The hidden beauty within the long running series of Final Fantasy games is that no two are truly alike. Even amongst sequels, the creators enjoy bringing new experiences, landscapes and mechanics into their games. However, the one unifying aspect that links every entry in the franchise together, is that they are an incredible fantasy set within reality. With the release of Episode Duscae, a sort of demo for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix steps up to the plate once again to deliver something spectacular.

The demo takes place in the midst of a long road trip to the capital city of Cauthass, when Nocts (Pronounced Knox), one of the kingdom’s princes in control of the powerful crystals, and his royal crew of misfits, find themselves with a broken down car in the middle of nowhere. Stranded with no money to repair their beautiful car, they have no choice but to take on a few side quests to raise the money necessary and get back on the road, the chief among them is the destruction of a Behemoth named Dead-eye. You canĀ speed-run the entire demi in about 45 minutes, but even the most hardcore of fans will stop to smell the flowers in the incredibly detailed land of Lucis.

One of the most remarkable aspects about this entry, let alone the demo, is its surprisingly simple narrative. This is by no means an attempt to encourage players to underestimate the complex storytelling that exists within virtually every entry. Instead, this richly detailed story, even for someone who is fairly new to the series, is simply easier to comprehend in terms of characters and end goals. In a stark comparison, Type-O, the full game that players must buy in order to access the demo, is a game that, once completed, can leave players with a sense that there was something the story didn’t tell them, something that would make all of the nonsense solidify into an actual story.

In addition to the story, the gameplay is revamped with a new, fluid combat system. Gone are the days of turn-based combat, seen in such recent entries as the FFXIII series, which FFXV is chronologically a part of. Feeling more like a Kingdom Hearts game, except slowed down, this game brings in elements of the turn-based system which allow for a more strategic battle than in typical hack and slash games, while still giving a sense of excitement.

The Kingdom of Lucis.

Final Fantasy XV has been in development for almost a decade, helmed by one of the most beloved contributors to the series, Tetsuya Nomura. To put that in perspective, the game was first announced the same year that Final Fantasy XII was released on the PlayStation 2, and also the initial previews of Final Fantasy XIII for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were seen by the public. Continuously delayed for years at a time, with often no mention of the development, players lost hope that this game would ever be released. However, with Episode Duscae, the incredible trailers and wealth of information pouring out, the world knows that it is on the precipice of something great.

Though it would be unethical to in any way endorse the purchase of a $60 port of a PSP exclusive simply to access an hour long demo, if you are rabid for anything related to the upcoming fantasy adventure, this is your only way to do it. Hardcore fans are going to buy this regardless of what anyone says about the game, but if you are new to the Final Fantasy series, or have even taken some time off due to the lackluster entries of the XIII series, this is the perfect time join the adventure.

Crystal powers make an incredibly fluid gameplay.

Final FantasyXV: Episode DuscaeĀ is amazing, and even comes packaged with a pretty cool full game on the side. With a few small bugs here and there that are unlikely to be noticed until your second playthrough, this demo is well worth the price tag. Sure they could have likely made more money by selling it separately for five or six bucks, but at no point will you regret paying the full admittance fee.

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