The Royal Edition of Final Fantasy XV landed last week, and one of the new additions in the package had me pretty excited: first-person mode.
Whatever your opinion is on Final Fantasy XV, there's one thing that nobody can deny - it looks gorgeous. So being able to explore its world from another point of view to me sounded like a dream. But then I tried it, and came away with mixed feelings.
Enabled by pressing in both analogue sticks at the same time, first-person mode is exactly what it says on the tin; it enables you to see through Noctis' eyes. When you first enable it after playing Final Fantasy XV in third-person for so long it feels very weird indeed. In fact, it almost feels isolating due to your comrades tending to follow your lead and stay back; you no longer see them very much unless you purposefully turn around to look at them. It does, however, allow you to take in the game's sights like never before, and Final Fantasy XV's environments will often have you gawping like a giddy tourist.
From its dusty canyons to its European-influenced towns, Final Fantasy XV offers some serious eye candy for those who appreciate a well-constructed virtual world. The first-person viewpoint also enables you to get a closer look at Final Fantasy XV's character and enemy models too, which are also sublime. For those who are into taking screenshots, the first-person mode will be a revelation, giving them more freedom and inspiration. The joy of the first-person mode comes to an end, however, when you find yourself entering combat.
To me, Final Fantasy XV's combat has always felt messy, and it's not helped by the game's camera when played in third-person. In first-person mode, however, it's even worse. Having to hold down face buttons to attack and defend means that you can't effectively use the right analogue stick to look around you. The result is that you have pretty much zero awareness of what your team or your enemies are doing unless you hang back, which isn't ideal at all.
Final Fantasy XV's first-person mode is little more than a novelty then - a nice little trick thrown in that you'll use from time to time while exploring but can't feasibly be used to play the whole game. It allows you to view the world of Eos in a way that you've never been able to before, but little thought has been given as to how that gels with the gameplay. Still, as novelties go, it's a pretty enjoyable one for the handful amount of times that you'll use them. I can certainly see myself continuing to see through Noctis' eyes when out of combat - what finer way is there to take in the scenery?
Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Alternatively, those who already own Final Fantasy XV can purchase the Royal Pack DLC. PC gamers can also now pick up Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, which includes the base game and all additional content.