By Danyel Poindexter, Staff Writer

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV - Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV – Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings

It is a game that is hard to miss and quite hard not to hear about. The “Final Fantasy” series has hit the gaming shelves once again, and the graphics are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

On November 29, developers Square Enix Holdings, XPEC Entertainment, HexaDrive, Streamline Studios, and Umbra released “Final Fantasy XV” to the public; one of the most anticipated games of the year. Yoko Shimomura composed the game, along with designers Tetsuya Nomura, Wan Hazmer, Prasert Prasertvithyakarn, Masashi Takizawa, Kenichiro Yuji, Kunihiko Kimura and Masanori Sato.  “Final Fantasy XV” is a role-playing game where the player follows Prince Noctis and fellow travelers Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto on a journey to retake their land after it has been stolen by the military. While this game is set in single-player mode under Prince Noctis, the NPC fellow travelers stay as healthy and dependable a companion as any player could ask for, aiding in combat and protection when under attack.

Unlike most RPG games, Prince Noctis and his fellow travelers are not simply a band of strangers wrangled together under unfortunate circumstances—these four are long time, close friends who venture together and give “Final Fantasy XV” the heart it needs to pull in any dedicated player. While the romance of the story gets a handful of tear jerking moments and the true trouble that befalls their land isn’t fully recognized until near the end of the game, the game’s combat is smooth and finishing, with swift movements and astonishing team-up attacks.  While the mechanics of battle combos are a little dry and repetitive, the visuals of the game pay off.

Lighting in the daytime always appears gratifying and the landscaping stays clean yet stunning, with its attention to detail and long drawn distances, which never over-pixelate. The wide plains and simple roads keep the landscape alive and colorful, holding its subtlety in certain areas. The night is bright with stars and vivid hues of cold and warm colors.

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV - Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV – Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings

“Final Fantasy XV” is an open world game, meaning players have the opportunity to do numerous side missions that are either relaxed or highly action-packed. This allows players the chance to explore land that is skipped over or minimally recognized during the core gameplay. For fans of the “Final Fantasy” franchise, this modern open world proceeds its predecessors in visuals and content, though the simplistic combat may leave some a little hesitant to go into extreme battle. If you are a new player, there is nothing to fear. The game holds its own story, though it has some aspects of previous “Final Fantasy” games embedded into, as it should. Anyone can play “Final Fantasy XV” without having played the previous ones and still have a great time.

To be perfectly honest, the true award for this game goes to the epic bromance experienced throughout the events and some of the best boss battles seen in gaming, as Prince Noctis is led through different dungeons in search for weapons to help power him in the ending battle of his journey. The genuine storyline is somewhat washed away with the open world concept but it’s not much of a loss to the entire game. The aesthetics and small details including, arcade games—that become quite addicting— posters, clothing, and weapon stops keep the realism of the game alive; plus, the beautifully crafted characters of both importance and insignificance do not hurt either.

The engrossing warmth and natural undertones yet use of dark colors make everything quite breathtaking so, no matter your preference in gaming, “Final Fantasy XV” is perhaps one of the most strikingly beautiful games you will land your hands on. If you do have a loved one who immerses themselves in these types of plays or that loved one is yourself, do not forget to snag this treat for the holidays. It should not be missed.

Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV - Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings
Screenshot of Final Fantasy XV – Courtesy of Square Enix Holdings