Monster of Deep: Final Fantasy XV – PS VR Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Fishing
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


- A fair bit of content, with a Story mode, Tournaments and Free fishing
- PlayStation Move controls work generally well
- Fishing boss battles
- Cool and animated environments

Negatives


- Resolution problems detract from the pretty graphics
- Casting is sometimes an issue
- Not for the impatient


Posted November 26, 2017 by

 
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When VR support was announced for Final Fantasy XV, I don’t think anyone could have imagined we’d end up with this. After years of experimenting with the PlayStation VR headset, including a less-than-stellar demo at E3 last year, Square Enix have finally settled on the best way to bring the Final Fantasy universe into the world of VR – fishing. Yes, really.

So, fair enough. Let’s ignore the obvious insanity and accept that we now have a VR Final Fantasy Fishing title, and take it on its own merits. Sold as a separate game that PlayStation VR is required for, rather than as downloadable content like all the other Final Fantasy XV expansions have been so far, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV takes the original’s fishing mini-game and expands it out into its own title. With an expanded list of lures, rods and reels from that game, as well as a fairly sizeable range of fishing holes, there’s actually plenty of depth to explore and upgrade if you’re willing to put the time into it. As in FFXV, it’s actually fun upgrading your equipment and working out which lures will work best for different types of fish. As with real-life fishing, patience and technique is key.

While you can use a DualShock 4 controller, the proper way to play Monster of the Deep is with two PlayStation Moves. It adds so much to the experience to actually be able to physically reel in fish with your left hand, while leading the rod with your right. There does seem to be a problem occasionally with casting – although maybe I just don’t have the right wrist motion nailed – but the game does provide a radar tool that isolates areas you should aim for to get a nibble.

Despite taking place in first-person, you’ll create an avatar using a very similar character creation system to Final Fantasy XV Comrades, where you bizarrely choose your ancestor’s appearances to create a weird fusion that becomes your own. While you won’t be seeing this avatar very much in gameplay (unless your headset loses its tracking and you find your head three feet behind your body), it is used for a cute photo mode where you can take pictures of yourself holding up your prize catches, or just chilling with your bros.

Indeed, one of the biggest attractions of Monster of the Deep for Final Fantasy XV fans will undoubtedly be the chance to hang out with your favourite characters in VR, who you’ll meet at various locations around Eos. From sharing uncomfortable staring silences with Cindy, to coming up with recipe ideas with Ignis, to some really overly homo-erotic close encounters with Prince Noctis, The Story mode, which will take you around five hours to complete, sets you up as a Hunter who’s meant to track down daemons, although who also gets frequently side-tracked with fishing. After a close encounter with a Godzilla-sized daemonfish, you take on contracts for various monsters around the continent, meeting famous characters and getting up-close with some famous Final Fantasy creatures. And yes, you do get to go camping with the main bro-team from FFXV as well.

As ridiculous as the idea of the Story mode is, it’s actually pretty enjoyable to play through. As you catch more and more fish at each location, a meter builds up that when full will attract the monstrous daemonfish. At that point, you swap your rod for a crossbow as the game turns into a basic arcade shooter, as you deal with the daemonfish in three-phase boss battles that are actually kind of fun.

On top of the Story mode, you’ll also unlock separate hunts, a relaxed free fishing mode and offline and online tournaments, where you compete with others to catch the biggest fish at a fishing spot. If you’re into fishing, or just the Final Fantasy XV world in general, you could genuinely sink quite a few hours into this, especially since each of the game’s six main fishing holes have multiple points you can cast from, and can be explored for collectibles you can decorate your in-game lodge with.

On the downside, while Monster of the Deep has the same beautiful locations and animated character models as Final Fantasy XV, to get them working in VR on the PlayStation 4 has meant some concessions. For one, your field of view is actually very narrow, as the game only renders a small portion in full detail, with your peripheral vision quickly falling away into a blocky mess. The developers have also made the bizarre decision to make your character a Final Fantasy version of Mr. Fantastic. When reaching even just slightly beyond your normal grasp, your in-game visible hand and arm elongates and contorts like a super-hero. It makes for some genuinely strange moments, such as the final moment of the game involving reaching for somebody’s hand – which resulted in my arm stretching three feet to reach it.

Nevertheless, I genuinely didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did with Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV. Far from a cash grab, although a little pricey at AU$44.95, the game combines genuinely interesting chilled-out fishing gameplay with Final Fantasy weirdness and action. As one of, I believe, only two fishing games available on PlayStation VR, it’s definitely a worthy choice for budding anglers, and is far from the worst spin-off Final Fantasy has ever produced.


Adam Ghiggino

 
I'm Rocket Chainsaw's Owner and Executive Editor. When I'm not writing here, I work in TV and on short films, and fight criminal velociraptors.