The boys sure have been on quite an adventure but all things must come to an end. Now that I've finally finished Final Fantasy XV, please enjoy my summary of its last moments and thoughts about the ending. Obviously, major spoilers are ahead.
Chapter 13: Redemption
Chapter 12 ended with the gang working their way to Gralea. Upon reaching the city, their train was attacked so Noctis took the Regalia and drove it while avoiding oncoming attacks. However, it got ruined in the process as well and Noctis was separated from Gladio and Ignis. Keep in mind; Prompto's whereabouts are still uncertain. Noctis then realises that he can't summon weapons because his powers are now sealed. So, he slips on the mystical ring that Luna gave him and he gains the power to take out his enemies with magic.
Once I began to actually control Noctis with his newfound powers, it was obvious that this chapter was going to be quite the grind. On the other hand, the decrepit city of Gralea had a genuinely eerie atmosphere that was pretty cool to experience... at first. The following stretch of gameplay involved Noctis running through hallways, sneaking past and hiding from menacing foes as if he's Solid Snake, and upgrading a keycard to progress through the maze-like city. I understand that many gamers hate this chapter and I agree for the most part. However, most Final Fantasy games have a tedious penultimate area before the grand finale. For example, Final Fantasy X had a monotonous Cloister of Trials in Zanarkand, VI had a complex time-consuming dungeon where you alternated between three parties, and XIII had the confusing Orphan's Cradle. Therefore, I was kind of expecting a lengthy boring segment and that's just what I got.
Back to the story, we realised that the empire was manufacturing demons here and that the people of the empire have been transforming into monsters, too. Noctis discovered Ravus' dead body and recovered his dad's sword which Ravus was protecting until he perished. Also, he met up with his two friends then found Prompto chained up in a prison-like area so he freed him. Together again, they found a device that returned Noctis' powers then were confronted with a reanimated Ravus. After fighting for a while, Noctis headed to the crystal solo and was slowly absorbed by it as Ardyn explained that he is Noctis' ancestor. Inside the crystal, Noctis gained the power of Bahamut and became the True King. Well, things are certainly getting interesting so let's find out how it all ends.
Chapter 14: Homecoming
Noctis woke up complete with a scraggly new beard in a strange stone structure on an island. Conveniently, he finds his dad's ship docked nearby and takes it to familiar territory. The world is now overrun with beasts and the darkness has spread across the land. The next waypoint was miles away so heading there by foot was very daunting. However, Talcott (who Noctis remembers being a child) picks him up in his truck and reveals to him that ten years have passed. Upon meeting up with the gang again, I laughed out loud at how most of them now have scruffy beards, too. I guess 20 year olds have clean-shaven faces while 30 year olds have awful teenage beards...?
The friends then headed to Insomnia in the hopes of defeating Ardyn and reclaiming the crystal. I guess Ardyn was just sitting in the ruins twiddling his thumbs for ten years waiting for Noctis to show up. After battling through hordes of demons, the gang had to fight Ifrit who was summoned by Ardyn. Wow, that battle was epic! Taking on the giant fiery creature while traversing the enormous ruins in order to get in a few attacks made for quite an exhilarating battle. To be honest, I had to lower the difficulty to defeat him because he's one tough cookie and I desperately wanted to see the ending but I plan to fight him legitimately in the near future.
After all that excitement, it was time for the final battle. The bros come across Ardyn who's sitting on Noctis' throne in front of the hanging corpses of his dad, Luna, and a couple of other unfortunate souls. Ardyn stuns Noctis' friends so the battle will just be between the two of them. The following fight was much easier with plenty of quick-time events. As it played, I couldn't help but feel the entire bout was lifted straight from The Matrix Revolutions. Watching Ardyn and Noctis duke it out while being thrown into buildings in the dimly-lit green-hued city as it rained was just like witnessing Neo take on Smith at the end of The Matrix trilogy. Whatever, I guess the developers couldn't think of anything more original. Noctis won, of course. Then, an interesting sequence of events unfolded...
Noctis sat on his throne and the deceased kings entered him one by one with his father hesitating then ultimately deciding to end Noctis' life. In the afterlife, Noctis confronted Ardyn one last time where he defeated him with the help of his ancestors, departed loved ones, and the spirits of his still-living friends. He sadly yet inevitably ended his own existence in the process. In return, the sun came up thus allowing a new and hopeful day to begin. A flashback then played showing Noctis accepting his fate and thanking his friends by the campfire. This moment was brought to you by Coleman: makers of fine foldable camping chairs. Thanks, product placement!
We then see Luna and Noctis at his rightful throne where she kisses him then they both fall asleep. Wow, I didn't realise heaven was so boring. I thought there would be chocolate fountains and stuff. Kidding aside, it was a sweet note to end the game on.
Some final thoughts
So, that's the entire tale of Final Fantasy XV. I spent a lot of my previous coverage complaining about certain aspects of the adventure and none of these issues were rectified by the end of the journey. That being said, the ending was a satisfying one although the story overall was one of the simplest plots in the Final Fantasy series. Unlike after finishing previous games, I feel no need to research plot-points or discuss theories on forums which is disappointing on one hand but on the other hand, it is nice to have a mostly self-contained story that's easy to follow for once. I must say that even though I've played for dozens of hours, I still didn't feel an emotional connection to any of the characters. As I said in my first play journal, Final Fantasy XV just throws you in the middle of its world at the start, expects you to care, and does little to ensure that you actually do. Seeing as I now finished it, I can safely say; that was a bad decision.
Now that I can soon put Final Fantasy XV behind me, I'm looking forward to deleting that 50+ gigabyte hog from my hard drive to make room for more worthwhile games. It was a memorable adventure for sure but it was also full of tedium and wasted potential. For now, look forward to my full review and leave a comment below so we can discuss the ending and game in general.