Another day, another Final Fantasy title. Another Final Fantasy review. Well, this one aims to be something different. World of Final Fantasy was released for PS4 and PS Vita in 2016 and a year later, we can play it on PC. It’s a spin-off from the series aimed at the younger audience while hiding some complex gameplay mechanic and a surprisingly grim story.
We follow the adventures of two amnesia suffering siblings, Lann and Reynn. Lann is sort of a “do now, think later” character while Reynn acts as his wiser, calculated sister. The story begins with them in a town called Nine Wood Hills, where their daily routine is interrupted by a self-proclaimed goddess Enna Kros. Enna tells them that Nine Wood Hills is not where they’re really supposed to be and invites them to a land of Grymoire. A magical place to meet, battle and tame many creatures, retrieve your memories and save the world while you’re at it. Sounds like a good deal! As it turns out, Lann and Reynn were a rather good monster catching/taming team until one day they summoned a powerful being they couldn’t control which almost cost them their lives and left them with a memory loss. So tame some mirages, stack them on your head, change your size at will, try to set things right and save Grymoire from total annihilation.
Wait, tame what now? Put them on your head, why exactly? Change size? What is this reviewer even talking about? Yeah let’s get one step at a time otherwise this will just sound like a bunch of incoherent gibberish. Mirages are the monsters inhabiting Grymoire and a good portion of the game revolves around catching & taming them so they could help you in your quest. Before amnesia struck them, Lann and Reynn were known as Mirage Keepers, someone with the ability to catch and control monsters thanks to the tattooed devices on their arms. That’s where the large content of the game is. Catching mirages and using them in battle is Final Fantasy version of Pokemon games. The whole system is incredibly fun as well as deep. The trick to catching “pokefantasys” is by using the imprism command on them when their health is low. After that they’re yours, you can rename them and…..now we get to the looney part of stacking them on your head. Well, it’s exactly what it says. By putting the caught monsters on your head you gain some of their HP (health points) as well as abilities, elemental strengths, and weaknesses. Monsters are divided into small, medium and large classes and by changing your size at will you can influence the stack. The main population of Grymoire is chibi-like Lilikins while your normal non-chibi form is called the Jiant form. So let’s say you are currently in a Lilikin form while having a large and a small tamed mirage in your pocket. It is possible to make a stack of you using a large mirage as a mount and having a small mirage on your head as a bonus. In Jiant form (which makes you large now) you can put a medium size mirage on your head and a small one on top of him. All these combos, as silly as they are, make boss fights sometimes challenging. There is an elemental weakness of a boss that you need to pay attention to and also your own (so take him down before he does the same to you). Sometimes good strategy is to stack up two mirages with healing abilities and slowly chip away bits of health from the boss. Patience prevails!
Seeing how World of Final Fantasy heavily plays on the cuteness with its chibi characters, the world design in the game follows the sugary aesthetics too. The game’s solution to make everything adorable is to turn everything small, not just characters but buildings and dungeons too. In the end, it kind of works but it didn’t leave space for any sort of enrichment of the environment(s), which resulted in certain moments in the game looking like they came out of a mobile port. In the end, cuteness prevailed so even the bleak locations such as dungeons ended up being remarkably cute.
The main composer for World of Final Fantasy is a familiar name from the recent FF titles, Masashi Hamauzu. This time, he and his team went all in resulting in World of Final Fantasy having nearly one hundred tracks. But as it often turns out, quantity is not the same as quality. Not to say that the soundtrack for World of Final Fantasy is bland or generic, it’s more of a case of the overall “chibi theme” of the game influencing too much of the music. Everything is cute and uplifting but there’s none of that feeling of grandeur that should be in the soundtrack, something that Hironobu Sakaguchi was so good at.
In the end, do I recommend World of Final Fantasy? Absolutely. If you’re a veteran FF fan who is bored of the usual formula, the Pokemon approach here is guaranteed to shake thing up. A whole lot of mirages to catch and tame which opens up to a plethora of combinations and tactics in battles. Out of hundreds and hundreds of creatures you encounter, none of them feel like a filler made to meet a certain monster quota. They’re all unique in the own way which might end up with you using a specific mirage because you’re now sentimentally attached to him. For newcomers, prepare to enter the most charming and cutest world you’ve ever seen in the Final Fantasy series (which makes perfect sense if this is, you know…..your first FF game). In any case, you get an RPG with huge playtime, fun & complex battle mechanic and what other games give you an option to go from cute to small and super cute at a push of a button?
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