Fans have finally been given their first look at Final Fantasy XV’s multiplayer this week with the Comrades beta. No one was really sure how well a game like Final Fantasy XV would implement multiplayer, and while Comrades shows potential, it’s far too early to tell if the expansion will really turn out to be anything substantial.
The Comrades beta give you access to three different missions, one that has you hunting a pack of Garula, another that sees you escorting a supply truck, and the final one that has you doing battle with a fearsome Naga. While these missions in and of themselves aren’t incredibly difficult, there’s decent variation, if nothing exceptional. The real star of the show though, like in the main game, is the combat. Things basically play out the same way as in Final Fantasy XV, with you having the ability to attack, warp strike, dodge, jump, etc. The biggest difference, however, is that you don’t get recovery items, instead having healing magic mapped to L2 + triangle, and attack magic to L2 + circle.
Combat is fast and furious, with four players warping, attacking, dodging and more. Things feel just as fluid in the main game and it’s definitely a blast to take on huge groups of enemies with four players. Being able to switch between four weapons also helps keep things varied. Even with a lack of difficulty in the beta, it’s easy to see how fun and hectic battles with powerful enemies could get.
Beyond the main combat loop, however, Comrades doesn’t do enough to show what players will really get to do. There is avatar customization luckily, although it’s a little limited right now. It also looks like there’s bound to be quite a bit of customization in terms of weapons and loadouts, but again that’s not something we’re really seeing in the beta. If there is a ton of variation, along with weapons, magic, and gear not featured in the main game, that’d make Comrades even more exciting to play.
Adding on some kind of world exploration, or keeping missions highly varied, would help the multiplayer mode stay fresh too. Beating enemies is all well and fun, but without some kind of variation Comrades could easily get stale. There’s also a great opportunity to expand on the world and story of Final Fantasy XV here as well. Comrades takes place in The Dark World, later on in the game, something we barely get to see in the main story. If Comrades can add on bits of story, or even story related missions, we could find out how the world survives during those 10 years in the dark, and what happens to characters like Iris, Aranea, and Cid. There are little bits of text you can find throughout the main hub in the beta that make me hopeful for some story related content, but it’s hard to say whether Square Enix will really focus on adding anything in or just concentrate on gameplay.
There’re definitely some changes that need to be made to the matchmaking system and layout before the full release as well. Overall I didn’t have any problems once I was in a match, but using the quick play option really had some trouble. The game would have a hard time connecting and actually starting a mission if I was using quick play, instead of just joining a room or friend. By the same token, playing with friends is a little convoluted. You have to have someone make a room, then have everyone else enter the code to join, and sometimes you still have trouble at that point. Obviously this is a beta, and most likely major technical issues will be ironed out, but it should be easier to join a game and meet up with friends for missions.
Truthfully, Final Fantasy XV: Comrades only gives us the briefest of looks at how the game’s multiplayer will really work and pan out. There’s definitely some technical issues and a lack of variation, hopefully things that can all be ironed out when the full version releases, The framework does seem to be there for something engaging, however, and with more variation and customization it could definitely be worth you while. We just need to see more of the mode before anyone can really reach a full decision.