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- WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY
It's been difficult to entirely understand what to expect with World of Final Fantasy from Square Enix. We've known that it has chibi-versions of characters from past games, it stars a pair of twins who wind up in a foreign world known as Grymoire, and everything is just as cute as can be. But a lot of the same can be said about Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, and this is definitely not a member of the music genre.
At its core, the ;World of Final Fantasy is a classic turn-based RPG. Anyone familiar with at least one core FF game will feel right at home with WFF. The turn-based system is a slight modification on the Active Time Battle system, where gauges fill at various rates the character's gauge that is filled first takes their turn next. Instead of a gauge that fills, avatars of all of the fighting members travel up a line on the left side of the screen, kind of like a reverse hourglass.
The rate of speed of each character varies, which allows for the player to sometimes take several turns before the enemies get a chance to strike back. There is no tactical movement that the player has to worry about, and the player won't have to constantly toss ethers at their partymembers because a small bit of AP regenerates at every turn. It's not enough to never need an ether, but sometimes it's enough to continually lob a fire spell at an ice monster.
But here in Grymoire, the creatures you battle are not called monsters; they're Mirages. And as fearsome as these Mirages can be, they can also be befriended by Mirage Keepers, which are rare in Grymoire. When the twins Reynn and Lann arrive in Grymoire, they lose all of their memories. However, they figure out that they used to be Mirage Keepers, so they hope that by collecting Mirages they will remember who they were.
Lucky for them, there is a prophecy in Grymoire about Mirage Keepers from a distant land who will either save the world or plunge it into Chaos. If that wasn't dire enough for Lann and Reynn, they also find themselves agreeing to help the small country of Cornelia. Princess Sarah (definitely from the original Final Fantasy if anyone is keeping score at home) explains to them that the Bahamutian Federation has been threatening the nations of Grymoire to either join them and live under their command or face the onslaught of their Mirage army. Their ruler appears to also be a Mirage Keeper who has untold numbers of Mirages doing his bidding.
The only way for Reynn and Lann to help Cornelia is to build a Mirage army of their own. Yes, that is the initial plot from what I was able to play, and I'm sure it's not going to be half that simple near the end.
As Mirage Keepers, Reynn and Lann have the ability to imprism Mirages they meet, but only after they battle them into submission. Once they imprism a Mirage, the Mirage will now fight on their behalf in their party. Boy, doesn't this sound familiar? It is indeed a lot like the combat and befriending found in Final Fantasy XIII-2, but it's definitely straight out of Pokémon. After the Mirages are captured, they can transfig to more powerful versions after leveling up and reaching certain conditions, which is, hey, also a lot like Pokémon. Unlike Pokémon, however, the twins can only capture one type of each Mirage.
The Mirages do more than just be cute and join the party. Reynn and Lann can literally equip the Mirages to stack on their heads. When doing so, the stacked party members combine their HP and AP as well as their elemental resistances and abilities. If the twins are about to run through a snowy mountain, it's best to stack fire elemental Mirages with each. The twins also have the ability to be chibis like the people of Grymoire or take on their full sizes, which are called Jiants in Grymoire. In battle, Reynn and Lann will often fight as Jiants, which allows them to stack two Mirages on their heads. In chibi form, they can only stack one small Mirage. The stacks can be easily determined in the menu between small and Jiant Reynn and Lann.&
There's yet another reason to collect Mirages. As the twins travel through dungeons, they will run across Puzzle Switches that can only be solved by stacking Mirages on them. The Puzzle Switch will require a certain weight of Mirages and a certain stat of elemental resistance. If you don't have enough Mirages to make one of the stipulations, you'll have to go back through the dungeon and try to imprism the ones you need. The Puzzle Switch sounds more frustrating than it is. Although, it is possible that the Switches become far more complicated than what I was treated to. Perhaps it does eventually become as frustrating as it sounds.
The entire game appears to be insanely adorable, even if the story has a bit of a dark side to it. To make matters even lighter, the twins constantly break the fourth wall with their dialogue. At one point in the first dungeon I entered, Reynn asked Tama, Lann's accompanying Mirage, while she kept getting visions of words telling her how to do certain things. She was referring to the tutorial boxes that popped up during my travels. Lann will even comment about how what is going on wouldn't make sense anywhere else but while Reynn to shush him for breaking the fourth wall.
Of course, what won me over entirely were all of the puns. I do love a good pun, and my hour and a half of game time was filled with them.
Between the humor, the classic Final Fantasy ;characters that drop by, and the ability to collect FF monsters like Pokémon, this is quite possibly the best love letter Square Enix could have provided fans of the franchise. This adorable RPG will definitely stack up the hours, especially with collectors who will undoubtedly feel the need to catch 'em all. Seems unfair that we have to wait until October 25, 2016 to play it. I could have played this one all day.