While Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy line of games is no stranger to multiplayer these days with two main-line games being profitable MMO’s and prequel games featuring the Dissidia branding for fighters, it’s rather odd to have known single player entry get multiplayer expansion in the series. And Square-Enix did just that with the Multiplayer Comrades expansion for recently released, Final Fantasy XV — which entered it’s closed beta phase this past Thursday.
Building upon the mechanics from the main game of XV, the Comrades expansion in its beta phase is a small slice of the true expansion arriving sometime soon. Here, players are tasked with accepting missions from Gladious’ mentor, Cor and then heading off to a campsite as you wait for other players — up to three others — or for AI team mates to fill in for missing players, afterwards you head to your mission. The missions are relatively short, and consists of two halves while using the combat mechanics from the main game itself. However, three new additions have been added into the gameplay.
First up, players can target other teammates by holding down the L1/Left Bumper button. Secondly, by holding down L2/Left Trigger and pressing one of two buttons you can cast healing magic to gain back life or cast offensive magic that is tied to a currently equipped weapon. Thirdly, by holding down R2/Right Trigger, you can fast-chat with other teammates if you don’t have a microphone.
The one thing that I really liked from the beta, is the fluidness of the combat, it’s much more refined then the actual main game of XV. Your avatar can easily switch between weapons and move about the field of battle with such fluidity that it is similar to how Noct and company moved in that E3 2013 trailer for Verses XIII.
And yes, as mentioned above, you can create your own character in the XV universe! While your choices are limited being that it’s a beta, the actual detail put onto your character is stunning. It doesn’t rival with what you can do in Final Fantasy XIV, yet I can’t wait to see what we can work with when the expansion truly launches.
The only downsides that I’ve come across in the beta, is it instantly booting you after completing two missions making you unable to equip the weapons that you can get from the second mission. Another big oversight is how you set up rooms, giving a strict one minute timer for people to join. This makes it rather stressful when trying to team up with friends, you have to make sure that you are all on the same server — which the game gives to you randomly — and then make sure everyone is standing next to Cor in their own games and then hastily search for the friends room.
I tried to set up a room with a friend; yet while we connected, we were unable to play together due to server connection issues. This was probably due to it being the first day of the beta and the massive influx of everyone playing it. Hopefully they tweak this oversight of the timer for rooms and iron out the server issues with more stress testing before Comrades officially launches.
While the beta is pretty to look at and feels great to play, it does leave a lot wanting on a technical aspect due to server and room timer issuers. However, knowing Square-Enix, they’ll go above and beyond with the expansion after getting feedback from fans on the beta.
Currently the full version of the expansion does not have a release date, but if I had a guess it will most likely be released before the Ignis Story DLC that’s out this Winter; so perhaps sometime in September or October for a release for Comrades.
In order to play the beta, you must have the Season Pass for Final Fantasy XV and also either Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus for the system of your choice. You don’t need to actually have Final Fantasy XV to play the beta, the beta is a separate client that you can download for free if you have the above requirements met.
So what are you waiting for, go out there and slay some Behemoths! The closed beta will last until August 8th on Xbox One and Playstation 4.