This post was written by Laurent Backman ro Big Shiny Robot you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo – Square Enix – PS4 – 03.31.16 – Free
The 'FFXV' Uncovered event hosted by Square Enix a few weeks ago was a veritable behemoth in terms of information and content for the upcoming JRPG. Alongside collector’s edition details, a 5-episode OVA, and a full-length movie reveal, Square Enix also treated us to a free demo available later that evening. Having already played “Episode Duscae,” I was excited for another taste of what is rapidly becoming one of my most anticipated releases this fall.
“Platinum” feels more like a tech demo that scratches the outer surface of the game’s mechanics
The first thing you should know going into “Platinum” is that it’s short. I played through it twice, taking much more time on the second playthrough, and my combined time is still around 75 minutes. Whereas “Duscae” gave us a small fragment of story and a glimpse into the open-world exploration, “Platinum” feels more like a tech demo that scratches the outer surface of the game’s mechanics, while trying to showcase as many flashy particle effects as it can.
“Platinum’s” story takes place separate from the main story, in the dreamscape of a much younger Noctis. You’re approached in a forest by Carbuncle, your dream guide and a familiar face for series veterans. Carbuncle explains that the only way to wake up from your dream is to find your safe place, and helps point you in the right direction for the thirty or so minutes it’ll take you to reach it. Along the way, you’ll learn the basics of movement and combat culminating in a fight where you transform into the older Noctis of the actual game.
the overall pacing still feels like you’re playing Kingdom Hearts while in a Lortab-induced haze
It’s clear that Square Enix listened to player feedback about the combat in “Duscae,” but it still feels like there’s polishing that needs to be done before release. The weapons are easier to manage now, and there’s no analog stick weirdness to change weapons mid-combo since they’re all mapped to the d-pad, but the overall pacing still feels like you’re playing Kingdom Hearts while in a Lortab-induced haze. Guard timing is still wonky, and the warp mechanics in the final encounter are fickle. When it works, the combat flows well, but more often than not it doesn’t and you’re slapped in the face with a mountain of minute issues.
The good thing about “Platinum” is that it’s gorgeous, and there are a number of tools in each area to make it even moreso. Floor switches speed up time and change the weather, and consumable grenades explode in showers of red, droplets of blue, and meteorites of orange. Framerates are smooth throughout, even when the screen is filled with enemies and explosions.
Beating the demo unlocks Carbuncle for use in the full version of the game, so if you’ve got the 3 gigs of free space, then give the “Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo” an hour of your time. It’ll help you get prepared for a game that’s finally nearing the end of its long development, plus it gives you something pretty to look at.