February 16, 2018
Final Fantasy XV came out in November of 2016 for various home consoles, and just over a year later, the game has come to iOS in the form of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. Square Enix has been porting the full versions of their back catalog of Final Fantasy games, and with a new Final Fantasy release for iOS, you would think it would be VIII or X in its full ported form. Instead. Square Enix has released the current edition of their Final Fantasy franchise in a form that is designed from the ground up for iOS. It’s a major departure in mobile strategy for the company, and a very pleasant surprise for iOS players.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition delivers the entire single player campaign storyline from the console version, and that alone is quite an achievement. To pull this off, Square Enix redesigned the graphics engine from ornate 3D realism to more rudimentary 3D graphics, and sliced away the open world tendencies of the console counterpart. The gameplay structure has also been change in favor of a one touch control scheme. The entire game lets you tap to auto attack, and then you can pull off more complex moves with the right timing. Through all of the changes, you still get the entire storyline complete with detailed voice work for hours of a deluxe experience. Not everyone will enjoy the limitations, and yet the changes fit really well on iOS. You can get lost in the extraneous activities of the console version, and it’s much better to have a one touch control scheme than a virtual control pad cluttering the touch screen. Even the graphics style has its own endearing quality, and at the same time a freshness to the franchise.
The story of Final Fantasy XV has been redone for mobile devices.
The main takeaway of Final Fantasy XV is that it’s free to download for everyone to take a chance on the franchise, maybe even for the first time. The game has a single $19.99 in-app purchase to unlock the full experience, or you can buy individual chapters. This is the way all iOS games should be. Allowing the player to try the game for free, and then a single in-app purchase to continue the experience if they like what they see. Combining it with a reengineering of a current console game to fit mobile devices is a perfect pairing. Square Enix is performing the best iOS experiment to date, and hopefully it succeeds. It’s such a brilliant design idea that is executed very well, and so much better than a generic port with a premium price from the outset.
Nintendo has dabbled in different IAP and game structures with Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, and yet they are still distinctively watered down experiences. Imagine if in a year, Nintendo redid Super Mario Odyssey with a simpler graphics style, removal of the long term objectives, and made it free with a single premium in-app purchase. That’s essentially what Square Enix has just done. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition offers the best parts of the console version, and mixes it with the best benefits of iOS gaming. The better this game does, the more other developers will take notice to try the same thing with their major franchises. Hopefully this style becomes the new trend of the App Store.
FINALFANTASY XV POCKET EDITION
SQUARE ENIX INC