Final Fantasy 15 has been a long time coming. What began as Final Fantasy Versus 13 in 2006 is now the next title in the main line Final Fantasy series, and the first numbered Final Fantasy to feature action-based gameplay. That said, the game plays like Kingdom Hearts in the world of Final Fantasy. Don't worry, you won't find Mickey Mouse or Sora, but you also won't have turn-based combat that older Final Fantasy fans have grown accustomed to.

The Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo bundled with the first shipment of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will offer most gamers a first taste of the upcoming title. However it's still a demo, so players won't experience everything included in the game. Magic is a big part of Final Fantasy 15, but it won't be featured in the demo. In addition, driving is a key aspect of the new game, but that will also take a backseat. With that in mind, let's examine some of the best features that Final Fantasy 15 will offer when it releases sometime this year or early next year.



The World

Final Fantasy 15 is one of the first main line Final Fantasy titles to feature open world gameplay. The overworld map is massive in scale and there are no load screens to interrupt play. Think of it like a Final Fantasy version of Grand Theft Auto. In GTA5 you can drive, walk or run anywhere in the main game and you'll never see a loading screen. The same goes for Final Fantasy 15. You can walk, drive or take the train anywhere in the virtual world and you will never have to deal with loading.

Of course, that doesn't mean you'll be able to just go where you want when you want. There will still be restrictions in place to make sure you follow the story. This is a common practice for Final Fantasy titles, and generally comes in the form of high-level monsters that block your path. You can take the risk of driving through an area with monsters much higher than your current level, but it's unlikely you'll make it far.

Cover System

If you've played Gears of War or Uncharted, you're probably familiar with the cover system in those games. This allows you to duck behind an object to avoid taking damage from enemy fire. Final Fantasy 15 will offer a similar system that goes well with the action-oriented combat in the new game. There will be various objects in the environments that allow players to take cover and replenish their health.

The idea of a cover system in Final Fantasy offers a unique strategy element that isn't usually found in role-playing games of this nature. For instance, you can switch between party members on the fly, which means you can take cover as one party member, and while recovering that member's HP you can switch to a different party member to continue the battle. This has a considerable impact on how you handle health items and healing, and how you determine your battle strategy for engaging certain enemies.

Driving

When Square Enix was tooling away on Final Fantasy 15 in an effort to take the series in new directions, one of the main features that arose was the ability to drive a vehicle throughout the entire game world. While you can walk or take the train if you don't feel like driving, the driving aspect is a big part of the Final Fantasy 15 experience.

In many previous Final Fantasy titles you slowly form your party as you make your way through the game. The members of your party generally start off as strangers and become close friends by the end of your adventure. However, in Final Fantasy 15 your party consists of a group of close friends. It makes sense that these friends go on road trips and that's exactly what the driving aspect of Final Fantasy 15 feels like. You're basically taking a road trip with friends, stopping occasionally to battle a few monsters and explore the area. It's a great new take on the RPG genre that should appeal to many fans.

Combat, Magic and Summons

While the Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo will not feature most of the magic options in the combat system, magic and summons are a big part of the game. Combat has drastically evolved and is now action-based, much like the combat in Kingdom Hearts. Summons in Final Fantasy 15 are the protectors of the planet. You can expect them to be more along the lines of the summons in Final Fantasy 7 and 10 in which they were massive creatures.

It's unknown how summons will impact the battle system, but they are a major aspect. With fast-paced combat already spicing things up, it's unlikely the summons will have lengthy cinematic effects similar to previous Final Fantasy titles. This will further enhance the combat system, making everything faster and keeping players on their toes.

The Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae demo will be released on March 17, bundled with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. We'll have more on both games in the near future.