World of Final Fantasy shines bright with nostalgia (review)

worldoffinalfantasy

World of Final Fantasy is Square Enix’s latest attempt to recapture the magic of previous Final Fantasy games. It’s set in a new world that is comprised of locations from its FF entire franchise. While these are much smaller sections than the ones we remember, it is still enjoyable to once again visit familiar locations such as Nibelheim, Balamb Gardens, Big Bridge and more. During your exploration of Grimoire, you will come across both recognizable faces as well as new ones as you journey to restore your memories and fulfill the Azure Prophecy.

shiva-ixion

Story/Gameplay

Like many RPGs, it begins with our main characters Lann and Reynn waking up and having a case of amnesia. The two are soon introduced to Grimoire, a land of wonder that has recently become overrun by monsters called mirages. The two soon discover that they are fabled mirage keepers, which give them the ability to imprism, train, and command these mirages to assist them on their journey. The story is very lighthearted and its writing is filled with FF puns; the game never allows itself to be taken too seriously. Although with the great performances from the game’s voice actors and major set pieces, it manages to keep the story interesting all the way to the end.

World of Final Fantasy combines gameplay elements from various popular Final Fantasy games with the monster capturing elements of Pokemon. The main focus of the game is to imprism and train mirages. There are over 200 different mirages to battle, train and evolve. Capturing mirages requires more than simply whittling down your targets HP. Each one has very specific requirements before you can attempt to imprism them. While some will simply just need their HP lowered, others may only become vulnerable when left alone, or afflicted with certain debuffs or status effects. Combat can be set to either a traditional turn-based system (FFX), active (FFXIII) or blended between the two.

Combat skills and spells are important elements when picking your team, and since Lann and Reynn won’t learn any abilities on their own, they are limited to the mirages they carry in their stacks and party. When picking your party, you have to pay attention to your Stack Setup. Mirages are divided into 4 size categories ranging from small all the way to extra large, and you can only stack them in ascending size so that the smallest of the three is at the top. The rare and powerful XL mirages are special and will replace all other mirages on the field when temporarily called into battle, and they are only available as long as Lann and Reynn have AP. Your AP (ability points) functions as your one resource in battle, along with special summons that are used for spells and attack skills.

championsummon_snow1

Highlights

If there is one element that World of Final fantasy does best, it’s the fan service. There are cameos from your favorite characters, summons, monsters, and callbacks to previous games like Tidus’s outlandish laugh scene in Final Fantasy X. As you progress, you will assist fan favorites such as Yuna, Tidus, Squall, and of course, Cloud. The game encompasses characters and moments from every Final Fantasy game released to date including a run-in with Shantotto from the FFXI MMO. Every encounter with an iconic character will bring up feelings of nostalgia for fans. As corny as some of the scenes may be, the script often pokes fun of certain core FF franchise elements, showing that even Square Enix knows how ridiculous parts of their past have been. The game sprinkles in CG anime-style cutscenes between the core moments in the story.

A Final Fantasy game wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t have a level of challenge and boon of side missions. Early on you will unlock the colosseum where you will be able to take on empowered mirages for great rewards. These rewards can range from rare items like Elixirs to key items such as mementos, which will allow you to evolve certain mirages into more powerful ones. In order to do this, you must progress through the characters mirage board which is the game’s character development system. The mirage board system functions very similar to the sphere grid system of FFX, where you’ll able to choose your own route for upgrading your mirages. While it lacks in the complexity of the FFX sphere grid system, it still has some depth with the ability to customize blank spaces on the board with skill and stat seeds. There is also a bonus skill or trait rewarded for completing any mirages board, which will usually add a skill the mirage usually can’t learn or add a major increase to a specific stat for specializing the mirage. It all depends on what the player chooses it to be.

Upgrading a wide variety of mirages is key if you want to tackle the game’s optional bosses. Each dungeon usually has an extra area that is blocked off and requires mirages with specific skills that can be used on the map such as a moogles ability to fly Lann and Reynn over short gaps. Certain larger mirages like Chocobos can be mounted, provided you have unlocked the stroll ability on their mirage board. While you can ride a trusty Chocobo, I found riding atop a Malboro was definitely more my style.

wofanime

Final Reaction

World of Final Fantasy is as cute as it is nostalgic with its use of fan-favorite characters, summons, and monsters that are all set against a chibi-stylized world full of wonder and whimsy. The in-game graphics to the CG cutscenes all look great whether played on the Vita or the PS4, and it supports cross-save which is a huge bonus to anyone wanting to continue playing this title on the go vs home on the couch. The Colosseum also has secondary features for battling and trading with friends online, but I wasn’t able to test those prior to the launch of the game. It should only add to the games lifespan. Fan service and nostalgia are powerful elements when it comes to franchises with as much history as FF, and World of Final Fantasy doesn’t disappoint when it comes to either. With the fun and customizable battle system, hilarious writing filled to the brim with fan service, and all the extra content, World of Final Fantasy is one of my favorite RPG games in the last decade.

woff2

Final Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

*World of Final Fantasy was reviewed using a PS4 retail download code provided by Square Enix.

Facebook Comments

About author

Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.