At long last I played Final Fantasy XV… A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV that is! The slave drivers at work decreed that I should suffer seven successive night shifts, so I haven’t had time to play a lengthy RPG. I did however have the opportunity to complete this ninety-minute freebie, which was originally a Game Stop pre-order bonus. Now available to download off PSN, A King’s Tale is a retro styled 2D brawler chronicling how a young King Regis protected the land from a monster invasion. The game’s narrative is presented as a bedtime story told by Caucasian Regis to his Asian looking son Prince Noctis. There’s something suspicious about that. Is the Queen’s postman Japanese by any chance?
This pre-slumber tale begins ironically enough in the capital city of Insomnia, where monarch Regis Lucis Caelum uses his magical powers and swordsmanship to fend off a daemon assault. From there he ventures out to the plains of Duscae where he scraps with hostile flora and fauna, which include dancing cacti. Finally our hero ventures into a nearby cave to vanquish the final boss, who happens to be a hentai tentacle monster. All the stages I have described are brought to life via gorgeous pixel art, a graphic style that seems to be all the rage these days. Doesn’t it feel great to spend hundreds of pounds on a state of the art console just to play stuff that looks like something from the Super Nintendo era?
Combat in A King’s Tale is simplistic, but never dull due to its fast paced nature. Enemies swarm Regis from all sides so you’ll have to quickly decide who to target and what attack to use. Every foe you encounter has a specific weakness that needs to be exploited. Light attacks can reflect projectiles back at creatures for example, whilst heavy swipes are required to breach the defences of Samurai. Those pesky skeletons from Golden Axe are back and if you wish to crack their skulls you’ll first need to stun them with a shield bash, or else they will block your melee combos. Regis can also cast elemental magic to melt the Flans that are resistant to physical damage. Eat fireballs you evil desserts!
My rating for A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV is three and a half stars. When compared to other old school looking beat-em-ups I have to say that A King’s Tale was more fun to complete than the recently released Double Dragon 4. The game rewards skilful play by allowing Regis to call upon the aid of allies, should he manage to evade damage long enough to perform an uninterrupted combo. Compare that to Double Dragon 4 were players simply spam hurricane kicks to counter the obnoxiously cheap AI. Thank goodness that Double Dragon 4 isn’t VR compatible, because all that aerial spinning would have caused me to hurl faster than a US president dining at a Japanese banquet.
If you enjoy fighting games from the 16 bit era A King’s Tale is worth a go. You have nothing to lose as the game is gratis and it isn’t a big time investment either, as the story can be cleared in just over an hour. Anyone left wanting more will be happy to learn that besting the main campaign unlocks a new mode, which contains additional stages/challenges to tackle. Overall I had a grand time with A King’s Tale and am happy that it no longer is a Game Stop exclusive. That company doesn’t deserve my patronage, as they are guilty of underhanded practices (such as removing coupons from their Deus Ex stock.) Don’t tamper with the contents of a game without the buyer’s consent! In the words of Adam Jensen – “I never asked for that.”