Welcome to a relatively new feature of ours, unofficially named Dual Reviews! Today we have World of Final Fantasy, a new spinoff from the lovely Final Fantasy franchise that aims itself towards younger individuals and newcomers alike, whilst catering to hardcore fans of the series too; acting similar to turnbased monster collecting games such as the ever-popular Pokemon franchise, Digimon games, or even games like Dragon Quest Monsters Joker – Whilst this isn’t the first time that Final Fantasy has seen monster collection (That title belongs to Final Fantasy XIII-2!), it certainly is the one game where it is the central mechanic and sole focus.
First, I’ll be giving my (Joe’s) opinions!
Initially, when going into World of Final Fantasy, I was admittedly a skeptic, thinking that the game was nothing more than simple pandering to a more casual market in order to boost sales and profit before Final Fantasy XV, thinking it was just nothing more than a shallow cash cow…
…Oi Reynn! Don’t look at me like that! I know, I know, but with past RPG franchises that have milked themselves dry, this sort of drastic twist isn’t unusual…
…But boy, was I wrong.
World of Final Fantasy took me by surprise, to say the least; it wrapped it’s hook around me, pulled me up to it’s face like Scorpion, and sunk it’s claws in. DEEP. Whilst at first, the game’s combat, UI, and difference between it’s two different ‘stack forms’ of the two main characters did confuse me quite a lot, once I put two and two together, I was rather satisfied with how the game was constructed and presented – The game, as mentioned before, has two main protagonists, Lann (The male protagonist), and Reynn (The female protagonist), who have the ability to stack with the various monsters you’re able to capture; what this essentially means for you, is that you can multiply your stats, HP, and share skills between the four equippable monsters you can have in your active party at one time.
This is where World of Final Fantasy began to confuse me; what WAS the difference between the two stacking modes?! What the hell did the regular Battle UI mean?! How did I evolve my monsters?! How do I even capture the bloody things?! These, however, were nothing more than two-minute concerns, as, whilst the game lacked any form of help menu (From what I could see), it was relatively easy to piece together two and two with experimentation and logic – The feeling that I had figured out this daunting UI relatively easily in the end was extremely satisfying, and in my opinion, I started using the new UI more than the traditional UI come the end of the demo.
The game’s visuals as well are a sight to behold – If I wanted a third Pokemon Home Console game (I.E Coliseum and XD: Gale of Darkness) on the Nintendo Wii U or upcoming NX, then World of Final Fantasy is a perfect case study on how to do monster collection and turned based graphics both in a stylistic and realistic way. Those brilliant guys over at Square Enix really did hit the nail on the head with this one. Whilst I found the Soundtrack presented in the demo to be ‘alright’, I do look forward to hearing more from this charming romp.
I would rate the World of Final Fantasy Demo (As a skeptic of the original concept), an 8.5 / 10! But don’t just take my word for it, here’s my partner (Both in the digital and physical world), Clarice, to give her independent thoughts on the demo! Ciao!
Unlike Joe, my knowledge and experience with Final Fantasy is but a bare minimum, due to me only experiencing the beauty of Final Fantasy Tactics (Back then I was into strategy-esque games such as Shining Force). I know what you’re thinking: “Oh my God, HOW have you never played a Final Fantasy game?!”, well, simply due to me never really haven taken an interest in the traditional JRPG genre, so coming into this game, my mind was more open to the concept and intrigued by the mechanics of stacking and monster collection; this is due to the fact that a Final Fantasy game’s core mechanics have always stayed the same, but as of late Square Enix have delved into an experimental phase, especially with Final Fantasy XIII and XV, with their unique battle mechanics, and now with WoFF’s new addition of chibi-fied characters, and the ability to capture or ‘Imprisim’ monsters brings a breath of fresh air to some of Final Fantasy’s dated mechanics.
As you take your first steps into the wild world of Final Fantasy, the first thing that captures your breath is the incredible graphics and just how beautiful and scenic the world really is. The game’s art style is truly phenomenal in my opinion. Unfortunately in the demo, the tutorial area was limited, and, well, in essence just told you why you can have a monster on your head, it felt more of a statement saying: “Hey! Look at me! I’m different now!’ rather than stating “Here’s how you play”, and in all honesty both Joe and I were both stumped for at least 3 minutes trying to figure it out…So…Uh…Good job on the tutorial! Hopefully the real game’s tutorial is a bit better, and explains a little more. Another point to note is that you are only introduced to one scenery (Which as I stated was beautiful, but does get repetitive incredibly quick), and one change in battle environment; I can understand why, as this is only a demo, but I do look forward to see the other environments within the game.
Moving on to the game’s miscellaneous mechanics, one new feature I did enjoy was the use of past Final Fantasy characters as what they call ‘Champions’, similar to Summons; they work as either finishers, buffs, healers, or a way to lower your opponent’s health drastically in order to overcome challenge. The animation and visuals of these attacks are seamless and powerful to boot, making it more of a cinematic experience to watch the ‘Champion’ pulverise your enemy, but unfortunately there is no way to skip this animation; only to fast forward it – Another point to make is that the voices do not, I repeat, do NOT speed up…This game is literally unplayable now (For those who couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm)…
One other thing I did enjoy was how you could unstack, and split your team of two, three-layered stacks into six independent units to divert damage and chain attacks; this was more tactical than I first imagined, and became almost imperative to boss battles due to the massive damage they can inflict – Another part of the game I also enjoyed was the comedy within the game’s animations, specifically with how stacks interacted as one fixed unit in larger moves such as Tremor, where a Behemoth throws two parts of the stack into the air, whilst it slams onto the ground, followed up by the two companions amplifying the seismic strength of the attack like heavy anvils; a lot of these animations looked both badass, and hilarious at the same time, and brought a smile to my face at first glances.
Overall, with my time with World of Final Fantasy, I was charmed, suprised, and honestly captivated, and would love to pick up this game on the PS Vita, as I believe this is one of those mad experiments gone right, that could give Pokemon a run for it’s money. I would give it an 8 / 10, as a newcomer into a beloved franchise that I’ve never experienced fully.
Together, as both of us combined, we’d rate World of Final Fantasy, a grand score of 8.25 / 10 from our combined scores!