PAX West 17: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Surprisingly Robust

By Robert Marrujo:: Though there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, mobile tends to be seen, fairly or not, as the destination for "lesser" video games. For every Monument Valley there seem to be three generic "match three" shovelware puzzle games. That's why Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is such a pleasant surprise.

The game has been making the rounds up in Seattle at PAX West and fan-reaction has been stellar. SquareEnix is aiming to compress the home console FF XV experience on mobile, breaking apart the story into 10 individual episodes. Given the portable, burst gaming sessions that smart devices are known for, it's a wise way of accommodating players who will likely be playing Pocket Edition on the go.

Another smart design choice was scaling down FF XV's visuals. Rather than try to mimic the insanely photorealistic graphics of the home iteration, Pocket Edition has embraced a chibi style that's distinctly different, suits the platform, and still captures the setting perfectly. What's more, this mobile edition is also attempting to recreate the story beat for beat; watch IGN's coverage of the first 20 minutes of gameplay below to see for yourself:

Not too shabby, eh? The dev team seems to have taken every element of FF XV into consideration for this remake. Combat, for instance, has been simplified for Pocket Edition in order to compensate for the touch-only interface that smartphones and tablets are infamous for. Swipes, drags, and presses allow for Warp Strikes, targeting, and more, all with a satisfying weight to the action.

The game is due on mobile in quarter three of 2017, so it should be arriving fairly soon. For Nintendo fans, take heart in knowing that Square has teased that Pocket Edition might be making its way to Switch in the long run. What that version of the game might be like remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: this is not a mobile Final Fantasy game to take lightly. We'll keep you posted on Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition as more news develops.

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