Editorial: Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive "Review"
It's not a game, but its ties to one are very strong.
08.21.16 - 2:26 PM
Like many others, I have had mixed feelings about Final Fantasy XV. As RPG fans, I think it is only natural to want to see the king of the genre come back in a big way and take back the crown, but it's hard to understand Square Enix's vision of the game after playing the demos and watching all the videos. On top of this, some of the important story plots from the game have made their way into supplementary videos including the episodic anime Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV and, more importantly, the new full-length CGI film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. Unfortunately, we all need to wait an additional 2 more months to play Final Fantasy XV and get the final verdict on it, but the game's delay has not stopped Square Enix from releasing all the Final Fantasy XV supplementary story material on time. Kingsglaive is seeing a limited theatrical release in North America this week and I just happened to be one of the few that live close enough to one of the theaters playing the movie, so I made my way to Times Square in NYC and spent an afternoon watching the film.
I want to make it clear I am not in any way a movie critic, so don't think of this piece as a review of the movie. This piece is more in line with how a Final Fantasy fan should perceive Kingsglaive if they have any interest in playing the game this November. I'll try to keep it as spoiler free as possible but forgive me if I delve a bit into the plot of the movie and of what we know so far of the beginning plot of Final Fantasy XV. And with that being said, I think there are four big questions that most people have about this movie that I am going to try to answer. They are:
Why does Kingsglaive have to exist?
With both the first and last questions in mind, I have to come right out and say that Kingsglaive is a "must see" if you plan on playing the game. The movie explains a lot of what happens just before the start of the game and sets the stage for what happens during the first hour or two of the game. It is a great set piece that shows us what happened instead of explaining this to us. Now you're probably asking why couldn't they have just shown us all of this in the game? I can understand that, but I think if they had done so, it would have distracted from what they have envisioned for the game. From what we have seen and been told, the game's focus is meant to be squarely on Noctis, Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis. The game is not focused on what's happening in the world, but rather on how what is happening affects them and pushes them to complete their journey. So I can understand the reasoning behind separating the two. From that perspective, it would be pretty jarring to cut away from the start of the game just as we are getting to know the characters to show us why and how the capital city of Insomnia falls. I think they could have gone either way on this, but in my opinion, this may have been the correct call. Let's not forget what happened in Final Fantasy XII, where the plot of the game was so focused away from what the main cast is doing that they almost didn't feel involved at all. You could still call Kingsglaive a cash grab if you want, and I wouldn't fault you for that decision.
So what is Kingsglaive exactly? Kingsglaive is a movie that boils down to an hour and 50 minutes of awesome CGI and cool action sequences. The plot (as stated above) explains how and why the capital city of Insomnia falls during the opening hours of Final Fantasy XV. It also gives us a first look at some of the important characters of Final Fantasy XV including Lunafreya, King Regis, Ravus, and Ardyn Izunia. The movie ends on some small cliffhangers that are obviously planned to be answered in the game itself. As a standalone movie, it is pretty cool to watch, but I am sure there are better action movies out there right now if that is all you're looking for. And if you have not been keeping up with information that released on the game so far, the movie's plot will probably make no sense, so make sure you do your homework ahead of time.
Now for the big question. Does Kingsglaive get you invested in the world of Final Fantasy XV and settle some of the apprehensions for the game itself? For me, that was a yes, and I think it will for a lot of fans. After seeing the movie, I feel invested in the story for the first time, and I am curious to see how the rest will play out. For a long time now, the game's story seemed to be about 4 guys going on a road trip, but we didn't really know how or why. There was no purpose behind it, so I never really cared. Kingsglaive finally gives us a vision of what we can possibly expect from the game's story. Kingsglaive is no masterpiece — in fact, it's nowhere close to one — but it does its job nicely by setting up what could potentially be a very cool story. And I think that's the bottom line for Kingsglaive. It does what it's supposed to, which is be a set piece for something bigger. It would have been nice to be playing the game a month from watching this movie instead of 3, but it's definitely something I think everyone looking to pick up the game should give a watch when they can. It is an enjoyable movie, and one that I think is worth the experience for fans of the game.