Game review: World of Final Fantasy – nostalgia made new

Great gameplay, a light-hearted story and a much brighter world break new ground for a much-loved franchise

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 7:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 5:14pm

World of Final Fantasy

Square Enix

3.5/5 stars

Throughout my gaming career, two entities have remained exciting and fun in each iteration: Pokemon and Final Fantasy. These two games, other than following Japanese role-playing game conventions, have very different themes and styles of gameplay, so I never imagined that there could be a successful blend of the two.

World of Final Fantasy has proven me wrong, though, and Square Enix’s latest spin-off from the main Final Fantasy series is a triumph in breaking new ground for the franchise.

World of Final Fantasy is a story about a young, amnesiac brother and sister, Lann and Reynn, who find themselves in the position that they must save the world of Grymoire. They must do so using their ability to capture and train Mirages, which take the form of various summons and monsters of the Final Fantasy world. This is where the Pokemon-style gameplay comes in. You can capture almost all of the Mirages you meet, and by testing them in battle you can teach them new abilities and, after meeting certain requirements, transform them into stronger forms.

New Final Fantasy game is a nostalgic, goofy love letter to the series’ past

Grymoire is filled with characters, locations, items and creatures from all across the Final Fantasy universe, but they’re not linked to their stories from the various entries to which they belong. That means when you meet the Warrior of Light, Cloud Strife, Terra Cole, or any of the other numerous crossover characters, you shouldn’t expect them to reference the games they’re from. Even though almost all the game’s content is crossed over, in the games canon it’s always been a part of Grymoire.

Unlike the recent entries of the main series of Final Fantasy, World of Final Fantasy (for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita) features a much brighter world. Grymoire is filled with cute chibi versions of Final Fantasy characters and monsters called Lilikin, which gives it a much cheerier and retro style of visuals.

The combat of World of Final Fantasy is a lot more complicated than Pokemon – in fact, for a game that seems to be meant to appeal to younger gamers, it’s downright inaccessible. World of Final Fantasy utilises the Active Time Battle system that many JRPG fans are accustomed to. Basically, the enemies on the battlefield take turns executing actions, at which point they must wait a certain period of time to take another action.

There’s also plenty to do in World of Final Fantasy besides just wallowing in nostalgia. There are side quests galore, many dealing with the various crossover characters you’ll find, who you are also able to summon to fight with you as the game progresses. You’ll also want to hunt for rare and powerful monsters.

Unfortunately, the game can be a bit challenging from time to time, and you may find yourself having to grind because you need a certain character’s powers to conquer a boss, or you might just find yourself underpowered from time to time.

As the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy approaches, there’s no better way to celebrate the adventures that we’ve treasured than World of Final Fantasy. Even though the game is a huge crossover event, by making everything make sense in its own world of Grymoire, the game doesn’t rely exclusively on nostalgia to hook players.

Even though you’ll see many familiar faces in your quest, even those who somehow don’t know these iconic characters can get enjoyment out of the great gameplay and light-hearted story of World of Final Fantasy.

Brittany Vincent (Chicago Tribune)