The Balance Between Expediency and Detail in Final Fantasy XV

After griping many times and really and truly considering skipping it, I've finally taken the dive into Final Fantasy XV, a cute little bro narrative about a prince and his friends on a grand adventure. In my short time with the game, so I've become obsessed with a small but meaningful point about game which is, the total lack of expediency in this game's design.

For better or for worse, Final Fantasy XV pays great care to detail. When you drive your car you have to do it in painful 1st person with no option for 3rd person. If you forget your car you have to tow it. Out of gas? Watch a cutscene while someone fills the tank. Every time you go inside, you have to walk. It even goes down to the moments in combat when your friends "save you from danger" there's an animation that's, frankly, longer than it needs to be and can't be canceled. So, if you're saving your friend from danger, better hope nothing tries to kill you the second after the animation animation stops cause neither of you can dodge the hit. These decisions make for a sort of charming game, all of these small touches are cute and enjoyable on one level, they make some sense. It's so cute that there's a cutscene where I have to run across the beach for no reason but a cute little interaction between the boys. Hooray for male bonding. But I also want to get on with the fucking game.

Therein lies the issue. A good game has detail and personality, that's how you connect to the game world and its inhabitants. But the game can't get in its own way. The point of a game is to play it and, with a few niche exceptions, to get to that gameplay easily. This is expediency. I shouldn't have to fight the game's game engine just to play it and I shouldn't have to skip through cutscenes constantly. It's an elevated reality where things happen automatically and the tedium of menial everyday tasks is minimized. That's necessary to keep the game from being sluggish. A great game has to strike a balance between those two concepts or it doesn't work well. For all of the neat personality of FFVI there's just a lack of accessibility and expediency and it makes an otherwise pretty interesting concept for a game, very hard to play so far. Maybe that'll change, but I'm not holding my breath. As I continue playing this game I will definitely have more to say so, stay tuned.