Square Enix Japan just got done hosting a ‘Square Enix Presents’ event which featured Final Fantasy XV Director Hajime Tabata showing off video footage of the Final Fantasy XV demo, that’s to come packaged with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, in action.
We’ve taken notes on the important parts of the demo so those of you who missed it or those who can’t speak Japanese can find out the latest.
Events kicked off with the reveal of the first major piece of Final Fantasy XV merchandise in the form of a Noctis Play Arts Kai figure from Square Enix Products. The sculpt and design of the figure looks pretty impressive, and features full articulation as fans have come to expect from the Play Arts Kai line.
After that, the crew got to the demo and an explanation of its controls – which, for the first time featured video of the Xbox One version of the game, followed by a more full and live gameplay demo from the PS4 version. Here’s the important points:
- The demo shown was story spoiler free and doesn’t reveal the identity of the mystery Summon that’ll appear when players get their hands on the final thing next month – but there would be a live demo of the controls and a Q&A session with the audience watching online.
- The demo should take around 3 hours to play through.
- The demo will be available for download one hour after FF Type-0 HD goes on sale. People who buy the digital version will have a period of two months where they can download the demo.
- The title screen of the demo plays the previously released ‘Somnus’ track from Yoko Shimomura, and is based on the real world time – at night it’ll be dark and feature a moon, but if you booted the game in the morning it’d be reflected in the title screen.
- The team is aiming for the best frame rate possible in the final game, but can’t promise anything. The demo is described as not representative of the final experience.
- The game’s full world map is said to be somewhere between 10 and 20 times the size of the available map in the demo.
- The weather system didn’t make it into the demo, but is still on track for the final game. The development team apologize for its absence.
- While the demo has a save, this save will not be compatible with or carry anything over to the final game. It might, however, offer players something as a ‘thank you’ for playing the demo.
- The development team hopes fans will use the demo to get an idea of the size and scope of the final game.
- A lot of progress has been made, but currently FF15 stands at about 60% complete. As things are completed, progress could quickly jump to 80%, but for now progress is gradual.
Controls & Combat
- The controls are largely as you expect: Analog stick to move, Cross/A to jump, Square/X to attack, L1/LB to guard, L3/Left stick to dash, Circle/B to Shift (Warp) and Shift Break and Triangle/Y to use your currently equipped ability – but that last two options cost MP. What ability you use with the final option is selected via the D-Pad.
- The party members are AI controlled only. Their AI reacts to the movements of Noctis – they’ll always follow close behind and speed up and slow down as required.
- When the player closes in on enemies, a red gauge appears to indicate an encounter is coming. In this period you can flee, but if you don’t battle starts and the gauge disappears and lets you get on with fighting. The appearance of the gauge also marks the moment the battle music kicks in.
- The game features an auto lock-on feature, but you can also manually adjust who you’re focused on or work without lock-on.
- Blocking comes in the form of Noctis dodging. It isn’t timing based – to dodge, just hold L1/LB and Noctis will do the rest – but each time Noctis dodges it costs MP, so you can’t do it indefinitely. A magical blue haze of dust appears when dodging to indicate MP has been used.
- Warping with the sword, as seen in trailers, also costs MP. You can lock on to enemies and warp into them directly to begin an attack.
- In combat the AI-only controlled party members won’t just assist the player, Noctis, but will also aid each other if the situation lends to it. If you manage to parry an enemy, it will often lead to one of your party members assisting in a follow-up attack. New ‘partner attacks’ are unlocked throughout the game as the party grows closer in their friendship. There aren’t many of these in the demo, but the final game will have many more.
- At times in combat the enemy will flash – when they do, it’s a good idea to either block, parry or get out of the way, as the follow-up attack will be a mean one.
- In the menu, we get a glimpse of Noctis’ menu system. In one battle, they focus on the use of a ‘Rush’ type weapon, which means it can attack continuously with no let-up.
- You can open up the menu during combat, which pauses, to adjust what weapon you’re using. Your Triangle/Y button skill is also tied to your weapon, so switching is important.
- One enemy is so strong that blocking is not an option – in that instance, it’s better to spec for power in weapon choice to try to take it down.
- Fighting in at night features different combat music to that heard in the day, and is also far more dangerous.
- At one point, the party battles robot soldiers whose bodies fall apart as they take damage – heads and limbs falling off as they’re impacted.
- Phantom Sword, the ‘floating swords’ damage-eating ability that’s been in several trailers, uses MP non-stop once activated. It continues until MP is depleted, but there are ways to heal and regain MP while still using the ability too.
- When your HP is depleted you don’t die right away – there’s a ‘status’ that you can rescue from if you’re fast enough. Your HP gauge goes red, and you can heal or use potions but nothing else – not even move – until you heal. If your gauge runs down, it’s game over.
- EXP gains are displayed once a combat encounter is complete – combat is entered seamlessly, but there’s a notable ‘start’ and ‘end’ to each combat encounter. As well as EXP for kills, the screen displays how long the encounter took (Time), the damage done (Damaged), how many attacks were parried (Parried) and Bonus EXP, rewarded presumably based on those statistics.
- HP & MP of the party recover between encounters automatically, but slowly. Items can also be used to speed up the process.
Questing & Exploration
- Next up we see some quest related stuff. A yellow marker of your destination appears on-screen to help direct you.
- You can also set your own destination marker if you wish.
- Blue shiny objects in the environment can be investigated and picked up – some might be useful, some might just be sold for gil. Noctis may be a Prince, but the goal of the demo is to get enough cash together to get his car up and running again – they’ve hit rough times!
- A great Behemoth named ‘Smoke Eye’ is one of the larger enemies available to fight in the demo, and the party will spend time tracking him by looking for mammoth footsteps. Defeating it will get you a major cash bounty that’ll really help your quest. He’s named Smoke Eye because he’s blind in one eye, and that’s a key weakness to exploit.
- As part of the demo they took Noctis into the water – he can only go in to a shallow depth (below the knee) in the demo, but in the full version he’ll be able to go deeper into it.
- The party will point things out to Noctis and suggest places nearby to visit and investigate. They essentially offer a helping hand to point the player at potentially interesting areas.
- There’s more enemies out in the open at night, and they’re more deadly to boot. Goblins, for instance, can be found in caves and dungeons at any time of the day, but at night they venture outside, too.
- Fighting draws attention to you, so if you fight in an open area for a long time, additional enemies may be attracted to and join the scuffle.
- Some wildlife in the world isn’t hostile at first, but if attacked will then turn hostile and fight back.
- The animals that Noctis & crew take on in the shown segment of the demo are the target because killing them provides meat for the party to cook and eat when they make camp for the night.
- There are often different ‘types’ of the same beast. A ‘queen’ version is shown, for instance, and is larger, more powerful and thus more formidable in battle than the other versions of the same creature.
- Blue lights at night designate camp sites, safe zones where enemies can attack. At a camp site you can bed in for the night and also select what meal to eat based on the ingredients available, with different meals carrying different bonus effects and buffs for the party. Bonuses are listed in the menu.
- The classic FF victory fanfare plays when you finish resting at camp – and as your stat boosts from your meal are given. Resting up moves the time forwards to daytime.
- Camp also appears to be where EXP ‘checks in’, with it rewarded fully so you can actually level up once you’ve slept. As we already know, combat abilities will be reduced if you don’t sleep and fight tired.
- Camp sites also act as fast travel spots, so once you’ve discovered one you can warp back there with ease.
- We see a little more of the main quest line, with the party tracking down Behemoth to take the beast down – but stop before we hit spoiler territory. A scene with the Behemoth looks like a cutscene but the player actually has some control, Uncharted style.
- There’s ‘post game’ content in the demo – there’s things for players to do and experiment with after completing its main story.
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae is to be available next month alongside first print copies of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.