Review of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

kingsglaive

Will Kingsglaive prove to be third time lucky for Square? When it comes to CG films the makers of Final Fantasy don’t exactly have a great track record. The Spirits Within all but bankrupted the company, forcing them to merge with rivals Enix, whilst Advent Children failed to impress as a movie – even if it was packed with cool FF7 fan service. Sadly I am sorry to report that Kingsglaive continues the underwhelming trend. This prologue to Final Fantasy XV feels like an extended cut scene, which would put Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear interludes to shame, as it clocks in shy of two hours. Visually the whole thing is spectacular, and at times could be mistaken for a live action flick, but when it comes to characters/story the narrative’s lack of substance lets the stellar production values down.

OVERVIEW

Apart from celebrity deaths, 2016 will be remembered as the year when some protracted video game projects finally completed their development cycles. Not only has The Last Guardian seen the light of day, but also Final Fantasy XV has been released after a decade in the making. To commemorate this joyous event CGI animated movie Kingsglaive was produced, which will introduce players to the world of Eos prior to them tackling Square’s much-anticipated RPG. Kingsglaive chronicles the war between the technologically advanced kingdom of Niflheim and the magically adept nation of Lucis. After many years of conflict Niflheim proposes a truce, to cease the hostilities, but can they be trusted? Probably not – their ruler does resemble Saruman after all.

Kingsglaive is the name of the elite group who guard Lucis from invasion. Their troops are enhanced with magical power bestowed upon them by monarch King Regis, who is voiced by Sean “always dies” Bean. One of the team’s cooler abilities allows them to instantly teleport to wherever their hurled daggers land, akin to Sombra’s (Overwatch) translocation grenade. The squad’s leader is a heroic chap named Nyx, who is the type of protagonist that willingly flaunts orders to protect those he cares about. When the Chocobo poop hits the fan, due to the above-mentioned treaty crumbling, it falls upon Nyx to rescue Final Fantasy XV love interest Princess Lunafreya from incarceration and prevent the enchanted ring she carries from falling into Niflheim’s clutches.

VERDICT

My rating for Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a two out of five. The movie has been well received in some circles, but for me it was all style and no substance. State of the art special effects and an all-star voice cast, which includes the likes of Lena Headey and Aaron Paul, cannot mask the script’s shortcomings. I almost walked away from the film, around the thirty-minute mark, due to the messy storytelling and dull politics that reminded me of Final Fantasy 12’s plot (aside from the bunny girl and sky pirate that game sucks.) Thankfully things improve once the action kicks off. That said, like a Michael Bay Transformers movie the fireworks, which were initially impressive, overstay there welcome and begin to feel tiresome after the onscreen battles wage on for over an hour.

Corny dialogue and some questionable character motivations, which I am unable to delve into due to spoilers, are also a factor in my low score. If you can turn off your brain, and bask in the flashy spectacle of it all, Kingsglaive may however be more to your liking. Fans of the game might also rate Kingsglaive higher than me, as it fleshes out the Eos universe. At the very least Final Fantasy diehards will enjoy the brief appearance of franchise creatures such as Ultros and Diamond Weapon. Did watching the movie make me want to splash out on the console game? Not really. It did make me want to buy an Audi though. With so much automobile product placement financing the film it’s safe to assume that this feature won’t drain the Square coffers like previous animated DVDs have.

20 thoughts on “Review of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

  1. Been playing FFXV and sad to say Noctis panders to the Cloud Strife crowd and FFVII fans. The game is just a bromance game, I do like the travel arragenment though xDD. Hmm..the film doesn’t seem to be an eye catcher as well. Apparently the anime supposed to be better.

    • I haven’t bought FF15 yet because the combat doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. Listening to old FF tunes in your car is however cool. Thanks for reminding me about the anime. I think the episodes are on Youtube so I’ll have to check them out some day.

  2. I actually enjoyed Kingsglaive, particularly the selfish fandom pandering with nods to previous games (the Cerberus summon from FF8, Diamond Weapon from FF7, the “Bank of Spira” nodding to FFX, etc.). As someone who’s played FFXV, I think the film does an okay job at fleshing out parts of the opening chapters, at least giving you a glimpse of the goings on while Noctis is no longer around/power of the ring, etc.

    • I have to say that Noctis doesn’t resemble his father in the slightest. They aren’t even the same race! From the perspective of someone not acquainted with FF15 I feel that the movie could have better better. I did like the Final Fantasy references though. My favorite one was the Malboro cartoon.

  3. “When the Chocobo poop hits the fan…” Lol! 🙂 Thanks sir. I needed that laugh.

    I still might give this a watch before I play XV, but your great review makes me want to skip it entirely.

  4. Sadly with movies Squeenix tends to be all shine with little substance. FFVII is my favorite story of all time, but even I have to admit you’re right about Advent Children, though the Complete version on Blu-Ray does help make it a little more than just fan service. While I love the clever reference of the title, see what they were going for, and of course LOVE the appearance of my fallen general (le sigh, though I REALLY wish they’d give him a redemption arc #nevergonnahappen), the film doesn’t do anything new with the characters or plot besides show a sort of repentant Shinra and more broody Cloud.

    I’ve heard mixed reviews about Kingsglaive so I think eventually I’ll check it out, but one of my favorite bloggers showed me that FFXV is a bit more than just a bromance road trip, so I (less grudgingly) added it to my backlog. I’ll agree with you on the fight style though. I miss the days of RPG turn based and am saddened that the FFVII Remake will be more like XV’s style than the original VII. Progress I suppose (though they used turn based in World of Final Fantasy *grumble*)

    • CG movies could be the way of the future if someone ever manages to combine the visuals Square/Blizzard can produce with a quality writer. Out of the three Final Fantasy CGI movies Advent Children is my favorite, although my opinion is probably influenced by FF7 nostalgia.

      My dwindling fondness for the FF series seems to be linked with Square’s decision to move away from traditional turn based combat. Games like Persona and Bravely Default prove that turn based RPGs can still be popular, but Square-Enix doesn’t care. They want to attract a bigger audience, either by emulating MMOs (FF12( or going for a more action/fast paced approach (FF13/15).

      • We are in the same boat with everything you said. I’ve also been saying for years that both cinema and video games suffer from the explosion of technology that allowed developers to make things look shiny and/or explode, and they ran with this and forgot to take any semblance of story. I know I’m biased against Advent because FFVII is my favorite story of all time; however, being the huge fan I am, I have to pick it apart and see its flaws. The FFVII nostalgia definitely paints a rosier picture though.

        The move from turn based is a part of my loss of faith in the franchise, but I really feel like they thought “We can make everything look pretty!” and they forgot that their roots were in stellar storytelling. Hell, when I’m playing FFVII, I don’t give a damn about the outdated polygons. I don’t even “see” them after a while, because it’s such a deep, enriching narrative that to this day no one has completely figured out (cue yesterday evening when me and my husband were discussing its intricacies and all we really have are theories).

        It is about the newer/younger audience, and it rankles me to no end that they stopped giving a shit about the fan base that got them to where they are. That made the name “Final Fantasy” both iconic and ironic. The fact that they came out with a game just a few months ago that is turned based (World of Final Fantasy) means that they could do it. They had a formula that worked for a very long time, and the last thing you want to do is burn the bridges that brought you to where you are.

  5. Ah, sad to see it wasn’t to your liking. I thought it was a nice short story that moreso introduced the lore of final fantasy XV for me rather than any big time movie. I took a liking to a few of the characters, namely the fat guy who left kingsglaive to try and overthrow the king. Nyx was OK, I don’t there was anything else his character could do besides be What he is. I understood his position as a character immediately and he delivered on what I expected him to be. I guess you could say that it was all predictable but then again I’m pretty sure it was intended to be like that.

    • Libertus (the fat guy) was one of the movie’s better characters. Apparently he doesn’t feature in the actual game, which is rather disappointing. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the movie more than I did. Compared to other video game teasers I can at least commend Square for putting effort into the project. It blows stuff like Dead Space Aftermath out of the water.

      • Hmmm. I’m hoping Libertus does make a cameo somewhere in the game. Probably would’ve seen him by now though so probably not.

  6. I have to say that I enjoyed this movie far more than the previous ones, however, I’m aware that’s not saying much. The story and dialogue always failed to rise above cliche. I did like the fact that it does tie into the movie. To be honest I think if you don’t see the movie before the game you might be lost. Great review.

  7. Ouch. It was that bad huh?

    I’ll get around to watching this eventually. I’m also not very interested in FF15 so I have little reason to watch this film.

    Great review.

  8. I didn’t like this movie too much either. Thing is, now that I’m playing through FFXV, I’ve come to love its world. I didn’t at the time of watching this, and the movie doesn’t do a particularly good job of making you care for it. At least, I didn’t feel compelled to care. Thankfully, you don’t need to have watched it to get the gist of XV, but I guess I appreciate it for setting the stage if anything. I might go back and rewatch this now after going through FFXV. Great movie review!

  9. If Square would just stop trying to do everything themselves when it comes to these movies, they may be a lot better. Square is great at cutscenes, but movies are different from cutscenes. If they could handle the basic story beats and the visuals, and hand the actual plotting and scripting off to a team that actually has successful experience in film, that’s where you’d be able to maximize things.

    Play to your strengths, dudes.

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