World of Final Fantasy was released last year on PS Vita and PS4 as sort of a palette cleanser for fans before digging into the behemoth that was Final Fantasy XV. I liked the came quite a lot, here’s what I said in my review a year ago:
“In short, yo’re not going to get bored of this game any time soon – and the best part is that you’ll want to come back thanks to the brilliant design and the sheer audiovisual treat that the game can sometimes be. If you couldn’t already tell, World of Final Fantasy is freaking fantastic.”
A year later, I still completely agree with what I said back then. I was happy to dig into this throwback JRPG all over again, enthralled by its unabashedly joyful self-celebration, entranced by the complex and deep combat mechanics, and absolutely in love with its charming visual aesthetic.
World of Final Fantasy was a hell of a good time last year and it’s still just as good a time now.
For the uninitiated, World of Final Fantasy follows the adventures of siblings Lann and Reyn who, after waking up having lost their memories, must journey through the fantastical land of Grymoire where all the people look like Funko Pops. They soon discover that they’re actually a couple of “Mirage Hunters” with the ability to tame and command all sorts of creatures from the Final Fantasy mythos. You wander across the world, battling and capturing these critters, crossing paths with characters from throughout the Final Fantasy universe, and uncover a plot that, without spoiling much, turns out to be one of the best – and darkest – in the series.
Combat in World of Final Fantasy is a very close approximation of the iconic ATB system from Final Fantasies past and Chrono Trigger (or the more recent I Am Setsuna). This game does, however, introduce a major kink in the works with the introduction of mirages. While Lann and Reyn and pretty strong on their own, you can stack up to two of the mirages you capture on top of their heads to basically bring your party up to six. The bigger purpose of ‘stacking’, however, is that it gives you the ability to combine attacks and abilities that you normally wouldn’t expect. Depending on which creatures you have stacked on whom in which order, you can have a dizzying array of options for attack, making sure you always have the right tools for the job. But while stacks attack as a single unit, they also take damage as a single unit – meaning that what hurts one of you will hurt all of you. Thankfully the ability to stack and unstack mid-battle makes sure you can always stay on top of the situation with a little presence of mind.
Messing with my stack setups to try and find the combination(s) that work best for me taste has been the single most engaging aspect of World of Final Fantasy.
The PC port is mostly fine and runs perfectly on my mid-range laptop without any hitches. It is worth noting that, according to Steam reviews, the game seems to be running into trouble with AMD cards. The problem here, as with most console-to-PC ports, is that the game is completely devoid of even the most basic graphics settings. You can change the resolution from a ‘configuration’ menu you have to open outside of the main game. The complete lack of mouse support doesn’t hurt much since the game has a fixed camera, but the keyboard controls are rubbish and the game doesn’t let you rebind them. If you want to play World of Final Fantasy on PC, I highly recommend using a controller.
At the end of the day, World of Final Fantasy is heartfelt love letter for both the series’ own history as well as to its fans who have stuck with it for all these years. It’s like a massive all-star party thrown in celebration of its own existence and you, the player, are the guest of honour. The world is gorgeous, the characters are as likeable and heroic as ever, the combat is excellent, and the story is well worth your time. It’s charming and adorable and it’s absolute impossible to not get into a wistfully wonderful mood once the credits roll.
World of Final Fantasy launched on October 25, 2016 on PS4 and PS Vita, and is out now on PC. The review code for the PC version was provided by Square Enix.