Final Fantasy XV’s Platinum Demo is a trip down the Carbuncle hole By Tony Garsow on April 1, 2016 at 10:44 PM

Announced at the Uncovered Final Fantasy XV event on Wednesday, the Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo is a free title that allows you to traipse through the Crown Prince Noctis’s dream world. Joined by a guardian Carbuncle, the fuzzball familiar leads young Noct through a series of environments in an effort to rejoin him with the waking world.

While Platinum Demo is very much a demo, don’t expect it to reflect Final Fantasy XV in its full glory. Perhaps it was a misnomer not to call Platinum a “tech demo”, as that’s really what’s going here. While last year’s Episode Duscae gave us an early idea of what a basic gameplay loop might look like in the finished product, Platinum Demo gives us a better idea of the game’s graphical (yet unfinished) prowess.

In the video below, we spend about a half an hour going through the demo – and while there’s a small collectionist aspect to it – don’t expect to get a deep whiff of the final game’s RPG mechanics.

That’s not to say Platinum Demo is without merit. In fact, it gives us a rather disarming update on how the game’s combat has evolved since Episode Duscae.

Carbuncle, a beloved face from the Final Fantasy series pantheon of summons, shows up as Noctis’s guide through his dream state. We’re not given much context regarding Final Fantasy XV’s overall story, other than Noctis’s slumber has put those around him in a state of distress. Was this the result of an accident? It’s not clear. What we do glimpse is the bond between father and son, what ultimately leads Noctis through his dreamworld after facing many nightmares.

9b236c54f02d69a6404125e72b301132Throughout the handful of environments we’re allowed to explore, we can unlock plates that can be depressed for various effects. Some will change the time of day so that you can witness each locale in various, impressive lighting effects. Areas include a dense forest, an indoor playroom that has major Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep vibes paired with composer Yoko Shimomura, an outdoor plaza in what seems to be Altissia, and the famous Citadel in the Crown City we’ve familiarized ourselves with ever since Final Fantasy Versus XIII’s unveiling nearly ten years ago.

Other plates will allow you to transform into vehicles or enemy monsters. While the former gives us an idea of what vehicle handling will feel like in the final product, playing around as crocodile, giraffe, or garula is amusing, even if it seems to have no gameplay purpose in XV proper.

Some will bestow weapons, magic items, and corresponding upgrades to them. Collecting various rubies will unlock various tiers of rewards that you can play with. Switching out weapons and magic items is simple, and you can assign four slots that correspond to your controller’s D-pad.

Combat’s a big change here, no doubt fueled by feedback from Episode Duscae, so let’s start with the similarities. Attacking and defending have made the jump to face buttons; attacking can be executed with the Circle/B button and defending with the Square/X button. It’s a little disorienting at first if you’ve put in some quality time with Episode Duscae (you can see me flub a few moves in the battle with the Iron Giant) but it’s not hard to wrap your brain around.

You can either mash or hold the button to let loose your basic combos, though I felt holding buttons for these basic maneuvers felt much better. 9b236c54f02d69a6404125e72b301132Split second evasions or guards that cross into counter attacks can still be executed, and feel great to pull off – it’s no wonder that the combat centers itself around this dance between offense and defense. You can also manually switch weapons during combos with a simple press of the D-pad – I usually followed up my sword combos with a finish blow from the hammer.

Thankfully, even with larger enemies such as the iron giant, the camera has had some notable improvements. It’s still a bit sketchy when fighting in enclosed spaces or when interactive objects intersect your line of sight, but it’s much improved.

What limited magic we’re given to play around looks impressive, though the framerate noticeably dips when these effects go off. Hopefully that will be addressed as optimization continues into the development home stretch. Magic spells are consumed like inventory items – a mechanic we’ve learned will be in the final game – so using them wisely is pretty important. When magic is selected, you can press the attack or offense button to enter a throwing state, similar to throwing a grenade or launching a mortar in your favorite shootbang game.

In the final area, we’re treated to grown-up(?) Noctis with his Armiger arsenal

For those that complete the demo, you’ll be able to unlock and rename Carbuncle in the full game.

While Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo probably isn’t the best introduction for the masses, it gives us superfans a brief, charming look at what progress has been made in the final product’s development. It’ll run you about 30-40 minutes of playtime, though if you’re looking to explore and unlock every item, you’ll likely spend around two to three hours.

What are your impressions of Platinum Demo? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo is now available for free on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Final Fantasy XV will release worldwide on September 30th, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

  • Martian Wong

    The child Noctis part reminds me of Kingdom Heart, from atmosphere to battle system. I wish it is a bit longer though.

  • Its a fun KH-Alice and Wonderlan-ish demo. I liked it. Some of the targeting is still off but It was good.
    I like the combat especially Meteorain. I just hope for the magic rings and lots of Limit Breaks.

  • Jesus Christ

    Y’all can’t be serious surprised by the Kingdom Hearts vibe. Way back when when we first heard of VERSUS, it was KH vibe all over the place, just more darker and mature in story.


    Also reminds me of jack in the dark, in an era where every single weapon model costs you real fcking money, this shines more than every full game released in the last few years. Square hit the hole SO DAMN Good this time. This is not gonna happen again guys.

  • one.life

    Are there still techniques in the demo, like the ones assigned to Triangle on Duscae?

  • kinda, at the end

  • One thing to be happy about: With XV all but done and coming this fall, that mean E3 and all other game cons will be all about FF7R and maybe KH3 or hints at FF16.

  • Galen Lee Daughdrill

    Enjoyed the demo, I do wish there was a little more wisdom shared as far as the story and lore behind FFXV go but still an impressive project. FFXV may be the best looking IP out there!

  • •december

    I played this demo 6 times and I only just found out there’s two hidden items at the end the Cross Shuriken and The shield

  • Jesus Christ

    Omg guys and girls, I just thought of something. You know in the video above near the end at night time, doesn’t that setting remind you of that one place in KHII?

    Remember in the Deep Dive secret ending, Riku atop building and Roxas bottom? Dang KH vibe FO REALS!

  • “Platinum Demo” makes it sound like it’s a definitive demo, but it truly is a tech demo meant for fans who have been keeping up with the game’s progress. I personally love the magic effects. I think the environments/settings look much better than what we were shown in Episode Duscae.

  • Average Afro

    Could place my finger on why it felt familiar. I like the amount of similarities that I’m starting to find between this and KH.

  • Shebua

    the music in the first area is sooooo good!
    reminded me of FFX which is always a good thing =)

  • Miqote

    Demo sucks imo. But at least it’s free…. And there’s always Duscae..

  • neon2142

    Whole demo reminds me of KH series 🙂 I would like to have more in final product like as an Dream World DLC or something like that but I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s not really amazing but I still loved it as it was ^.^

  • Zenobia Joyner

    i adore this demo and i named carbuncle prompto once i finished it 🙂

  • Shad Leonheart

    Yeah,you have to attack while your using the left analog stick to go backwards

  • Tony Garsow

    Yeah, they’re fun to use! Oh – I posted a video of how to get them into the article too.

  • Samuel

    I loved the demo, first because it was cool to see Noctis as a child with Carbuncle, giving you a different perspective; second the music was truly engaging, I wasn’t really finding the OST special during Duscae days, but that changed with the new trailers and this demo.

    but then I got to the final battle, in that well known area, I change to night weather, fought the giant with all that fast movements and crystals flowing, warped to the highest point of the palace… I felt I was truly playing Versus XIII. That was my favorite part, as a fan waiting since 2006.

    (damn I hope we can explore Imsomnia).

  • y0d499_1337

    Didn’t like the demo. Miss the Duscae combat. I really liked it originally.

  • Abdullah Alqattan

    it was good , but there is something bothering me I hope if any one can deliver this message to the derictor because I can’t contact with him ( actually the control -I can’t imagine that I have to press circle button to attack -usually we get used to attack by square button. so I hope if there is an option in the future so we can change the attack button from circle to square button.

  • Jesus Christ

    Just realized: the cups and everything at the table is so Alice in Wonderland.

  • Krijn van Alten

    ‘Is it really time to stop playing new RPGs and just do nothing but think back on the old days of all the games I loved’

    A whole industry needs to follow your wishes? What a arrogance. They never follow the needs of a individual, they always follow the needs of the majority, but that is where the money comes from. And that majority might well like the more action orientated games like Bloodborne, Kingdom Hearts, Type-0 and so on.

    I think it’s time for you to realise that everything changes over time, including the FF series. And if you see that it is not going in the direction that you want, than instead of moaning about it (which doesn’t help at all but only irritates people who do love current developments in the FF series) you might look for something else. You already named some examples: Tales, Ys and so on. Go play then and leave us in peace.

  • Dongmatteezzy

    NOW YOU’RE TALKING!!!! Well….without change there is no progress 😉

  • Dongmatteezzy

    They’re changing the battle system because the very popular genre of games now (the so-called “Modern”) is Action and it’s good that they changed because that is the trend here but the RPG Elements are still there (which is good), maybe not all but atleast it’s an Action-RPG. Their target is not the people who keeps whining and who keeps saying “the RPG before is better” or “Turn-based RPG’s are way better than FFVIIR and FFXV”, their target is the New players, those who are new to Final Fantasy, and those who are old fans of FF but accepts the changes in the series. If they didn’t changed and made the game like the “Old Final Fantasy Games”, then it will eventually fall into it’s doom. Time won’t chase them, it will keep on running so they need to catch up and adjust or else they will be left behind. Without change there is no progress.

    Those kind of RPG’s are not bad but that was before and the majority now likes Action-style based game and the next Final Fantasy game will not turn into Bloodborne or a FPS because that is not Final Fantasy anymore. If the core (which is the RPG elements) that made the series popular is not there anymore, then you can only say that FF is now Dark Souls or etc. Whats important to them is to keep attracting and gaining new fans, newcomers, new players, and to increase the quantity of the fan base rather than staying with the old fans who doesn’t want to move on. They are not afraid to loose old fans of this series if they keep on gaining the interests of the new fans which is happening now. You guys need to move on, accept the changes to move forward, and to make progress. If not, still nothing will change. The game won’t adjust to you, YOU need to adjust.

  • I like Action RPGs too, I just want to play both turn-based and action ones. But now-a-days, turn based is almost strictly on iphone or 3DS or non-existent indie games that never get fully published.
    I like change, like not always having white or japanese leads. But I like to see mixes of old and new.
    You say they’re going for “modern” gaming style, so if modern mean Action now, why wouldn’t they switch to FPS or Dark Souls style if that because the most loved and modern style down the line.

    I don’t want the game to adjust to me. I want there to be games I can like. If abandon every game that does things I didn’t like I’d be playing nothing. What this really comes down to, is Square like most companies fired the old fans are a given so they can take them for grant or just not care about them at all. It wouldn’t be that hard to alternate between turn-based and action games with FFs or any of their other games. I’m not the only fan that like turned based stuff. And I can play an action game till the cows come home. But my first love is the turned-based ones. To me a lot of tactical elements of RPGs are lost when they break combat down too much into just comboing with more damage. But in an RPG, 9 times outta 10, you have to do way more than just be faster, hit harder.

    It’s not unreasonable to hope that not all games will be like FF7R and XV. Will I play both those games and likely love them, sure. But I’ll never just completely cross over into ONLY playing Action RPGs. That’s not my style. If Square wanted they could compromise and makes some of their games turn-based and some action RPGs. But if they think more money can be made quicker with one genre off of new fans who like that genre that’s all they’ll do. No one has given me a reason other than money why they can’t alternate genre style from game to game. FFXV is action rpg, so maked 16 turn-based, and back to action RPG with 17, and so on. That’s fair.

  • Here’s another compromise: Remember Grandia 2? If the battle style was like that it’d be great. It’s a mix of areas of effects, splash damage, character movement and placement, and still has turns. It’s “action” and turn-based.

  • When did I say even imply that the entire industry should do what I say? When?

  • Krijn van Alten

    Well, even if it’s one company, than it is still arrogant.

    And don’t try to hit me back on just one detail, the point
    I make in the rest of the comment still stands.

  • My point is I don’t want them to change JUST FOR ME. Lots of people like the same thing I like. Why do yall think that when someone wants something suddenly they’re just a whiny baby who wants the world to revolve around them? I only stated I don’t like something and wish it was different. Who doesn’t feel that way about something at one point or another? And when they do, they don’t always want a company or an industry to change for them. They just wish things weren’t headed that way. Which is what I keep saying buy people ignore. I like FFs. I like RPGs or most types. But I still have worries over the changes they make. Why can’t that be it? Why doesn’t it have to come to name calling? I’m not arrogant. I’m just not sold on the new FF format these days.

  • Krijn van Alten

    If that is really your point than you shout formulate it differently.

    ‘Which is what I keep saying but people ignore’
    I seen you saying thinks like that a couple of times now. I wonder: is it self pitty or attention seeking?

  • Sothe Zephyr

    The combat was a huge let down. Found it clunky and worse than Duscae’s. Wish it were more like Type-0’s with various movements of the analog stick changing the type of attack/range of attack Noct performs. His whole thing with various weapon is less fluid and more clunky now, disappointing.

  • highsky00

    When i fought the Iron Giant ,i recorded this .The combat in my opinions, it’s more fluid now ,you have more freedom to control. The pace is also increased. You just need to know how to play it right, play it fast.

  • You call yourself Jesus but your ability to perceive things are not so god-like.

  • I_M_D_O_N_E

    I liked the demo…ANYWHO I’m pissed off because whats with this FFXIV Realm Reborn having a damn subscription after you purchase the game in the playstation store? da f***….