World of Final Fantasy Hands-on Preview – Like Pokemon But With More Puns

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For those of us that had been living under a rock, Square Enix is coming out with a new side within the series Final Fantasy with their upcoming World of Final Fantasy release.

I’ll be the first to admit that I only gave this game a passing glance when the slow trickle of information came out about this game.

I wasn’t interested in the strange, chibified, art direction this game was going as I was giving it a pass over. Having played a bit of it I’m glad I didn’t because this isn’t like any Final Fantasy game I had played and it feels very interesting, to say the least.

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The game’s story is quite ridiculous, with the majority of it set within the world of Grymoire. In this land, protagonist siblings Lann and Reynn must venture out and capture “Mirages,” which basically equates to catching Pokemon.

Both siblings have lost their memories, however as you explore Grymoire and its factions you’ll recover the siblings’ past, as well as unlock new abilities. This game is an active turn based RPG with a few twists.

The first thing that you should know is that turn order is determined on a bar on the side of the screen showing both your party and your opponents party. As time passes, characters on both sides race towards the top of this bar with the fastest going first.

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This is where things get a tiny bit interesting, there are two methods of imputing commands for your characters to follow.

There is the simple way to do things where all you need to do is press one of the face keys to either; basic attack, defense, use an item, or run, the root of any rpg. At the start of the demo this confused me because this is set up as the default for ease of access.

However, the more complex battle menu allows your characters to fight using everything in their arsenal, from magics that the character could use, to switching weapons mid battle.

While I can understand the former menu as a way to cater to those that don’t really understand RPGs, the latter is probably what I’ll be utilizing the entire game.

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If this were a regular Final Fantasy game Square would have just went with this battle system. The developers, however, wanted a game more in tune with Pokemon, or even Shin Migami Tensei, in my opinion.

So most of the monsters in game are able to be captured and utilized in combat as your team mates. Most of these enemies are designed to look like chibi-fied forms of previous monsters that have appeared throughout the main Final Fantasy series.

At one point in the demo I fought against what looked like a direct copy of the mandrake from Final Fantasy XII. 

After weakening it to the point of near death I used a capture skill that’s only available to the main characters, and made it my own. It became tiny and adorable, and it could fit on top of the main characters head. Need I say more?

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I wish I were exaggerating about the size of many of these capturable monsters, but it turns out this is an actual game mechanic. Size is an important factor in World of Final Fantasy.

Being able to stack creatures and characters on top of one another gives a massive boost to the overall strength of a character.

This works by combining the stats of the two characters and allowing the combined “character” a chance at using both sets of moves. The down side of this though is that the two characters are stacked up and with enough force by the opponents can easily be knocked down.

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Outside of general combat, I got a chance to check out a few other really important factors this game has going for it.

One factor is how the game goes about dealing with annoying characters, as well as the games overall sense of humor. One of the captured monsters turns out to be a main character that has quite a bit to do with the story, and contributes in most cutscenes.

This character happens to have traits that fuel my absolute hate for mascot characters. This mirage character talks in a high whiny pitch, and often repeats words in a sentence to try and pretend to be cutesy.

While this might not be a big problem for most players and they will probably just think the character is annoying, for me it brings back nightmares of Tatsu from Xenoblade Chronicles X.

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The second thing that this game does extremely well in annoying the hell out of me is its use of puns as a source of humor. They’re absolutely everywhere and the game goes out of its way to set them up.

It’s not just regulated to one character though that does this. All three main characters get in on these shenanigans, to my dismay. At one point in my demo I was sitting next to another previewer and his groans were far greater than mine.

That’s not to say that I felt it made this game bad. Character interactions felt very fluid and happened both within cutscenes and in the overworld.

The main characters cracked jokes at each other, talked about the current objectives and what they thought of them, and it felt completely natural. The main male character is as dumb as a box of rocks and it’s played up a few times within the demo to comical effects.

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Honestly, I think World of Final Fantasy could be an interesting introduction to RPG’s for a younger audience that doesn’t have much experience with this type of game. It’s an adorable game with several interesting game mechanics that will please newcomers and old-school fans alike.

Brandon Orselli’s second take: I think Cody is a bit grumpy when it comes to puns, and I don’t think this game comes anywhere near as close to the level of Yo-Kai Watch. Overall it was a very fun monster-catching RPG spinoff within the series, and I’m excited to see the final product.

World of Final Fantasy is launching on October 25th in North America, October 27th in Japan, and October 28th in Europe, for both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

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Cody Gulley

About

I am a research student with a history in psychology. I am a fan of tactical rpgs and I love to travel. I hope to one day be a clinical psychologist.