Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition review: The definitive edition is on PC

Credit: Square Enix
Credit: Square Enix /

The flawed Final Fantasy XV experience has found a solid footing on PC, coming away as the best possible way to play the game.

Title: Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC
Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Square Enix had a lot riding on Final Fantasy XV from its days of being the elusive Versus XIII. This was back when fans were already anointing its protagonist Noctis as “the next Cloud” years before any of them would actually pick up the controller. Fast forward to 2016, when the game finally released after its E3 2013 rebrand as Final Fantasy XV, and things were … imperfect.

That is, depending on who you ask.

Apart from the sect of series fanatics who hold the Final Fantasy series and its creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi as close to their hearts as the Pope would the Bible, there was a rather large and loud group of players that felt the game was incomplete. I fall into that category, albeit a lot more quietly than most.

It wasn’t the bro trip or their boyband outward appearance (though it would have been a fun and subtle wink if N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys had playable tracks in the Regalia). What was tearin’ up my heart was the fact that Final Fantasy XV released amongst a glut of other open-world RPGs. Many of those games did what Final Fantasy XV was trying to do, but better.

Credit: Square Enix
Credit: Square Enix /

What I mean by that is that Final Fantasy XV had created a world that was pretty to look at but void of meaningful content. The same holds true with the PC version, even though it is vastly prettier this time around thanks to an escape from the confines of a standard console, some great custom graphics options and an HD texture pack that pushes the already staggeringly large 75 GB file to a mammoth-sized 155 GBs.

…giving a crap about the antagonists and the threat they pose to Noctis and Co. continues to miss the mark, even with the added content post-launch.

The frame rate is also a great deal steadier, particularly compared to its PS4 counterpart, which could suffer dips during hectic combat sequences. As a result, I feel much better equipped to handle XV’s dodging mechanics, even if I choose to play with a controller. Playing with a mouse and keyboard also helps in that regard, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference whichever way you want to go, as you can seamlessly swap between the two at any point without changing any backend options. There was some bugginess with the framerate in regards to Astral Summoning, though that appears to have been fixed via Patch according to a recent post on Steam.

Credit: Square Enix
Credit: Square Enix /

It is worth noting, however, that Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition does use the much-maligned Denuvo Anti-Tamper software. I personally haven’t experienced any issues, though my PC uses a 1TB HDD versus an SSD, which is said (though unconfirmed) to be susceptible to damage by Denuvo. If you are an anti-Denuvo advocate, this is something to keep in mind. As of this writing, the game has an 85% positive user rating on Steam, and Denuvo controversies typically blow up into biblical-level outrage. So the fact that it hasn’t shows that not too many people are having problems.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition comes with all the fixin’s at launch. You have every episode of DLC (which still feel like they would work better as part of the main game), the Comrades multiplayer mode, and a few higher grade Weapons and Armor unlocked at the outset to make early grinding a lot more streamlined. The game still has its problems in terms of overall flow and design, but at this point, it is what it is. Sitting in the Regalia watching the world go by for ten literal real-world minutes still sucks, and giving a crap about the antagonists and the threat they pose to Noctis and Co. continues to miss the mark, even with the added content post-launch.

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Suffice it to say; if you have the option, and still haven’t picked up Final Fantasy XV (or you have the cash to double dip), Square Enix has once again released a masterful port of a Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is the definitive way to experience Noctis’ journey, and while it’s been too long since the series’ days as an elite franchise, it’s nice to see Square Enix continue their trend of giving the PC community great ports of past games from the series.

Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition. 8. <em>Final Fantasy XV</em> will go down as the long sought-after entry that didn’t quite hit its mark, but good on Square Enix for making the effort to stick with it. The PC version is undoubtedly the best way to play the game, even if it does come stuck with Denuvo. But great graphics options and optimization for mid-tier and up PCs will keep it relevant in the PC community for years to come.. Square Enix.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.