gaming mobile Reviews

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition Review: Toned Down, But In A Good Way


Version Reviewed: Android (Google Play) / North American

For many, Final Fantasy, as a series, represents the pinnacle of RPG gaming. Over the years, we have seen countless renditions of a similar theme—each entry as celebrated as the next. From creative cosplay, CGI film, and countless spin-offs, too many massively successful mainline hits. Final Fantasy has permeated into pretty much every realm of entertainment.

Surely then, it was only a matter of time before the super-popular series would make its way to Android devices. Granted, we have seen some spin-offs in the past. For some reason, though, this one issued plenty of promise. At least, from my perspective.

Having put the game through its paces, here is a rundown of our initial impressions.

Now Playing: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition – Launch Trailer | Video: Final Fantasy XV (YouTube)

What is Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition?

The question lingering on most people’s minds is whether Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is classifiable as a standalone game. Well, that is a tough nut to crack. In many ways, much of the combat comes downscaled to accommodate for the platform, among other things.

As one might imagine, the Android version exhibits far less visual fidelity than the PS4 version, for instance. So sadly, that means less polish and overall presentation than its archetype. That said, the central story is the same yarn. Just spun in a slightly less flashy manner.

However, the pocket edition only runs on high-end devices. Meaning, the cost of a compatible device capable of running the game will set you back as much as a console would. So, it is not as cost-effective as one might assume.

That said, the added convenience of portability does prop up those lost points. 

Visuals

But before we delve into core aspects, let us start with some of the game’s more positives traits. From my experience, each Final Fantasy has an inherent charm that helps set it apart from the pack.

And that facet is one of the series’ most adored assets.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Thankfully, that sense of charm carries into Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, and never once wears thin. With that in mind, the central characters feel more akin to those found in a PS1 Final Fantasy. Or those of Final Fantasy X.

The art-style, too, is equally nostalgic and somewhat endearing. Thus, evoking memories of a beloved, bygone era. Though slightly smoother than PS1 graphics, they still possess that cartoonish aesthetic so adored in the classic games.

Only without the jagged polygon and pixels to match.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Meanwhile, the larger than life character sprites bring plenty of pop to the screen. While simultaneously injecting the game’s all-star cast with bags of personality. So much so, I did enjoy the charming animations and character designs.

It may not have the visual prowess of its prototype, but there is a strong sense of soulfulness throughout that feels authentic.

Gameplay/Combat

Next up, we address one of the more contentious issues. And that’s Gameplay. But more specifically, combat. Though other elements spring to mind, battle forms the fundamental basis of the final fantasy experience. At least in terms of gameplay.

But for genre veterans and experienced players, the newly refined combat system maybe a little primitive. At least on the surface.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Sure, you can still switch out weapons and target, separate enemies. Hell, you can even heal specific party members, and perform satisfying slashes with your sword. But many of the more complex nuances have been scrapped, to simplify controls using the touchscreen.

Though that may be a turn-off for those who enjoy a deeply layered PVE experience, the ease of use has its benefits. Perfect for players on the go.

A topic we will go into greater detail on now.

Controls

As stated previously, the controls are relatively easy to grasp on Android, while touchscreen implementation does make life much more straightforward.

On top of that, the streamlined UI makes traversal a breeze. Whereby, Noctis can seamlessly navigate through the world at the touch of a screen. Without the worry of getting snagged up on any surrounding scenery.

It is a neat touch. And casual players will extract plenty of joy from the simplified system. Then again, hardcore fans may hate it.

But you cannot please everyone.

Final Verdict

Screenshot: Final Fantasy XV (Twitter)

Overall, Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is an impressive achievement for Android and iOS systems. Despite some minor issues, like its high price point, this is a high-budget reimagining of the original game.

And one cram-packed with plenty of charm and personality. On the other hand, those going in expecting a traditional FF experience may leave feeling shortchanged. Either way, the FF XV pocket edition is just about worth the hefty price of admission.

But more importantly, it stands as one of the better FF mobile games to date. I can see this one going down a treat for casual types and those that like to game on the go.

What do you think? Is Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition a worthwhile purchase? Or would you prefer to play the console version? As always, we welcome any suggestions. So, send us your top picks via the comments.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition gets…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great 4/5


Game Profile
Developers:
Square Enix, XPEC Entertainment
Publishers: Square Enix
Platform: Android, iOS, PC, PS4, XBO, NS
Genre: Role-playing
Modes: Single-Player
Release Date: February 9, 2018 (Mobile) / June 6, 2018 (PC) / September 7, 2018 (PS4, XBO) / September 13, 2018 (NS)


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