First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.
Final Fantasy is one of the greatest Role-Playing Game (RPG) series of all time. For me, I started with Final Fantasy III on a ROM emulator, got a PlayStation and bought Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. It’s a series I have loved since my first encounter. Here we are years later and I am playing Final Fantasy Explorers on the Nintendo 3DS.
Now the game starts out like most modern multiplayer titles. Create your character, give them a voice, maybe a different hair color and choose your gender. Nothing major about that. Then you start playing. Your airship crashes and right from the get go you are thrown into a fight with Bahamut, King of Dragons who wants to end you. Now I noticed in this tutorial-like mission that they are teaching you very little in terms of game mechanics, but luckily they do teach you those later on. But a fun fact though, is that you can indeed fight Bahamut and not die; your life will only go down to 1HP. However after a hour of grinding away I learned, thanks to Reddit, that even if I did get his health low enough he has a heal later. So it’s not worth trying to slay him.
After that brief, but short-lived battle you find yourself in a town and you are instructed to accept missions, get stronger and explore areas around the Island where you are. The story progresses at the players pace from that point, and it’s mainly about exploring (hence the title). The game takes a very non-linear approach to handling the story line, so it’s best to pay attention if you want to grasp it.
Now upon its announcement they said that Cloud, Yuna, and almost all the Final Fantasy protagonists would be in this game. Since I don’t read Japanese websites I learned that they are optional summons in the game and you get them by unlocking or meeting certain conditions. This includes acquiring 10,000 crystal points (CP) or finding more Eidolons. Another item you unlock as you play is the “monster companion”. If you are playing alone and you want to have a party you can raise monsters you have slain (assuming you got their item drop to be your party member).
Now moving right along, a thing that confused me for a good while are the crystal points (CP). It is a type of currency you get after missions or from completing sub-quests to unlock abilities or to upgrade your equipment. I failed to realize just how useful it is early on, and was constantly running out. Luckily there is a bug right now to give yourself 99,999,999 CP, assuming you need it and care not for the challenge of honest acquisition.
Another aspect of the game that is somewhat frustrating is the “crystal surge” mutation. Now if you’re familiar with the older Final Fantasy titles, they had what was called a Limit Break or in Final Fantasy IX it was called Trace. What they did for this title is they essentially called the limit break Crystal Surge and when you use it you get up to four random specials to use. Now this is where things get a bit confusing. The special moves affect certain abilities you may have equipped and if you use them while under the effect of a crystal surge your abilities can mutate and gain new abilities on top of what they may already have.
From there you could go to town and learn the new mutated ability and keep crystal surging to increase the current mutation, or mutate it further for unique combinations. Of course there are people like me who put critical strike onto deflect so you constantly can spam a higher chance of doing critical, but there are a lot of unique combinations you can preform. So experiment with it if you decide to pick up the game.
It’s now about time I summarize my thoughts on this title. Do I recommend it? Is it good? If you are a fan of Final Fantasy, I recommend buying and playing this. At times it feels like a cash grab from Square-Enix. But with the amount of effort and detail put into it and how fun it is to play, I still recommend it. Even big Square-Enix knows that a game can be a cash grab and still be good.
The game also reminds me deeply of Phantasy Star Online. Being able to play missions with friends and adventure around stages. Even in the level design, Final Fantasy Explorers feels like it has a close connection with it, despite Phantasy Star Online being made by SEGA, and therefore having no tie whatsoever with Square-Enix. I also must say that this title came at a good time for me because not a hugely known fact is that I suffer with clinical depression and for the last four days I have been really down. But playing this game gave me the nostalgia trip I needed. It’s so much fun that I just kind of shut the world out for a bit as I grinded away to get Sephiroth‘s outfit.
My recommendation is to buy it, go play with some friends, go stalk the Reddit threads and make your own explorer with your own unique style. You honestly won’t regret it.
TLDR; It’s really good, I loved everything about it, and I wish they would launch it on the PC
and consoles as a home game because of how much I really enjoyed it.