September 30th cannot arrive fast enough. That is the day the new iteration of the Final Fantasy Game Series, Final Fantasy XV, will be released. It is a franchise known more for its masterful storytelling and gorgeous visuals than anything else, so far most things seen and heard about Final Fantasy XV point out its heavy focus on story.
Changes to Magic System
Despite this, there is plenty to explore, and ample combat to take part in. For this new version, the magic system has been subjected to a number of exciting and significant changes that make for an endlessly more dynamic gaming experience.
The game’s developers, Square Enix, have focused on a type of magic that reflects the concept of quality over quantity. Instead of having a large selection of possibly watered down spells, they decided to introduce a reduced amount, but with greater significance, impact, importance and purpose, than the typical spells currently known in the Final Fantasy realm.
In this regard, magic spells will not be simply about inflicting damage, they will also be about the effects they have on the environment in which they are implemented, as well as how they allow players to get creative and strategic when in combat.
Elemental Energy and Ring Spell
The game features two types of spells. In the first category is the elemental magic; which involves gathering what are called “Elemental Energies”. These are then stored as items called “Elemental Spells“, include Fire, Blizzard and Thunder, and are available from early in the game.
The second category is comprised of a type of magic called “Ring Spells“. These can only be used by the bearer of The Royal Ring of the Kingdom of Lucis, is passed down the Royal line and becomes usable only after a certain point in the story. Ring magic, just like elemental magic, was designed to reflect quality over quantity, reason why each spell bears great significance and purpose.
As previously mentioned, “Elemental Energies” are to be gathered by the players. They are scattered throughout the world and are used to create magic. Once created, the magic is stored as part of the player’s inventory, and can be chosen to equip a spell item in place of a weapon, at their own discretion, to use during battle.
The Fire spell is one that when cast, will not just inflict damage and cease. Right from the get-go it will have both, a wide range of effects and the ability to set the environment afire if there is something flammable nearby, like grass or oil.
Along with the environment, anyone who has the misfortune of being reached by the flames will also be subjected to its wrath. The game determines what is flammable and what is not, and accordingly will react the flames from the Fire Spell; an example was shown in the Active Time Report Live Stream which shows a shack set ablaze when the fire gets out of control.
The AI has been programmed to keep distance from the nearby flames so as to give players a degree of liberty, and Noctis himself will shrink back if players get too close.
The Blizzard spell is one that if there is water nearby, it will freeze it temporarily. This effect will in turn magnify the damage, along with causing effects like slowing down the mobility of the enemy. These can even freeze to death from the Blizzard spell.
Thunder, is an electricity based spell which, just like in the real world, amplifies its effects if it is used nearby or on things that are highly conductive, such as water or metal. Not only will spells interact with the environment; its damage radius, status effects and overall potency, will also vary depending on the weather.
Which means that if it rains during battle, casting the Fire spell will limit the damage caused by the flames and will extinguish them much more quickly, thereby reducing its intended effect. Spells like Blizzard and Thunder, on the other hand, can benefit from it.
The goal of these environmental and weather related interactions is to make them react realistically, that is, the same way they would in the real world so as to allow and encourage players to use the spells creatively. Needless to say, creative implementations of spells can make for easier and more result yielding battles. This, once again, highlights the developer’s goals of striving for combat meaning and purpose.
Gameplay enhancing as they are, these spells do not exist without their unfavorable aspects. Being more powerful from the start, and because of their various possible interactions and effects, the spells can harm players and their party members.
This is to say that the expanded area of damage includes the game protagonists. The AI will attempt to take care of itself, but accidents are possible, if not probable; and if players are not careful, situations can spin out of control much to their own peril.
In conclusion, the magic system in Final Fantasy XV will transcend its statistical nature to become a dynamic, interaction able, element in what is definitely one of the most anticipated games of 2016.