Sometimes the section of a game chosen for presentation at E3 just doesn’t work well. Final Fantasy XV has an amazing new combat system, one that involves warping around the battlefield and reacting to attacks with quick dodges and parries. It isn’t a complicated system, but it takes some getting used to and the section of the game that you can play on the showfloor is the fight against Titan.
In this battle, after just a handful of enemies is thrown at you to try get used to the system, you have to go up against the monstrously-sized Titan. Missing a dodge ends up with you in a near-death state, which can get really annoying when it happens several times in a row. Titan smashes at you near constantly and if your timing is incorrect, you won’t force him to drop his hand on the ground where it can be attacked easily. This is compounded by the game not really explaining if it wants you to repeatedly jab block or hold it in as a pulsating block button appears in the middle of the screen. As a result, a demo that is meant to showcase how to play the game and the richness in the combat system, it turns into a trial by fire as you try desperately to stay alive as Titan slams you into the ground. As a showcase it really failed. Even after playing all the demos before I was hard-pressed to not be left crawling around waiting for a heal from my party, before getting clipped by Titan again and ending up in the exact same position: on the floor.
While I understand the desire to show off a big boss fight after showing the rather intimate story of Platinum Demo and the sprawling exploration possible in Episode Duscae, it was time to show off a large battle. Sadly without time for players to come to full grips with the combat system, it ended up feeling rather flat. In the end I defeated Titan, or at least I blasted his arm off, but I wasn’t left feeling very satisfied. The Titan speaks another language and without subtitles it was noise rather than a bit of story or a way for him to announce his attacks. This fight in particular had some issues with the camera battling to show you big attacks coming or getting stuck on the floor trying to look up. It is a difficult camera angle to navigate around the area. I am really looking forward to this game, but I think the Titan fight either needs a rework, or perhaps needs to happen at a point in the game when players are really comfortable with the combat systems. I managed to see another section of the game, completely unrelated to combat, that I will write about in another post.