World of Final Fantasy (Tose, Square-Enix)
Systems: ps4, psVita Release Date: October 25th, 2016
ESRB: E10+ for everyone 10 and up
What better way to celebrate Final Fantasy’s 30th anniversary next year than with a game dripping with fan service and nostalgia. Equal parts classic final fantasy with things like the ATB (Active time battle) system and simple multi-tier dungeons, and the trademark final fantasy spirit of innovation mash the familiar with the new in a seamless swirl of delicious sugar coated nostalgia.
Following the fairytale story of amnesiac twins, Reynn and Lann; World of final fantasy immediately establishes itself as something new and at the same time familiar. The city the twins live in is very modern, complete with a classy mall and even a Starbucks style coffee shop where Lann (the brother of the two) seems to work. The character designs bring to mind another square enix classic Kingdom Hearts and that’s in no small part thanks to Tetsuya Nomura’s immediately recognizable since of style and fashion. The twins are very animated and the dialogue between them is a well-oiled comedy duo act that never ends.
As with most RPG’s from the 90s lann and reynn start the tale with amnesia and are soon tasked by the beautiful Enna Kros (maybe a god?!) to travel through a mystical portal to the world of Grymoire and capture cute monsters known as Mirages in hopes of regaining their memories. It’s light-hearted, and that’s a great thing in the current sea of grim dark, violent games in the market lately. It’s a breath of fresh air that is kept fresh by the constant dialogue and cheeky jokes, some might not like this approach but any fans of the back in forth in games like Kid Icarus: Uprising will be right at home with all the banter. Like all final fantasies the game has its moments of drama and seriousness but these never undermine the lighthearted cheesecake that makes up the majority of this story.
The combat system uses a final fantasy staple of old the ATB or Active Time Battle, which is an evolution of turn based combat where time continues to move even if you haven’t chosen a move during your turn. Luckily for those who are not familiar with their moves or what strategies they want to use there is a “wait” mode which is closer to a standard turn based system. If you’ve played final fantasy before this is all old news, but what happens when you throw in a dash of Pokemon and a hint of crystal chronicles spell stacking? You get the meat and potatoes of World of Final Fantasy’s combat.
There are over 200 Mirages (this games Pokemon) to collect and train. These mirages can transfigure (evolve) and level up using a popular leveling gimmick called a mirage board (a sphere grid/crystalarium etc). one of the exciting things for those of us who crunch the numbers and want to customize our mirages will be glad to know every mirage has its own unique grid! The rest of the strategy comes in how you stack your mirages on top of Lann and Reynn. Their abilities and spells also ‘stacking’ to create more powerful versions or unique skills all together which fosters switching out mirages and finding the unique strategies you enjoy using.
This all leads into my favorite thing about World of Final Fantasy, it is a full, long, final fantasy game. I feel like the promotional material plays too much to the fan service aspect without doing the depth of the game justice. Yes classic final fantasy characters and monsters appear in world of final fantasy but the wealth of content and strategic depth is very much in line with any classic numbered final fantasy title. I haven’t finished the game yet myself but I’m well into 40 hours and only just reaching the final chapters with another 40-50 hours in post game content to chew through. Much like a Pokémon game it extends even further if you choose to imprism (catch) all the mirages and leveling them up fighting challenges in the colosseum or hunting all over grymoire for the really rare ones that are hiding in any of the dungeons hidden areas.
Speaking of cameos, world of final fantasy is littered to the gils (ha! So punny kupo) with characters from all over the final fantasy timeline. Well known and obscure, a lot of heroes live in grymoire; and by that I mean they literally live in Grymoire. Familiar locations and names are attributed to established histories and geology in Grymoir. Nibelheim from final fantasy VII fame is a mixture of the small village from that game and the massive reactor city of Midgar that appears in the same title; Tifa lives there and is training with her master (complete with her teenager-era cowboy costume) who has no connection or immediate knowledge of cloud who is doing his own thing as a mercenary for the game’s hero group known as the league of S. they are still the characters you know and love but as they would be in the setting which is like their own but not quite. With only one dlc planned (but the possibility for more/sequels if the game does well/fan reaction is positive) I’d love to see more characters or even areas to explore inspired by places I enjoyed in past games.
The last thing I wanted to cover because hey I like to ramble is the post-game content. Grymoire has many places to explore and a lot of secrets hiding in its depths. Another nod to classic final fantasy games is the inclusion of EX dungeons and hidden bosses. There are a few short dungeons that are packed full of rare and really high level mirages (level 70ish) as well as powerful hidden bosses that are made to test your mirage stacks to the limit. Once your done with that there is a basic but not unfamiliar colosseum mode that acts much like PVP in poke centers in Pokémon. Complete with online play and adjustable rules. If Online PVP isn’t your idea of fun there are also loads of challenging fights in the colosseum as well as a wealth of side stories and quests to find and complete leaving you with a lot of end game content (at least 100 hours of gametime)
Did I like World of Final Fantasy? I did, I loved it even. It’s accessible and a must play for any final fantasy fan, new and old. For those of us who remembered the entry level designed “Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest” this is a worthy successor to introducing new rpg fans to the world of final fantasy and delight those of us who have made our homes here. Its cute, its charming, and its deeper than the promotional material gives it credit for. Do yourselves a favor and don’t miss this even with the excitement of final fantasy XV at the end of the month!
[ + ] Story: a classic story full of every cliche from the genre you can imagine still finds heart where it matters and takes you on a journey you wont want to leave soon.
[+] Graphics: one of the best looking games for a title that shares its release with a handheld. everything fits despite the strange mix of very detailed character models and monsters with more cutesy simplified chibi designs, everything is easily recognizable even if its never had a 3d model before!
[ + ] Gameplay: the depth of a pokemon game with the stats and customization of a final fantasy game with a sphere grid like leveling system. the dungeons are simple and never last to long with plenty of simple puzzles and hidden areas and treasures.
[+] Replayablity: multiplayer and a 100hrs of content make this an adventure that will last, especially for thoes who want to level all their mirages.
[ + ] Opinion: a wonderful romp through classic final fantasy before the release of the much anticipated FFXV. a game that will fly under the radar but deserves its place in the Final Fantasy hall of fame as a MUST Play.
I rate World OF Final Fantasy a HONKING 5/5 Kupo!
it was announced recently that Sora from Kingdom Hearts will appear as a free DLC Summon for World of Final Fantasy early next year in celebration of the release of Kingdom Hearts 2.8 lookit this cute little guy!