For today’s PS4A Picks, we take a look at the past and future of one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, Final Fantasy, with FFIX and FFXV’s Platinum demo. Also on the playlist this week were the awesomely addictive Destiny and Dark Souls III.
If there is one thing about modern console gaming that does drive me a little crazy, it is the delay between inserting a disc you want to revisit and being able to actually play the game. Let me explain.
After ten days on the road, I wanted to get back into Destiny and check out all of the new April updates. I was certain I had a bunch of items sitting with the Postmaster, and I needed to get my ‘light’ moving in a positive direction once again. I still have The Taken King missions I’ve had to pass on thanks to being too weak. First of all, I had to wait while the latest PS4 firmware installed. I’m fine with that, given all the awesome new features, but that was delay number one. Then, a whole batch of patch updates started at the same time, and I found myself having to prioritise them by pausing those I didn’t care about right now. After inserting Destiny, another patch started to download. The estimated time delay? One hour, and that’s on a 200Mb fibre connection! I thought to myself “oh well – maybe I’ll play a little Star Wars Battlefront while I wait.” That would have been fine but for the three-hour download it required before I could start playing.
I did, after going away to do something else, eventually get back into Destiny. I received all my free goodies, and I had some awesome multiplayer matches to help push my light toward something respectable. But the entire experience was tainted by the size of the patches required to play, and that is a constant source of frustration. PlayStation Plus ‘should’ download and install all of these – including firmware – overnight so that I can just get on with gaming. Hopefully, one day, that will work the way Sony intend it.
This period I spent playing around with the Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo. I’m usually not one to be drawn into games by demos or betas, mostly because I just don’t have the time to spend on them, but since the demo features its own self-contained story outside of the main game and would unlock exclusive content for the full game as well, I decided that it would be well worth playing.
The demo is rather short. My first playthrough came in under an hour and I’m pretty sure I had explored nearly everything it had to offer. It does a good job at giving just a taste of multiple aspects of the main game, with exploration, battles and magic.
The combat feels a little basic, but I assume that’s because the demo only gives you access to two types of weapons and a handful of spells. The enemies, aside from the boss, are easily dispatched by simply holding down the attack button so there’s no real need for any kind of strategy…yet.
I did enjoy the “room” world where a young Noctis is shrunk down so everything is massive to him. It reminded me a lot of the Alice in Wonderland levels from Kingdom Hearts. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the demo, and it really got me excited for September to arrive.
This week there’s a clear winner for which game occupied most of my time, and that is the wonderful Dark Souls III. I’ve reviewed it and, if you couldn’t guess already, it’s a very glowing review. It could very well be one of the best games of 2016 (you know, once we get to December and start talking about the best games of the year, that is!). It’s difficult, gorgeous and addictive; I’ve spent two dozen hours on it and counting, with plenty more to do! I missed a lot of side quests and such on my first playthrough, so I’d like to get those done at some point. I didn’t think I’d say it, but I think I prefer it to Bloodborne – it has more varied bosses and locations, although Bloodborne’s aesthetic is what originally pulled me into it; now I have the urge to revisit the other Souls titles too!
Other than that, I’ve started another playthrough of Final Fantasy IX (tied with Persona 4 Golden as my all-time favourite game), and it’s even better than I remember; and I remember it being pretty damn amazing! I’d love to see the shiny Steam version come to PS4, but otherwise the game holds up very well and is a delight to play – there’s a reason I hold it in such high regard, and it’s something I would say is essential playing if you enjoy Japanese games, RPGs, or anything with a great story and characters. I’m now at Lindblum and I’ll soon be participating in the Festival of the Hunt, so I look forward to spending much more time with it!