For those living outside of Japan, Final Fantasy Explorers was released on December 18th in Japan. The Downloadable version was available for early adopters around December 8th. The first thing I did Thursday morning, was rush over to Yodobashi Camera to pick up a physical copy. It was selling for ￥5,800, which is about $54.00 at the moment. I unwrapped the game, popped it into my 3DS and started my adventure!
Final Fantasy Explorers heads to a new direction for Final Fantasy. Following in the steps of the successful Monster Hunter series by Capcom, Square-Enix makes it debut into the Hunting action-RPG’ish market. When I loaded up the game, I was introduced to a colorful blue scheme with familiar tunes and began making my character!
My first reaction of the Character customization was rather disappointing. You could change between Male and Female. Select your Hair type, Voice, Skin tone, and Hair/Eye Color. Although, you can fine tune the colors of your Hair and Eyes, you only get 5 Face Types, and 10 Hair Types. The quality of which just feels like it’s lacking. The character itself looks rather chunky and clumsy.
I was able to make a character that I was satisfied with in the end, but I guess I just expected “more” from a Final Fantasy title. Anyways, let’s get into the Game play!
You start off as a generic adventurer and are plopped into a village where you have to finish tutorial missions to unlock your first set of iconic Final Fantasy jobs. I immediately switched to White Mage and began smacking things with my staff. Magic, Equipment, and Accessories can be selected prior to each mission and assigned to certain buttons.
- Y Button – Attack
- B Button – Run
- X Button – Item List(Field) / Menu (Town)
- A Button – Confirm / Pick up
- L/R + A/B/X/Y Button – Skills / Magic / Special Attacks
- L+R + A/B/X/Y Button – Limit Break Skill
Equipment can be bought and made in the town. Gather things from the field and bring them back to town to make a variety of equipment. Another interesting aspect is that you can Power Up your equipment by using the same items you pick up in the field. I have yet to fully explore this in detail, but you can get power ups like: Additional AP and HP, and other skills.
Speaking of AP and HP. The Blue Bar above is your HP. Lose them all, and game over. The Yellow Bar is your AP. AP in this game is your stamina to complete actions. Any attack, magic spell, special action, and even running expends your AP. The regeneration rate is rather quick, so I have not run into any issues so far. The fields are rather big and you can move between zones/areas pretty quickly. Enemies are spaced evenly at the moment, but I noticed that they will ONLY roam a certain area and give up chasing you if you run too far. I feel this is a little too “easy”. But to each their own.
One of my most immediate gripes was NOT BEING ABLE TO JUMP. You are not allowed to jump down or climb up ledges. Are you serious? My magic spell can go across this infinitesimal ledge, but I have to walk around 30 seconds to get to the same point!? This gets even more ridiculous as the AI is not smart enough to recognize the ledges and will mindlessly walk in one place while you kill them from afar.
When you finish your quest. You have a minute to walk around and pick up materials etc. But there is no “Quest Clear” pop up or anything. Just a quick fade to black. It feels so… incomplete. Just bam, black. Go back to town! It’s pretty straightforward though and the Quest Clear Screens have a great layout. If you are used to Monster Hunter, but can’t read Japanese, this is going to be unforgiving. There are no icons for the things you receive as rewards or pick up in the field. You have to go into your inventory menu to check it out. Maybe this is a good thing as we all have to actually study!
Quests in the city are rather simple as well. The object, difficulty, and rewards are clearly placed. All missions are timed as well, so make sure you pay attention to that. Quests are divided by Main Quests, Sub Quests, Tutorial Quests, and DLC Quests. Yes DLC Quests! Which is great for future proofing the game from getting too stale, but let’s take a look at the DLC.
Day 1 DLC here is this Cloud outfit. You can use the Buster Sword and deck out your person to look like Cloud, Tifa, or Aeris at the moment. Oh what’s that…. ￥150… $1.20!? Yup. You think you can get FREE DLC from Square Enix? NOPE! Although these are currently just fashion items and don’t really have an effect on the game-play, I worry when Square Enix will start pushing Pay to Win DLC, I doubt it will take them long too.
After playing the game for several hours, I got the hang of it. The game play is pretty fun and it keeps your attention very well. So let’s talk about the graphics now. They are poor. Straight up. This looks like it was produced as a Flash Web Game and someone got the idea of porting it to the 3DS. The character models and sprites are severely low quality. I could forgive this if it wasn’t for the fact that the run animation looks like MissingNo. running a marathon after an all night binge of Taco Bell and Ex-Lax. I just hope that the story/gameplay make up for the graphics. If you are looking for some eye-candy though, Final Fantasy Explorers is a hard pill to swallow.
I will continue to play it and see how far I get, but I will admit my bias. I began playing Monster Hunter 4G a month ago. the differences and similarities to these two games are great. I love that I’m already used to grabbing quests, equipping up, and hunting things out in the field. Great job on that Square-Enix! But my qualms are with the graphic animations, DLC, and explorability of the areas themselves. Pretty ironic when the game has “Explorers” in the name.
- Gameplay – 7/10
- Music – 7/10
- Graphics – 3/10 (WTF is this FlyFF!?)
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I will provided another updated review after I get into the End Game of Final Fantasy Explorers. See you then!