Final Fantasy Explorers felt like the DS installments of the Crystal Chronicles series with a modified job class system and heavier emphasis on action-RPG combat. My demo play took me deep inside Ifrit's cave.
I was a knight with powerful specials and so-so regular attacks. At first, I tried to hack away at Ifrit with my standard sword attacks. I mean hey, seeing 105 damage consistently feels like it's working, right? My MP-free special moves did 700-2,000, so I soon realized the need for a change of priorities.
I had a couple of AI-controlled allies, one of whom was a chocobo. That's cool I guess. I didn't get to play multiplayer, which looked way cooler than the solo gig. My chocobo died. In my mental version of the story, I ate him to survive.
He was delicious.
For being called Final Fantasy EXPLORERS, the demo didn't have a whole lot of, you know, exploration. Don't get me wrong, there was some. I walked around that fire cave picking up occasional treasures, but the flow generally went: enter room, kill enemy or two, exit through the only singular other door. Not much in the way of exploring. No choosing where to go or being really overcome by the vast areas. As with all things TGS, it could be a problem or it could just be a demo thing.
At times, players can transform from their more common FF avatars into popular named characters such as Cloud and Squall, as well as other characters like Lightning.
I loved the look of the team play. I enjoyed Ring of Fates on the DS and would welcome a similar experience on the 3DS. False advertising as the name may appear to be, Final Fantasy Explorers does have the potential to be a great mulitplayer experience, as it is said to include both local and online multiplayer. If you've got friends with 3DSs and a taste for RPGs, it might be worth keeping an eye on. It's scheduled for release on Dec. 18 in Japan, with no official word on other territories yet.