Final Fantasy Record: Good but not Great


So Close but Not Quite.
Let's get this out of the way. I like this game. DeNA has made an easy to access and enjoyable pick up and go game that I feel deserves not just downloads, but also a reasonable amount of money thrown at it to show that this is a good direction to go. If this is what we can expect from DeNA's Nintendo properties then I see good things in the future.

All of that said, it is not a perfect game, and there are outside factors that I feel mar the overall experience.

Platforms: iOS, and Android.

Story.
After an unskippable opening movie you are given the only little bit of story tying everything together and giving you an excuse to go stomp around the land. In a kingdom, possibly Invalice from Final Fantasy Tactics but probably not, where history and noteworthy deeds are recorded in magical paintings , something is clouding and rearranging the memories contained inside.

That's unfortunately it so far. You don't get interactions between Kain and Cloud, or Rydia and Tyro, the nearly infant looking new character for this game. I really wish they would have introduced at least some interactions when you finish the currently open levels in a world, or when you first go into a new world. They seriously missed the boat here since while fighting the old fights are nice, all you get are single paragraph blurbs before entering a level and after beating it. Seriously disappointing because of all the missed opportunities for seriousness and humor and fun.

Gameplay.
At a glance 'repetitive' could be used to describe things, and that would be a fair description. It's final fantasy so they went with a familiar system that actually works really well. Each character has a 'soul break' similar to final fantasy 7's limit break that is accessible when a gauge fills. Each character also can equip two different special skills that gives a range of customizable options on how to tackle bosses.

Speaking of, bosses can't just be blindly blitzed through. Most have different stances that, if you attack during that period, generally results in a full party counterattack. There's also weaknesses, points awarded if you use specific spells, and generally it feels very satisfying.

There is also auto-battling. Tap a button and you can switch to your party auto-attacking. When you're farming materials or items to combine it's good to have a set and forget option. I like this and it was very thoughtful of them to include.

Japan Leads the Way.
There are things down the line that the Japanese have had for months that I question why they weren't included on world launch. I'm not talking about content, since even with a couple paragraphs each for levels, it's item descriptions, and a dozen other 'little' things that eat up time and money. Considering how poorly 'all the braves' was received and frankly how expensive squaresoft, mobile titles have been I can understand caution on paying translators for something that would just be dropped.

What I cannot understand is the holding back of features such as friends lists and supposedly game modes in the works. Are those going to be held back too? I do not want this to come off as aggressive since a world launch with lots of languages and cultures where things might not work out. However I remember Sega's handling of the phantasy star franchise. I remember updates that never happened. I remember updates that were late. GMs were scarce on the american servers and the community was blamed for all of it.

Maybe this fear at getting ignored is unfounded, but it still exists and I don't want to support a game where maybe eventually I will get things another group has had for months. Then again maybe that's how the rest of the world feels when it's an american/English app getting released.

Summary.
Personally I enjoy this game. It's a good pick up and go ten minute run. There are things I wish would get fixed, but because of how far ahead of everyone else the Japanese client is I personally feel my concerns would be ignored in favor of simply following The Path. However purely because of how non-aggressive DeNA has been about monetization I feel they should be given your money. While there are $20 - $100 options exist I personally feel it's a bad idea to give anything more than $10 in a given pay period. This is mostly because once you get past 'I can eat in tonight' money you are far past 'micro' transactions.

Likes:
I cannot stress this enough. I like how nonaggressive the in app payment bits are. That makes me happy.

The auto-battle system so you can give your thumbs a rest or just turn auto battle on in a non-boss fight and finish putting laundry in/dishes/whatever.

The battle system is really well done.

The synergy system provides a nice bit of depth, which means even single star 'trash' items can be as useful as three star drops in 'their' world.

The spritework is very nice.

Ditto with the art. Very nice.

Music and sound are both very satisfying.

Dislikes:
The lack of story. They missed the boat here on letting your party interact, much like the Lego games had happen.

It's too easy to frontload too many actions with zero warning when bosses stance change.

Why can I not combine pay currency and mythril to pay for things?

The drop rates on relic draws are horrible if you want anything other than a spare 1 or 2 star.

The lag the rest of the world has behind the Japanese version.

Like Reddit or not there is a subreddit that has a collection of easy to access links and spreadsheets detailing all the crunchy nerd stats for people that take their gaming highly seriously and want to plan out every moment. Me? It's a pick up and play ten minute game that has pretty much no real story. I play it while doing laundry or dishes.

Official Site

posted from Bloggeroid

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