Tis the season to gorge on all kinds of food, most of which being some form of poultry and at least two types of potatoes cooked at least three different ways. With such an emphasis on food during this time of year, it’s impossible to not think about the great foods that we come across in games. There are all kinds of iconic video game foods though! Donkey Kong will literally kill for his bananas. The Belmont clan is beating down the walls for some roast beef. Pokemon are literally empowered by candy and lemonade. The thing is, there’s one game that springs to mind immediately when I think of food in video games and it’s Final Fantasy XV.
Final Fantasy XV is a beautiful game to look at, both in images and in motion. Unlike past entries in the series, this one focuses on a party of four players instead of a larger ensemble cast. Each party member has their own unique role in the group dynamic: there’s the photographer, the man who punches hard, the fisherman and of course, the chef. While travelling the world, you stumble across ingredients at spawn points but you can also find ingredients by fishing, killing monsters, completing hunts or just buying stuff from shops. Now then, if you’ve never played Final Fantasy XV you may be wonder what the point of this all is. It all comes down to the EXP and leveling system in Final Fantasy XV.
(I really, legitamitely, like Spam)
There are two ways to shore up and spend experience points in Final Fantasy XV: You can either rent a motel room and enjoy a boost to the number of EXP your party earns or you can camp out. What you miss out on in an EXP bonus by camping, you gain back, potentially with interest, by cooking. The ingredients you collect can be used to cook simple meals toast or a cup noodle all the way up to things like smoked salmon and canape. There’s no mini-game involved with cooking, all you need are the ingredients and the recipe. After you’ve picked a meal, it’s cooked up and that in-game day ends. Now what exactly does food in Final Fantasy XV do anyway? To put it simply, it acts as a way to buff your party during the next in-game day.
I feel like I might be oversimplifying how essential a good meal in Final Fantasy XV can be. If you eat something simple than you can expect simple boosts to your HP or defense stats. A sandwich that gives an extra hundred HP to your party and an extra twenty percent EXP is nothing at all to turn your nose up at, and that’s one of the early level meals you can learn how to make. At higher levels you can learn to cook foods that make you immune to most status ailments, guarantee that you only land critical hits and, keep your technique bar maxed out no matter what. Cooking in Final Fantasy XV is absolutely vital but perhaps more importantly than that, it’s the only way to enjoy some sweet, sweet food porn in this game.
(Dear GOD yes...there's a side quest about making this better too, with multiple outcomes)