Final Fantasy XV may be the talk of Tokyo Game Show right now, but believe it or not, it’s not the only FF game in town. World of Final Fantasy seems to have flown under a few radars and honestly it’s not difficult to see why. Announced at Sony’s E3 event in the summer, seconds before they unveiled the Final Fantasy VII remake, then thrust into a release schedule alongside its much much older and more sought after brother, it’s a wonder anyone even noticed it at all. Which is a shame, because World of Final Fantasy could very well turn out to be a hidden gem.
I knew nothing about WFF going in, and really wasn’t sure what to expect. The demo began by introducing me to our twin main characters, Lann and Reynn and the strange markings in their arms that allow them to travel to a secret world named Grymoire through an old woman’s magic door. With Tetsuya Nomura handling the main character design, it’s not surprising that the early stages of WFF bare more than a striking resemblance to Kingdom Hearts, until that is, we enter Grymoire itself. Behind the magic door, all your favorite Final Fantasy heroes, look like this:
This game is gas. I laughed pretty much the entire time I was playing, which totaled about twenty minutes. The chibi Final Fantasy characters deliver their dialog with deadpan conviction, completely unaware how hilarious they’re being. Bopping around Grymoire (I assure you ‘bopping’ is the appropriate word), I crossed paths with The Warrior of Light (FF), Lightning (FFXIII), Bartz (FFV) and Yuna (FFX), each of whom gave me an item for talking to them, but didn’t really seem interested in doing anything else. About 5 minutes in, the screen shattered dramatically and my first battle began.
In stark contrast to FFXV, WFF goes right back to basics. Battling in WFF is as turn based as it could possibly get without just giving up and pulling out a chess set. Thumbnails for each character in battle ascend (slowly) along a vertical line and once lined up with the diamond shape at the top, a well-timed command will bring up your battle menu. You can do all the usual stuff here, but if your enemy begins sparkling, you’ve done enough damage to catch them Pokemon style. My demo ended before I got a chance to follow that particular thread, but if it’s anything like the monster hunting in FFXIII-2, it could certainly be interesting.
World of Final Fantasy seems like its going to sell on its aesthetics. There wasn’t anything juicy gameplay wise to test the hardcore fans, but it was a breath of fresh air to the dour downbeat atmosphere of FF‘s recent history. I don’t think a Final Fantasy game has made me laugh as much since IX. If you like the look of this game, I reckon you’ll probably like the rest of it. If you don’t, I doubt all the deadpan dialog and oversized heads in the world will do anything to change your mind.