What on earth were they thinking with chapter 13?

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TwoDotsO

Clan Centurio Member
Jul 30, 2016
131
143
#1
I've done that chapter 3 times now. Once while being the right level, once while being overleveled and once while being underleveled. Not one of those playthroughs made me appreciate the level.

At no point did I experience the senses that they were thematically trying to convey, because you either breeze through it or sluggishly cheese through it seeing as the mechanics are simply broken. The chapter simply ends up feeling insanely mundane and overstays it welcome pretty much five-fold.

The only part I did actually enjoy was being underleveled and needing to run away from the daemon. That had that Nemesis kind of mechanic going on, which did actually work. But that was only a very small part of it all.

The annoying part is that no matter what kind of run you do, you end up needing to spend 1 upto several hours in that chapter alone. It's ironic that the game revolving around brotherhood, roadtrip with your bro's and what not, ends up having its longest chapter being a solo corridor run with bad mechanics.
 

Storm

Warrior of Light
Oct 26, 2013
2,600
4,014
26
#2
the mechanics are clunky and the chapter is long, but it ended up being of my favorite chapters and the turning point where the story got really interesting; the atmosphere was great and immersive, ost was on point and there was some nice story revelations (like the daemon thing, prompto's origin and ardyn's identity).

i really didn't have much problem with it.
 
Likes: Nova
Aug 13, 2016
60
71
25
#3
I could understand what they were trying to achieve with Chapter 13, despite the clunkiness of the ring magic at times. It really felt like i was going through the whole ordeal with Noctis and the environment felt really oppressive. Stopping at the rest stops where the music was subdued and not having his friends really emphasised it all. The part of running away from the daemon i found to be generally scary.

It definitely made me start to resent Ardyn for putting Noctis through it all and it cemented him as one of my favourite villains of the series.
 

Ikkin

SeeD A-Class
Oct 30, 2016
697
805
#6
"Shit, we're running out of time, how do we pad this out??"

I think.
It's kind of hard to imagine that they'd choose this particular form of padding when there's so much unique post-game material that could have been repurposed and rebalanced instead. It's not like there's a dearth of content overall; the game just has more optional dungeon exploration than mandatory dungeon exploration.

Instead, I think Ch. 13's issue is that it attempted something with very little leeway for error -- it tried to intentionally evoke negative emotions to make the player feel as lost and on-edge as Noct. It takes away all your gameplay options, leaving you with something that has weird controls and takes forever to do what you want. It takes away all visual landmarks and leaves you in a maze of corridors. It throws in jump scares just often enough to ensure that you never feel safe. It drops you right back down just when you think you're about to finally escape. It includes an unbeatable monster who you have to run from until later in the level. And it mocks you the whole time.

Those design choices heavily imply that having fun was never the point of the level. It feels like an attempt at something the more indie-minded Japanese creators sometimes do -- naked Raiden in MGS2, that part of Ico where Yorda is missing and I hope you like doing some of the most challenging platforming in the game without the ability to save -- albeit a less successful one. And I'm not sure why a lot of people seem to assume that it can't be that sort of thing (especially since it comes across as a combination of KHI Hollow Bastion on a story level and that part from Crisis Core where you're protecting Cloud by shooting enemies from afar on a theme-over-gameplay level, leaving its design entirely within Squenix's wheelhouse). =/
 
Last edited:
Nov 24, 2016
52
40
34
#7
well from what I got they were going for a Silent Hill, Resident Evil and The Suffering vibe. basically I got that they were going for a survival horror vibe for that chapter.
 
Likes: Storm

APZonerunner

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Jul 25, 2013
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#8
It's kind of hard to imagine that they'd choose this particular form of padding when there's so much unique post-game material that could have been repurposed and rebalanced instead. It's not like there's a dearth of content overall; the game just has more optional dungeon exploration than mandatory dungeon exploration.

Instead, I think Ch. 13's issue is that it attempted something with very little leeway for error -- it tried to intentionally evoke negative emotions to make the player feel as lost and on-edge as Noct. It takes away all your gameplay options, leaving you with something that has weird controls and takes forever to do what you want. It takes away all visual landmarks and leaves you in a maze of corridors. It throws in jump scares just often enough to ensure that you never feel safe. It drops you right back down just when you think you're about to finally escape. It includes an unbeatable monster who you have to run from until later in the level. And it mocks you the whole time.

Those design choices heavily imply that having fun was never the point of the level. It feels like an attempt at something the more indie-minded Japanese creators sometimes do -- naked Raiden in MGS2, that part of Ico where Yorda is missing and I hope you like doing some of the most challenging platforming in the game without the ability to save -- albeit a less successful one. And I'm not sure why a lot of people seem to assume that it can't be that sort of thing (especially since it comes across as a combination of KHI Hollow Bastion on a story level and that part from Crisis Core where you're protecting Cloud by shooting enemies from afar on a theme-over-gameplay level, leaving its design entirely within Squenix's wheelhouse). =/
I don't think it was the post-game they wanted to pad, though - I think it was the main story.

I think Chapter 13 comes from two different places, honestly.
  • The actual idea for the chapter to feature Noctis alone, without his powers and without his friends clearly comes from the story focus on the 'Brotherhood' theme - the them of the game in this area is typically that the crew are greater than the sum of their parts. By splitting Noctis away from the group and removing his powers, the player feels particularly helpless. This also fits with the story planning, which was that Nifelheim would be destroyed and in ruin by the time Noctis reached it - by making it more psychological and slow, you can foster a feel of dread as you stalk through the ruined facilities there. I think all of this is a great idea; it culminates in relief and happiness at seeing your comrades when you meet them again. I'm perfectly okay with a game deliberately shooting for slow, oppressive and unwelcoming - I just played five hours of Resident Evil 7 and absolutely loved it - but in FF15 the issue is that it takes these ideas and then... well, it does 'em badly.
  • The actual layout of the chapter's level design is, I think, the area where it's rushed and padded. The encounter design starts out more interesting then goes south, and the endless corridors with repeated geometry are deeply suspicious in terms of just looking... quickly put together. You can argue "well, it's a facility that would've been built in such a way!" but then you look closer and see even in granular details there's repetition between rooms - things not uniform to the building's design, such as furniture layouts and rubble and the like that's visibly replicated between rooms. The rest of the game avoids this. Then you're like "ohhhh..."
 
Likes: TwoDotsO

Ikkin

SeeD A-Class
Oct 30, 2016
697
805
#9
I don't think it was the post-game they wanted to pad, though - I think it was the main story.
Well, my point was that there was a ton of unique content in the post game that could have been poached and repurposed for the main game if they wanted it to be longer.

I think Chapter 13 comes from two different places, honestly.
  • The actual idea for the chapter to feature Noctis alone, without his powers and without his friends clearly comes from the story focus on the 'Brotherhood' theme - the them of the game in this area is typically that the crew are greater than the sum of their parts. By splitting Noctis away from the group and removing his powers, the player feels particularly helpless. This also fits with the story planning, which was that Nifelheim would be destroyed and in ruin by the time Noctis reached it - by making it more psychological and slow, you can foster a feel of dread as you stalk through the ruined facilities there. I think all of this is a great idea; it culminates in relief and happiness at seeing your comrades when you meet them again. I'm perfectly okay with a game deliberately shooting for slow, oppressive and unwelcoming - I just played five hours of Resident Evil 7 and absolutely loved it - but in FF15 the issue is that it takes these ideas and then... well, it does 'em badly.
  • The actual layout of the chapter's level design is, I think, the area where it's rushed and padded. The encounter design starts out more interesting then goes south, and the endless corridors with repeated geometry are deeply suspicious in terms of just looking... quickly put together. You can argue "well, it's a facility that would've been built in such a way!" but then you look closer and see even in granular details there's repetition between rooms - things not uniform to the building's design, such as furniture layouts and rubble and the like that's visibly replicated between rooms. The rest of the game avoids this. Then you're like "ohhhh..."
The first part, I agree with. With regards to the second part, though, I guess I feel like... why bother? Why not just force you to fight through Cresholm Channels to sneak into Insomnia, or move an optional dungeon to Tenebrae so there would be more to do there (while lowering the required levels a bit)?
 

APZonerunner

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Jul 25, 2013
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#10
Well, my point was that there was a ton of unique content in the post game that could have been poached and repurposed for the main game if they wanted it to be longer.

The first part, I agree with. With regards to the second part, though, I guess I feel like... why bother? Why not just force you to fight through Cresholm Channels to sneak into Insomnia, or move an optional dungeon to Tenebrae so there would be more to do there (while lowering the required levels a bit)?
All I can say is that I believe what I wrote based on conversations that I've had; that Chapter 13 was supposed to be more in-depth and interesting with less repetitious design, but they simply ran out of time. Obviously I can't really back it up any further than to say "I believe it", though.

Sometimes you just get too late, and shunting something from the open world back into a different area of the game is an even larger challenge than streamlining and padding something you've already half-built. It makes a lot of sense on paper, but in an open world a change like that could cause all manner of additional problems or headaches, so it's easier to just work with the existing structure.

It's pretty plain, I think, how hot the game has come in. A lot of changes and decisions were made very late.
 
Likes: Storm
Sep 26, 2013
1,702
649
#11
My issue with chapter 13 is that it overstayed its welcome...

Then I experienced the Steyliff Grove menace dungeon located at The Vesperpool...

Chapter 13 ain't so bad anymore!
 

ChrisB

Clan Centurio Member
Jul 25, 2014
132
17
33
#13
I'm actually enjoying chapter 13 it gave us a chance to concentrate on noctis and he's alone with no weapons, he's always had back up but now he's got to get through this one himself, I also like how ardyn is playing with his head
 
Likes: Storm

Jubileus

Warrior of Light
Oct 7, 2016
1,616
1,293
#14
Interesting little detail I picked up about chapter 13.

If you stop and look around, you'll see the flying monsters that was shown in the trailer that showed the red sky with the monster flying around in a wrecked environment.

I think that was meant to be Gralea. It seems they either decided to remove the red sky by choice or didn't have enough time to make the sky red here.

It's definitely the same flying monster.
 
Likes: Storm

Ikkin

SeeD A-Class
Oct 30, 2016
697
805
#15
Interesting little detail I picked up about chapter 13.

If you stop and look around, you'll see the flying monsters that was shown in the trailer that showed the red sky with the monster flying around in a wrecked environment.

I think that was meant to be Gralea. It seems they either decided to remove the red sky by choice or didn't have enough time to make the sky red here.

It's definitely the same flying monster.
The sky in Duscae could go red through a glitch with the moon. I'm thinking they decided to go with eternal nighttime instead, for whatever reason.

But, yeah, I noticed those monsters when watching Youtube videos to refresh myself on some parts of the story. Kind of wish they'd made them come down and fight you, but... not with the limited combat you have in most of Chapter 13. XD;