Final Fantasy XV: Judgement Disc Impression

I've had the chance to play the Judgement Disc demo for FFXV released only for Japan. I've gone though the demo quite extensively and in this post, I aim to cover the differences between this demo (which is apparently THE final product) compared with the Platinum Demo and Episode Duscae.

Let's talk about the more apparent things first. The graphics and music for the game is incredible. There's no doubt that this is probably one of the best looking and sounding games out so far (which isn't exactly out yet). There were some graphical bugs every now and again but they definitely weren't game breaking.

Speaking of bugs, I hadn't actually encountered tons of it like most people have said they have. The only real big bug was that Ignis stopped moving at one point and we had to carry on with our fights without him. I camped somewhere and that actually fixed the bug though. So, not too big a deal I would say.

It DOES actually look this beautiful

The frame dropping that happened with the Platinum demo was also not present throughout my whole playthrough in the Judgement Disc even with tons of enemies and particle effects clouding the screen. With that, I can say that while the game still possesses some bugs, for the most part, the game has been polished off and is presented very well.

Now, let's talk the gameplay, which I reckon is the most important aspect that even I was skeptical about. Firstly, I should mention that I didn't tinker much with the menu, the abilities/level up system and the magic system. I went straight into the raw combat that you got at the start with a few change-up of weapons every now and again and I used the most basic of magic as well.

Firstly, as you might already know, Episode Duscae is nothing like the final product. That was basically how they wanted FFXV to be like but from the responses of the public and little bit of additional R&D, they revamped the battle system. If you've played the Platinum Demo, that's how the new battle system works. Your D-pad acts as a weapon wheel, allowing you to equip a certain weapon or magic to only one direction. Therefore, you can only equip up to 4 weapons or magic combination at any one point. This however, can be changed mid-combat.

The UI looks similar to this. I believe this represents an earlier build of the final product.

Now, you have three very important buttons when it comes to fighting. Circle is to attack. That's simple enough. You can hold it to blitz as well unless you're using magic. For that, you have to hold it to decide where exactly you want to unleash it on.

Square acts as a dodge to narrowly avoid an attack, a parry to counter an attack or it can be held to avoid an anticipated attack. It works very well with the fluidity of the combat and feels very much like a more forgiving JRPG approach to Dark Souls' combat. Triangle is used to throw your weapon, either at an enemy to launch an all-out offensive or away to dodge an AOE attack or to simply get a breather. It very much makes getting in and out of combat a thrill.

Now, in the Platinum Demo, we've had a chance to try this mechanic but at times it felt finicky. In the final game, they fixed this. See, in the Platinum Demo, locking on was as simple as pressing the R1 button. You had to press it again to cancel. But when you locked and used triangle, you would launch yourself for an offensive on the enemy. It also made turning the camera a pain when it came to multiple enemies. In the final game, locking on is done by holding the R1 button. If it isn't held, the lock on releases. This small change made all the difference. I could turn the camera and change my target with ease and it enabled me to fully utilised the dodge/attack mechanic of the triangle button. I could lock on, dash in and unload a full combo on the enemy, release the lock on, dodge away and immediately lock on again and dash back in. It felt very fluid and was definitely a huge issue with me during the Platinum Demo.

I got confused by a Cactuar and even that was very annoying. I can't imagine fighting a Malboro.

Combination attacks also feel great. There are two ways of unleashing it, either through the L1 button for a more specific choice of attack or if you backstab an enemy, you will automatically perform a combo with one of your pals. These definitely should not be underused and certainly makes combat more varied and enjoyable. You may occasionally find a weird scenario whereby, for example, Gladio is fighting in front of you but when you backstab, he sort of teleports nearby to do a combo with you. That bit is a little weird but it doesn't really bug me.

Also, weapons have weight to them. They don't all feel the same and they don't all throw the same (triangle button). Enemies also have different parts you can target for various different reasons. I don't want to get too much into all of these so I'll just leave it at that.

Must be nice to be rich and live in paradise land

Now, I did many other things but I'll leave that for when you actually play the game. Even the driving mechanic turned out to be completely different than what I thought but it actually fit pretty damn well. I'm glad I tried out the demo. It finalised a few things I was skeptical about. It proved that the combat is amazing, it proved that the game can actually support its own graphical fidelity and it proved that it does indeed live up to the hype. Like, the BIG hype.

If the game fails when it launches, it might be because of a lacklustre story with stale characters or that the mechanics of the game doesn't translate well over time. But for now, I'm more hyped than ever.

Since they tied down Noctis, they better at least let her be with my man Prompto.

P.S. You can't blame me for being skeptical. The demos they've showed off so far made the combat seem so much more bland than it is. Maybe it doesn't translate well for the titan battle though.


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