World of Final Fantasy (PS4) Review
World of Final Fantasy certainly isn't the only Final Fantasy spin-off around, but it’s perhaps among the more successful one. There's a lot that series veterans will find familiar. New systems and approaches are combined with many traditional Final Fantasy staples to create a product that complements an already extensive catalog of many great RPG games to date.
Like any Final Fantasy, World of Final Fantasy is full of story and lore and if you’ve never experienced a Final Fantasy game, this is a great one to jump into. There are plenty of characters to meet and a ton of high-quality dialogue and voice overs. World of Final Fantasy right off the bat introduces you to two main characters, Reynn and her twin brother Lann. I enjoyed their light-hearted banter during the increasingly strange story about a time divergence that could either save or doom the world with some much-needed humor. Funny 2D animation scattered with anime-style cutscenes are also a welcome bit of fun. World of Final Fantasy definitely has tons of charm.
Aside from its very cute and charming story, combat has always been one of the great staples of the Final Fantasy franchise and it is no exception in this installment. For series veterans, World of Final Fantasy offers two combat systems: Active Time Battle system (ATB) or classic turn based system. Commands range from basic melee attacks to many signature Final Fantasy spells and abilities. I found the combat to be a bit on the slow side and especially in traditional Final Fantasy style, can be a bit of a grind when it comes to leveling. This can be somewhat bypassed by pressing R1 in battle to speed up the combat flow making random encounters less tedious.
One of the more fascinating features that sets World of Final Fantasy apart is the stacking mechanic. Players can combine Reynn or Lann and other Mirages into a tower with the smallest Mirage on the top. Different combinations will enhance the Mirages stats and give access to higher tiered spells, but this is of course not without certain risks. Alternatively, you can have the Mirages fight alongside Reynn and Lann instead depending on the situation.
Things start getting even deeper when you jump into the Mirage board. World of Final Fantasy doesn't contain a simple leveling scheme wherein experience points level up Mirages with new abilities. Instead, when a mirage levels up, they are given points to be allocated on a grid that allows the player to customise the development of each mirage. In addition, Mirages each have a list of skills and abilities that can be learned. There is also an evolution system similar to Pokemon where Mirages can evolve at a certain level to obtain even stronger abilities.
One feature I enjoyed was the ability to obtain medals, allowing me to summon iconic Final Fantasy heroes called Champions. This ability is unlocked after progressing through the main story and meeting the respective Champions. Seeing many nostalgic Final Fantasy characters appear in battle was an absolute treat and not to mention buffing my characters or dishing out the extra damage was very useful when my party was in a pinch. Equally satisfying was also being able to eventually summon oversized Mirages giving me even more of an advantage in battle and making quick work of large groups of enemies during long EXP grinding sessions.
Aside from the main story,World of Final Fantasy takes the main characters to a series of special events called Intervention quests. During these quests, they will meet different characters from across the Final Fantasy universe and help them in their time of need. Aside from meeting new Mirages, special items can be obtained as well. World of Final Fantasy also sees the return of the Coliseum from past Final Fantasy games. This special battle arena features a wide variety of Mirages to battle and obtain special items or even capture them.
All in all, there’s so much that World of Final Fantasy does right, and it's a game that kept me plenty busy. It'll take at least 30 hours if not more to get through the campaign and you could conceivably spend many more hours after that doing all of the optional quests, collecting all the Mirages, upgrading them and of course for the perfectionists, collecting a full array of trophies. After 40 hours I found it hard to put the controller down and I can’t wait to jump back in to collect every Mirage I possibly can. World of Final Fantasy is certainly a worthy addition to the Final Fantasy franchise and does a wonderful job of bringing together new and old fans alike.
Review copy courtesy of Square Enix