Friday, 25 August 2017

REVIEW: Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive

Originally written on September 2nd 2016, never published

With the release of the highly anticipated JRPG Final Fantasy XV in the next couple of months, it comes as no surprise that Square Enix are doing as much as they can to get their audience excited.
Back in March, Square Enix revealed that a feature animated film called Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive (or Kingsglaive for short) had been made, starring lead actors such as Lena Headey and Sean Bean from Game of Thrones and Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad.

Set in the world of Eos, Kingsglaive details events that happen right before Final Fantasy XV, giving viewers a glimpse into the relationship between the game’s protagonist Noctis (Aaron Paul) and his father King Regis (Sean Bean), ruler of Lucis.

The scene is immediately set in its opening with Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey) providing a harrowing speech about the history of the ongoing feud between two opposing territories; Lucis and Nifelheim.

Nifelheim are an advanced, technologically superior empire to Lucis who have no qualms about taking over as many kingdoms in Eos as they can and with Lucis being their next target, things are looking bleak.

King Regis forms a royal garrison of extremely powerful soldiers called the Kingsglaive to help protect Lucis against the clutches of Nifelheim. These soldiers are magically endowed and are the best of the best, risking their lives to protect their kingdom. Nyx Ulric of the Kingsglaive is the main hero of the movie, proving time and time again just how dedicated he is to his kingdom.

After over ten years of endless war, Nifelheim’s imperial chancellor Ardyn Izunia arrives in the royal capital of Insomnia with the offer of an armistice. But there’s a catch: Regis must sign over all territories of Lucis except the royal capital to Nifelheim and his son Noctis must wed Lady Lunafreya. After a mass debate, Regis accepts. But all is not what it seems…

Graphically, the film is undoubtedly gorgeous. The CGI imagery is outstanding, with some parts of it looking incredibly “uncanny valley”. During some sections, it’s even possible to forget that you’re actually watching an animated film – it’s THAT detailed. Even the settings and backgrounds are polished to the highest detail. Animation can be a tad iffy sometimes, with lip syncing appearing clunky and ever-so-slightly delayed but for the most part, it’s stellar.

Even the monsters are incredibly detailed – not just in appearance but in their actions too – making the fast-paced action and combat scenes even more fun to watch; nothing beats a movie where huge demons fire hundreds of projectiles from their mouths.

There is no way you could watch Kingsglaive and not feel like you’re watching a Final Fantasy movie (looking at you, Spirits Within). Everything you could possibly associate with a Final Fantasy film is thrown at you – from massive, all-out battles and terrifying, grotesque enemies to flashy magic moves and beautiful landscapes, it has it all.

The worst thing about the movie is by far the final battle, which goes on for what feels like an eternity and is especially repetitive. But aside that, everything else seems to fall into place perfectly and was an absolute pleasure to sink time into watching.

If you’re a Final Fantasy fan and you’re interested in learning some backstory when it comes to playing Final Fantasy XV, Kingsglaive is a must. Of course, you don’t have to watch it before you play but it definitely helps.

Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive releases directly onto Blu-Ray on September 30th.

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