When World of Final Fantasy was first introduced, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It looked quite childish with its chibi-like art, but how would the game play? Last month I had a chance to finally try the game and I walked away pleasantly surprised.
Since then, I’ve had a chance to play the full game and while there may be a few tiny bumps in the road, World of Final Fantasy has continued to be a fun game.
The game starts you off as the twin siblings Lann and Reynn who awake to an almost empty town, with no memories of their past.
The first clue that they get towards unlocking their memories is from a mysterious woman named Enna Kros. She informs the twins that the two of them are Mirage Keepers and that at one point, they commanded an entire force of Mirages- monsters that inhabit the world and are able to be captured and used in battle. Enna Kros opens a gateway to the world of Grymoire and tells the children that if they go there and work towards recapturing all the Mirages they lost, that they’ll learn more about who they are and where they come from.
Upon entering the world of Grymoire they’re granted the ability to change between Lilikin and Jiant forms. Lilikin, is an almost chibi-like art style, while the Jiant form is their regular self. We’ll get into the uses of these in just a bit.
As they journey through Grymoire, they travel to various locations taken right out of, or inspired from previous Final Fantasy titles while also running into some of the legendary champions from the series.
Mirages and Stacks and Battle, Oh my!
One of the main focuses in World of Final Fantasy is to capture monsters as you journey through the world of Grymoire. Nearly every foe you meet in battle can be captured and utilized in (and sometimes out of) battle. When we spoke to the game’s Director at PAX West, he told us that there are over two-hundred Mirages in the game!
In order to capture a Mirage, Laan and Reynn must trigger a Prismtunity- a capturable state. The conditions for triggering a prismtunity varies between enemies- the requirements of which can be seen by casting Libra during battle. Sometimes you simply need to lower an enemies’ HP, sometimes you’ll need to inflict them with a status ailment, counter them, or cure them- there are a lot of triggers.
Once captured you can give your mirage a custom name and add it into your party, or if you’re already carrying the maximum number of Mirages, you can store it in the Prism Case and access it later if you decide you need it.
From here, you can develop your Mirages by utilizing the Mirage Board, which will allow you to spend earned SP to unlock different traits, abilities and more. When you unlock slots on the Mirage Board, the Mirage it’s attributed to will earn those bonuses. Meaning, if you have a Chocobo and it learns “cure”, the Mirage will have access to cure in battle. Some abilities on the Mirage board can also be used out of battle. For example, “joyride” will allow you to use that Mirage as a mount on the field, while “stroll” will allow the Mirage to walk alongside you as you explore. There are some abilities that can be used out of battle in order to help you navigate various environments as well. You can use “flutter” in order to fly over short gaps, “smash” to destroy obstacles in your path, or “zap” to charge nearby machinery.
As you progress through the Mirage Board, eventually you’ll run into something called Transfiguration. Once you’re able to do so, Transfiguring a Mirage will allow you to unlock another form for it, as well as an entirely new Mirage Board. Mirages that are in a second or even third Transfiguration state, will still have access to the bonuses that were unlocked in their lesser forms. Where the real strategy comes in with this however is that when you do change the form of your Mirage, their size may change as well which will impact your party stacks.
A party in World of Final Fantasy is consisted of Lann, Reynn and up to four Mirages for a total party count of six. The big party mechanic is known as Stacking. This system has Lann and Reynn, literally stacking Mirages on their heads- or if in their Lilikin form, it lets them ride a large Mirage while also having one on their head. Size is important, not just for Mirages, but for Lann and Reynn as well. Each stack consists of a Large, Medium, and Small character. While a Jiant (L), you can have a Medium and Small Mirage stacked on top of yourself. While a Lilikin (M), there can be a large Mirage underneath and a small one on top.
Later in the game you gain access to XL Mirages, which are reminiscent as a controllable summon from past Final Fantasy games. These Mega Mirages cannot be used in a stack like the others and are instead called into battle with Lann and Reynn shrinking down to their Lilikin forms to hitch a ride as you control the XL Mirage. Each attack from a Mega Mirage will use up AP so you’ll want to make sure to choose your actions carefully if calling one of these for help.
How you decide to build your stack is up to you, as each Mirage offers different abilities and bonuses. All of those bonuses, with the stacking system, will stack. This means if you have a Mirage with a strength bonus and you throw it up on Lanns head, Lann now gets to share the strength of that Mirage and that Strength bonus. Additionally, if a Mirage knows “cure” and its part of a characters stack- you can use cure. Strategy comes into play when considering which abilities or spells you want upgraded. If multiple characters in a stack possess the same spell, it will be upgraded. Two “cure” spells from members in a stack for example will give you access to “cura.”
Of course, the danger with having a totem poll of Mirages is that at some point they might lose their balance. While in battle, getting hit can sometimes cause Lann and Reynn to lose their balance and un-stack. This makes the three members of the stack controllable by themselves during battle. They’ll have an opportunity to re-stack, however while un-stacked, they don’t share their accumulated bonuses and so their HP is lower, leaving them exposed. You can also decide to un-stack manually if you feel having more active players on the field is more advantageous to your situation.
Too many times in battle was my stack knocked over, only to have the members subsequently picked off during the next round of attacks. Even more irritating I found, was the incredibly low HP of members after using a Phoenix Down on them- I would raise a group only for them to each be immediately defeated again because of their low HP.
The battles themselves are fairly straight forward, letting you select an action to execute be it attacking, defending, spells, summoning a champion (discussed below). One of my favorite things however is the ability to speed up combat by holding down R1. If that’s not good enough, you can also hit the Touchpad in order to have the characters continue to use their most recent action again. There have been a lot of fights where I’ll simply hit the Touchpad and hold down R1 until finishing the fight- on the down side, I feel like I could do that with a lot of fights. An occasional boss fight might pose a challenge, but largely, World of Final Fantasy isn’t a difficult game. The only time I’ve had to actually level grind was very early on and afterwards, it felt like the encounter rate of enemies went up and as a result of that, I’m more prepared (or over-prepared) for the enemies I’m encountering as I move forward.
Outside of battle, stacks of Mirages can be used to solve puzzle switches. When exploring a dungeon, you may encounter a switch that unlocks the path forward. In order to trigger the witch though, you’ll need to create a stack of Mirages for it that meet the requirements of that specific switch. These requirements vary, but always involve the total weight of the Mirages as well as their total resistance to a certain element.
In World of Final Fantasy, you’ll run into characters from throughout the series’ rich history. Cloud, Squall, Yuna, Bartz- they’re all here. There are even some possibly lesser known characters from the series like Shelke and Sharlotta. There’s also a character from Final Fantasy XI! (Though sadly, there aren’t any characters from FFXIV or FFXV in the game at this time).
You’ll run into these characters as part of the story as you progress through Grymoire and after completing their related section, you’ll be able to acquire their medal to summon them in battle. During their travels, Lann and Reynn will obtain “Arma Gems” which can be traded to mysterious girl in town in order to purchase these medals or take on special quests.
Up to three Champion Medals can be equipped at any given time. Each character will be able to aid you in battle in different ways, be it providing damage and buffs to your attacks, or curing you and removing status ailments. As you fight, your Champion Gauge will fill up, holding up to three stars. The number of stars used up when calling a Champion depends on the Champions themselves. Squall for example only requires one star to be summoned while Lightning uses two.
After acquiring the medals, the Arma Gems can then also be spent to do special quests that feature the champions. These quests often unlock rare or special items that can be used in battle or even to unlock new Transfigurations for your Mirages.
(This is a good thing.)
One of my favorite things about World of Final Fantasy is how incredibly cheesy the writing is. Lann more often than not, likes to forget things or make up words, while his sister Reynn, is often correcting him, making fun of him, or spouting out random trivia. One of the great things about these kinds of dialogue is that they’re not infrequent. Several times during a dungeon the twins will exchange some words with each other and their companion Tama and almost every single time, the dialogue is face-palmingly fantastic. On rare occasion, the characters will even break the fourth wall to talk about something and then immediately catch themselves breaking the wall and proceed to talk about how they shouldn’t be doing that.
As if the dialogue between the twins wasn’t already fantastic, the written descriptions of the Mirages are equally hilarious.
World of Final Fantasy arrives on the doorstep of the series’ upcoming 30th anniversary. While designed as an entry point for younger gamers, it also serves as a nostalgia filled trip for fans who have enjoyed the series since the beginning. Those that have played previous games will recognize characters, locations, and other subtle nods to elements of the series, while new players will get a fun, taste of what Final Fantasy is.
While the lack of difficult combat may be a slight turn-off for those looking for a challenging RPG, the variety of Mirages that you can capture and the possible stack combinations that come out of that, give a lot of room to play around and experiment.
With a series as rich with characters and locations as Final Fantasy is, weaving them into a single story is no easy task. Sadly, the story isn’t the strongest point of World of Final Fantasy and I found myself questioning the way a few things were brought in from other titles in the series. For example, you visit Nibelheim but its design more closely resembles Midgard. You visit locations that share the names of famous Final Fantasy towns but the town itself doesn’t quite look like you think it should.
Overall, I’ve quite enjoyed my time with World of Final Fantasy, listening to the twin’s banter, reading the descriptions of the various Mirages and experimenting with the possible stack combinations. If you want to get into Final Fantasy, or have been into it for a while now, World of Final Fantasy is a game you should check out.
~ Final Score: 9/10 ~
Review copy provided by Square Enix for PS4. Screenshots courtesy of Square Enix.