What is World of Final Fantasy?
World of Final Fantasy is a Japanese role-playing game, that mixes the battles of a traditional Final Fantasy game with the monster collecting of a Pokemon title. Here, it's up to you to help amnesiac twins Reynn and Lann recover their lost memories, by battling with - and capturing - various monster 'Mirages'. Set in the world of Grymoire, where the questionable Bahamution Federation is spreading darkness across much of the land, it falls to Reynn and Lann, with the help of various familiar Final Fantasy characters, to free the world from its evil clutches - and hopefully learn about their past along the way.
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How do you play World of Final Fantasy?
As a traditional Japanese role-playing game, your time with World of Final Fantasy will mostly be spent chatting to characters as you go about the world, watching story-related cutscenes, and taking part in turn based battles as you fight your way through monster-infested dungeons.
As you travel from town to town to progress through the story, you'll pass through caves, forests and plains, periodically finding yourself under attack by monsters known as mirages, triggering one of the game's battles. Encounters here are turn-based, with you and your enemies taking it in turns to select attacks, spells and items to use in order to reduce your opponents' health to zero and win. As the action will pause when your turn rolls around, you have plenty of time to collect your thoughts and strategise, with no fast reactions required whatsoever.
During battle, you'll be able to capture various Mirages and add them to your team, having them fight on your side instead. Once captured, you can use Mirages to take advantage of one of the game's more unique features - the ability to stack your characters in battles.
Comprised of two monsters and a twin, these stacks let you pool your health and abilities with your Mirages, making you more powerful in battle, and sometimes giving you access to unique moves depending on the Mirages you've combined. For example, piling characters that know fire spells together amps up your fire magic into a much stronger fire spell, while Mirages with a focus on physical attacks can pool their skills into a harder hitting Cross Slash attack. However, there are some disadvantages to piling everyone up - some enemies can topple your tower and make you miss a go, while others have a death-dealing spell that will knock out all three stacked members, while they'd take out just one if you were unstacked. As such, it's up to you to decide which one makes the most sense at which time.
How easy is World of Final Fantasy to pick up and play?
On the whole, World of Final Fantasy is a pretty easy-going game. It's been designed from the ground up to be accessible to new players, and work as an introduction to the Final Fantasy series as a whole - and it shows.
Enemies are generally pretty easy to beat, providing you don't spend all your time running away from battles - you'll need to defeat enemies, earn experience, and level up to make your characters stronger, so you can take on the tougher foes. Should you be defeated in normal battles, your friendly fox companion Tama will whisk you away to safety without you losing any money or experience - although you will have to fight your way back through the dungeon from the beginning if you want to have another go.
However, boss fights are a different story all together, as defeat here will result in a game over - but as each is preceded by a Save Point anyway, you're unlikely to lose much progress should you lose. As with boss fights, World of Final Fantasy uses a save point system, meaning you can only save your game at specific locations. This makes things a little bit trickier than if the game let you save anywhere, but there's generally always a save point nearby should you need one.
Dungeons are fairly linear, and it's hard to get too lost in them, as they're mostly just a path from A to B, with occasional treasure chests and rare Mirages hidden a little off the beaten path. World of Final Fantasy is also pretty good at making sure you know where you should be heading next, with a handy objective written at the top of the screen at most times, so it's very hard to get stuck for long.
Unusually for this kind of game, World of Final Fantasy is fully voiced throughout, meaning that relatively little reading is required of the player - all story sections, quest details and directions are spoken. However, there are a few less crucial bits and pieces that are left unvoiced - tutorial sections are generally delivered by text alone, as are reminders about where to head next, and Mirage-related upgrade trees and move lists in battle. Some degree of reading ability would therefore be helpful, particularly when it comes to upgrading your monsters, although you can probably get by without much in the way of reading, should you have to.
- "You see a squishsparkly reflected in its eye..."
- "We need to cross Icicle Ridge to get to Saronia."
- "Certain commands like magic and other abilities cost AP (Action Points) to use. Characters recover AP when their turns come round, or by successfully exploiting enemy weaknesses."
- Beware of the shadowy cubes known as 'Murkrifts', as these house powerful Mirages that you probably won't manage to defeat when you first come across them. Upon approaching them, each will show a recommended level, giving you a heads up as to how hard the monster inside will be. Unless your level is close to, or exceeds, the one shown above the box, it's probably best to come back to it later.
To fit with its cutesy exterior, World of Final Fantasy is a fairly family-friendly title.
Any violence found within is pretty mild, with battles seeing players engaging various fantastical creatures, such as goblins, golems and monsters, in turn-based combat, hitting them with swords and various magical spells accompanied by impact sounds and flashes of light. One cutscene suggests a vampire gets stabbed with a stake off-screen, while another shows characters turned to dust in a fiery explosion.
Dialogue occasionally strays into suggestive territory with lines such as "On the one hand, he must flirt with all the ladies" and "Oh, this one's a tasty morsel! I'd love to get my tentacles around her...", although there's nothing more untoward than a few passing comments.
In terms of bad language, the game's pretty clean too, with only a rare utterance of the words a*shole and hell - the main character prefers to use the word 'honk' in place of expletives.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4