Taking on the Trial of the Titan in Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV, the latest entry in Square Enix’s iconic role-playing franchise, is an RPG that will appeal to both battle-hardened series veterans and wide-eyed newcomers. At E3 2016, we got to experience the highly-anticipated title from hands-on perspective. In a demo exclusive to E3, we took on one of the most intimidating threats we’ve ever come across in the nearly 30-year history of the series: the Trial of the Titan.

This faceoff against an impossibly imposing menace called to mind the mortals’ conflicts with the Olympian gods in classical Greek myth, and it was a confrontation worthy of the always-over-the-top E3 spectacle.

As the battle commences, it looks like spiky-haired Noctis and his cocksure buddies Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto have bitten off just a tad more than they can chew, as they find themselves face-to-face with a towering behemoth that can scarcely be bothered to glance down and acknowledge the preening quartet. It’s a different kind of fight than longtime Final Fantasy players are accustomed to, but it’s no less engaging.

And the action is so fierce, so fast-paced, and so unrelenting that it’s sure to appeal to those who normally consider RPGs hands-off endeavors. (If you’re more of fan of traditional turn-based combat, don’t fret: Final Fantasy XV also debuted “Wait mode” at the show. This optional feature pauses combat between attacks, letting Noctis take a breath and scope out the battlefield before diving back into the action.)

The battle with Titan is a multi-tiered process. First, Noctis must fend off sweeping attacks from Titan’s fists with a series of timed button presses.  Then, once the cavalry arrives, he and his band of perfectly coiffed bros (this crew wouldn’t look out of place in front of a crowd of screeching teens at a J-pop concert) team up to take out one of the giant’s massive arms. Finally, magic comes into play, as Noctis summons the might of a blizzard to freeze Titan in its tracks. The day is won, and the four friends can get on with their totally radical road trip – for now, at least.

It was just one fight, but if Final Fantasy XV can maintain that level of intensity and make good on its promise to mix vast exploration with strategy-laden combat, this could very well be one of the top entries in the franchise’s history when it hits Xbox One on September 30th.