Earlier this year Square Enix released a mobile version of Final Fantasy XV dubbed the “Pocket Edition” which is a great little version of the game. Of course, with everything that’s successful in this generation, chances are its going to release on everything that it can be played on.
Downsizing Final Fantasy XV
Step forward the Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD, which is a decent port of the mobile title for PS4, but unfortunately that’s it, it’s just a HD port.
The first thing I’ll say about the Pocket Edition is that it keeps the spirit of Final Fantasy XV alive in almost every way but the open world aspect. I was incredibly surprised that the Pocket Edition was able to keep all the key story sequences in tact just the way were in the core title.
Remember Chapter 13’s stealth sequences? Well, they are recreated here and it actually works pretty well and reminds me of Metal Gear Solid with its top down camera angles. The fight against Titan? It’s here as well and it works pretty well. It’s an impressive feat to be sure.
As far as the story goes, the Pocket Edition actually tells the story of Final Fantasy XV better then the core game. In a way making it a more linear experience allows the story to flow more smoothly which in turn makes it a lot more coherent. It doesn’t pack any of the DLC story packs, but outside of Ignis story it’s not a big lose.
Pocket Edition Is A Massive Game On A Smaller Scale
When it comes to actual gameplay though, Pocket Edition is set up in mission sections. The missions are all story based so there are a lot of the familiar encounters from the core game. Sections where you travel to recruit Ramuh. All the story missions are left in tact. The actual missions put you in a semi open area where you can explore for items, complete side quests, and face off against the various monsters.
Side quests are pretty simple as well, such as collecting food ingredients for Ignis to cook, find Cactar Trophies, or search specific locations for hidden treasure using treasure maps. Those three types are pretty much most of the side quests you’ll be doing. It grows a little tedious and most of the time I completed them by just simply playing through the main story.
Combat plays almost identically to XV as Noctis moves around the environment with his warp skills and can switch between weapons mid combat. Your allies also help out quite a bit. It actually feels like they help a lot more then they did in the core game as well.
Pocket Edition’s Mission Structure Works In Its favor
One big difference is that upgrading and leveling up your characters is done as a whole rather then individually; and most of the time after you complete each chapter as there aren’t any camp sites outside of a few missions that feature them. You can also upgrade your Armiger which you collect mostly through story missions, but these abilities only work if you have the specific Armiger equipped making most of the skills useless
Skills and abilities are presented more on a grid and it features less abilities than the core game. Noctis’s teammates don’t get as many skills and mostly just receive stat boosts. It’s a simpler system for a simpler game and it works just fine.
I should also mention that the game is extremely easy. I never died a single time and the party members are always there to heal you. It actually kind of hurt the experience because there just wasn’t any challenge at all.
HD Upgrade, But Textures Look Bad Up Close
As far as the HD upgrade. Well, it’s very hit and miss. For the most part the game looks decent for an upgraded version of a mobile game but there are a lot of times where the camera is zoomed in and the textures become terrifying. I mean, PlayStation One quality textures. These moments are few and far between but they are noticeable.
The sound design on the other hand is top notch just like it was in the core game. Every conversation is voiced and the music is ripped right out of the PS4 game. However, I did discover that if you open the menu for any reason the music always resets back to the start.
I also discovered in the later chapters there are some technical issues where you can’t hear the actual voice overs but that’s easily fixed by just restarting the game.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD is a great little game for people looking to experience the story of XV. That’s not to say the rest of Pocket Edition is bad, quite the opposite actually. Pocket Edition is just a simpler more user-friendly experience. For those looking to experience XV just for it’s story, the Pocket Edition is the perfect experience.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD is now available on PlayStaion 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Review code provided by publisher