At Final Fantasy’s “Uncovered” event on March 30th, a slew of announcements were revealed for both supplemental and in-game content for Final Fantasy XV. One of these announcements was the Platinum Demo. This brief demo sees Noctis caught in one of his childhood dreams; a dream he can only escape by finding the appropriate exit in the form of a long hallway. To help him in this quest, he teams up with his new furry friend, Carbuncle.
While Noctis attempts to wake from this dream he encounters low-level enemies – trading his larger arsenal of usual weapons in for a child-sized toy sword and hammer, along with some fireworks to replace magic projectiles to deal with the handful of baddies (appropriately named Nightmares). Less hostile encounters come in the form of switches that when triggered, create alterations to both Noctis and the environment; making this dream a little more fantastical. Some switches change the weather, some speed up time and some even transform Noctis into a variety of objects and creatures – including at one point, a truck, which you were oddly free to drive around as.
Once you’ve had your fun and fights in the dream, Noctis and Carbuncle come to the exit they’ve been seeking. As the two eagerly sprint towards the exit, they come to an empty representation of the capital of Lucis. However, Carbuncle remarks that something isn’t right. The exit to Noctis’ dream should be representative of his safe-haven, a place where he feels safe from his fears. This symbolizes the trouble that is brewing in the kingdom of Lucis – represented by a sudden encounter with a much more daunting enemy in an iron giant.
This is when the more familiar, grown-up Noctis appears in the dream, as he combats the iron giant - and subsequently his fears - head on. Once you defeat the giant, Noctis returns to his child form, a brief flashback of his father plays and his father’s car appears to take you out of this dreamscape. Of course, the car represents Noctis’ safe-haven. As Carbuncle poetically puts it: “whenever you’re in this car, your father will be with you Noct’.”
Having “demo” in the title is a little misleading. Although technically a demo of the game’s engine, it is in fact a standalone adventure which provides a bit of backstory to Noctis’ connection with his father.
As you follow Carbuncle through a forest, a giant sized dining room and city plaza, he communicates to you through messages on a cellphone, and this is where Carbuncle quickly begins to steal the spotlight.
Carbuncle is beaming with personality. His dialogue is all very innocent and full of wonder, which quickly drew me to the character. I chuckled as I saved Carbuncle from a few low-level nightmares, because the text box simply displayed a confetti emoji; Pop-culture references FTW.
Platinum Demo isn’t an overly long journey, and that’s okay. When I returned to the title screen, my final playtime clocked in at 31 minutes, but every minute of venturing through Noctis’ dreamscape with my new furry friend was enjoyable. It succeeds in what it’s meant to do, which is to provide a little more character backstory on Noctis and tide over those hungry for the release of the game proper on September 30th. Additionally, it introduces core game controls and allows the player to experiment with different fighting styles by taking on the iron giant multiple times if they wish. Personally, I’m just happy that playing Platinum Demo unlocks Carbuncle in the full game!
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