Published on November 30th, 2017 | by Sean Warhurst0
FFXV: Comrades Multiplayer Expansion Review
Summary: There’s definite potential to be found in Comrades, as when you get a decent team behind you and you’re taking on all manner of beasts it really adds a new dynamic to how you approach combat when compared to the single player game.
It’s been a year since the release of Final Fantasy XV and Square Enix have steadily supported the title with a host of DLC and even standalone tie-in games like the recent PSVR release FFXV: Monster of the Deep.
Clearly Square Enix believes there’s still gas in this tank and have just dropped the Comrades expansion, a fully fledged co-op experience that sees players creating their own avatars and embarking on missions with up to three other players or NPCs.
Taking place six months after the events of Chapter 13, Comrades sees players take control of a member of the Kingsglave, with the option to select your place of birth and royal sigils that determine your character’s innate abilities.
There’s a decent amount of customisation and weapon choices on hand and its relatively easy to create a character with a similar playstyle to your avatar in FFXV, if you so desire; of course, one of the best aspects of RPG games is the ability to experiment with different builds, so if you feel the urge to shake things up a little, there’s more than enough variety here to allow for a different approach.
Whilst there is a narrative thread tying everything together, don’t go into Comrades expecting a story on par with the main game or anything of that magnitude; like the aforementioned Monster of the Deep, there’s enough plot to push you forward but ultimately the narrative exists primarily to tie together the missions rather than meaningfully expand upon the established mythology. Without delving into spoiler territory for those who haven’t finished the base game, your main objective is to restore power to different stations by collecting meteor shards.
Once you supply an outpost with power from a station, you can set up a camp, electing an NPC from the myriad you encounter and rescue throughout your journey to act as the camp leader, providing different perks to the player depending on who the choose. It’s not a terribly deep system but it’s a nice little distraction that yields benefits during your hunting sessions, which make up the bulk of the gameplay.
Mission structure is akin to that found in the Monster Hunter series, where players inhabit a hub world and select different missions to embark upon. It’s a streamlined system that may not be to the taste of everyone but I personally had no issues with the lack of an interconnected world.
The combat essentially works the same as in the base game, with the addition of the ability to chain warp strikes. It’s here more so than in the main game, when removed from the storyline and all of its accoutrements, that FFXV’s weak combat system really comes to the fore.
It’s just so unengaging when compared to the more nuanced battle mechanics found in the earlier games, which isn’t really a noticeable issue when you’re deeply embroiled in all of the other elements of FFXV but, when forced to prop up an entire mode as it essentially does here, then the simplicity and other weaknesses inherent in the combat system become glaringly evident.
Another issue is that ostensibly this expansion is all about questing with your buddies, yet after each mission your party will disconnect automatically, with no option to remain partied up. This seems like an incredibly odd decision considering the expansion’s focus and one that I hope SE get onto patching soon, as having to painstakingly relocate and buddy up with any decent players I came across EACH and EVERY SINGLE TIME soon became the most irritating aspect of the entire game.
There’s definite potential to be found in Comrades, as when you get a decent team behind you and you’re taking on all manner of beasts it really adds a new dynamic to how you approach combat when compared to the single player game.
The missions themselves are a bit of a mixed batch, with some barely lasting more than a few minutes and others featuring more in-depth objectives. For the most part I enjoyed what was on offer the first time I played through them but, honestly, I dread having to play through some of them now after a week with the expansion.
The loading times are also fairly long and when playing the shorter missions it just sometimes feels like too much of a hassle to queue up some players and sit through the loading screens for what amounts to less than five minutes of playtime – Often it took me longer to set up a mission than it did to actually complete it.
I’m hopeful that the developers can build upon the foundation that’s here and craft Comrades into something truly special but at the moment it’s a middling affair that will only appeal to gamers desperate for new FFXV content.
Primary Format – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox one, PC
Game Genre – Role Playing Game
Rating – M
Consumer Advice – Fantasy themes and violence
Game Developer – Square Enix
Game Publisher – Square Enix
Reviewer – Sean Warhurst