, but you know what didnít suck? The Adamantoise. Not really the battle itself since Alterna worked on it (lol), but the buildup was incredible! It was so nice to see all the side characters come together, and you can finally see what all those vague little tidbits were all foreshadowing. The Adamantoise felt like big not just because of its huge size, but just because it was a big deal to Lucis in general.

    And then we have Omega, the cherry on top. While itís nowhere near as challenging as other FF super bosses, it is certainly the most engaging fight in the game. I had to use up pretty much all of my items - no cheesing Alterna this time - and I felt I just had to adjust my tactics at every turn. FFXV is a very easy game in general, but even though I didnít lose to Omega once, it still felt like I really needed to pay attention. Also, itís battle theme is a remix of the FFV battle theme! How cool is that!



    Overall, I think it bears repeating that I really loved XV. Like really loved. It was a fantastic experience for me overall and it actually completely reinvigorated my love for this franchise. It reminded me why after so many years I still just canít let go of FF. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel like I was part of something big. Iím a bit sad that a game with such an incredible world, lovable characters, and incredibly strong themes gets such a cold reception from the fan base, but I firmly believe that in time, itíll become vindicated, much like other once-polarizing entries like XII.

    So Iíll probably write an article about it soon, I guess. Iím also actually planning another marathon of FF in the near future - though Iíll be finishing some other games in the meantime as a palate cleanser. But before I start those new threads, if anyone is still here, let me know - what was your absolute favorite thing about FFXV?

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
    But before I start those new threads, if anyone is still here, let me know - what was your absolute favorite thing about FFXV?
    I absolutely loved the world they created. It really felt like a real place to me. Even though it was criminally underused in the final game and you didn't get to see as much as they'd obviously planned originally (having only 2 real towns is a sign something's gone wrong in the planning), I just enjoyed exploring it so much.

    I was so gutted when they canceled the second round of DLC, because I was hoping we'd end up seeing a lot more of the world. I wanted a Luna DLC set in the outskirts of Altissia, and I wanted an Aranea DLC set in Tenebrae when its invaded in the second half of the game! Those would've been great to explore.

  5. #50
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    Considering the content from those cut DLCs has been turned into that novel thing, and the fact the novel is a complete retcon that absolutely undermines the incredibly strong themes of this games, Iím actually happy those DLCs got cut. At least I can ignore the novel.

  6. #51

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    I didn't bother reading it. I thought they originally said that only the Noctis DLC was going to offer an alternate ending?

    Did the Aranea and Luna ones do the same? If so then I'm glad they didn't bother too. I don't like any alternate ending stuff.

  7. #52
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    Yep all three (plus Ardyn to an extent) were meant to set up Bahamut as a big bad and a Screw Destiny plot.

  8. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
    Yep all three (plus Ardyn to an extent) were meant to set up Bahamut as a big bad and a Screw Destiny plot.
    Yeah that's pretty much what Ep Ardyn did. Which I thought worked great as an explanation for Ardyn's character, but didn't really fit with the rest of the main story very well. It seemed to make Noctis' role in the whole story almost accidental. Like he was only the "chose one" because that's the time at which Ardyn woke up/escaped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raistlin View Post
    As I said earlier, I really didn't like the last chapters of the game and the ending, but I also played it on launch and haven't played it since. Most of the rest was pretty entertaining though. I've been toying with the idea of getting the full edition though it's also dumb that that should be necessary in the first place. You gave a rather glowing review, so maybe that'll nudge me to actually do it.

    I still can't imagine comparing it to VI or XII.
    If you only played it on launch, you absolutely need to replay it with all of the DLC as part of your playthrough. I really didn't like it on launch, would've said it was just very average. Would've given 7/10. But the DLC fixes nearly everything. Fixes the massive plotholes, fixes the extremely short length of the game, and fixes the terrible pacing in the second half.
    After all the DLC, I'd say it's more of a 9/10.

    You have to make sure you play all of the DLC chronologically within the game though, that really works so much better.
    Last edited by JJ Strife; 09-11-2020 at 02:43 AM.

  9. #54
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    Still, I feel episode Ardyn wasn’t enough to truly undermine it. Like yeah, Ardyn absolutely got dealt a troutty hand but Bahamut still doesn’t strike me as a malevolent entity. The Astrals kind of operate on a different set of morality than humans, but it’s still pretty clear Bahamut’s plan is all a means of ridding the world of the Starscourge completely. That Ardyn was the one that had to play such a thankless role - that’s just the part that makes XV a tragedy.


    As for your advice to those who only played it at launch, I can’t decide whether I agree. I guess that largely depends on what exactly you missed from the original release. Like yeah it’s better to play, the plot is better told, there’s more world building, but if you were like mostly disappointed that Luna wasn’t a central character? Not so much. Two characters - Verstael and Ravus - really got their characters expanded to the point that they feel really important, but other than that, I’m not like absolutely certain every person who didn’t like it at launch will be on board now. The gameplay is the same - it’s much more refined but if you didn’t like the original like on a fundamental level, you still likely won’t change your mind.

  10. #55

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    Yeah it does depend on exactly why you didn't like the launch version. If it was because of Luna's largely pointless role in the game, then nothing will have changed. But it did fix both of my main 2 problems I had on launch day:
    1) The story in the second half of the game was a complete mess, with so many important events just happening off screen, which meant you never really felt any of it was actually happening. It felt more like a weird nightmare you were going through.
    2) The pacing was such a mess with the massive switch from open world exploration onto a very linear on-rails section up until the end.

    In my opinion both of those were pretty much fixed. Between the Ignis and Prompto DLC, the "13 Verse 2" chapter, the added cutscenes and story section they added into Chapter 12 (I think that's where they added them), all of the story made so much more sense. As you say Ravus and Verstael feel properly fleshed out. The emperor actually shows up again, instead of just vanishing without explanation, and I also really appreciated having Cor (Gladio DLC and Royal Pack) and Aranea (Prompto DLC) getting a lot more screentime. They were both really interesting characters who just disappeared in the second half of the original game.

    Then there's the linearity issue. This is probably the biggest improvement they made for me. Pretty much every DLC they added that takes place in the second half of the game makes it less linear. Ignis DLC is very open (bizarrely more open than Altissia in the main game, Lol), Prompto DLC is quite open, Comrades is extremely non-linear, and then the Royal Pack version of Chapter 14 made it a lot bigger and a lot more open. Even the upgrade they added to the boat makes the game feel less linear because now you can sail around the sea, and leave Altissia if you want (in the original you can only leave by fast-travel).

  11. #56
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    Iíd still argue Luna wasnít pointless. This game just didnít have a traditional FF love story and Luna wasnít a traditional FF heroine. The romance is there but the purpose is different. the focus is on the brotherhood and kingly duties, so Lunaís character is important, just not central to the plot.

  12. #57

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    Pointless is definitely the wrong word, but she has a really uneven place in the story. She's built up as being incredibly important, but then dies before we can really get to know her at all, and see any kind of real connection between her and Noctis. The death feels pointless relative to the story because we don't yet know as much about her as Noctis does, so we can't possibly share his reaction to it. Compare that to something like FF7 where we share 100% of the relationship between Cloud and Aerith, as we've seen every single interaction they ever had together.

  13. #58
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    But thatís the point - sheís not Aerith. Her role is completely different. She is the sacrificial lamb and she gets a lot of work done for Noctis so that he can progress. She knows that they both have to die for the world to be saved and has already made her peace with the fact that this is the part she must play - something Noct wonít accept until much later. The intimacy of their relationship isnít core to the story, but itís there and I honestly enjoy how subtle it is. The notebook, the dress viewing - the entire central thing about their relationship is unfulfilled longing, which I think is very nicely resolved in the post-credit sequence.

    So yeah, her importance as a character with a personality is not that big due to the focus, but she still has a really big role to play and Noctis literally would not be able to progress without her.

  14. #59

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    Was it definitively stated that she HAD to die to save the world? I wasn't entirely clear on that.

  15. #60
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    Whether she did or not, Iím like 99% certain she knew. And she was definitely ready to do so.

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