The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
The release of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition (Free) is fascinating to me, and not just because Final Fantasy is a massively popular series and this is the latest entry. Rather, the way it has made its way to mobile is what I can’t wrap my head around. Final Fantasy XV on consoles launched in late 2016 and is a huge, open-world style Final Fantasy game. While mobile devices are quite powerful, and we’ve seen some pretty impressive ports over the years, there’s no way I ever imagined Final Fantasy XV could make its way to mobile, at least not anytime soon. Square Enix decided to prove me wrong, and they did so in a very interesting way.
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is more or less the full story of the console version, complete with the same voice dialogue and all the same cutscenes. To get the game on mobile without massive performance issues Square Enix redid ALL of the visuals for the game, and rather than the very realistic high-end visuals of the console game Pocket Edition sports toned down, chibi-style versions of all the game’s characters. Many of the environments are pretty much the same too, but also toned down graphically. The result is a game that feels a lot like the 3D remakes of Final Fantasy III and IV but using everything in Final Fantasy XV proper. The trailer below does an excellent job of comparing the two games side by side.
The scaled back visuals aren’t the only concession in Pocket Edition, as it also doesn’t feature many of the additional side quests of the console game nor is it very open-world. It’s a much more guided experience, and while there are some fairly large areas you can run around in and explore, it’s certainly not on par with the console game’s massive world. However, in many ways this is to the game’s benefit depending on your gaming preferences. If you’re the type that likes getting distracted and goofing around completing minor quests, then Pocket Edition may not be satisfying for you. If you’d prefer to have a more linear journey through the game’s story, then Pocket Edition excels at this.
As our own Final Fantasy fanatic Shaun Musgrave pointed out in his review of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, this streamlined approach to the full Final Fantasy XV actually improves the flow of the game and makes for a tighter, more focused experience. Hey, maybe that’s not appealing to you, and that’s OK! Please enjoy the console version or the forthcoming PC version. If you liked the console version and are intrigued by Pocket Edition, then give it a try. It’s actually a different enough experience that I’ve heard from fans of the console version who still enjoyed another romp through the game via this new Pocket Edition. If you’ve never played the console game (raises hand) then this streamlined, made-for-touchscreen version is an excellent way to experience Final Fantasy XV, especially if you have no intention of playing it on console.
Whatever the case, Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is free to download and try the entire first chapter, with the rest of the game available as IAP per chapter or as an entire bundle at a slight discount. All told it’ll set you back about 20 bucks for the whole game. Give it a shot. What will be really interesting to see is if other companies take a similar approach in bringing some of their big-budget AAA games from console and PC to mobile in the future, and based on how Pocket Edition turned out, I’d be all for it.
Link to Forum Discussion: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition (by SQUARE ENIX)