With the next big instalment in the Final Fantasy series almost here we have a spin-off from Square Enix that looks to bridge the gap. World of Final Fantasy is a cute, lighthearted take on the Final Fantasy series that looks to mix everything fans love from the series into one epic adventure. The question is, does this mash-up of old and new, with a cute visual flair manage to deliver as a strong entry into the Final Fantasy series and can it meet the expectations of fans both new and old?
As an RPG, World of Final Fantasy will see you spending pretty much all of your time in battles or running around completing quests. Once you are in a battle you’ll find a battle system that is reminiscent of Final Fantasy games old and new. You’ll take your Mirages into battle with you, stacking them up to build up combinations that give you a number of advantages and disadvantages. One of them is that the health of all of those in a stack become one, along with a number of different effects. Now because each Mirage has a size assigned to it you’ll find yourself having to manage your party with that in mind. Large always start at the bottom of a stack, then medium and finally small.
Now you don’t always have to stack your party up. Having them stacked allows you to work with those advantages and disadvantages but having them unstacked allows for more attacks. Therefore you need to manage your party for each situation and act accordingly. Thankfully you are able to affect the flow and rhythm of the battles to fit your playstyle. With the press of a button you can speed up the flow of the battle or even make the battle play out automatically. It is even possible to change the battle system from Wait to Active should you want to have more control over the flow. World of Final Fantasy does not just have a battle system to rekindle the joy of other Final Fantasy games but also offers a lot to newcomers to the series.
Where issues start to form in the battle system is with the management and levelling of the Mirages you take into battle. Experience points are awarded to the party in battle and a few Mirages that you can carry with you on your travels. Due to the limited storage space you have to keep the bulk of your Mirages in storage back at the main hub town. With each Mirage offering a number of different abilities it’s important to always keep in mind our ideal team. A fair amount of time can be spent switching Mirages in and out and looking over abilities to create the best team. Each Mirage has it’s own board of skills and abilities which you’ll unlock through experience. To understand it in a more simple way would be to compare this aspect of World of Final Fantasy to Pokemon but do not be fooled, this is not a game like that.
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The challenge and difficulty you’ll encounter throughout the journey is paced fairly and you’re given plenty of warning to avoid hard battles early on. At the same time you are encouraged to take on challenges and side quests to develop you and your Mirages further. Outside of battles you’re mainly be exploring the world to adventure through the world of Grymoire on foot and mount. It is here that the meat of the story will unfold and learn more about everything on offer within World of Final Fantasy.
World of Final Fantasy is a game with an amazing art direction throughout. The world of Grymoire is beautifully detailed with characters and creatures all up to the same standard. The PlayStation 4 does a fantastic job of handling the task of rendering Grymoire and keeping the action smooth throughout. The chibi-sized Final Fantasy characters are beyond cute as well and tie into the story as well. They give life to World of Final Fantasy in a way that you cannot overlook and it’s engaging and visually pleasing. The audio and music, all in keeping with the Final Fantasy series helps to bring the game to life. Though the voice acting is top quality it is disappointing that the Japanese voice acting was not included by default. Regardless, the English voice actors do a brilliant job. With a number of returning actors to take up their roles as their character once again.
Though the story of World of Final Fantasy is one to be experienced it is worth noting that it does the job of keeping up with other games in the series. You’ll be thrown into the world of Grymoire as you take control of the twins Lann and Reynn. Taking up the task of traveling to this new magical world and becoming Mirage Masters in an attempt to recover lost memories. Along the way they will need to face off against an invading force and overcome many adventures and quests. Though the cast of characters are engaging and loveable throughout all of World of Final Fantasy the characters of Lann and Reynn are wonderful. Both loveable, charming and watching them develop and build their relationships is interesting and engaging. The story, characters and world within World of Final Fantasy are fantastic, through and through.
World of Final Fantasy is a Final Fantasy game to its core. Not just a love letter to the series but a strong entry on its own that holds the right to wear the Final Fantasy name. There are a few issues with menus and length that draw the experience down a tad. The game drags on and due to the tasking natural of the Mirage management it can feel like more of a drag then it should be to play World of Final Fantasy. Just moving through menu screens alone can take too many buttons presses. Though these are not issues in small amounts, over a forty to fifty hour journey.
Sure World of Final Fantasy is a work of love and fanservice for fans both new and old it is also a strong game. It takes a more lighthearted approach to the standard Final Fantasy formula but also allows for a compelling story and journey. With a modern facelift and a touch of love throughout World of Final Fantasy is a strong and delightful game that will provide hours of enjoyment. I highly recommend it to everyone looking for an RPG to fill their time.
This review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy of the product provided by the publisher.