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Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 151.6 hrs on record (124.0 hrs at review time)
Posted: Apr 5, 2018 @ 10:00am
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 @ 10:12am

How to have a good experience with FFXV: (MINOR SPOILERS)

1. Play and complete Chapter 1 (or the Demo).
2. Watch Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
3. Complete Chapter 2 and start Chapter 3.
4. (At any point during Ch 3) Watch Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV on Youtube
5. (During the long car rides in Ch3) Read Final Fantasy XV Prologue Parting Ways. Get the PDF here[cdn.sqexeu.com]
6. Play Chapters 3-7.
7. Play DLC Episode Gladiolus after Gladiolus returns to your party.
8. Play Chapter 8
9. Enjoy the Open World until halfway through Chapter 9 (the game will inform of a point of no return)
10. Play Chapters 9-12
11. Play Noctis' path in Chapter 13 first (make an extra save at the start of Ch13 for the next step)
12. Load the extra save from the previous step and play Gladiolus and Ignis''s path in Chapter 13 after they regroup with you
13. Play DLC Episode Prompto after Prompto returns to your party.
14. Finish Chapter 13.
15. Play Chapter 14 and finish the main game.
16. Play DLC Episode Ignis.
17. (OPTIONAL) Play non-story post-game content in Chapter 15.
18. (OPTIONAL) Play Multiplayer DLC Comrades with friends.

Why:
The order I've given above is not in chronological order of events, Rather, the order I've given is a recommended approach to familiarize yourself with the characters and lore and gain a deeper appreciation for the main cast at each step. During the main game, read the character biographies in the Archives (found in the in-game menu). It sometimes explains things that happened off-screen, and is updated when significant events happen in the game.

I will now explain in detail why I recommend the order above. Each of the following numbered points corresponds to the same numbered point above:

1. If you're undecided about whether you should buy the game, the Demo gives you all of Chapter 1, which is a good opportunity for you to try the game's mechanics and decide if they are to your taste (especially the combat). If you've already bought the game, Chapter 1 is for you to get to know the main cast as they are "now". The supplementary material (the Brotherhood anime and the Prologue novella) will delve into their backstories a bit more. This means of course that the supplementary material actually takes place before Chapter 1, but I recommend playing Chapter 1 first - kind of like how in real life you meet people and get to know them as they are, and then once you've known them for a while, then you start to learn more about their past and their history
2. This takes place before Chapter 1 and ends some time after Chapter 1. Noctis and his buddies are barely in the movie, but the movie sets up the world and lore - why Noctis and his buddies are doing what they're doing at the start of Chapter 1, and what's going on in their home city Insomnia while they're away. Pay attention to King Regis' motivations (try to empathize with him). In the movie's prologue, the white-haired boy is Ravus (he'll show up in the 2nd half of the game) and the girl is Lunafreya (Noctis' bride-to-be). If you can form an emotional connection with Lunafreya over the course of the movie, it will improve the emotional stakes of the game. The movie focuses on Nyx's point of view, but really the people you want to pay attention to (for the game's sake) is King Regis and Lunafreya. Also side note: Clarus (the shaven-head guy who's with King Regis) is Gladiolus' dad
3. The real plot of the game starts here. At the start of the chapter you seek out Cor from the Crownsguard. Note that the Crownsguard is different from the Kingsglaive featured in the Kingsglaive movie. I initially confused this character with the leader of the Kingsglaive in the movie until I googled it
4. The anime's "present" takes place while you're on your road trip around doing the tasks that you're told to do in Chapter 2, so this is a good time to watch it. The backstory of what happened to Noctis is a good way for you to understand why Noctis is so broody. It's easier to empathize with him once you know the trauma he experienced as a child. Also, the little girl Iris in Episode 3 is Gladiolus' little sister and she shows up in the game.
5. This takes place the day before Noctis and friends eave Insomnia to embark on their roadtrip. It ends right as they're going to the Citadel to meet King Regis (the opening scene of the game). I liked how it developed Noctis and Ignis' relationship a bit more, especially when Ignis recalls how Noctis' injury changed him. I presume this is the injury from the daemon in the Brotherhood anime. I believe that same injury is the one Noctis was still recovering from in the prologue of the Kingsglaive movie. This might help you understand Lunafreya's special place in Noctis' heart. At just 8 years old Noctis witnessed the death of his caretaker at the hands of a daemon and is himself injured. Presumably he is still recovering from this injury when he meets Lunafreya as a child in Tenebrae, which Noctis constantly has flashbacks to in the game. To meet someone so pure and loving like Lunafreya not long after his dark, traumatic experience with the daemon must have left a strong impression on him, building a strong emotional attachment for him to Lunafreya.
6. Have fun. You might have heard that the sidequests are really unabashedly bad and of no consequence to the world/plot (unlike games like Skyrim or The Witcher 3). It's quite a shame because it's a such a missed opportunity, given how beautiful the Open World is to roam about in. SquareEnix probably just ran out of time or resources, and admittedly churning out well-written side-quests is probably the least of the concerns given the long development hell the game went through. Nevertheless, just take the sidequests and hunts as excuses for you to spend time with Noctis and his buddies. The more you develop an attachment to the 4 of them, the better the emotional payoff towards the end of the game and in the DLC.
7. This DLC is about Gladiolus trying to get stronger so he can better protect Noctis. Not really much story development, but the combat is more skill-based and probably an interesting experiment on SquareEnix's part. If you like Gladioulus' combat style, you can unlock the ability to play him in the main game by spending AP in the main game's Ascension menu (it's under the Techniques tab). You can do this even before you play the DLC actually,
but the DLC trains you better. If you finish the DLC it unlocks a new weapon (both Gladiolus and Noctis can use it) and ability for Gladiolus that carries over to the main game.

8. The Open World is about to close off lore-wise soon. You can still play the Open World segment in the later chapters, but it's not lore-friendly because Noctis and his buddies are about to embark on a journey that leaves behind the Open World. You access the Open World through pretty much a game mechanic later on. I spent over 70 hours on the Open World before I finally moved on in Chapter 9. Think of it as time for you to develop your love for the main characters. The emotional impact of the linear Chapters 9-14 depend on this
9. (See previous point)
10. Enjoy the story!
11. The game let's you choose a path but just finish Noctis' first because if you choose the other path you can't switch back halfway
12. Nice plot revelation
13. Massive backstory reveal
14. Enjoy~
15. Enjoy~
16. Prepare for the FEELS
17. For those who can't get enough of the open world
18. Lore-wise it takes place between Chapters 13 and 14. I haven't played much yet so I don't know if there's interesting plot reveals.

I hit the word limit! Feel free to discuss in the comments!
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139 Comments
치 The Spearman 치 Jun 26 @ 9:08pm 
Holy Shit. Reading this review for Steam Summer Sale 22, and while technically very informative, it serves more to inform me why I probably shouldn't be buying it. I'm not in high school anymore and there's no fucking way one goofy game is worth this kind of setup.
UnannouncedMole Jun 23 @ 7:46pm 
cheers
gamebread Jun 14 @ 6:09pm 
shouldnt be called final fantasy. its not. should have just made a new game series post X-2 and started fresh. the amount of cutscenes is unbearable.
monoGT May 26 @ 9:29pm 
Lol Nice
raylinn0611 Feb 5 @ 11:22pm 
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Papa Gelt Feb 2 @ 3:03pm 
If anyone reads this, there is one other extremely important thing if you want the full story, which the reviewer didn't add since it didn't exist at the time he made this review: The Dawn of the Future novel. Essentially, it's a novel that contains the story from Episode Ardyn and ALL THE CANCELLED DLCs, and it is the only way to experience the game's intended, definitive ending.
MrBiscuit Dec 18, 2021 @ 7:30am 
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Stinky Skunk Jul 21, 2021 @ 2:17pm 
Start and end with step 2. That movie was literally the only good thing about FFXV. This game is not Final Fantasy.
Ozzie Pants Jul 18, 2021 @ 6:27pm 
@null I enjoyed the game without a guide, so not, that's not true. This is a cool thing to have though, if I want to dive back into the game.
The Minty Hippo Jun 29, 2021 @ 6:23am 
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