Nostalgia is a powerful emotion in gaming. Many gamers have formed strong attachments to games they grew up playing, and their impressions of modern games are constantly being viewed through these lenses. For RPG fans, the Final Fantasy series has been a fixture in gaming since the days of the original NES. Do you miss seeing the Chibi style Sprites of Final Fantasy from NES and SNES or the turn-based battle system that once defined JRPGS? Or perhaps you have been looking for something in a similar vein to the story portrayed in Kingdom Hearts but without the Disney Characters or a story similar to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
Well if you answered yes to any of those questions then you might want to check out World of Final Fantasy. This Game focuses on monster capturing and their upgrades, which will make it reminiscent of Pokemon, Ni No Kuni, or Shin Megami Tensei/Persona. The game is out now on PS4 and PS Vita along with plenty of DLC scheduled for release. This review will contain minor spoilers.
Developed by: Square Enix
Published by: Square Enix
Release date: October 25th, 2016
Platforms: PS4, Vita (Reviewed on PS4)
Launch Price: 59.99 USD (PS4), 39.99 USD (PS Vita)
World of Final Fantasy Features
- New Twist on Classic Battles: All new battle system where players utilize captured monsters to create powerful monster towers to ﬁght foes using their size, element, and order to win the battle.
- Customize, Evolve & Saddle Up: Endless customization options that turn monsters into ability-boosting magicite; Evolve them to gain new specializations, or ride them to travel faster.
- A World of Vertical Possibility: Dive into vertically stacked dungeons and use creature abilities and magicite effects to get past obstacles and progress.
Story & Setting
The game is set in the world of Grymoire, which is itself populated by people and places from the Final Fantasy Series. You will see familiar faces such as the Warrior of Light, Terra, Cloud, Bartz, Rydia, Squall, Vivi, Tidus, Lightning, and Sora, among other notable characters. In this world, you will get to travel to familiar locations from the Final Fantasy Series such as Nibelheim, Babil region, and Figaro Castle, among others.
Overall the story of World of Final Fantasy, plays out in a typical Final Fantasy fashion. The story revolves around 2 amnesiac siblings as they regain their memories and are searching for a way to regin their memories. As you progress their story you learn of 2 conflicting prophecies that the siblings are fulfilling. There is a slow build to meeting the main boss and learning the state of the world, followed by a showdown to save the world. In the siblings travels they learn that they are responsible for the state of the world, sound familiar? For a story with its comedic moments it ends in a typical Square fashion of pulling on one’s heart strings.
Battles are turn based and even give you an option to use the Retro battle menu from the early days of Final Fantasy. If that isn’t enough nostalgia, in true Final Fantasy fashion the player can also summon Espers, also known as Mega Mirages, or receive support from Heroes or Champions from other Final Fantasy games. During these battles you can capture or imprison monsters to use for future combat.
What World of Final Fantasy brings to the formula of monster capturing and battling is a stacking system. The stacking system allows you to stack monsters (called Mirages in the game) on top of the main characters and augment their abilities, creating towers. If the Mirages have the same elements you can unlock upgraded versions of their spells, and there are also stat boosts from the stacking. In the stacking system you have 3 sizes of characters you can stack, small, medium and large. The characters can only be stacked in size order, if you do not want to use the stacking system you can also keep the mirages separate, but you will not receive the stat boosts this way. This system is a lot of fun at the start, as you discover new mirages but after a while the process can get repetitive and lose its novelty. Beyond this collect and evolve there isn’t a whole of gameplay depth to explore.
The main characters can change their sizes outside of battle to better stack or ride certain mirages, and the smaller size the main characters take is a chibi size, giving the game its adorable feel. The main characters can do this because the game features chibi areas they can travel to and regular areas they can travel to. Unfortunately, some of these areas fall into the pitfall of FFXIII’s one long hallway design, making it arduous from time to time and leaves some areas uninteresting to explore.
No Final Fantasy game would be complete without mini games and World of Final Fantasy has its fair share, featuring cute diversions like Whack-a-Cactuar, Einhander Invasion, Sandstalker, and Nebula Storm. They’re all fun enough romps for what they are and are mostly worth a couple of looks.
The menus are reminiscent of the Kingdom Hearts series of games in Battle and even have symbols next to the spell names for quick reference. Overall the party menu is relatively easy and straightforward to navigate and this extends to the entirety of the game. Folks who have played through past iterations of the series will find the game’s presentation and navigation predictably sleek and understandable.
Similarly, music and graphics are both great experiences and fit very much in line with expectations for the series. While not up to the graphical faux realism of FFXV, the game does its cute chibi look expertly, and the music and sound effects compliment it perfectly.
World of Final Fantasy is a love letter to the fans of the series and brings back a lot of memories for long time players of the series. Newcomers may not pick up on every easter egg but the gameplay formula is understandable enough to be an enjoyable romp in an adorable world. With New Game plus and ample collectibles there is plenty here to keep you busy and the adorable atmosphere and setting makes it easy to stick around.
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