Final Fantasy XV has been in development for a very long time. The demo for the game, titled Episode Duscae, was released back in March 2015, and received a lot of mixed reactions from fans of the series. Square Enix had then asked for any and all feedback from fans in order to help improve and refine the many aspects of Final Fantasy XV. The result was a series of adjustments and additions that culminated together into a new and improved version of the demo that will carry over into the final release of the game. Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae 2.0 is an unorthodox approach to a game demo, but one that definitely shows a lot of proactive adjustments made from fan feedback.
The overall narrative of Episode Duscae remains largely unchanged from the initial release of the demo that came packed with Day 1 copies of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. A lot of the important changes made for the demo involve improved frame rate, camera placement and control, and the quality of the A.I. of allies in your party. All of these changes are very noticeable once you begin to move around and get into battles with monsters in the area. No longer will the camera remain locked in awkward positions during fights with large enemies or groups of enemies.
And speaking of groups of enemies, battles can involve a whole lot of baddies surrounding your party. Unlike before the update, now groups of more than ten enemies can attack your party. This can get even crazier when another large enemy group enters the area and makes a small skirmish become a large scale brawl. There can be a minor drop in the frame rate when the whole area is populated with foes, but definitely not as bad or unbearable as before. Some enemies get new animations and attacks that are not too different from their previous version, but are definitely a nice touch to everything happening on screen.
Noctis and his crew all get extra teamwork moves that can be done in the form of damaging Chain Combos. When you knock an enemy to the ground or attack one enemy in conjunction with an ally, you have the chance to initiate a Chain Combo that acts similar to a Limit Break from previous Final Fantasy titles. All four party members have varying actions and moves in chain combos, but they are all timed and executed the same way. When faced with groups of enemies, Chain Combos can be a good way of regaining control from the more threatening foes and then refocusing efforts on the lesser fodder. Noctis also gets some additional moves for his counter attacks and evasive maneuvers when dodging enemy attacks.
The real treat of the new content for Episode Duscae 2.0 is the new side quests and boss battle with the Catoblepa lake monster. Each member of the party has special Tour side quests that have Noctis and a party member going out and fulfilling a request. Depending on the character you go on the tour with, the quest will be different and have varying events that give some fun insight into their relationship with Noctis.
They can be very humorous at times, especially with the banter and conversations that characters have during the side quests. Completing them gets not only a good experience boost, but also small cell phone pictures that highlight a part of the Tour you complete. Some hilarious selfies and in-the-moment pictures of Noctis and company happen when you complete some of the Tour quests.
The Catoblepas boss fight is incredibly tough and really requires you to level up the party a bit before even thinking about attempting. Much like the Dead Eye Behemoth monster that ties into the story of Episode Duscae, the Catoblepas has devastating attacks that will wipe out the group if you aren’t careful. You can eventually summon Ramuh to help destroy the big monster if you find yourself getting beat too bad, but you still won’t gain any experience from doing so. Defeating the giant monster doesn’t really get you any items to use later, but the fight is a thrill for hardcore fans.
The update for Episode Duscae is definitely noteworthy for anyone who has been following Final Fantasy XV. Fans who wanted to see changes made from the original demo will be pleased to find what Square-Enix has done with all of the feedback they received. Now hopefully there are no more updates to Episode Duscae and Square-Enix can finally focus on finishing Final Fantasy XV and give us a release date. No need to waste time anymore, just give us the full game we’ve wanted to play for a long time already.