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Review

Review: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD

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Final Fantasy XV has been a huge success both financially and critically, despite the fact that the game went into a completely different path compared to the rest of the series. The main character, Noctis, has become one of the most well known of the series and the original game has been constantly improved since then. Square Enix wanted to be able to let everyone enjoy the story, and that’s where the Pocket Edition comes in.

As you probably have figured out, it’s a version specifically developed for mobile phones and features a much simpler gameplay and graphic style, with the use of chibi characters. Because the Switch wouldn’t be able to get the original experience (unless it gets downgraded a lot), the team decided to port the game on that system too, as well as the PS4 and Xbox One systems once again.

We need to address the “elephant in the room” immediately: considering that on PS4 and Xbox One the game is certainly not hard to find and buy, what is the Pocket Edition’s purpose on there? Simply put, it’s the ideal choice if you don’t wanna bother too much with the exploration, side activities and length of the game and just want to focus on what the story has to offer. If you already played or own the original Final Fantasy XV, then this game will probably offer you very little. The HD edition provides the whole experience in one package. You won’t need to buy every episode individually, like it happened for the mobile version. So it’s either “buy the entire game, or don’t buy it at all”. Since the original game was very well done, we were curious to see first-hand how they were able to port the experience to inferior systems and how they managed to compromise.

First of all, we were pleasantly surprised to see that all the main story is still narrated effectively without skipping any parts. The original soundtrack and the voice acting (in English, Japanese and more) are still in there and the story proceeds as you would expect if you’ve played the original. As we were saying, the side activities have mostly been removed and most secondary stuff has been reduced to a more simple minigame. That doesn’t mean that important story parts that involve these are getting skipped either. For example certain dialogues that happen only while in the car will still happen and you’ll be able to steer the wheel for a while, until the dialogue is over and it automatically cuts to the next part of the level. The levels are much simpler and straightforward, not giving much room to the exploration part. Keep in mind that, after all, this is still a mobile game, just ported to other systems.

Let’s talk a bit about how the gameplay works. You’ll be able to equip and change 3 different kinds of weapons, using only one button to do simple combos. In addition to that you’ll be able to use warp strikes to teleport into a different part of the scenario or to try and weaken your enemies. Most other combat actions, like the assists from the allies or parries, will be done via a Quick Time Event. The combat can become challenging as you move on, but it’s not that complicated and much more relaxed. The recipes are still there, but you’ll need to grab specific ingredients for every level (they will be conveniently marked on the map, so you won’t have to worry) and once you’ll do that you’ll get a boost to your stats once the game will make you camp (even the ability to rest is mostly scripted this time).

Conclusion

My only real complaint is that the chibi style makes it almost impossible to take the story seriously, especially whenever the protagonists become serious or there are sad moments happening. Personally I only manage to laugh whenever one of these moments happen because of their expressionless faces that contrasts the amazing voice acting. Because of the artstyle, the scenarios also look poor and uninspired most of the time. To recap, it’s pretty much what you would expect from a mobile game. A great mobile game, but with its obvious limitations. Like I said in the beginning, I highly recommend it to Switch-only users (as it’s the only way they’ll ever get to experience this game), while for the consoles – we reviewed the game on PS4 – it’s a pretty big dilemma. If you want to enjoy the full experience and have enough time on your hands, then you might as well just grab the original Final Fantasy XV. Otherwise, I believe that the Pocket Edition is a pretty good substitute if you want a much more relaxed and quick gameplay, letting you enjoy the story as fast as you can.

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