Anything upwards from Final Fantasy IX has been a hit-or-miss for me.

Final Fantasy X was a sure hit, but after ten thousand remasters and with no option to skip those long-ass cutscenes, I'm yanking my head out. Final Fantasy X-2 was a bad miss, and I wish it never happened. XI was horrible. XII was decent. The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy was, to me, in this order: good, meh, and "what-is-this-shit". I've never touched XIV and with XV on the horizon, I've outgrown my pretty boy band years and it does not seem appealing to me at all.

Moving forward, too many people missed out on the good Final Fantasy games (some people still think Cloud Strife is an emo douche). The PlayStation Portable Dissidia Final Fantasy series tried introducing the franchise to newer fans, but even that has gone old and somewhat stale as another generation steps in, not fully familiar with these older characters. 

World of Final Fantasy
 is Square Enix's second attempt at introducing the universe to a whole new audience. This is an investment by the company to get kids to familiarize themselves with Final Fantasy so that they will someday grow up and buy more Square Enix games. It's a "back-to-basics"-ish kind of game that reminds you of the days when simpler RPGs were a thing.

The core gameplay of World of Final Fantasy allows the main characters, Reynn and Lann, to capture monsters called Mirages and stack them together into one super fighting totem which is then used to defeat the world's evil. The combinations are countless, aspiring players to collect all the Mirages and build their ultimate fighter. Each monster has different capture requirements and some are only found in specific areas, so there's that to keep things fresh. 

The dungeons are massive, sprawling areas with monsters to defeat and puzzles to solve. It's a strong gust of fresh air after the endless hallways we got in recent Final Fantasy games. And unlike a certain Final Fantasy game that has huge maps but are nothing more than empty boring environments, World of Final Fantasy offers a lot of fun settings with things to do. The only problem I found, which is also exhausting, is the high-level encounter rate. You wouldn't get too far without being forced into battle. This is problematic with puzzles in the mix, as you will tend to go back and forth between the two. 

Reynn and her twin brother Lann are the two weakest links of the game. I'm a fan of the buddy cop genre, especially one where two polar opposite characters constantly engage in banters: Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes, the list goes on. Reynn and Lann simply take this a little too far. Everywhere they go they engage in tiresome bantering without missing a beat to offend or misunderstand each other. Thank the cosmos there's a skip/fast-forward button.

It is when characters like Cloud, Lightning, Vivi, Bartz, and the rest of the crew appear where World of Final Fantasy truly shines. They offer awesome cutscene actions and mini-games to keep things interesting after all the incessant blabbering from the twins and the constant running around in the world. To top it off, I hear that non-Final Fantasy entities are also making their way into the game (I'm looking at you, Sora from Kingdom Hearts). 

World of Final Fantasy is exhausting and frustrating at most times but I cannot ignore the fact on how cute and adorable the game is. It's catering to the younger generation while also aiming to be as nostalgic as possible for older gamers. I played this game on the PlayStation 4 and because of the many reasons I've mentioned above, I would have preferred to play this on the cheaper PlayStation Vita version instead, if only I had one.

About the author: Karen Benitez

Skater, musician, carpenter, gamer. Karen is interested in culture, science fiction, and Cthulhu. She participated in MMA bouts, got her ass kicked many times, and ended up with broken bones. Life is good.

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