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Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae Demo – Exploration

Explore the wilderness of the Duscae region, as Noctis and his friends do their best Monster Hunter impressions.
This article is over 9 years old and may contain outdated information

The Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo is just around the corner, as the release of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD fast approaches. What you’ll play alongside your purchase of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was featured at PAX East this past weekend. If you haven’t already seen our combat impressions, be sure to head over and learn more about the revamped, action-based system. This time around we’ll look at everything else the PAX East Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo had to offer.

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It’s clear that Square drew inspiration from other developers as the company looks into its new games. Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn borrows heavily from World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy 15 seems to borrow from Monster Hunter. In fact, hunting is quite important.

Every night you make camp, and this is where the results of your hunting adventures come into play. What you eat at night is determined by the enemies (wildlife) you kill during the day. You stand to gain a multitude of buffs for the next day if you slay the right monsters. However, if you opt to ignore the monsters and stick to your quests, you’ll get stuck with toast. Unfortunately, toast doesn’t much for you, which means you’ll be at a slight disadvantage the next day.

Most of the demo takes place away from the big cities you see in the trailers. You’re confined to the area of Duscae, which contains quite a bit of wilderness with trees and marshes. There are a few civilized areas, but for the most part you’re out in the wild. While there’s a road and you will see cars, you won’t make much use of the car from the trailers. There’s even a chocobo farm in Duscae, but you’ll be restricted to walking throughout most of your time in the area.

You really get the sense that you’re in a living, breathing world. The Final Fantasy series went back and forth between offering open-ended gameplay and a more linear-based play style. Final Fantasy 15 is definitely more of the former. While there are quests that have you going to and from specific areas, you can explore all you want. As you explore, you’ll come across hostile animals and enemies that attack on-sight, or ones that are more passive and will only attack if you strike first.

Animals aren’t the only creatures you’ll run into while playing through the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo. Periodically troops will air drop into the area, and you’ll have to avoid or engage them in combat. Couple this with the random wildlife, the hunts and the nightly cookouts, and you have a virtual life-simulator… kind of.

A lot of people compare Final Fantasy 15 to a road trip. Noctis and his friends have a car. While you don’t see much of that car in the demo, you get the idea this is a group of friends hanging out together. When you hit the road, you’ll come across service stations. That’s where you’ll find stores where you buy things in exactly the same manner as you would in the real world. If you were driving cross-country, you’d stop to get gas and probably pick up some goodies from the convenience store at the gas station. The same thing happens in the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo.

Obviously the demo is somewhat limiting. You don’t have much access to your magic attacks, and everything was designed to give you a glimpse of what to expect when the full game releases at some unknown point in the future. However, there’s a lot to take in while you play through the demo. If you speed through everything, you can probably complete the demo in an hour or two. If you take your time and explore, it will take you several hours. It’s not hard to imagine a lot players spending several days with the demo to get a feel for the game.

However you decide to play, you will get your chance later this month. In the meantime, be sure to check out our earlier impressions of FF15!

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Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.