As this game is less than a month old at the time of this writing, I will not be going into the myriad of spoiler plot twists that this game has and instead give a brief synopsis of how the adventure begins:
One hundred years ago, the Demon Dyad unleashed its terrible monsters on the world and brought unparralleled destruction. This was followed by the Bahamutian Empire who began to conquer the kingdoms of the lands of Grymoire.
You play as siblings Lann and Reynn who have just awoken in a world that exists outside of time. There they meet Enna Krowe, who explains quite plainly that she is God. She also has a task for Lann and Reynn that will help them find their family – enter the land of Grymoire and collect ‘Mirages’ (monster creatures that can be magically captured and commanded).
Along the way, the discover the influence and destruction wreaked by the Bahamutian Empire but also a mysterious prophecy that foretold Lann & Reynn’s appearance and tells of their ability to either bring happiness or complete destruction to Grymoire.
So okay, what if you took one part Final Fantasy, and one part Pokemon, and smooshed them together to make a crazy fun RPG with an amazing story and some really great jokes? You’d get this. Seriously. That’s pretty much the game in a nutshell. You spend most of it collecting Mirages that you build ‘stacks’ with (a pile of a small, a medium and a large creature that combine their strengths and weaknesses allowing you combine things like Fire + Fira = Firaga) and that you go around and battle to get stronger. Those are the core mechanics of the game. Each monster or Mirage has it’s own little sphere grid like thing called a Mirage Board that you can unlock using Skill Points that you earn from leveling up and when you complete the mirage board, you get a one time mastery bonus to that monster that includes new abilities or major stat bonuses. Every mirage you catch however reverts to level 1 instead of whatever level you caught it at. Fortunately, the way that Experience scales, you won’t have too hard of a time getting them up to a usable level.
Beyond the catching and leveling of mirages, you also have got side quests, tons of puzzles to solve in dungeons, online battling, and the game even has a post game adventure and post post game content too. I’ve only had this game for a month and I’ve easily sunk 70 hours into it without even exhausting everything you can do. It’s definitely an awesome experience and even better is that there’s plenty here for young and old players, newcomers and veterans. It’s really a Final Fantasy for everyone.
That being said, the plot almost seems too aimed at the younger audience at first. There’s a ton of silly jokes (especially heavy on the puns) but the localization team did a great job in making sure the jokes worked just as well in English as I’m sure they did in the original Japanese (fans of late 90’s-early 00’s anime can probably tell you that’s not an easy feat.) But trust me on this – because I don’t want to spoil it – the plot ramps up BIG time the further you go in. Tons of amazing plot twists that don’t feel half assed, and some insane reveals that left me jaw dropped staring at the screen. The plot is pretty much entirely coherent on its own and doesn’t require any extra effort to enjoy it like some titles in the franchise. There are a few “WTF How does that even work” moments, but they are usually lampshaded and disregarded with the games’ own internal logic version of “It’s Magic, you don’t have to explain it.”
The other cool thing about this game? It’s a crossover of a ton of other games in the series. I think every game except II, XII and XIV get some form of nod or reference, and we know that DLC related to both XII and Kingdom Hearts are on the way in 2017. It’s a big celebration of all things Final Fantasy! And if you love Final Fantasy like I do, I can definitely recommend you pick this one and give it a whirl. It’s like Pokemon, but with more Final Fantasy flair to things like customization and leveling. It’s great for kids and adults, and it’s just overall enjoyable.
Well, that wraps up Final Fantasy Month. Tomorrow is the big day. We finally get to see Noctis and his band of brothers set out on their big journey to save the world. I can’t wait! May the light of the Crystals guide your way!