Long running Japanese RPG series, Final Fantasy gets it’s first virtual reality title and, as you’d expect, it’s a bit weird. Injecting you right into the fantastical world of Eos from Final Fantasy XV, PlayStation VR owners can join the award-winning RPG title’s hero, Noctis, on a fishing trip.
Right from the start, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV shamelessly establishes itself as existing in the same universe as Final Fantasy XV. Yes folks, whether you are into fishing on not, this is the only place you can get to see Chocobos in VR as if they were right there in front of you.
The FFXV-inspired background detail is worth the entry fee for any real fans of the series. This is a game that mixes fishing with all sorts of fan-service designed to make Final Fantasy XV aficionados squeal with delight.
Having been saved by FFXV’s Cindy at the start of the game, you head out from your cabin, which serves as a hub to find a fishing spot. This being Final Fantasy, you are not game fishing, you are a hunter charged with eradicating daemon fish.
The gameplay is a bizarre mix of Sega Bass Fishing and a shooting gallery.
First, using your handheld sonar, you need to locate your fish. I was playing this using two Move Controllers, you can use the Dualshock, but you are taking away a lot of the experience in doing so.
With your right hand holding the fishing rod, using the moving controller, you cast off by holding down the move button and swinging the line out, releasing the button as you do. The line spools from your reel and, if you used the right amount of force, you hook should end up right where the fishes are. If you mess up casting you can quickly reel in the line with the touch of a button.
If you hook a fish you need to start to land it. Using the left Move Controller, you grab the reel and start turning the handle to reel the fish towards you. The fish will thrash to the left and right to free itself. The player needs to match these left and right movements to keep the fish on the line. With the fish near the shore an upwards flick of the rod and the fish is out.
The stats for your catch are displayed and you have the opportunity to examine the fish, and even get a photo op.
After landing a few fish, you attract the attention of the main event, the daemon fish that you are actually there to hunt. Armed with a crossbow you need to soften the huge fish up before snagging it on your line. These boss battles do a great job of breaking up the otherwise chill, but sedentary act of fishing.
The game gives you plenty of opportunity to upgrade your kit, including buying new lures, to increase your chances of a catch. Mainly, though, it’s a pretty leisurely affair.
The graphics are very good, but the game is hardly taxing the PlayStation 4. The backgrounds are wonderful, with Eos’ flora and fauna (yes, Chocobos), beautifully realised in VR. Your character’s body is present, treating me to a weird mess of arms and torso before adjusting my position to place my actual head on top of my VR avatar’s shoulders.
As a fishing game, it’s hard to fault. As a Final Fantasy game, it is what it is. Fans of the series will get a lot out of the game, just in being immersed in the world of Eos. If you like a bit of fishing, but are not familiar with Final Fantasy XV, you’ll probably like it as well. If you are not into Final Fantasy or fishing, you are not likely to have much fun with this one.
As a fan of Final Fantasy and VR in general, I enjoyed the immersion into the game world. The fishing was enjoyable and Monster of the Deep definitely scores points with me for just being so different. Square Enix have taken a chance with the game and created and Final Fantasy XV experience that really suits virtual reality.