For a game that’s always looked like a bit of a gag, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is surprisingly fleshed out. Packing a story mode, alongside multiple FFXV-esque hunts, there’s a lot to do in this PlayStation VR powered angling adventure. And while the quality is admittedly a bit inconsistent, you may find that catching carp with Noctis and crew becomes a guilty pleasure.
We’re several hours into the game thus far, and while the plot’s yet to really come together, it essentially sees you rescued by resident Hammerhead mechanic Cindy after a literal monster of the deep wipes out your fishing boat. It’s then down to you to reel in all of the daemonic sealife inhabiting Eos’ waters – and catch a few regular whoppers in the process.
The character creator is the same as the one in the Comrades multiplayer expansion, so you have a fair amount of leeway to create a cool looking angler. The really neat thing is that you can customise your protagonist with tattoos and other features, which you can then inspect in intricate detail from the title’s primary first-person viewpoint.
Most of the game takes place at various lakesides, but there is a wooden cabin hub where you can buy new tackle, rods, and clothing. Getting in your car allows you to select your next mission, and characters from the Final Fantasy XV storyline show up to help add a little context to your quests – and also deliver a hearty helping of fanservice.
Of course, it’s the fishing that you’ll be spending most of your time doing, and while it’s simplistic it is very fun. Casting, as is always the case in these games, is the most difficult task, as you need to flick the PlayStation Move forward from behind your shoulder and release the line at just the right moment to hit the area of water you’re aiming for.
There is an easier casting option that requires smaller movements, but both are difficult to judge and it’s definitely the hardest task in the game. A sonar shows you where fish are gathered, and the powerful rumble in the PlayStation Move controllers lets you know when you’ve got a bite. It’s then down to you to reel in the fish successfully, accounting for the critter’s swimming pattern.
In the hunts you’re tasked with catching a very specific type of fish, forcing you to ensure you’ve got the right tackle for the job. However, the story missions see you build up a meter by freely catching fish, resulting in a battle against a particular daemon. These are set-piece type affairs, and actually strangely exciting for a fishing game.
The visuals are certainly impressive, with Final Fantasy XV’s world looking absolutely delicious in PlayStation VR. But our biggest gripe is that the motion tracking seems a little bit swimmy, and that can break the immersion a tad. Furthering that, some of the cut-scenes are displayed in cinematic mode, which pulls you out of the experience.
But there’s way more game here than we were expecting. We balked at the price point ($29.99/£24.99) when we first saw it, but we were anticipating more of a minigame; this does, in fact, feel like a standalone product – albeit one heavily based upon last year’s Final Fantasy XV. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to perfecting our casting skills – and we’ll have a full review in the coming days.
Do you think Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is looking like the catch of the day? Reel at the price point in the comments section below.