Thursday, December 29, 2016

Paging Roy Batty

The Christmas gift I got for myself, in November, was a PS4 Pro.

We've been so busy, though, that I didn't even hook it up until the night before Eli 15.4 and Gloria went to Austin.

I have an emotional attachment to the Final Fantasy series, particularly FFVII, which was jaw-dropping for its time. FFX was very, very fun. Then I lost the thread.

I was curious about FFXV. The reviews had been a bit puzzling, really, saying that the game was a bit of a mess. That's true of every FF, though--ambitious, flawed, wildly imaginative. So, to launch the Pro, I ordered FFXV on a day when Amazon marked it down to $35 as one of their flash deals.

I'm not sure how long I've played at this point--between five and ten hours--but I can say this with no doubt: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.

It's as if forty people sat down, wrote down every cool thing they'd ever seen in a game, and then mixed them all together. It is so over-the-top spectacular that I've just sat there and laughed more than once.

I don't want to even describe what I've seen, because then it would be spoiled for you, but there's certainly a little bit of Shenmue in this game, and those kinds of games lend themselves well to tourism, because there's so much to explore.

Playing this game paying strict attention and getting wound up about the story would probably be a mistake. Playing it as a gaming tourist, just exploring the world, is a wonderful way to play the game, because the sights are jaw-dropping.

It's also entirely amazing how real the game looks. Not all the time, and some areas are more detailed than others, but it's so visually stunning. Plus, and this is true of all my favorite FF games, the unnecessary level of attention to detail is something I truly love.

For example, fishing.

Fishing is not a major part of the game. At least, not for a normal player, but it is for me. And the detail is astonishing--it's the best looking fishing simulator I've ever seen, even on PC. There are also options to turn off the radar so that you're just blissfully fishing in open water with no indicators to guide you.

It's spectacular.

I'm a Prince or something, and I have to fight the bad guys, but I made some decisions. Because I'm a Prince, I'm going to act like an entitled trust fund baby and focus on entirely meaningless side quests entirely for my pleasure. I'm also a dedicated angler, and I fish for as long as I want to, even when my crew complains, because I'm the Prince, damn it.

Story? Don't really care. Let the world save itself this time.

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