PAX West 16: World of Final Fantasy Hands-On Preview – When Worlds Collide (PS4)
Square Enix does enjoy mashing up their Final Fantasy titles. They’ve done it with Kingdom Hearts, the Dissidia fighting games, Theatrhythm, and now we’re about to have World of Final Fantasy. World of Final Fantasy asks fans the question of what would it be like if they were magically transported to a foreign world with all of the heroes and enemies they know and love from the Final Fantasy series? Well, not entirely, but it’s close. Twins Reynn and Lann have been magically transported to a land called Grymoire that is full of the heroes and enemies we know and love from Final Fantasy, but to them, this is all brand new. Actually, it’s all brand new in more ways than one; they’ve not only never been to Grymoire before, but they’ve also lost their memories. Yes, Square Enix is tackling that cliche with JRPGs—the amnesiac heroes.
However, I’m willing to give them a pass, because I could have played World of Final Fantasy all day. When they told me my two hours were up, I practically whimpered. World of Final Fantasy combines the adorableness of Theatrhythm with the classic turn-based RPG formula of Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a bit Pokemon-esque, but now Square Enix has wholly adopted the formula. From what I saw at PAX West, it all works splendidly together.
These Stacks Are Better Than Sport Stacking
Reynn and Lann learn that they used to be Mirage Keepers, which are people who can imprism and keep Mirages (the monsters of Final Fantasy) by their side like little pets. In the world of Grymoire, the Federation of Bahamut has an army of Mirages that they use to force other countries to unite under their banner and laws. When the Twins arrive in Cornelia, they promise Princess Sarah (yes, of Final Fantasy fame) that they will help fight against the Bahamutian army of Mirages and keep Cornelia free. Naturally this means they’ll have to round up their own Mirage army.
Mirages are found in various dungeons, and they can only be captured, or imprismed, once they have been beaten to low health. Why yes, that does sound familiar, doesn’t it? Once one type of Mirage has been imprismed, the twins cannot imprism another. Each Mirage has its own unique elemental abilities that the twins can use in battle as well as defense, since a Mirage’s elemental resistance will carry to Reynn or Lann. The twins battle with them by literally stacking the Mirages on their heads. When the twins are in Jiant form, they can stack two Mirages; in their chibi Grymoire forms, they can only stack one. Stacking Mirages also adds on to the twins’ HP and AP, allowing them to fight longer and cast more spells and abilities. Mirages not stacked will still earn XP even though they don’t participate in battle. The twins will need to change their stacks as they move through dungeons and battle various enemies to help with elemental resistance and elemental spellcasting.
Battle isn’t the only time that the twins will have to stack their Mirages. The dungeons will have puzzles for the twins to solve that require stacks of Mirages on them. The puzzles have weight and elemental resistance requirements. If you don’t have the right combination of Mirages, then go back through the dungeon until you find them and imprism the ones you need. Some puzzles are required for progressing through the dungeon itself, and others open passageways to rare chests and items.
This is yet another situation where you will want to catch ’em all.
As Humorous As It Is Cute
The development team seems to know that with a game this cute, it’s hard to take it seriously. They don’t seem to take it seriously either with as much fourth wall-breaking and humorous lines the twins utter. In my play session, Lann scolded Reynn for breaking the fourth wall and ruining the immersiveness of what they were doing. Later on, while tutorial boxes were popping up to explain to me what I needed to do in a dungeon, Reynn asked Lann’s Mirage Tama why she was getting visions telling her what to do next.
The twins also engage in lovely pun battles with one another, which of course was near and dear to my heart. I’m ready to call it Game of the Year for the puns alone.
World of Final Fantasy will not be another hardcore RPG from Square Enix, but it appears to have more than enough to at least keep Final Fantasy fans entertained for several hours until Final Fantasy XV releases a month later. I’m ready to jump back in and collect as many Mirages as I have Pokemon in Pokemon Go. But I’ll have to wait until October 25, 2016.
I wonder if Square Enix will come up with their own copycat Pokemon Go called Final Fantasy Mirage Go. They might as well go all the way and own it at this point.