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Hands On With Square Enix's 'Platinum Demo' For 'Final Fantasy XV'

Right after the "Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV"event finished last night, Square Enix released a free demo for the game, simply titled the Platinum Demo. Obviously, the demo didn’t take long to finish (it took me less than an hour), but it did provide an idea of the new gameplay elements featured in Final Fantasy XV.

Quick Look

Unlike the Episode Duscae demo, which was packaged alongside Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, the Platinum Demo isn’t part of the Final Fantasy XV storyline. However, you still get to play as the upcoming game’s main character, Noctis, who’s currently stuck in this dream world. With the help of your Carbuncle creature companion, you have to find your way through this dream state and wake up.

If you’ve played any of the Kingdom Hearts games, you have an idea of how the gameplay mechanics work in the demo. You can run around in the environment and then press a single button to attack enemies, or hold that same button to initiate a string of attacks. You can also roll around to dodge attacks. Obviously, this is a departure from the usual Final Fantasy combat system, where you would initiate combat with an enemy and then the actual fight takes place in a separate location.

There are also crystals scattered throughout the game, which, if you collect enough of them, activate various plates throughout the demo. These plates allow you to manipulate the world around you by changing the weather, time of day or even turning you into a car or animal.

A Long Dream

The worlds of the Final Fantasy series are always a sight to behold, and the legacy continues with this demo. Levels vary from a forested area to a large city square, and each area seems to be beautifully crafted along with various lighting and water effects. One level even had a series of wooden blocks that you could knock over to showcase various physics effects. For Square Enix, this isn’t just a gameplay demo; it’s a tech demo to give fans an idea of what to expect, visually, for the final game.

As you collect items, you can store up to four of them in active slots, so you can use quickly use them in combat. Aside from sword and hammer variants, you also have a variety of bombs to use against foes, such as a small burst of fireworks or a deadly shower of bright meteor strikes. The enemies were all low-level creatures, so defeating them wasn’t much of a challenge.

The main event, however, occurs near the end of the game with a boss fight--a large figure wielding an even larger sword. It’s during this conflict that Noctis' true powers come to life. Instead of a toy sword, squeaky hammer and small bombs at your disposal, you’ll be able to use his real arsenal: two swords (a broadsword and regular sword) and the ability to cast fire.

The fight is somewhat more difficult than previous encounters, but it’s exciting nonetheless. By unleashing a fury of attacks at the right time, as well as continuously dodging each devastating hit from the enemy, the entire battle looked like a well-choreographed fight scene. I was also able to try out Noctis’ Warp Strike ability, which allows him to use his main sword to warp away to various locations in the area. You can also use it to get a surprise attack on the enemy. By itself, the attack doesn’t deal too much damage, but you can combine it with multiple attacks to create combo moves for heavy amounts of damage. After a few minutes of varying moves and constantly using Warp Strike, I was victorious.

Most of my attacks against enemies were physical ones, along with the occasional use of a bomb or magic attack. As Final Fantasy XV is full of enemies of varying abilities and weaknesses, I’m quite interested to see how this fast-paced format will work when you have to strategize about how to attack each enemy on the field.

A Taste Of What’s To Come

As fun as it was to take down that final monster, part of me was saddened by the fact that I never played the Episode Duscae demo, which would enable me to use more of Noctis’ real powers. Sure, I could press a plate in the town square to start the battle again, but I wanted to try his abilities against varying types of enemies instead of the same foe over and over again.

Still, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Platinum Demo was an enjoyable hour of gameplay. The controls were easy to understand, the combat system kept me on my toes, and each location was visually appealing.

The last Final Fantasy game I played (not counting Final Fantasy XIV) was Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, which was an excruciating experience due to its gameplay elements and time-based constraints. Based on what I played on the Platinum Demo, it seems that Square Enix learned many things to improve the series’ overall gameplay and visuals, which makes me all the more excited to play Final Fantasy XV.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • chicofehr
    PC?
    Reply
  • cknobman
    PC?

    Yeah no PC and no mention of it.

    This might just be a platform exclusive, at least for a while after release. Once sales tank then they will port to PC and throw on steam to try and grab a few more bucks.
    Reply
  • Alec Mowat
    PC?

    Yeah no PC and no mention of it.

    This might just be a platform exclusive, at least for a while after release. Once sales tank then they will port to PC and throw on steam to try and grab a few more bucks.

    Which is fine for me. I don't have a lot of confidence in this series, I'll let it run through it's tests before I buy it at a reasonable price.
    Reply
  • MagusALL
    If there is no PC version than really, what is the point of making these games? Obviously most of us here are gamers and as such most of us are running Windows 7/8/8.1/10. Which, BTW, Microsoft itself said that will be universal with the XBox One Apps and Games, if not now than at least in the near future which would allow the XB1 to act as a sort of Windows 10 PC (that could game, albeit at 900p). I will likely pull the trigger on a NVIDIA Shield that has 4K video and game streaming at under $200 than I would an XB1. I'm a PC gamer. That's the reason I built my PC, the reason I purchase CPU's, GPU's and RAM etc. If a game drops for XB1 it should also drop for Windows 10 since Microsoft themselves keep saying that the XBox is basically a Windows 10 PC. I really don't understand what barrier there is to making it port to the Windows 10 PC that I built. I understand if there are new drivers needed, AMD/NVIDIA issues but jeez you are an enourmous corporation why can't you invest money into the biggest things in technology today, cell phones and Apps. Microsoft, once again, said the Windows 10 Mobile, XBox One and Windows 10 PC's would run on the same kernel and we could simply go into the app store and buy the game/app. Seriously. If you want to game at 900p while the TV's are more and more moving into 4k than why even release a console? Just release a Windows 10 PC (as you claim the XB1 already is) that can pump out if not 4k than 1440p graphics on ultra if not high settings. Release the controller with the keyboard thing already attached and BOOM, its a PC! You don't need to worry about the XB version and the PC port you just make one. One. 1!!! Personally I don't want a console I would rather have a desktop PC that allows me to stream the games into my living room like NVIDIA does with their Shield and Steam does with their Link. So put SONY in a graveyard, drop a $600 system that is a home desktop PC that you can put anywhere and another device for $100 that allows you to stream that game/PC video to another room. You can skip the entire console premise by pairing a i7 Intel processor with 8-16Gb of RAM and a GTX 970/980 with a PSU and storage options. Throw on a 1TB hard drive for $50 retail or throw on a 500GB SSD to quickly load your games and OS. The retail price alone will never be as low as you are selling your $250 XBox but you will be able to say buy a Windows 10X PC. A PC designed to game and then you design them for Windows 10. One. Simple. Streamlined. Heck even throw the option in to add another GPU in SLI through one of those external boxes that would get you a big step up in graphics power. Don't make consoles anymore and stop with the charging for internet gaming. PC's don't charge me to do that why does the XBox? Sorry for ranting (thats kinda my thang) but I just don't understand why Microsoft, who developed Windows, would sell a console that can't even match the SONY console dropped at the same time. Upsell it like Apple upsells laptops with one port and desktops with laptop CPU's. So you either go with SONY's Playstation and its just a gaming console or you spend a couple hundred more and get a home entertainment system that can stream video throughout the home, a true gamer rig that you can stream to a 4K or 1080p TV. Make it upgradeable like a PC and then you won't have to develop a new one every few years you just add a part as needed like all us PC gamers do. With the Hololens you could easily remove the CPU on there and simply stream the image and data from your XBPC, making it lighter and better, much better, longer lasting and you go thru one app store. For every single product you make. PC gamers want more than 900p thats why we are PC gamers. Bc I want to be able to make it whatever I want and I think Microsoft just needs a serious look in the mirror and look into the future and say to themselves, when the PS3 was more than the Xbox 360 did that hurt SONY? No it did not. So throw a damn BluRay drive on a Windows 10 PC with an Intel CPU, NVIDIA GPU and RAM that can bust ultra on 1080p and high on 4K. With SLI option you can bust out ultra on 4k. The device would stream to your Hololens eliminating all the problems it has which is weight and heat. Stream to it instead. Stream to a $100 XBox that receives the PC stream in real time. I don't get it. Why isn't Microsoft thinking like this? They are a backwards thinking company. A game shouldn't drop on a console before a PC, if anything it should be on PC first. Make the developers, which I'm sure would be happy with, design games on a PC with a GPU. Work your wholesale pricing and make the money on games, apps, videos, etc. Screw consoles and let the desktop work its ass off for the entire house. Connect it to you IoT shit and be done with it. They are wasting valuable time and maybe they need to fire whoever is making these year 2000's choices for a generation of technology that will be used in the 2020's. Big difference from 1963-1983 right? 1974-1994? Yeah. So get with the times already and if you want to hire me PM me haha.
    Reply
  • ErikVinoya
    ~Wall of text~
    Word of advice, a lot more people would actually care to read that if you use line breaks. Its 2016 man, its ok to press the Enter key
    Reply