Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

World of Final Fantasy

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 17 - 2016

The perfect introduction for new players, and a nostalgic stroll for Final Fantasy veterans.

 
The hugely anticipated Final Fantasy XV is not far off now, and fans of the series will be chomping at the bit to get their hands on the latest installment. But this doesn’t mean that they should overlook the recently released World of Final Fantasy, a spin off title from the main numbered installments that serves not only to offer some nostalgic goodness for the veteran players, but also aims to attract new, maybe younger, gamers with a healthy dose of cuteness and enjoyable gameplay.

 
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The stories in the Final Fantasy games have always been a bit hit and miss, often proving to be less important than the generally engrossing gameplay. Here, in World of Final Fantasy, the story follows this trend by putting players in control of siblings, Lann and Reynn, who just happen to have lost their memories. Add to this obvious set up a prophecy and mysterious villains that know more about what is going on than the characters, and you have a fairly standard fantasy tale.

 
But it is not the story that really pushes players on through World of Final Fantasy. For the veteran players, those who have played previous games in the Final Fantasy series, the real draw here is exploring the land and coming across both locations and characters from the older games. Starting with the city of Cornelia, from the original Final Fantasy game, and then meeting up with the likes of Yuna, Refia or Cloud from subsequent games is a real treat. It is great to see some of the older locations re-imagined in World of Final Fantasy, and encountering much loved characters from the older games in a chibi form is a lot of fun. Even the adversaries that the player faces, and the music playing in the background, are all designed to trigger memories. Of course, the number of memories that are triggered is directly linked to how many Final Fantasy games the player has enjoyed over the years. Fortunately, there is some incredibly good gameplay to fill in the gaps between reminiscing.

 
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And it is the gameplay that seems perfectly designed for newcomers, those who have never dipped their toes into a Final Fantasy game. Story to one side, the flow of World of Final Fantasy is very inviting. Players will travel the world, talking with NPCs and gathering fairly simple side quests alongside the main narrative path, while also exploring dungeons and even solving a few puzzles.It is quite easy, maybe too much so, but there is plenty more to the game.

 
There is an interesting new mechanic in World of Final Fantasy that may come as a surprise for the veteran players and a solid hook for the new players. While exploring the world, players are able to capture monsters, known as Mirages, and have them join their team. This gives the game an almost Pokemon feel as players are encouraged to “catch ‘em all”. To start with, the player will simply have to damage the mirage in battle in order to catch it and add it to their team. However, as the game progresses and the Mirages become more imposing, the conditions for capture will become more complex, such as having to heal a Mirage in battle before capture is possible. Much like the Pocket Monsters games, players can only have so many Mirages in their team before they are sent away to storage. Which Mirages a player has in their team dictates what abilities are available, so team management becomes essential as the game progresses.

 
Team management is also essential for the great, turn-based combat. Mirages come in different sizes – small, medium and large – and the player has to stack them with Lann and Reynn to form towers that go into battle. Lann and Reynn have two different forms, the chibi Lilikin and the regular sized Jiant, which make them medium and large respectively. A stack is formed from putting a small on a medium on a large, so players can form different stacks depending on which size they are using for their characters.

 
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In battle, the stack is treated as a single character, with the combined health and abilities of its components, and enemies are often encountered in stacks of their own. Certain attacks, from both the player and the enemies, are able to topple stacks, reducing them to their weaker individual components and leaving them stunned. While most random encounters will not prove much of a challenge for the average player, the occasional boss battles provide a sharp spike in difficulty for the unprepared. Both the characters and the collected Mirages have skills and attributes that can be improved upon, and swapping out weaker Mirages with newly caught ones, perhaps with new abilities, will all be essential to keeping the team as powerful as possible in order to progress.

 
The catching of Mirages and the combat are both great systems, and are complimented by the really nice visuals. While some of the textures on the PS4 may not be as sharp as expected, the game still looks incredibly nice, especially considering that the launch on Vita would have had some effect on the overall look. The audio too is sublime, with great voicework and the sort of soundtrack that would be worth picking up outside of the game. In all, World of Final Fantasy is as highly polished as you would expect from a Square Enix game.

 
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World of Final Fantasy offers entry level gameplay to those who want it, and nostalgia to players that seek it. While the story may be nothing to write home about, the collecting mechanic provides a great hook to keep players moving, and meeting up with characters from the older games raise a smile and create a memory. World of Final Fantasy is very enjoyable to play, and is an essential purchase to both Final Fantasy veterans and newcomers. The only problem will be finishing it before Final Fantasy XV arrives in the stores.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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