I have to admit that I got to the Final Fantasy party pretty late. The first FF game I ever played was FFIX back in PS1. I liked it so much that I ended buying (or asking my parents to buy me) VII, VIII and a bunch other games in the series but the point still stands, I was indeed late to the party because when I got FFIX I had never played the SNES ones or even VII and, to be honest, back then I barely played any RPGs at all.
I would be lying if I said this is my absolute favourite RPG franchise but, the Final Fantasy games are the ones that got me into this now beloved genre and for that, it holds a special place in my heart.
World of Final Fantasy was conceived as a spin off, not a continuation of the series. It is built with bunch of nods and references to older games in the franchise but at the same time it doesn’t really play like any of those games. Yes, it is a classic RPG in a sense, gaining exp and leveling up, roaming around villages for sidequests and entering in dungeons with random enemy encounters but the game does introduce certain mechanics that I’ve never seen in a FF game before.
The most obvious one is monster collecting, and I’m not just talking about chocobos but all of the creatures you’ll be encountering, called mirages within the game, can be captured. It might be inspired by Pokemon but the system is different enough so that it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. There’s certain conditions you have to fulfill to catch each creature like causing some ailment on them or attacking them with a certain elemental attack. Then after capturing them, those monsters can fight alongside you (instead of for you).
You see, each creature (and yourself) have a certain size; S, M or L. You’re supposed to stack you and your creatures in different formations to be more powerful. The HP, SP, abilities, strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the tower stack up so there’s a strategy to that.
The story of the game goes as follows. The two main characters Lann and Reynn are twins and they wake up in a strange place with amnesia. They are told by Enna Kros, the world’s God, that they must enter a portal and return to the world of Grymoire, where they may be able to recover their memories and thus remember who they are.
Traveling across Grymoire, which is composed by different locations from other FF games, the siblings encounter multiple characters from also older Final Fantasy titles. They get to know about the world’s lore and the ancient prophecies which might involve them while also facing the Bahamutian Army which seeks conquer Grymoire.
All in all the story is pretty bland. It’s a very classic tale of good vs evil, with amnesic characters, magic temples and self-fulfilling prophecies. A story that we’ve seen a thousand times. There’s these themes and characters from older FF games which make a return but they’re barely used and it ends up feeling like pointless cameos most of the time. The positive note would be that there’s a certain humor within the game’s dialogs and, while the jokes rely a bit too much in the same topic (Lann being a total klutz), it actually made me chuckle a few times.
The game’s visual presentation is very good for Vita standards. The creature and character designs are all very well made and even though obviously they weren’t aiming for photorrealism, it can be said that overall the graphics are very good. The CGI cutscenes look high budget and there’s even good 2D animation sprinkled here and there.
The first thing I have to mention about the sound department is one very weird decision regarding the voice-acting part. Simply put, in this vita version there’s no voice-acting at all included in the card. If you want to listen any voices coming out of our protagonists mouths you have to download the voice DLC. It is free for everyone but it’ll take a pretty big toll (658MB) on your expensive memory card. The game does include a soundtrack though and that one is pretty good like it usually is in this franchise.
Things I liked
- Combat: On two different fronts. In one hand for the whole stacking system which is very unique, it works and it is fun. On the other hand for how customizable the whole combat is. The game lets you choose how much “real time” you want the fighting to be (if at all) and also lets you choose from a simplistic 4 button choice menu or a full fledged classic style FF menu.
- Collecting: Capturing all the different mirages, leveling them up, unlocking their abilities and choosing the most adequate ones for your formation… it’s all very satisfying and pretty addictive as well.
- Graphics: The game is very pretty specially for Vita standards. It runs well and the models for the different characters are very cute.
- Fast-forward: This is a very little feature but it’s also very smart. The game lets you press R1 to fast-forward in combat so you don’t have to wait too long for the next turn. That can also be used during cutscenes to make them shorter. It’s a little detail but it makes the whole experience more dynamic.
Things I didn’t
- Story: The dialog is funny at times but I found the whole story to be too cliché. It makes sense for a game that celebrates this classic franchise of RPGs to have a story that also feels classic in that sense but still… It made it hard for me to care about it.
- PSTV support: This game doesn’t use the Vita’s unique input methods (like the touchscreen) at all. It could be played perfectly with any dualshock and thus there is no reason for this game to not run in the playstation TV but it doesn’t. There’s no reason for it other than because the PS4 version is more expensive and Square Enix wants you to buy that one to play it at home.
Who’d like this?
I enjoyed my time with World of Final Fantasy. Mechanically this is a very solid classic-styled RPG for the Vita but I know that, unlike with FFIX, in twenty years I’ll barely remember my time with this game.
What I’m trying to say is that, even though I’d clearly recommend purchasing this game to any RPG fan, I’d also advice not to expect any new masterpiece or an epic journey through your nostalgia.
<This review is based off the PS Vita version of the game but World of Final Fantasy is also available for PS4>