Final Fantasy XV is anything but straightforward, both in terms of its development and how it’s been presented and released to the public.
The Kingsglaive movie felt like a mandatory aspect of the main game – a separately packaged alternative to the traditional Final Fantasy opening sequence, and an essential component to fully grasp the narrative force of Noctis’s plight. The anime collection Brotherhood, meanwhile, was a series of brief flashbacks which fleshed out the central cast and reinforced the bond between them. Thankfully, that one was free.
One member of the cast who has remained underdeveloped to this point, however, is Noctis’s father, King Regis, which might come as a surprise considering the narrative importance of this elusive character. Thankfully, this has been partly rectified with this free release, although you won’t find the most in-depth narrative here. Originally intended as a pre-order bonus, A King’s Tale takes the form of an 8-bit 2D brawler that harks back to the pre-PlayStation era, and follows the exploits of a young King Regis whose narrative is framed within a bedtime story told to a young Prince Noctis.
In terms of story, it fulfils a purpose, providing some context to a character who was severely lacking screen time in the main game, and gives a little more depth to the complicated relationship between Noctis and the King. In terms of presentation, A King’s Tale also does a good job of embracing both the charm and limitations of 8-bit gaming – from both a graphical and animation standpoint, shaping the way you interact with the game while filling out your nostalgia bar to breaking point.
“A King’s Tale provides some context to King Regis who was severely lacking screen time in the main game, and gives insight into the complicated father-son relationship between Noctis and his father.”
In terms of gameplay, there’s a surprising amount of depth here, with combos that can be strung together by utilising strong and fast attacks as well as a shield bash. Certain enemies have specific weaknesses which means you must switch up your attacks on the fly, and the ability to roll out of the way and behind enemies is important to a game presented in 2D. There’s also magic in the form of ice, lightning and fire – just as in the main game – and even the ability to call on allies to perform special attacks when your attack multiplier hits 8. Max it out at 24 and you can summon the Armiger for even more potent attacks.