Whether you were a newcomer to the Final Fantasy series or an old fan when you played Final Fantasy XV last year, there is no doubt that the latest entry in the franchise had a great deal of success upon launch. The question remains whether it will be remembered fondly afterwards, and Square Enix is attempting to extend the lifespan of the big-budget JRPG by fleshing out the game’s DLC plan. In March we got Episode Gladio, and three months later we got Episode Prompto with the promise of Episode Ignis in December. Yet, perhaps, the biggest question mark of out all the planned DLC is the future multiplayer co-operative mode, Final Fantasy XV: Comrades. Over the past few days, I have played several matches of the closed online beta test that is exclusive to those people who have the Final Fantasy XV season pass as well as a PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live subscription. The closed online test is running until August 8th, but there is scheduled to be another online test in the wake of server issues which will run from the 11th of this month to the 13th.
I myself have had a bit of difficulty not just getting into matches, but staying with the same three players the matchmaking algorithm decided to stick me with. However, seeing as there are clearly server issues, I’d rather people run into them now so that Square Enix can fix them rather than have a headache upon it’s release. Aside from that, Final Fantasy XV: Comrades looks and plays just as well as the single player mode. All missions have up to four participants involved, and the flurry of fast-paced warp striking and spell casting is intense and exciting. I look forward to seeing how this mode will be received by the YouTube community, because clearly, that’s the audience that Square Enix is trying to capture. I’ll comment on this a little bit more later.
While the character creator is rather restrictive, given that players are not being given the full extent of options that I assume will be offered upon release, I must say. . . the character creator, at the very least, doesn’t seem to create any godforsaken monstrosities like you see in other games like Mass Effect and even Fallout. Your character will look at least somewhat normal, I guarantee you. I actually set out with the intent to create the most boy-bandesque hero I could, and I was fairly happy with the shaggy haired yet finely combed result.
Comrades takes place in between certain key plot points in the storyline of the main game. If you haven’t beaten the game yet, playing this beta won’t ruin your experience too much, but when it comes time for the final product to come out, I do advise people to, at the very least, beat Chapter 13 before playing. Trust me, I can already tell your experience with both will be heightened because of it. Then again, it’s been almost nine entire months since the game released, so Tabata and Square Enix are justified in setting the multiplayer mode during this period, and I hope that we do get to learn some more backstory and lore about this world through special missions once this DLC is ready to go. However, we can only really hope for what will happen.
There are, in total, four missions being offered here to players. One is a mission in which you take down creatures called Garulas, the next is an escort mission with a truck, the third a fearsome fight with a disgusting daemon called a Naga, and finally a ‘boss round’ where you hold off waves of enemies attacking a shack and defeat the Iron Giant that comes after it. No, not the Vin Diesel Iron Giant, I’m talking about the Final Fantasy Iron Giant and trust me, he is not a fan of Superman.
Before and after missions, you will gather at camps to prepare and then show a senior member of the Kingsglaive, the group your character is a part of, the items that you picked up during said mission. Depending on what you got, this senior member will cook up a meal for you just like Ignis does for Noctis and his pals in the single player mode. The poor schmucks I played with during the boss battle with the Iron Giant didn’t find any food, but I did. So, I was the only one who got a decent meal at the end of that fight. I’m Italian. We know how to spot good ingredients when we have to.
Clearly, Final Fantasy XV: Comrades is an intriguing addition to Final Fantasy XV, if for nothing else than how it intersects with the events of the story. What I think is going to make or break this optional mode is the amount of mission variety being offered. There just isn’t anywhere near enough here to judge, which is fair. It’s a beta. There’s a good framework here, but Square Enix needs to make sure that this isn’t just some throwaway ‘horde mode’ addition like I see so many other franchises that are typically single-player slap onto their games in the hope of drawing in a bigger crowd, a la Mass Effect. Though let’s be realistic; the team behind Final Fantasy XV is clearly making this mode to draw in more fans, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I only hope that Comrades ends up delivering on the promise that it clearly has the potential to fulfill.
Remember, you still have a chance to play it today, and then from the 11th to the 13th if you have yet to download it. I think it’s a decent way to kill a few hours, but we can only wait and see what the future of this online mode will be. This could be very popular if the missions end up not being too formulaic like they easily could be.
That’s what I’ve been playing this week, so please geeks and gamers! Tell us what you think about this new mode. Do you think it will succeed, are you thinking about getting it? Do you think Final Fantasy XV should have even gotten a multiplayer mode in the first place? Please, let us know!