Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition Review

March 15, 2018

Final Fantasy XV launched in November 2016 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms, while Windows PC gamers were left in the dark wondering when they would be able to play the game on their master race machines. After a year’s worth of DLC and patches, Square Enix has created Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition. A game that feels hardened and ready for action, and not one a Final Fantasy fan would want to miss.

Interestingly the game’s development began twelve whole years ago in 2006, as a spin-off called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Square Enix soon realized they had a full game on their hands, and Final Fantasy XV was born. Since its launch we’ve seen an anime series, a feature film and some DLC episodes which add a great deal to the Final Fantasy XV Universe, and critics welcomed the game with open arms as the franchise made its debut on the current generation of consoles. Rocket Chainsaw reviewed it at launch, giving it 4 stars and stating that it’s “Square-Enix’s response to more modern open-world RPG’s and bringing Final Fantasy up to speed to play in that space.” So how does it hold up in 2018? Let’s find out on the greatest road trip of all time.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition High Rez

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition includes all the paid DLC and Season Pass content, including Episode Gladiolous, Episode Prompto, Episode Ignis and Comrades. It’s a mammoth of a game and should keep the average player busy for at least 50 hours. The DLC episodes add a huge amount of things to do in the final zone of the game, which is great for those that love end-game content, but the main story itself and the new open world style is what will pull you in.

Not only are random encounters almost completely eradicated, but FFXV now offers you a huge world to openly explore with missions and side content as far as the eye can see. You can drive around in your car, ride your chocobo, go fishing, take photos, play arcade games, and much more. Most importantly though, the main content is very immersive and story-driven. Each boss feels like an actual battle, and you always feel like you’re working towards an end goal – recovering the magical Crystal and defeating the Nilfheim, after they invaded the main city of Lucis.

Eos, the open world, gives the impression of being harsh and unforgiving early in the game. You may have your car but it is fairly limited in where you can take it, and it needs fuel. The day/night cycle means you need to be ever aware of your safety as the sun goes down, and perhaps set up camp or find a place to stay, and also you’ll find eating becomes a necessity, particularly as Ignis (one of the four main characters) learns new recipes and can create meals that give you amazing bonuses for the following day, such as a huge increase to your heatlh or attack power, or resistances to different kinds of magic. It is also important to rest as that’s when all your XP tallies up and your characters will level up and become more powerful.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition High Rez

The later part of the game becomes more linear and some would say feels more like a traditional Final Fantasy game. There’s a lengthy part where you’re split up from your friends which can prove to be a bit tedious, but it all becomes worthwhile as you reach the final area of the game. As mentioned, there’s a lot of content to get through here and it’s easy to get distracted with the dozens of side missions, but the main mission and story is what you’ll remember most about FFXV.

Main character Prince Noctis, and his best friends Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto are what holds together the story in FFXV. Without the bond between the four main (and all playable) characers, the combat and story wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong as other RPGs, nor would it be original. With FFXV making the switch to open-world combat, it was very important for Square Enix to get the combat right, and what you’ll find is the teamwork is not only rewarding but also touching. As the best friends work together to bring down all kinds of monsters, they will pick each other up when they fall, perform combo moves together, and there is also the ability to command a friend to perform one of their special abilities at the right time. Once you’ve mastered the use of your weapons, abilities, and friends, Eos becomes your playground.

What Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition lacks though is something fans of the early Final Fantasy games might be disappointed by, and that’s an in-depth combat system. The attacks are very basic and the game can often feel more like a hack-n-slash than a refined Japanese role-playing franchise entering its 3rd decade of life. If you’re wanting a game with complex combat strategies, you’re not going to find it here. Perhaps that’s why when you boot up the game the first thing that appears is a screen that reads “A Final Fantasy for fans and newcomers.”

The visuals in Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition are a bit hit and miss, depending on what visual settings you turn on or off. Where the game looks pretty, it looks George Clooney or Gal Gadot level pretty, with nVidia HairWorks in full effect, we got to experience some of the best in-game animations to date. The game can also be rendered to a whopping 8K resolution if you have the kind of master race machine that can handle it. The towns look great, your car is fun to customize, and everything feels very 2018 until you stare a little closer at the environment.

Weaving between rocks as you work your way through parts of Eos, you’ll soon see the rendering of rocky environments is quite ordinary.  Other vehicles on the road are also rather low detailed, and even some aspects of the monsters that you fight have rather basic textures. It doesn’t affect the gameplay or the story at all, but it would be nice to be able to get fully immersed in the open world. That’s where the FFXV High-Resolution Pack comes in. Interestingly, you need to go through Steam’s FFXV DLC page to find the FFXV High-Resolution Pack and then click “Play Game” from there to access this, but once you’ve activated it, the environments look absolutely stunning. For a game that already looked great, the FFXV High-Resolution Pack is the icing on the cake.

Comrades is the multiplayer mode in FFXV, and it’s a fun way to add some more gameplay hours to your game. Some of our Steam friends have purchased Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition purely just to play Comrades, and for that reason alone it’s not something to ignore. When you jump in to Comrades you’ll pick where you were born which gives you certain stats, then proceed to create your character. Once you’re in the game you’re given missions and sent out with other players to defeat monsters and bosses. As you level up your avatar you’re awarded better weapons, money and gear. It’s a rather straight forward multiplayer mode but it is certainly one you can waste many hours in.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition will easily be a contender for Game of the Year 2018 for the Windows PC platform. It’s a stellar performance loaded with content, built in a massive universe that has more media than most people could dream for. It’s easy to pick up and play, and very welcoming to those that may not have played a Final Fantasy game before. If you’ve finished Monster Hunter World and are looking for something similar, you should definitely check out FFXV as it has very similar concepts, but with a much grander story.

We used an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW card which ran Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition perfectly on maximum settings in 1080p. The performance dropped significantly when we attempted down-sampling at 200%. Performance was also compared by the reviewer to the console version running on a PlayStation 4 Pro.


- Plays like a much more solid game than when it first launched on the consoles, and is incredibly easy for anyone to pick up and play
- The story of mateship is a great Australian nationalism reminder, even though it wasn’t its intention
- Plenty to see, plenty to do


- Car mechanics are still clunky
- Camera mechanics are still clunky
- Combat has been simplified.

Overall Score: