Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is almost upon us. If you pre-ordered the game, you have a good chance of getting the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo. We’ve known for some time that the combat system in Final Fantasy 15 would differ from the combat experienced in almost every previous Final Fantasy adventure. However, thanks to PAX East, we now have hands-on experience that we can pass on to you.
In the past we compared the combat system in Final Fantasy 15 to the combat in Kingdom Hearts. That’s still a fair comparison, but it goes a bit deeper than simply action-based combat. As you may have guessed, the turn-based combat of older Final Fantasy titles is gone. However, even the party system was revamped. This is an entirely new Final Fantasy experience that fans of the series will have to adjust to.
Although you have a party that you spend most of the game with, you won’t be able to control every member of the party. In fact, this goes a step beyond the party system in Final Fantasy 12, which allows you to issue commands to your party members. In the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo you control the main character, Noctis. The leader of your party will change from time to time, but you will never gain the ability to control the other characters.
This is similar to how combat works in Kingdom Hearts. Donald and Goofy assist Sora, but for the most part you control Sora and only Sora. With the action-based combat system of Final Fantasy 15, it somewhat makes sense that Square limits your control over the party. Imagine playing Kingdom Hearts and trying to attack a Heartless with three characters at once. Things would quickly become hectic, and the same can be said of Final Fantasy 15.
There aren’t any menus when doing battle in FF15. Instead you have more action-oriented controls. If you hold down the attack button, Noctis will continue to attack until you release the button. You get a variety of weapons selected on the fly, each of which has a special ability. One weapon may perform a ranged special attack, while another may perform an attack that heals Noctis.
Since there isn’t a dedicated mage class like in other Final Fantasy games, your MP controls more than just magic-based attacks. Most of your combat actions require MP. When you run out of MP you enter a state in which your movement and general actions are greatly reduced. Instead of going crazy with a flurry of different attacks, much of the strategy in Final Fantasy 15 will come from managing your MP and knowing what attacks to use so you don’t run out of MP at a bad time.
On the defensive side of things, Noctis has a general defensive position by holding what is essentially a guard button. While holding the guard-like button, Noctis will evade most attacks aimed in his direction. In addition, if you press the parry button after dodging an attack, Noctis will perform a parry that will allow you to go right back on the offensive. The timing is fairly easy once you’ve done it a few times, but once again, this is a different combat system compared to most Final Fantasy titles.
Everything else experienced in the demo is fairly similar to other action games. You can lock-on to a single enemy and keep them in your sights until you switch to another enemy or defeat your target. You can also teleport around the environment to get closer to an enemy, or make an escape to replenish your MP.
As long as you’re expecting an action game with RPG elements, you should enjoy your time with the game. Thankfully it won’t be long until you experience it, but in the meantime, be sure to check out our impressions of the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo.