This long-awaited RPG provides an epic adventure that fantasy and adventure fans simply have to play, even if they've never tried a game in this franchise. Final Fantasy XV may have taken a decade of production, but it manages to deliver an adventure that clearly builds upon the legacy of the series by merging several genres together successfully. Without spoiling anything (because you really should discover this game for yourself), the lands of Eos are open and fully explorable, completely embracing open-world gameplay. Whether you travel only through the plot, explore side quests, or fight through hidden dungeons -- the option is yours at any time. The quest structure, along with the management of each squadmate, feels like it's taken directly from a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, even though this is completely a single-player title. What's more, the game manages to make the four main characters seem like real people instead of simply robots driven by AI. Plus, while you can opt to give strategic individual commands, it's designed to play more like a hack-and-slash action title. You wouldn't think these elements would work together, but they fit like pieces to make a larger, immersive puzzle of this world. Even the addition of newer gameplay elements, such as the photography, cooking, and survival traits of Noctis' friends, compliment classic series elements such as racing Chocobos (bird-like creatures) and using a skill tree to boost abilities.
There are a few issues that arise during play: You may see the occasional glitch here and there as characters get stuck in the ground or perform other odd behaviors that break the world. Some tutorials should go into more depth to explain what you can do, particularly related to creating magic or locking onto some targets. Another curious decision was to leave out additional plot points and background information in the game, keeping much of it in the separately released Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV movie (which players should definitely watch to fully understand everything happening before and during the earliest segments of the plot). It's an odd admission for such a large story. Finally, there are some pacing issues as you move toward the end of the main quest. Things feel very rushed as chapters are suddenly completed with significant battles near the end of the story. But these are very minor complaints about a game that has a ton of gameplay, especially since Square Enix has spent more than two years regularly releasing content for the game. Its latest set of DLC, the Royal Pack, expands gameplay with items like new dungeons and areas to explore, a first-person view to bring you farther into the game, and a revamped section of Insomnia City, which adds new boss fights and scenes to the end of the game. While the fishing additions may not intrigue some players, the other content is easily more than enough to bring back players that haven't jumped into the land of Eos for a while. If you're a Final Fantasy, adventure, or role-playing fan, you owe it to yourself to dive into this game. You may even find some of your new favorite characters waiting to adventure with you.