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Review: Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

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Dad, dad, do the perfect cast!

Final Fantasy XV is an institution. If someone on the development team hasn't named their kid Noctis yet I'd be surprised -- especially given that some have probably spent the better part of a decade on some form of it.

And given the sheer amount of spinoffs and side projects born out of it, others will likely be spending another decade keeping it on the map. Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is just a blip on the radar, but a very niche blip for a very certain kind of person.

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV (PS4 [reviewed with PlayStation VR])
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: November 21, 2017
MSRP: $29.99

If you've ever said to yourself "Boy, that fishing bit in XV was really fun, but you know what would make it better? If I could do it in first-person with a virtual reality headset and see Noctis close up like we were buddies!" -- Monster of the Deep is for you. I'm that special kind of person, and I surmise the vast majority of our planet is not, so keep that recommendation in mind!

Immediately after donning the headset, the loud sound of rushing water shook me a bit. It's moody, and massive load times aside, the atmosphere is well-done enough where it sells the concept of a feet-on-the-ground Eos simulator. After picking an avatar that apparently shops at the same designer outlets as Noctis (which allows for male and female options), a tiny little story kicks off, which I did not expect out of a fishing joint.

You're basically inserting yourself into the world of XV, trying to stop daemonfish as a hunter. Cindy even pops up and saves your hide at the start, and as you return to your homely little cabin bits and pieces of fanservice pop up. The charm is offset a bit by insane clipping and a sometimes off teleportation movement system. (I wish more games allowed the option for freeform movement if the user doesn't suffer from VR sickness.)

Fishing itself is pretty fun, in which the DualShock mimics the actions of a fishing pole. You'll pull back, cast, feel the tension by way of rumble, and reel in with the analog sticks. The game is broken up into hubs and story missions (involving new boss-like creatures to hunt), which sport several fishing locations. That's basically it -- you can take sidequests and unlock more lures and doodads for your pole but the vast majority of your time is going to be spent actually fishing.

Notice how I keep saying "hunt," though, yeah, there's some of that too. After capturing the requisite amount of small frys in an area you'll face off against the big fish. Before actually reeling that sucker in you'll need to blast it repeatedly with an explosive bow and arrow, which is just absurd enough to work. These boss battles break up the repetition, and are kind of freaky in their own way when isolated in VR.

Occasionally you'll be joined by a cast member like Noctis (who joyfully reminds us that "none of [his] friends get the art of fishing," making you feel special), which is cute, but doesn't always play out as well as I'd like. This is mostly due to the fact that a lot of the dialogue is exceedingly inorganic, with Noctis saying things like "looks like you have a whopper on the line" when I just bagged the smallest fish so far. I also noticed a few glitches like hitched movement and temporarily getting stuck, but nothing major that required a restart or resulted in a crash.

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is a chill-ass game that's meant to lure in a very specific type of player. Seeing random wildlife from Eos and interacting with the cast was fun, and I feel like the tension of seeing everything in first-person elevates the sometimes rote act of fishing. It's just silly enough to work for the select few that will meet all of the requirements to actually boot it up.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV reviewed by Chris Carter

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 



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    Filed under... #Final Fantasy #PlayStation VR #PS4 #Square Enix

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