In this review, we will unravel the intricacies of a game that marries the fast-paced action of 2D brawlers with the beloved elements of the Final Fantasy franchise. With Regis at the helm, players engage in exhilarating battles, mastering a combat system that seamlessly blends strategy and fluidity. Yet, amidst the thrill of battle, we uncover a narrative that, while intentionally thin, captivates through the tender dialogue of father and son. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... a Final Fantasy XV: A King's Tale Review: A swift, kingly experience.
Battle System - 9.5
Drawing inspiration from 2D brawlers and Final Fantasy XV, this game has a fun, simple, and intuitive combat system that gets rather addicting once the player gets the hang of it. The main character, Regis, can combo three different types of melee attacks: light attacks, heavy attacks, and shield bashing. However, the two former moves have one special characteristic reminiscent of Final Fantasy XV—the warp strike system makes a return, albeit in a recontextualized way. Having the option to warp any time you attack with your sword makes the combat much more fluid than its contemporaries, and with combat rolls, you'll constantly be zipping around the battlefield. This game has tons of fun combos to use, even though there are just three options of melee attacks, and killing each enemy requires tactical thought of what combos to utilize. Outside of melee attacks, there are also companions you can summon and magic you can cast! Once you chain enough moves without getting hit, you can summon one of three companions to clear the field. This makes mastery of the battle system incredibly satisfying, as evading moves are always incentivized. There are also three combat spells available—the three traditional Final Fantasy elements: fire, ice, and lightning. Each spell can be charged to be second or third-tier variants for tons more damage, although for a steep MP cost. In addition to charging, each spell has a special characteristic to set it apart. Fire does more damage and leaves residual flames on the floor for AoE damage, ice slows enemies to a halt, and lightning briefly stuns enemies. While this game's combat is relatively simple, with awesome enemy variety and speedy, unrelentingly fun combat, this game certainly deserves a score of 9.
Customization System - 4
As much as I love the battle system in this game, the player has virtually no choice on how to build Regis as they progress through the game. While the pacing in which unlocking new abilities is pretty much perfect, even a basic skill tree could go a long way here. While I don't actively hate the progression here, it was certainly a huge missed opportunity to not have much here. I think a four is even a little overly generous, but with the great ability-unlocking pacing being commendable, I was compelled to give it a higher score than I first expected.
Story - 2
While I love the way the story was conveyed in this game through the father and son dialogue, the plot was intentionally a rather thin bedtime story. However, intentional as it may be, the story is not substantial or particularly memorable, so a higher score than two simply wouldn't make any sense.
Characters - 3
I love the father-and-son relationship between Noctis and Regis here—it felt incredibly real and satisfying. However, outside of their relationship and some of Ultros's comedic lines, this game has the thinnest characters in the series since the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III. While I admit it is unreasonable to expect much more from what was intended to be a short and sweet experimental game based on a massive RPG, I also admit it'd be stupid as sin to lie and say the characters in this game were great. Let's move on.
Locations - 1
Outside of the neat terrain effects and subtle references to Final Fantasy XV, the locations in this game were anything but special. Sure, they are pretty stunning, but they have next to no character, and for that, a very low score is absolutely fitting. In the end, with no intriguing or meaningful locales, this game certainly lacks the RPG flair typically associated with the series.
Music - 7.5
While this soundtrack is incredibly brief, even taking into account the runtime, it's certainly incredible for what it is. The sound design is also incredible, even if the goblins and cactuars make ear-numbing sounds at times. Ultimately, while this soundtrack won't be going down in history as the best soundtrack in the series or anything, the songs it does have are absolute bangers.
Art & Graphics - 9.5
This game's 2D-pixel art style is absolutely gorgeous, and it fits perfectly with the game! The cutscenes are beautifully shaded, the animations and sprites are stunning, and it's all an art style I'd thoroughly enjoy seeing again in a longer game with way more assets. Give me a full-length Metriodvania or a new, unique spin on the RPG series, and I'd be so much more than happy.
Sidequests - 8.5
This game truly starts once the main story finishes, at least gameplay-wise. The main story proves to be a great tutorial for the Dream Battles, post-game battles that test your prowess and mastery of the game. Striving to get perfect scores in each battle is tons of fun, as basic as they may seem. While these aren't the most monumental sidequests you'll get the chance to play through in a game, they are still loads of fun nonetheless.
Quality of Life - 10
My only gripe with this game would have to be the dumb achievement where I had to die ten times during the story, as, upon completing the story, I had to purposely let the enemies kill me over and over again. Putting that mostly irrelevant comment aside, this game ran perfectly and had absolutely no issues, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience from beginning to end.
Fun Factor: 9
Overall Score: 65%
Letter Rating: B
While this isn't one of the greats in the Final Fantasy franchise, its brief runtime, easy accessibility, and addictive gameplay make it worth a playthrough for Final Fantasy lovers and fans of the beat-em-up genres alike. Just don't go in expecting a storytelling masterpiece, and you'll find some joy in this title.
Want to check out this epic game? Lucky for you, it is free, and you can download it on your console of choice!
Primary Version: A King Tale's: Final Fantasy XV (Xbox)