There’s something to be said for fanservice! Er…not the Senran Kagura kind, I don’t think we say what needs to be said about that kind of fanservice on a family site like Popzara. No, I’m talking about works designed to really scratch the itch if you’re a die-hard fan of a given franchise. World of Final Fantasy, for instance, is a great example of how this can be done right while also incorporating new and unique gameplay elements to make something worthwhile in its own right.
At the behest of the mysterious Enna Kros, twins Lann and Reynn enter the mysterious world of Grymoire in search of their forgotten past. Grymoire, as it turns out, is under the control of an evil army that wields the power of Mirages as a tool of oppression. It’s also the home of many iconic Final Fantasy heroes and villains, many of whom naturally make an appearance during the twins’ quest. With the help of some familiar faces, Lann and Reynn will collect Mirages of their own and fight back against the Bahamutian forces.
World of Final Fantasy can best be described as a Final Fantasy-flavored take on monster-collection games like Pokémon. Lann and Reynn are Mirage Masters who are capable of capturing monsters, like the iconic Chocobo and Tonberry, within magical Prisms and training them in combat. That’s fairly standard for the subgenre, with a twist being that each Mirage has their own conditions for capture, making Mirage collection a mini-puzzle all its own much of the time. Mirages can grow and evolve over time, learning new abilities and changing forms much like the classic pocket monsters.
It’s somewhat more strange that Mirages are classified based on their size, from large to medium to small. They can be stacked on top of one another (and with Lann and Reynn, who can choose to be either large or medium at any given point) with the stack inheriting the collective stats, elemental resistances and abilities of everything involved in it. This means that your “teams” will consist of stacks that you tailor to get the most out of the combined strength of your Mirages. It’s a unique take on the monster-training concept and it makes collecting and raising Mirages a treat.
It also means that exploring new areas and dungeons is much more enjoyable than a traditional RPG as well. Rather than dreading encounters and the irritation they bring, each new area becomes a challenge where you try to figure out the best way to capture all the new Mirages that show up. Your stack management skills are even tested outside of combat via switches that are triggered via combined stack weight, elemental affinity or stats. More than being just a way to shoehorn beloved monsters from the series into a Pokémon-style game, World of Final Fantasy clearly has some love baked into it.
The same can’t necessarily be said for the Steam release of World of Final Fantasy, though, since in contrast to many Japanese ports of late it doesn’t really add a lot to the initial console versions of the game. I hate to be that guy, but there’s a disappointing 30FPS lock that ensures the game looks just about as good as it does on console. While it doesn’t look bad, don’t expect your polygon-crushing PC to do any overtime work here. The other irritations with this port are control-related. For one, the on-screen button mappings don’t necessarily correspond to your own controller, so you’ll need to change those yourself in the options menu; that’s unusual but not the end of the world. What might be more of an annoyance is the fact that it’s not possible to rebind the keyboard controls if you aren’t using a controller.
Regardless, if you missed this one back when it launched, you could do worse than checking World of Final Fantasy out on PC. Final Fantasy aficionados who’ve already played the console version in and out have no need to return to a port that doesn’t really enhance the game at all, but newcomers are going to have a great time exploring the world and collecting Mirages. This is a solid, enjoyable game that really goes out of its way to appeal to fans…and it would have been done right by a more expansive port job.