The loss of the massive world isn’t as easy to get behind. Travelling with your companions and undertaking the myriad missions you found throughout Eos was the heart and soul of FFXV, and I can still vividly recall some of my best adventures and genuinely touching moments trekking around the vast, lush world with my roadtrip buddies. There’s elements of that in Pocket Edition, and the title does its best to boil down what made these elements feel so important, but ultimately it misses the mark – and I’m not sure it could have done anything but miss it, quite frankly. This sacrifice makes sense on mobile, and I didn’t once question it – but when you could just as easily play FFXV proper on the same console as Pocket Edition HD, it’s harder to rationalise the sacrifice.
That said, as a returning player who loved XV, Pocket Edition works well as a compilation album of sorts – a greatest-hits that managed to remind me of an awesome adventure I wouldn’t necessarily undertake again. Seeing the game’s many cool moments – rendered in cute, over the top cutscenes and gameplay moments here – was fun not only for plucking at that fresh nostalgia but also twisting it into something new. Also, the console version just works better than on mobile – unsurprisingly. More buttons and more direct interaction make for a better game, and if you’re desperate to take this pocket sized, cute-as-heck trip through memory lane then you’re going to want to do it on console if you can.
I love the way Pocket Edition looks. I know a lot of people don’t care for the chibi graphics that render our once beautiful boyband into squat, funny-faced, clumpy renditions of their previously chiselled selves, but that’s exactly why I dig it. It’s also great to see Square Enix willing to render the already-recognizable squad into a myriad of other styles – they’ve certainly proven to be eager to get them into as many cameos as possible thus far, and Pocket Edition feels like yet another twist on an instalment eager to recoup what must have been a hefty budget after a ten year dev cycle.
The sound design is all here, ripped seemingly from the main game, and that’s fine. If you dug what was present in the main offering, it’s all just as good here – though, once again, presented in pocket size. You’re not getting the full experience playing Pocket Edition, but in a game as expansive and long winded as FFXV, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
“Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition” was a surprisingly deep mobile game when it hit last year, feeling like a really ambitious handheld title than a simple phone port. This HD edition loses some of the title’s raison d’être, especially when you have XV proper sitting next to it on your dashboard. If you’re looking to take your first tour through Eos I’d recommend the Royal Edition, but I can’t deny the appeal of fans revisiting and remembering their first outing through Pocket Edition HD. I was eager to see one of my favourite JRPGs in recent years rendered in a new, cute style and play through a bitesize version of the mainline games biggest moments.
Much like life on the road with our beautiful boyband, it’s a trip.
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