Comrades finishes its second closed beta test and these are our thoughts.
Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, the online multiplayer DLC coming for FFXV, finished its second closed online test for season pass holders this past week, bringing along a few improvements to the surprising addition to the FFXV storyline. Not much really changed aside from the improvements for cooperative matchmaking for questing, but the upcoming DLC felt like a fun, if not somewhat out of place, addition to the story.
Final Fantasy XV: Comrades has you playing as a fully customizable member of Kingsglaive, the elite unit of soldiers who protect the King of Lucis. You’re able to use magic and hot swap weapons thanks to Noctis sharing his kingly powers to the Kingsglaive. As of now, it’s unsure where the DLC is taking place in the main story, but considering some of the hints that the beta left via shop and NPC descriptions, it could have occurred sometime after the events of Chapter 13 in the main game, hence the barricading and preparation for an influx of daemons. As mentioned in the previous article, you can unlock more weapons and clothing as you progress through the DLC’s quest mechanic, but the closed test only allowed for limited use of these features.
Your custom character is very well rendered into the main FFXV world; you don’t feel like you a cardboard cut out or out of place at all. Mechanically, the controls feel very much the same, with the exception of the integration of actual magic (no need for flasks with your Kingsglaive). You can now cast an area of effect healing spell that will heal you and your party members in the immediate vicinity or cast offensive magic spells that consume your MP, much like the more traditional Final Fantasy games. It is implied that more magic spells will be made available in the final release of the game as well, so no need to worry about the current roster of spells available. Furthermore, you can use a barrier like spell that will not only protect you from incoming attacks, but also protect any member of your party who is hiding directly behind you as well. Of course, this ability utilizes MP as well, so it must be used sparingly. Directional protection seems to be a small but nice mechanic to be implemented into the DLC as the main game doesn’t necessarily have this kind of mechanic readily in place (You can block with a massive shield but that’s pretty much it). Following the second closed test, partying up with players has become simpler without interruptions. Much of the combat feels the same minus the new mechanics mentioned previously, but overall the questing feels very much like a barebones Final Fantasy experience. Communication is limited to either chat phrases or voice chat via the Playstation Network, so don’t expect complex text based communications, unless Square Enix decides to implement it in the final release.
Much of the game really feels like a quest grind to get meteorshards, which apparently may be used to unlock more weapons, abilities, and clothes in the final product. Aside from that and the cooking elements, not much else seems to be in store for Comrades. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but Square hasn’t really mentioned if this DLC will be incorporating any story heavy elements into the experience, meaning we could very well be receiving a bare bones dungeon crawling DLC, minus the dungeons. There will be an explorable “city” that will replace the closed test camp, which will presumably delve further into the state of affairs of Eos and explain where exactly all this will be taking place, but this is all merely speculation until release.
The main concern with Comrades, aside from its strange concept, is that the game will just not provide enough content to keep player retention, even with the capacity to unlock potentially limitless clothing items and weapons. Square has not provided enough substance in the closed test nor has it publicly spoken about any other features aside from monster hunting with friends. Despite this, Comrades has the potential to expand the FFXV universe, something that needs to be done since the game’s story has arguably been fragmented since launch. Currently, there is no release date for Final Fantasy XV: Comrades, but we hope more features and news will come up to elaborate on the potential for this upcoming DLC.