Operation Backlog Completion 2017
Mar 242017
 

When World of Final Fantasy was first announced, fans weren’t sure what it was. Well, it turned out to be a pretty awesome turn-based RPG.

World of Final Fantasy feels like a strange hybrid of Final Fantasy, Pokémon, and Kingdom Hearts.

In some ways, it’s a crossover game, with characters from across the entire Final Fantasy series present in a single world called Grymoire. However, their lives and motivations make sense in the context of this new world, even if they have similarities to their original counterparts.

The main protagonists are two original characters, twins named Lann and Reyn. They enter Grymoire to search for their missing family and learn the truth about their past.

They also learn they have the ability to capture monsters, which leads to the Pokémon-esque monster catching system. Each monster, or Mirage, has its own requirements to be caught. For example, you might need to use fire attacks on one Mirage, while another just needs its HP lowered.

(You can repeat the process on the same Mirage to make it easier to capture–something I didn’t realize until halfway through the game.)

In battle, your captured Mirages fight in “stacks” with Lann and Reynn. The monsters in your stack determine the abilities you have available, and some can stack to form more powerful spells. Every Mirage has its own skill board to fill out as it levels up, with a few blank slots to allow a bit of customization.

It’s an interesting twist on traditional Final Fantasy combat, and if you dislike the new battle menu, you can change it to a more classic style from the settings. World of Final Fantasy also has random encounters and fixed save points–in short, it’s the most traditional Final Fantasy game we’ve had in a while, although it still lacks a proper world map.

(They showed off a little world map and airship in previews, but they’re disappointing when it comes to actual navigation.)

But even though I wanted a world map, I loved World of Final Fantasy. It’s fun to play, it’s a solid turn-based RPG, and it has a pretty good story.

Before we get into the story, I want to discuss what I considered to be World of Final Fantasy’s greatest strength and one of its greatest weaknesses: intervention quests.

Intervention Quests

Early in the game, you meet The Girl Who Forgot Her Name. This mysterious character has power over time and space, and therefore lets you “intervene” to help your allies.

This means you’ll get to see story events that don’t directly follow Lann and Reynn, but Lann and Reynn will fight the actual battles. These are some of the most interesting and often funniest scenes in the game, and they give the various Final Fantasy characters a chance to really shine.

Both the intervention quests and main story are filled with Final Fantasy references.

Unfortunately, while the setup makes sense since you’re messing around with time and space, I often wished they were normal side quests encountered normally in the world, instead of selected from a list. Most don’t involve any gameplay aside from the battles, and I couldn’t help but see missed potential.

Additionally, there’s a certain point in the game where the story is also tied to completing intervention quests. When they become the main focus instead of a side activity, the pacing slows to a crawl. A traditional JRPG structure could have greatly helped World of Final Fantasy there.

But those are minor criticisms of a pretty awesome game. Now, intervention quests may be entertaining, but what about the overall story?

Story and Writing

World of Final Fantasy’s writing uses a lot of subjective humor. Either you’ll love the banter between characters, or you’ll find it (and them) annoying.

Lann and Reyn use the manzai style of comedy we discussed recently in reference to Lady Layton’s humor. Lann is the boke (funny man), and Reynn is the tsukkomi (straight man).

In our Lady Layton discussion, I mentioned Abbott and Costello, and if you don’t like a style of humor that focuses heavily on one character (Lann) saying stupid things and getting words confused, while the other character (Reynn) gets annoyed, the twins will drive you crazy.

I loved it and found it entertaining. That, together with humorous shout-outs to the Final Fantasy series and many funny monster descriptions made World of Final Fantasy’s writing a treat.

The story itself starts out simple, but it gets pretty crazy. It isn’t just a cute adventure where you catch monsters and fight alongside chibi Final Fantasy characters, but a full-fledged JRPG story in its own right.

If it feels too slow and simple when you start out, give it time. Major revelations and twists are waiting for you ahead. The characters are interesting, the plot is intriguing, and it’s definitely worth it to play for the “true ending” in order to experience the full plot.

Even then, although the story is self-contained, World of Final Fantasy’s in-game “Who’s Who” guide introduces so much expansive lore, they easily have room for a prequel, a sequel, or even a new series.

Click for World of Final Fantasy lore spoilers

The story might look simple on the surface, but when you dig into the lore, it gets kind of insane… and if they don’t make another game in the series, all of that lore will go to waste! So, where’s our sequel?

If you haven’t figured it out, I loved World of Final Fantasy. It was an excellent game and a worthy addition to the Final Fantasy series. If you love turn-based RPGs and monster-catching games, definitely give this one a try!

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Mar 222017
 

It’s Ace Attorney’s 15th anniversary!

…Okay, so the series’ anniversary was in 2016… but Capcom is still celebrating, this time with a special Japanese live stream on April 17.

This live stream is meant to commemorate the entire series, but in addition to discussing Ace Attorney overall and revealing the results of character popularity polls, they’ll also be featuring the next upcoming game in the series: Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2.

Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2, also known as The Great Ace Attorney 2, is the sequel to the as-yet-unlocalized Dai Gyakuten Saiban. Both games star Phoenix Wright’s ancestor.

Only a few details have been revealed about Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 so far, but this live stream will include new information and its first live gameplay footage.

It’s probably too much to hope they’ll announce localization of the first game during a Japanese live stream, but I still believe the success of the sequel will improve our chances. (Unless copyright reasons are getting in the way, in which case we might not have a chance at all. But I prefer optimism!)

Are you interested in Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2? Do you think we’ll ever see The Great Ace Attorney released outside of Japan?

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Mar 202017
 

The Professor Layton games always involve some comedy and humorous situations, but it sounds like the upcoming Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy might take it a step further.

A little over a week ago, Famitsu featured an interview with Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino about the upcoming game. While he didn’t reveal a lot, we now know a bit more about Lady Layton from Nintendo Everything’s translation of the information.

(I’m late with the news–I missed the translation when it came out.)

As we discussed in the past, Lady Layton will feature smaller mysteries for the protagonist to solve. The interview described it as a “high-speed comical puzzle solving story.”

He then described the relationship between Kato and Sharo (the talking dog) as similar to “boke and tsukkomi,” which refers to a comedy duo that plays off each other.

(It’s similar to the funny man/straight man comedy used by duos like Abbott and Costello. World of Final Fantasy is an example of a recent game that used boke and tsukkomi character types. Didn’t this come up with Spirit of Justice, too?)

Kat will be the funny character, while Sharo is the more serious character who will explain what she said. This will lead to the story feeling like a comedy.

Curiously, there are a few details Hino refused to give, including its place in the timeline and Luke’s relationship with Kat and Sharo.

We still don’t know a lot about Lady Layton, but I’m looking forward to it! Although I still wish they’d clarify how Kat has a talking dog…

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