Release Date: 18 December 2014
Price: (Japanese) 5,800 yen (package/retail version; excluding tax), 4,500 yen (digital version; excluding tax)
Final Fantasy is a name that is familiar to almost all gamers all over the world. However in Final Fantasy Explorers, Square-Enix took a radical change and decided to explore (pun not intended) the action/hunting/crafting genre and added their own twist to the gaming style popularised by Monster Hunter. There is no doubt there are influences and inspirations taken from the latter, but Square-Enix has ensured the game is different and offers more than its inspiration, creating a game fit for Final Fantasy fans. I delved into the demo since its first day of release, and enjoyed every moment of it.
The game will be released tomorrow (18 Dec) as of writing, so let’s round up what the demo provided and how it convinced me to buy the game!
What does the demo contain?
To compare it to most console/handheld demos would be a silly thing to do, as this demo is no mere demo. First off, one would notice that there is no limit to how many times you can play it. Hurrah! The game also offers features listed below, which provides a very good preview of what the final game can provide:
- More than 10 maps to explore!
- Extensive character customisation!
- 5 jobs: Novice, Knight, Archer (Bow/Axe), Black Mage, White Mage (Staff/Pole)
- 2 summons to fight: Ifrit and Shiva
- More than 15 monsters to recruit as pets!
- Almost all the first and second level spells and skills of the above jobs. All the available jobs can equip spells, which I totally dig.
- Crystal Drives: I collected 59% of the Crystal Drives, but that may be because I haven’t tried all of them
- Trance: Cloud (FF7), Lightning (FF13), Ifrit and Shiva
- Original Abilities: I love customising the skills. For those who are having difficulties understanding how the system works, the effects added are determined by Crystal Drives that are active when you use the skill/spell
- Crafting and upgrading of the earlier craft-able equipment
- Quest options: Basically options to make your quests harder. These are required if you want to make high level awesome equipment.
- Random mini-bosses such as giant turtles. The chances of them appearing are rather low, but you’ll know from the change in music.
- Features not included: Game Coins, Streetpass, DLC
- The first time you fight Ifrit, you may lose if you are not careful. He is different from all other monsters you have fought prior. Firstly, he is level 23, a huge leap from the level 7-10 monsters before him. Secondly, he can cast fire spells that cause massive damage to a huge area.
Tips: Bring a friend who is higher level than you. If you can’t do that, I recommend using Black Mage with Blizzard, Cure and Esuna. Try to boost Blizzard by adding Ice element onto it using the Original Ability system. Also, use the ice/freezing Crystal Drive when you get it, and fire Thunder at him for higher chances of freezing. Thunder freezes Ifrit almost every time, which is definitely a good thing.
- White Mage. My personal favourite job, which has gotten even more buffed compared to other job-centric “Final Fantasy” games such as FF3, Hikari no 4 Senshi and Bravely Default. White Mage starts with a unique ability Inori (祈り), which creates a huge circle on the ground that recovers AP (stamina) by around 400 and regenerates all party members inside the circle. On top of that, you can use Black Magic as well as fight using Pole Skills! I have solo-ed Ifrit and Shiva using White Mage without much problems.
- Original Abilities. USE THEM. The basic rule to adding elements and effects onto skills/spells are determined by the Crystal Drives active when you use the skills, so if you want to add Fire element, just use the Fire Crystal Drive and repeatedly use the skills/spells!
- If you play Singleplayer, use your pets! Get pets with boosted stats that complement your job/play style. For me, I have a Chocobo with double-boosted HP growth, which makes it a great tank while I stay far far away. I also have a Metal Knight to attract attention away from me.
- Get the Ice Mirror 極氷の鏡 which allows you a chance to freeze enemies using ANY attack! You’ll need to fight Shiva with the quest option increasing her HP/Atk by 100%, then focus your attacks onto the mirror floating behind her (use the D-pad to change targets). You’ll need to break her mirror TWICE in order to get the rare item to craft that mirror.
Tip: Use the 水音の加護 (water) or 火炎の加護 (fire) Crystal Drives. Water for getting the Silence element onto your abilities, and Fire while fighting Shiva to cause Burn.
- Lastly, equip Esuna and/or Regen regardless of job. It may seen less useful than Cure at first, but Cure doesn’t heal much HP and it is much better to remove debuffs from yourself and your party members, as well as have constant regenerating HP.
The biggest and most jarring issue I have with the game which may not even matter to most people is the lack of 3D entirely. I am not sure if the final release will have 3D, but the game is gorgeous and detailed that it looks awesome even in 2D. May be a trade-off for the extremely smooth frame-rates.
Stuff that can/cannot be transferred to the main game
Can be transferred:
- Equipment: 1 item of each type only. Upgrades not brought over.
- Battle items: All
- Learned Abilities: Only non-Original Abilities
- Gil: up to 50,000 gil
- CP (Crystal Point): up to 2,000 CP
Cannot be transferred:
- Player Profile/Character
- Story Progress
- Original Abilities
- Soul Stones/Magic Stones
Announced Trance Mode Characters
- Cloud Strife (FF7)
- Lightning/Eclair Farron (FF13) – Claire Farron in the English version
- Squall Leonhart (FF8)
- Tina (FF6) – Terra in the English version
- Bartz/Batz Klauser (FF5)
- Tidus (FF12)
- Yuna (FF10-2)
- Cecil Harvey (FF4)
- Aerith Gainsborough (FF7) – Aeris Gainborough/Gainsbourg in some sources
- Tifa Lockhart (FF7)
- Vaan (FF12)
Special gifts for purchasing the Japanese version
- 3DS version of Final Fantasy 1 (package version only)
- Onion Knight costume (both package and digital)
- Adventurer’s map 3DS theme (ordering from Amazon)
- … and more. Be sad. Unless you want to order from Japan/fly to Japan.
Announced Summons/Legendary Creatures
- Ifrit (2 stars)
- Shiva (2 stars)
- Ramuh (2 stars)
- Doryuasu ドリュアス (this is new to the FF series) (2 stars)
- Fenrir (3 stars)
- Alexander (3 stars)
- Diabolos (3 stars)
- Phoenix (3 stars)
- Bahamut (4 stars)
- Odin (4 stars)
- Leviathan (4 stars)
- Amaterasu (5 stars)
Each of the summons also have a Mutant version, which is basically a powered-up version of the originals. To put that into perspective, Mutant Shiva is a 7-star quest.
Source: Official Website