Final Fantasy superfans are suckers, and most of us will admit that. It’s been years, if not decades, since a game in the series genuinely met expectations. To be excited about each new release is to willfully ignore the fact that the franchise has been surpassed by just about every other top-flight RPG series that’s come along. Final Fantasy games are at best laborious oddities, and at worst maddening pieces of mediocrity. But boy, does it have a fantastic past! From the NES origins to the PlayStation high point of Final Fantasy VII, its glory days are unmatched. World of Final Fantasy exists only to get you to recall those glory days.
Game: World of Final Fantasy
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Vita
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: October 25
At its heart, World of Final Fantasy is Pokemon. Developers peppered its sweeping lands with uncountable references to nearly all previous iterations of the game, and it’s your job to ignore the ludicrous excuse for a story and wander around the wonderland, wide-eyed, mouth-agape and eager to eat up all the curiosities like a kid at an amusement park. Characters and settings from various games are mashed up, chewed up and spat out in the form of kewpie-style dolls that resemble Disney Tsum Tsums. The art style, which shamelessly panders to children, serves as the middle ground for 8-bit and polygonic characters to meet and interact.
Combat sticks with the Active Battle System format, meaning you’r free to move around and dodge attacks and position your party members for optimal tactical advantage amid a turn-based structure. Players of recent Final Fantasy games are used to the system, which keeps clashes from devolving into rote, button-mashing affairs with the same commands being mindlessly repeated. Your recruits and upgrades spice up the throwdowns with special attacks that can turn the tide — for better or for worse — in an instant. You can build up your party by battling and enlisting allies, and don’t even need to lure them in with candy.
As in most Final Fantasy games, the plot here is a long, meandering mess of twists, asides and other general nonsense that exists mostly just to prolong itself. Those who are well versed in Final Fantasy wikis and Reddit fan theory threads will get the most out of it, no doubt squealing with joy and raging in offense at the ways the convoluted narratives are crissed and crossed. If you have a kid, there are worse ways to introduce them to the likes of innocent chocobos, power-mad Sephiroth or the walking disappointment that is Lightning.
While by no means a “real” Final Fantasy game, World of Final Fantasy gets the long-term appeal of the series more than most other entries since the franchise’s numbered entries reached double digits. The pure, unabashed love for the saga’s many stories and its building blocks abounds in every pixel. If you’re not feeling the magic, this is nothing more than a dull, hyperextended death march. But then, so are the Pokemon games it apes. If you’re a lapsed fan of the series and not sure whether it’s worth your time to jump back in, you may as well cut out the hemming and hawing and give the game a shot, because knowing it is out there will gnaw at you until you give it a shot. At the very least, it will kill time until Final Fantasy XV comes along in November.
World of Final Fantasy Reviews Around The Web:
“Sort of like Pokémon with Final Fantasy creatures, which is a pretty compelling hook.” –Kotaku
“You don’t know happiness until you’ve heard a Cactuar speak for the first time.” –iDigital Times
“The funniest game in the franchise.” –CinemaBlend
World of Final Fantasy Screenshots
The publisher provided a review copy.
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