There’s no denying the fact that Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, at first glance, looks like nothing more than fan service positioned as a quick cash grab. Take one of the most popular and eagerly anticipated games of the past ten years (Final Fantasy XV,) let players make their own character, and set them loose on a fishing trip with Noctis, the core game’s chief protagonist. It’s a recipe that would likely get the job done on face value alone, but the folks at Square Enix have actually gone a few steps further and turned this into more than just a simple fishing game.
In Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, the premise is pretty simple. You’re a hunter/fisherman that’s on a mission to eradicate all of the big bad monsters lurking beneath the surfaces at all of the various bodies of water. You’ll go on hunts to track down the giant beasts, catching smaller fish along the way, and restore peace to the region.
Thankfully the actual act of fishing (i.e. casting your line, hooking fish, and reeling them in) is extremely satisfying with the PS Move controllers. While holding the PS Move button on my right controller I fling my rod and release the button at the right moment to send my line flying. From here I can use the left controller in a rotating motion to reel it back in once I get a bite. Each region has various zones were fish like to congregate that you can target and you’ve also got a radar that sends a sonar pulse out to detect fish.
Once you look past the simple exterior of fishing mechanics you’ll see that Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV really, really wants to be a part of the Final Fantasy universe. Throughout the game you’ll hear familiar tunes and sound effects, Noctis treats you like his best buddy, you’ll spend some time chatting with Cindy, and read/hear plenty about the state of affairs in Eos.
Last week we reviewed Fishing Master on PSVR and were not impressed. For a game with such a bold title we expected something more and consider it quite funny that, despite expectations, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is shaping up to be the better fishing game. Not only can you customize your gear (such as the rod and lure) in Monster of the Deep, but you get to create your own custom avatar and you can freely move around fishing sites to relocate yourself and explore.
Square Enix took the concept of a simple fishing game and dramatically expanded upon it. My favorite, seemingly innocuous, feature was the photo mechanic. After you make a big catch you have the chance to take a photo while you pose as your character. The best part though is that you can actually invert the view and use your real life PS Camera to take the photo.
This effect adds scenery around you and creates the illusion that you’re actually holding the fish and rod with your real hands. It’s a silly, simple feature, but I was enamored. After each mission you’ll be sitting around a campfire going over your rewards and you can actually pick up and hold a Polaroid-style print out of the photos you took. The whole gang from Final Fantasy XV might even join in on the hang out session.
I’m still early in Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV and can’t talk about the whole game yet, but consider me pleasantly surprised with the experience thus far. Square Enix seems to have a real understanding of what does and doesn’t work in VR for the most part and if this is an indication of the direction they want to take VR iterations of their franchises then I’m looking forward to what’s next.
Let us know what you think of Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV down in the comments below! And make sure to check back next week, on Wednesday, November 20th for our full review.