The World of Final Fantasy review code for PS4 was given to us by the publisher.
Have you ever wanted to play a Pokemon game in the Final Fantasy universe? Well now you can with Square Enix’ newest installment in the Final Fantasy franchise: World of Final Fantasy. I didn’t quite know what kind of game World of Final Fantasy was when I delved into it. I was expecting a simple JRPG with adorable chibi Final Fantasy characters. Thankfully that’s exactly what I got along with some fun and exciting monster collecting.
World of Final Fantasy tells the story of twin siblings Lann and Reynn. Lann and Reynn have lost their memories and a mysterious woman named Enna Kros informs them that they were once legendary Mirage Keepers. Born with special marks on their arms, Lann and Reynn are able to capture and control Mirages (monsters). Enna informs the twins that they have the power to travel between different worlds. She then goes on to explain that in the twins absence all these years, something is slowly tearing these worlds apart and asks the twins for help and in turn their memories would slowly return.
The world you get to explore is called Grymoire, the land of adorable chibi people that you just want to grab and squeeze because they’re just so damn cute. The Land of Grymoire is slowly being overtaken by the Bahamution Army. Lann and Reynn take it upon themselves to collect as many Mirages as they can and free Grymoire from the powerful occupying force. Like in typical Final Fantasy flair, there is always a mysterious force working behind the scenes but I won’t spoil the story for you here.
World of Final Fantasy’s story actually gets pretty good and holds its own about the halfway point which I wasn’t expecting, but it’s nothing grand like other Final Fantasy titles. All of it is presented well using in-engine and gorgeous anime cutscenes, but none of it is really epic and plays out more like a children’s cartoon which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Grymoire is a vast world with plenty of characters, both new and familiar, to run into. As you may have seen from the trailers, heroes from previous Final Fantasy games populate Grymoire. Some play important roles while others are just cameo appearances. There are a lot of these characters and some even offer their services to you.
Early in the game you will unlock a hidden room where a “Girl who doesn’t remember her name”–that’s her actual name by the way–will allow you to buy Champion Medals. These medals will allow you to summon these classic characters to your aid. Unlike past Final Fantasies where summons were Ifrit and Shiva, it’s the heroes who are the summons this time, and there are plenty of them to collect. The only problem is you can only have three of them equipped at the same time Each one also features a star. This star tells you how much of the summoning gauge that summon will use, up to three maximum. This gauge refills as you combat and defeat mirages
Lann and Reynn are able to transform from their natural size to their chibi state on the fly. Changing forms isn’t just for looks, it becomes important when you choose your team for combat, it’s also used to solve puzzles in dungeons and acquire chests that are positioned high above the chibi characters.
Exploration is huge in Final Fantasy and unfortunately World of Final Fantasy doesn’t improve exploration much like Final Fantasy XIII didn’t. Dungeons are pretty linear with some off beaten paths that lead to some secrets, but it’s nothing too special and fairly easy to navigate. Dungeons are also packed with puzzles that will see you stacking your mirages to equal a certain weight limit and elemental resistance. There are other puzzles but none of them are especially difficult. Towns and transitional maps are also small and linear without much to do but talk to a handful or residence. The world map on the other hand is just a selection of locations you can go to, much like it was in Final Fantasy X.
Let’s get to the meat of the game: collecting Mirages. There is a lot of mechanics when it comes to the game’s combat with a lot of moving parts. Combat is turn-based but allows you to customize it to your liking. You can make it an active time battle system like you saw in Final Fantasy VII or stop the turn movement when it’s your turn, giving you plenty of time to think about your next move. I should also mention that combat wait times can be quite slow, but by holding down the R1 button you can speed the process up.
So how do you actually capture Mirages? In order to catch a Mirage you must first put them in a “Prismtunity” state. You’ll know you achieved this state when a small glowing circle appears underneath the Mirage. The Libra ability is singlehandedly the most important ability in the game. Outside of simply telling you the strengths and weaknesses of the Mirages it will also tell you what you have to to do to put a Mirage in a Prismtunity state. Each Mirage requires you to do something different. Some simply require you to do enough damage to put them in the state, while others will force you to put them to sleep or even poison them.
Once in the Prismtunity state, mirages can then be imprismed. Much like Pokemon, imprisming has your siblings throwing a magical containment ball at the mirage and hoping it gets captured. The weaker it is, the easier it will be to capture. The chance of capture also varies on how big the mirage is: The bigger they are, the harder to capture.
Once you’ve captured them, you can equip the mirages to fight with you or simply put them away in your Prism Case. Though the siblings level up during combat, it’s the mirages that give them the skills and stats to survive. World of Final Fantasy has a unique system called Stacking. Stacking sees you placing your Mirages on top of your head. When Stacking you must place a large base character to hold the stack up such as an Iron Giant or one of the siblings and then set up a medium and then a small sized mirage on top. Stacking will combine the skills, abilities, and stats of your character and two of the mirages.
Stacking is how you will play through most of the game as it will give you the best stats, but you can chose to have each party member on the field at once. Unstacking during combat allows you spread the damage around six different units but also allows you to do weak damage to an enemy to get them ready for capturing. It’s also important to know that you will inherit the elemental weaknesses of your mirages but can also use it to your advantage by having a fire and water mirage in the same stack giving you resistance to both.
Each Mirage will level up and acquire Skill Points, which you can spend on new skills and stat increases. After acquiring enough skills and completing certain requirements, you will be able to evolve your mirages or as the game calls it Transfiguration. Transfiguration comes with many bonuses but can also hinder you. Transfiguring a mirage will make them bigger and allow you to upgrade a small mirage to a medium one up to an extra large. But not all of them are able to Transfigure.
The transformed mirage will also inherit all the skills and stats of its previous form making them even more powerful. You can capture these transformed mirages in the field but they won’t come with their original forms stats, unless you wanted to go backwards and unlock them. It’s also great that you don’t have to use the transformed state of your mirage if you don’t want, but you can still upgrade your original form with the newly transformed mirages skills and stat upgrades. You can also move between the different forms so the transformed state is not permanent.
One of the other great additions is being able to equip Mirajewels. These jewels allow Lann or Reynn to equip specific skills to themselves such as Cure and Protect, which will allow them to cast these spells without needing a specific mirage in your party.
I was also very impressed by the game’s soundtrack and voice work. Every character is voiced, and some voice actors return to reprise their rolls of past Final Fantasy characters. The voice work wouldn’t work well without great writing and thankfully the writing here is top notch. The writing is humorous especially when it comes to the banter between the siblings and their companion Tama, who i’m sure is going to be the next great plushy everyone is going to want.
Graphically the game is hit and miss. Dungeons don’t have much detail and everything from towns to some of the open areas are rather boring to look at; but on a positive note, Grymoire has some gorgeous landscapes and vistas. I just wish there were more of them. Characters on the other hand look great. Lann and Reynn’s character design looks a lot like the designs from Kingdom Hearts while the mirages are easily recognizable to Final Fantasy fans and the chibi characters sport a surprising amount of detail especial the Champions.
Final Fantasy has always pushed the boundaries of JRPG games, and World of Final Fantasy is just another step forward. Merging their great turn-based combat with monster collecting. Much like Dragon Quest Builders, the team at Square continues to merge genres to great effect. It may not be for everyone, but for those looking for an alternative to the more serious looking Final Fantasy XV, this is an investment you need to make.