Being a mobile adaptation of a major RPG means Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition has had to make concessions. There are things it is just not capable of doing, due to the decreased scale and compromises made in bringing it to the platform. One of the major changes has to do with controls. I know when I play any game on my iPad, I am relying on touch screen controls. What is amazing about Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is how well integrated these controls can be.
I am not referring to the basic touch controls, though they do work well. You tap or drag on the screen to make Noctis and his party move around. You navigate menus by touching them. Tapping on suspicious boxes, piles of sand or areas can result in the discovery of an item. And of course, in a fight selecting a skill prompt, summon prompt or moving Noctis toward foes will let you unleash attacks. But it is the more specific actions that show how well designed Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is.
Let’s stick with battles as an example. Noctis’ warping abilities are so easy to trigger. I felt it was even more intuitive than in the full game. Pressing and holding on an enemy far away? Noctis goes there and attacks. Want to counter attack? Tap above Noctis’ head as quickly as possible. Prefer to dodge? Wait until the counter indicator changes. Warping is intuitive. You want him to go somewhere? Hold that place. Want him to do something in the exact position he is in? Wait for the indicator and go with it.
Warping outside of battle works in the same way. Indicators appear to show places where Noctis can reach. Tapping him sends him up there. Once he is in position, you have a limited amount of time to methodically tap opponents and take them out. The first time this occurs is when heading back to Insomnia and is handled in a way that introduces the concept, then helps prepare you for situations where you will have multiple targets to hit in a short period of time. Initially, you have one pedestal to perch upon and one enemy to hit, but eventually multiple foes gather in a place to pick off one by one. It is easy to pull off and quite a satisfying feeling.
The other field actions offer that same satisfying payoff for performing specific sorts of taps. There are many times in Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition where proceeding involves what we could consider quick time events or certain inputs to overcome minor obstacles. The game begins with holding and helping move the car. When confronted with A Gentleman’s Agreement’s sleeping Bennu, you still need to creep around it. Just this time, you hold to stop moving and keep from waking the creature. Paths are often blocked with rocks Gladio and the crew can move. Pulling elements for spells involves pressing and holding next to a source. Major events with gigantic creatures, say the encounter with Titan, can mean tapping or moving in certain ways in a certain time to successfully complete the encounter.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is a game where these little changes feel natural. The game had to adapt to suit certain situations, and does so in a way where context sensitive moments always just work. Rather than being simplistic, they offer an opportunity to interact with the world in a way that feels natural. We are able to experience the same sorts of situations in a new way.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is available for Android and Apple iOS devices.