World of Final Fantasy may look like a Pokémon rip off at first glance. While there may be a few similarities, World of Final Fantasy is so much more.
Players begin the game controlling two twins, Lann and Renn. The twins soon discover that there is much more to their lives than working at a coffee shop. A mysterious woman shows up and sets them on a quest to rediscover their forgotten past. Using portal doorways they can travel to various worlds from the history of the Final Fantasy series, called the Grymoire. Along the way they will encounter many characters from previous games in the series as well. The trip down memory lane is so fun, like finding Cloud from Final Fantasy VII in an adorable chibi form!
In World of Final Fantasy players must capture and collect monsters, or Mirages as they are called, to add to their team. All Mirages vary in size: small, medium, and large. Mirages can also be transfigured to other forms with upgrade spells and different sizes. Using a skill tree system for each form, levels unlock points to use and configure your Mirages. It’s much simpler than previous skill tree systems I have used. Players stack Mirages and combine all three sizes for a larger health pool and more powerful spells. Be careful though, because depending on the layout, the stacks can be knocked over by enemies. They also share the weakness of any stacked mirages as well. To accommodate this stacking feature, Lann and Renn can also change size, switching between the “Jiant” large or medium chibi style, they can ride on large Mirages this way.
World of Final Fantasy gameplay is turn-based like previous games, with the ATB (Active Time Battle) system. There are shortcuts to spells and abilities in combat but I preferred to use the older selection menu. After years of playing RPGs this was most comfortable to me. World of Final Fantasy is the first Final Fantasy game I have played that included a “Fast Forward” feature. Players can hold the R1 button to speed up combat, cut scenes, and dialog even. I cannot say enough good things about this. Like many RPGs, World of Final Fantasy requires players to grind and level up their team. The fast forward feature makes this much easier.
The dialog in World of Final Fantasy is horrible. I read very fast anyway so thankfully the fast forward button was there and I was able to get past the cheesy dialog and just plain bad voice work. I eventually changed the voices to the original Japanese (included in the Limited Edition) and this did help as well. The music in World of Final Fantasy however is fantastic. All of the songs are pulled from previous Final Fantasy games.
World of Final Fantasy is very linear, and while players can always go back to previous areas to explore, the maps are not very large and I would have welcomed more of an open world environment. The areas are very diverse and graphically beautiful. The story is easily 60-plus hours long when figuring in leveling and customizing your teams. Many players may not enjoy the repetitive combat and leveling, but I find it relaxing and one of the major reasons I enjoy RPGs.
World of Final Fantasy is a great game for younger players who will enjoy the cute designs and older players who will reminisce on previous games in the series. If you enjoy the older style turn based menu combat over the new real time, hack-and-slash system Square Enix is using for Final Fantasy XV, then pick up World of Final Fantasy and catch, or rather, stack ’em all!
World of Final Fantasy is available now for Playstation 4. This review is based on a copy purchased for review purposes.