Release date: November 15, 2017
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
FF XV: Comrades gives you the opportunity to make your own avatar and join the Kingsglaive, the elite military force of the Lucian royal family. I advise playing through Final Fantasy XV first before tackling the expansion because it fills in the missing 10 years of time near the end of the main game. Even without concern for the plot, you can still have fun with this game. I've spent a lot of time playing Comrades with one of our Twitch moderators and feel like I know the game pretty well. This review should enable you to determine whether Comrades is a good fit for you.
Develop Your Character
Square Enix isn't known for producing multiplayer games, with the exception of Final Fantasy XIV. So when I first came across this game, I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I am aware of how popular Final Fantasy XIV is, I do not particularly enjoy playing online multiplayer games of that genre (MMORPG).
Having stated that, I was nonetheless shocked by how quickly this game engaged and drew me in. After watching a brief video, you begin to go by truck to Lestallum, where you create your own character. The quantity of information included in the character builder shocked me; while it isn't the most thorough character builder I've ever seen, it does allow you to create any kind of character you choose.
Let's Get Right To It
As you complete missions, you unlock resources like money, new supplies, and meteor shards that can be utilized to reenergize the planet Eos. New armor, tattoos, and even weapons may be purchased only with the in-game currency, Gil. One element that is missing is a lack of microtransactions, which prevents the usage of real money to advance your character. As a result, I really appreciate that you have to work for your levels and weaponry. Though, I can understand if this is a dealbreaker for some.
By using meteor shards, you can access new quests and areas of the planet. I was intrigued by the satisfying sense of progression I got from watching the map expand and from witnessing my influence on Eos grow as I sent power to more places to save people in need. You undertake missions with up to three buddies (friends, strangers, or AI), ranging from escort and defense to hunt and urgent.
Additionally, there are tasks called "Defense" and "Escort" that require you to protect people from enemies while defending an area or person. As your tale develops, additional quests, story quests, sidequests, and hidden quests may appear. I won't go into too much detail about these because some of them are endgame tasks and others would contain information that would reveal secrets about Final Fantasy XV.
For urgent missions, which frequently involve the most challenging obstacles, you have to take on the hardest bosses. advantages of participating in these battles include being able to access new branching paths on the map, by taking part in these battles. Other advantages to urgent missions include things like finding tombs where you can acquire Royal Sigils, which give your character stat bonuses and unique abilities like improved healing and other combat techniques . Even though they might be the most challenging, they can be made simpler by friends as you cooperate to defeat these formidable adversaries.
You might have to repeat missions to gather enough resources to unlock new missions but the variety of mission objectives gives the game a nice medley. Fortunately, missions are short and rarely exceed 10 minutes. My favorite types of quests are "Hunts", where you go out looking for a specific enemy or boss to face off against.
For The Love Of Battle
Gathering materials for your weapons, which can range from pole arms and shields to maces and shurikens, requires a lot of effort. Considering that each weapon has a level cap, your success depends on your choice of resources. Some materials even provide your weapon passive capabilities like increased damage or a higher chance of avoiding harm.
I had a lot of fun tinkering with weapons because adding new abilities or watching their abilities increase makes you feel more powerful. Your play style may change depending on the weapon you choose to use in a combat. While lumbering maces strike hard yet leave you more susceptible, shurikens and daggers may be swift but inflict less damage. Additionally, crafting can let you take advantage of enemy weaknesses based on the components of your weapons.
If you enjoyed Final Fantasy XV's battle system, you'll fit right in with Comrades because the expansion maintains faithful to what made the game's combat feel so natural. Warp-strikes are still a main focus, and with a well-timed block, you can start a chain with your party members and deal a ton of damage. It's fun to swap between weapons; crossbows, for example, are a great choice for people who want to keep out of the way and focus on avoiding an enemy's reach, though they don't inflict much damage meanwhile, shurikens are great for slicing up enemies both close up and at a distance. I do, however, enjoy using a spear. Personally, I think the combat system is a near-perfect combination of Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Type 0.
Combat is as hilarious as I remember it being, but it's even more fun when I play with friends. Technically, you could merely use competent A.I. partners to play through the expansion, but that would lessen some of the game's appeal. Battles are still thrilling and showy, but I enjoy to watch in awe as a huge boss approaches our way with a friend before teaming up for a strategic series of warp-strikes to defeat it. Better yet? In a manner reminiscent to Prompto's photography skills in Final Fantasy XV, pictures are taken while you fight to commemorate your victories. (And like Prompto's, some of them are delightfully horrible.)
I enjoyed playing Comrades with friends, but the long load times could get tiresome. You still need to have a lot of patience at the start of and after missions, and even loading into the different zones you access that are important to travel in order to find new armor and weaponry is a hassle. However, I have found that playing on the PS5 allowed me enhanced loading rates. When playing with others, I didn't experience too many connection issues; the only time this happened was during one quest, but it quickly added the missing party members as AI players so I could still finish the mission.
Should You Play, Comrades?
It really depends. Did you like the combat in Final Fantasy XV? Do you want to go back and find a missing piece of the story? Do you just want to have fun with your friends? All of these are provided by Comrades, and they are far better compared to my expectations. However, the experience is far from ideal. Expect some guesswork because Comrades does a poor job of explaining its mechanics.
To get more shards, be prepared to repeat quests. It resembles a gradual burn in several aspects. Unlocking new content could be a laborious process. But nothing will ever come close to the fun times I've had playing it with my friends or the excitement we feel while learning something new, even if it's only a new outfit or a quick job. Another one of its advantages is the references it makes to the main story. You never know when you'll run into a humorous allusion to the main game or face off against a familiar face. I am convinced that the time I invested in it was valuable, notwithstanding a few minor difficulties.