Square Enix Kicks Off Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Celebration

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This year marks the official 30th anniversary since the original Final Fantasy launched in Japan on the Nintendo Entertainment System (it came to U.S. shores in 1990). With last year’s release of Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy is one of the most storied and recognizable franchises in gaming.

Square Enix is launching a year-long celebration of the franchise. An official Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, Japan teased out some new art and details regarding upcoming Final Fantasy content, including the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake.

A new website was launched to keep track of all the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary news. Fans can use the hashtag #FF30th to share fond memories, art work, etc, and see them posted on the site.

A single new piece of art was released for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake. The picture shows protagonist Cloud with his signature Buster Sword, standing in front of Midgar. This year also serves as the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

An HD remaster of Final Fantasy XIII is coming to PlayStation 4. Titled Final Fantasy XIII: The Zodiac Age, it will include remastered characters and movie scenes and newly recorded music. New features include The Zodiac Job System that improves leveling, as well as new Trial and Speed Modes. A release date was also announced: July 11, 2017.

Final Fantasy XV’s first piece of major DLC content is Episode Gladio. It features the titular party member on a solo quest. It’s included in the Premium Edition and Season Pass or can be purchased separately. Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladio launches on March 28.

Also coming to Final Fantasy XV are downloadable Booster Packs. Free and paid versions will be available to download on February 21. Booster Packs include powerful new items.

The somewhat odd collaboration between Final Fantasy and Ariana Grande was shown in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Players will be able to acquire the Ariana Grande-inspired character for free until February 2 by completing the first stage of the event, “Dangerous Woman Tour.” Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is available on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Mobius Final Fantasy, the other mobile Final Fantasy title, is coming to Steam PC on February 6. The game features 10 million users and will celebrate with in-game bonuses and a special Final Fantasy VII remake event beginning February 7.

World of Final Fantasy Review

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Available on: PlayStation 4, PS Vita

You might have missed it with all the hubbub about Final Fantasy XV this fall, but there’s another new Final Fantasy. World of Final Fantasy is one big delightful throwback to the first 13 titles in the venerable series, paired with a gameplay that’s suited to younger or new players to the series.

All of the traditional Japanese RPG elements are there – a commplicated story, a Pokémon-style system and a turn-based combat system. If you’ve wanted to find a way to introduce your kids to the Final Fantasy franchise, show them the first few hours of this cute title. They might not stick around for all 60+ hours of gameplay and story, but there’s probably no better game to get their first taste of the JRPG genre.

The Story

As the story begins, young Lann and his sister Reynn are shocked to discover that they live in a ghost world that exists outside of time.

A small, impossibly fluffy creature named Tama arrives to help the twins recover their lost memories of their time as Mirage Keepers–holders of great power over creatures known as Mirages. You might remember Mirages as summons or classic Final Fantasy monsters like the tonberry, chocobo, cactuar, and many more.

As Lann and Reynn journey to remember their former lives, they’ll meet allies along the way with fascinating stories of their own.

The Gameplay

If you’ve played a turn-based RPG before, navigating the world and the combat system will be old hat. Towns and dungeons are linear, and you traverse each along just one path, with no open world exploration.

World of Final Fantasy

Combat is handled mostly by the Mirages you have stacked on top of your two characters. After capturing a Mirage in combat, its ability tree is now at your disposal, similar to Summons and Materials from previous Final Fantasy games.

As Lann, Reynn, and the Mirages defeat enemies, the creatures gain SP points to spend to unlock stat bonuses and skills like Cure and Fire.

Mix and match the Mirages in your party (and on your head) to create the best combination for the dungeon you’re currently in. You might want Mirages with fire attacks in an icy cave, for example, or Mirages with high water resistance if you’re fighting on the seaside.

Managing your lineup of Mirages in your party to level up and use in combat adds a complexity to the game that goes a long way into keeping combat and exploration from getting too tedious.

Combat is turn-based by default, giving new and casual players ample time to decide their next move, or you can choose to switch to the active battle system for an additional challenge.

World of Final Fantasy

Mixed in with the random encounters as you explore the world, the story unfolds somewhat predictably. Lann and Reynn discover they are part of a prophecy to save the world, surprising no one who’s ever played a Final Fantasy game before. Cute anime cut-scenes are also used to tell the story, a nice surprise and change of pace each time they pop up.

Rating

World of Final Fantasy is rated E for Everyone. There is no blood in the game, and almost all of the monsters are adorable rather than scary. A party defeat doesn’t even necessarily mean death in most cases, so this may be the most family-friendly Final Fantasy yet.

Takeaway

World of Final Fantasy takes all of the basic elements of a Final Fantasy game and simplifies them. If recent entries in the series have been too complicated for you, you’ll likely find the UI and Mirage system a welcome return to what you know.

All characters are fully voiced, including past characters who have never had a voice before (Cloud! Squall!). Localization for this title in the series stands out from the rest with an abundance of humor, puns, and inside jokes for fans of the series that I don’t recall seeing in any other Final Fantasy game before it.

World of Final Fantasy is one huge, charming dose of nostalgia for anyone who has ever wiled away the hours in a Final Fantasy game. Have I mentioned it’s cute? We’re talking freaking adorable. If Final Fantasy XV looks like it’s too serious a choice for you and your kids, pick up World of Final Fantasy for an entry in the series that’s likely just as enjoyable.