Late last month, the game World of Final Fantasy, was released for the Playstation 4 and the Playstation Vita. The game is a spinoff of the Final Fantasy franchise, celebrating the many Final Fantasy games which came before it. Since the upcoming Final Fantasy XV is more action oriented, World of Final Fantasy takes the more traditional approach, having the turn based gameplay of many older Final Fantasy games.
Most of the Final Fantasy traditional gameplay is there, with a few new exceptions, the biggest of which is collecting mirages, various enemies from past Final Fantasy games that the player must collect and battle with. To prevent clutter during battle, a new mechanic called stacking was created for the player characters to fight alongside their mirages. Stacks consist of one large character, one medium character, and one small character. The two player characters can switch between large and medium forms, so the player can have up to four stacks set up, with only two of those stacks going into battle at a time, one for each player character. There are also two types of summons, Mega Mirages, and Champions. Mega Mirages are mirages which are considered to be too large to put in a stack, but instead can be summoned and are switched out with the current stacks until the battle is won or they are released. Champions are chibi forms of Final Fantasy characters which are summoned temporarily, similar to summons in other Final Fantasy games.
As someone who was introduced to Final Fantasy through Kingdom Hearts and other spinoffs (Crisis Core, Advent Children, & Dissidia specifically), and having only played the beginning parts of Final Fantasy IV, IX, X, as well as playing most of VII, this game has provided a great reintroduction to the series for me.
In an interview, the director of the game, Hiroki Chiba, said that his three goals for the game were:
- Being developed so that both children and adults can play it
- Aiming to provide a “new visual experience”
- Aiming to provide a “new game system”
While the game’s visual style is an interesting mix and the game system is a basic Final Fantasy system tweaked in a rather unique way, I think the most important goal here was making sure both children and adults can play and enjoy it. Children can enjoy it for the easy to learn mechanics and the kid friendly, yet still somewhat dark story, while adults can enjoy the more challenging moments in the game, such as the bonus dungeons and post game, as well as the nostalgia that they feel from seeing their favorite enemies and characters.
With turn based games not holding the same value with kids as they did 15 to 20 years ago, it’s important to be able to go back and let them see why a lot of these games were enjoyable and why so many people consider them as some of the best games ever made. In an age where action adventure and mobile games seem to be the most popular, it’s important to understand how important other genres were, maybe even still are, and create new games that can emulate and honor those games of the past. Not every series can hold the popularity that Pokemon has, and many people became reintroduced to that just this year with the release of Pokemon GO and the 20th anniversary of the franchise. World of Final Fantasy almost seems to take a hint from that, as it is a great reintroduction to the turn based gameplay of older Final Fantasy games, and a proficient way for both older and younger gamers to bond.