The lights are on
It’s rare that I have such a visceral and immediate reaction to a game as I have to Final Fantasy: ATB, which just released for play on iPhone and iPad. It's rarer still that reaction is so vehemently negative. However, as a longtime Final Fantasy enthusiast, the latest attempt by the franchise to dip into the mobile space angers me.
All The Bravest has an intriguing premise. Take the visual presentation of the original sprite-based Final Fantasy titles and build a fast-to-play battle game rooted in the active time battle system that has appeared in many franchise installments. Instead of traditional battles, give the player a growing selection of between a dozen and forty characters of various jobs and throw them into large-scale battles filled with blasts of magic, swinging swords, and rays of light.
Now take that promising concept and layer on as many ways as possible to elicit money from your players, without providing any meaningful gameplay, and you have Final Fantasy All The Bravest.
Combat initially appears like it might replicate the strategic battles of early Final Fantasy titles, but that impression is an illusion. Instead, you either tap individual characters or more likely swipe whole swaths of them at once to make them run forward and attack your enemies. Then you wait until their meter refills and swipe them again. Every time a monster hits one of your characters, that hero instantly dies and disappears from the playfield. When everyone is gone, you have three choices. First, exit out to the main map and grind some easier battles until your team is a little stronger. Second, you can use real money to purchase golden hourglasses for an instant party revive, or third, you can wait until your characters respawn naturally, at a rate of one character every three minutes – in other words, at a positively glacial pace.
As you move through the game worlds, you see plenty of homages to classic locations and enemies from the Final Fantasy series, but you never get any of the storytelling or true customization that characterizes those games. Instead, your party of adventurers grows at a static rate, and you never have the opportunity to actually choose the makeup of your party. You’ll occasionally be rewarded weapons that give boosts to certain character jobs. However, it should be noted that all the classes are effectively identical in their effect on combat – tap them and they attack, so the distinction is largely cosmetic, unless of course you happened to have gotten certain weapon unlocks. Even if you have, you can’t assign who appears in a fight, so it doesn’t really matter.
We make a point not to focus on the cost of a game when writing about its quality, but All The Bravest’s primary gameplay loop is all about trying to elicit you to spend money, so it’s impossible to ignore the feature. An initial $3.99 purchase nets you the main game and the chance to dive into some battles. You can spend money on the previously mentioned golden hourglasses (with the lowest cost being $0.99 for three of them), or an additional $3.99 per pack on specific worlds from previous games you might want to visit, like Midgar or Zanarkand. You can also spend $0.99 on summoning a random legendary Final Fantasy character. In total, you can spend over $50 to fully populate your game, but you’ll have so little agency or engagement with any of your purchases, it’s hard to justify any of it.
The game’s one redeeming feature is the ability to see classic Final Fantasy characters and settings depicted in the old sprite visual style, and listen to some of the familiar tunes that once populated those old games. However, my advice is to instead go back and play those original classics, rather than reward Square Enix for its cash-in attempt by spending any money on this manipulative and stale game.
You can check out a trailer for Final Fantasy All The Bravest by clicking over to our original story on the game.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
At least try and make an effort to cover up your greediness.
I miss Squaresoft...
this is square now, they dont care about 3ds game localizations that are quality, just *** like this
I love Square Enix with the Final Fantasy series. But this was probably just thought up in a day.
I have already gave up on this whole new founded DLC generation. It's nothing but old games for me anymore. I bought a 3DS just to go backlog crazy, and im having a blast. No DLC for Chrono Trigger, and FF IV, etc...I can't even keep track of all the crap that comes out for games after they are released anymore. My PS3 has been collecting dust simply because everytime i turn it on it's trying to tell me of all this stuff i need to purchase to ENHANCE my experience. DLC will be the death of this industry. Now excuse me while i play a FULL game i got off Amazon for $14.95.
Square has been trying to money off of its popularity for a while now
Had a feeling this wasn't going to do well.
Well, I guess the one thing this does prove is that Square Enix can conceivably port the SNES version of FF6 onto the iPhone, which most everyone would probably be on favor of.
Its pretty rare to see Miller this negative on a downloadable title. It must be terrible.
I wasn't really interested in this in the first place. So, no harm no foul.
I'm a huge FF fan too so this is pretty sad for me, but I figured as much when I first heard about this game.
Thanks for the heads up, Matt. I almost bit on this one. I've always liked your takes since you started doing the Impulse features.
all iphone games suck as much as the ihphone and apple crap anyway.
All phone games have sucked balls and nobody that is not insane wants to play games on a fricking phone touch screen.
Square Enix are masters of, "the Troll". When will people learn that? WHENEVER they have a "secret announcement", and a teaser website or countdown clock, it's just going to be something stupid like this. A mobile, social or GREE game that is just a pile of cr*p designed to take a steaming dump all over the Final Fantasy brand. I called it when people started running stories about this teaser website. I said, "I know what it's for: Disappointment". And I was right.
But seriously, f**k you Square. This is much worse than just putting out another cr*ppy mobile game with "Final Fantasy" printed on the title screen to pull nickels and dimes from stupid fans. "All the Bravest" implied the localized name for Bravely Default, a game everyone who's heard of it WANTS OVER HERE IN THE WEST! You guys trademarked the name, "All the Bravest" for this sh**? FU*K. YOU. TROLLS. Might as well just rename your company "Troll-Enix" at this point, between Versus XIII and half the cr*p you put out these days.
Well that's disappointing. I was hoping for something that was fast, frantic, and fun; like Theaterhythm or TWEWY; all while combining elements of the older games. Oh, well. I guess it's a good thing I still don't own an iPhone.