Ever wonder what a Pokemon game would be like in the Final Fantasy universe? Neither did I, but I found out anyway.
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, PS Vita, Windows (Nov. 21, 2017)
Rating: E 10+
Like many, I wasn’t really aware of World of Final Fantasy until I passed by it on a display shelf. I was a little bit skeptical looking over the box, as much of the cover was done in cutesy chibi art style. But seeing as how Square Enix has a good track record (for the most part, they are by no means perfect), I decided to give it a go. What follows is my experience in the first 15 hours or so of game play. There will be some minor spoilers when talking about the story, but hopefully nothing too bad.
As simply as I can put it, the two main characters Lann and Reynn wake up having lost all of their memories. An omnipotent being then shows up, awakens some of their inner power, and they start a quest to regain their memories. Of course along the way more important things than regaining memories become the focus of your quest. But it’s a pretty standard shtick. The big thing that happens is that in this quest, you are traveling through all the different worlds of various final fantasy games (roll credits….). So you will get to have moments of nostalgia all the way through while playing a new story.
But what powers were awakened to allow you to go on this quest you ask? The ability to capture and then summon mirages! Basically the mirages are various enemies from fantasy. Ranging from chocobos to dragons to vampires. Basically there are all sorts of different mirages to be captured (gotta catch ’em all), and to be leveled up to unlock new transfigurations (essentially evolution). In normal RPG tradition, you battle, you gain experience, you level up. When you level up a mirage, it gains SP. Which can then be spent on the mirage boards.
The mirage boards are the skill tree for each mirage. You can pick your path and what stats/skills you want to upgrade first. You will essentially need to upgrade everything to reach the other transfigurations. Each transfiguration has it’s own board, so there is lots to do here. You can catch the more advanced forms later in the game but they won’t be as strong as ones you have leveled.
Along with the mirages, you will meet various characters from the universe that you will be able to summon into battle via the champion medals. The summoning of a champion is a bit different than normal mirages. These are typically the ultimate attacks in this game. They consume a limit break like meter that fills over time as you compete in battles. The champions come from all different games of the universe, so you will see summons for the likes of Cloud, Lightning, and so on.
I can’t really go much further without giving too much away so I’ll close with a few thoughts. First, the story and characters, while a bit cheesy, are fairly fun and have kept me entertained. Second, seeing all the versions of characters you know and love (well mostly love) is fun, even if it relies heavily on nostalgia. Next, it’s a JRPG by Square, and emulates the feel of Pokemon. As such there is a lot to, lots of side quest, achievements, and just general items to get lost with. But, I find myself just pushing through the story, as most seem to line up with the goals of the story which is nice. Lastly, along with the good of a JRPG, you get the bad. At the time of posting this, I felt myself just going through the motions, and getting a bit bored of the grind.
Well, I lied, I had one more thought. If you play this game, go change the default settings right off the bat to have the battle interface/UI set to classic mode. Part of the battle system is stacking abilities to unlock new ones. And these typically don’t show up by default in the new UI. The UI isn’t terrible, but you have to go in and change the defaults to use it more effectively and I find the classic does that without the hassle. Another setting to change is for the fast forward feature. Change it to toggle rather than hold, your fingers will thank me!
So with all of the above in mind would I recommend this game. Yes and no. This game isn’t for everybody. A lot of people won’t be able to get past the art of the game, or the cheesy feel. But I feel like these people also know who they are, and would know by looking at the game it isn’t for them. But for the people who KNOW this game is for them (and you should by this point), you will be greeted by a fun story, filled with humor (albeit goofy and filled with puns), and lots of completionist tasks that will keep them going. I’m hooked, but I will also say, that I take plenty of breaks in between play sessions.
- All the nostalgia.
- Intricate upgrade, and battle mechanic systems.
- Fun, light hearted, colorful (a nice change from the current dark and drab).
- The average person doesn’t have to become a full lore or mechanic expert to enjoy it.
- Battles can get repetitive.
- Some tutorials happen really early but aren’t needed until much later.
- JRPG hours required to beat it.
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