Hands-on With Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae

We gave Square Enix's FFXV demo a spin this weekend at PAX East.

We had the opportunity to go hands-on with Square Enix's Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae on the PlayStation 4 at PAX East yesterday, and it definitely left us wanting more. From stunning visuals to the amazement over an open world in a Final Fantasy title, XV is set to not disappoint.

You play as Prince Noctis, who is accompanied by his retinue of Ignis (who has the sexiest voiceover ever in my humble opinion), Gladious and Prompto. Their meme car broken down on the trip to Cauthess, they are stuck lost in the Duscaen wilds. Our first order of business being set to go hunt a behemoth in the region, we of course decided to take advantage of the open world and do everything but that.

While wandering around we became very aware of the day/night cycle and how it affects the area. The sun set early on in our play session, and despite our retinue's suggestion to rest for the night, we decided to truck on through.

As it became darker, more and more creatures kept peeling out of the cover of night to attack. At one point we were surrounded by numberous hounds, goblins and even some Imperials. Realizing that the attacks would not relent, we decided to outrun the combat, which was thankfully an option.

Other mobs came tumbling out of the night as we ran hard through the landscape. Eventually emerging alive on the road and standing in front of a car to attempt to hijack if Grand Theft Auto style (sorry, you can't, they're just polite and don't run you over), we took the chance to look up and marvel at the beautiful night sky detail before taking the long run up the road.

Combat itself felt like it flowed much smoother than it did in FFXIII and FFXIII-2. The game makes great use of the controller, leaving less to menu mashing and more to the action. Noctis has some great combat moves, with a lot of versatility that will allow you to adapt various tactics for different fights. Summoning was also mentioned to us, but we didn't get enough time in to experience it for ourselves.

As combat flows, some combos will open up; one great example was a follow-up move you can do while parrying. Locking onto nearby mobs helps immensely, allowing you to keep up and deploy your attacks more efficiently. There are still minimal combat menus you can pop up... for instance, items, because you do want to use that Potion and not get Game Over, right?

Nearing the end of our demo time, we finally reached a gas station. All the cars and trucks we had seen so far really gave off an old-timey vibe, and this gas station was no different. Inside we found a shopkeeper who we could buy and sell to for the ever-present currency of Gil.

Our adventure nearing its end, we took a look over the landscape once more, blocking some poor sod's car as we marveled at the gorgeous texturing of Duscae.

It was mentioned that taking your time to thoroughly go through the demo will take an estimated 3-4 hours, but you can speed push through it in less time if you were so inclined. We recommend taking your time and enjoying all that Episode Duscae has to offer.

We did inquire as to when the full version of Final Fantasy XV would be released, but SE does not have any release time frame set yet.

The demo, Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae will be available in the Day One edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. You can pre-order the Day One edition, coming out on March 17th, for $60 now in the Square Enix Store.

Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor
Micheal Bailey, Network Content Director
Lindsay Geektron, Brand Ambassador


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