Reviewed on PS4
Final Fantasy has come a very long way since 1987. You might be excused for expecting World of Final Fantasy to be an MMORPG adaptation of the venerable japanese series, as I did on first glance, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
WoFF is another FF game that is mostly a singular experience (aside from small exceptions online friend challenges). It still retains the combat style that you expect from a FF game, although this title spiced it up a bit with a monster hunting mechanic. Almost very similar to a famous game where you collect little creatures and go on a journey to become the very best, the best there ever was.* As a very big fan of the FF series, the pitch got me curious enough that I really wanted to give it a go.
You follow the story of teenaged twins, Reynn and Lann, as they go on a journey to recover their lost memories. Tama, a little cute spirit guide that appears on Lann’s head, helps them on their quest. In order for them to remember they must collect mirages—a collection of series favourite monsters that can be summoned in battle. During their adventure they come across lots of famous FF characters that we all have come to love. The nostalgia is just off the charts! At one point I had Squall, Cloud and Tidus on the same screen (goosebumps I tell you). There is some good chemistry between Reynn and Lann and the game had some pleasant humour. It avoided taking itself too seriously, which I liked.
Like most previous FF games, fighting happens with random battle encounters with some exceptions in scripted boss fights. You run along on your merry way when ‘’Bang!!’’ Your screen shatters and you enter into battle. Be prepared to see your screen break into hundreds of cubes all the time!
WoFF still follows fighting mechanics of old FF titles. You Attack, use an Ability or use a Item to give you the upper hand in battle. When in combat you will go head to head with enemy mirages. Like I mentioned before, WoFF is more a monster hunting game than a narrative-based JRPG. In order to catch a mirage, you must first find out its weakness and imprisonment requirements, and the way you do this is by using the ability called “Libra”. Be prepared to Libra everything, at least for the first encounters!
When you have imprisoned a mirage, you control it on the battlefield by stacking it up—either sitting on it or placing it on your head like a lovely top hat. Seriously Mad Hatter arrangements result when you start stacking two mirages on your head later in the game. By stacking the mirages, you become a totem pole with all the mirages’ abilities combined into one. It makes for an interesting combat system that had me thinking and planning out the best stacking method to make me into a super totem pole. However, while you become stronger when stacking, you also gain the mirages’ weaknesses as well. For instance, I collected a mirage with affinity to water which caused my character to be weak to fire as well.
When you have collected a new mirage, it will give you the option to rename it. Once you are happy with your new name (‘’Rock On’’ was a name for my rock golem) you can then place it in your party or store it in a suitcase. If you decide to place it in your party, you will find that you are limited to only a group of ten mirages. With more than a hundred and fifty mirages to collect, you will fill up your suitcase in no time and you will be sitting with a small dilemma to which mirages you bring with you.
Experience is shared with the mirages that you have with you. The creatures have their own abilities that they unlock as you gain exp and level up. This works very similar to FF X’s sphere grid that uses SP(Skill Points) that you spend to unlock abilities or passive skills. In battle you have HP(Health Points) and AP(Ability Points) and you can renew your AP by attacking or being attacked. When your Totem Pole stack is attacked it can cause it to start being unbalanced and after a few more attacks your totem pole comes crashing to the ground. You can prevent this by using an Item called ‘’wobble stopper” or ability called “balance”. Care must be taken when your stack falls apart as you become significantly weaker. Mirages have the same ability to also create funky stacks to make them stronger on the battlefield. But like you, they can also become unbalanced and fall.
When you’re not fighting but just exploring the world you can use your mirages to help you reach places that are only reachable with certain abilities. How will I cross this gap? No problem, let my mirage fly me over. This also means that there will be places that are unreachable at some points and you will have to return at a later stage in order to cross the given sections, so be prepared to backtrack a few times.
The main quest is made up from 21 chapters with a prologue and a postscript, with plenty of sidequests available. The playthrough will be roughly 40 hours plus, so it represents good value for money.
The world of WoFF is beautifully designed and made up of some fun dungeons to explore. Nice puzzling kept me wanting to move forward and explore new areas. The character design is totally different than what you have been used to in FF as all of the characters are chibi (small and cute) characters. It is a very linear game with the camera fixed to one direction only. The camera has some small movement capabilities, but not very useful ones, as I still could not see sometimes where I was going. Some cutscenes are in 2D and really well animated. I did enjoy seeing them but also wished there was more of it.The in-game animations are good and entertaining too.
With option for English or Japanese speech, the voice cast did a wonderful job overall. The music has some lovely melodies, just what you expect from a FF game.
Overall I had fun in this game and it was really nice seeing old FF characters make appearances on screen again. Honestly I did get frustrated at times but not so much that it made me want to stop playing. It is not the best FF game in the series that I have played but it has some entertaining bits. With a remake of FF7 on the way, I wonder if they will have a go in for FF8 too? We can only hope.
* If you do not know what game I am talking about then you should stop…drop…and roll up into a little ball and stay in the cave you are currently living in.