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.
Well I said it once and I'm going to say it again for all those who either ignored me or didn't see my last post; this is Final Fantasy :The Quest of Copy and Paste.
We also forget that even Mario and Zelda have those terrible CDi games. There is something to be said about this game being used solely to cash-farm, but if Square uses the money to fund either the next big entry in the series or a return to the 16-bit style games (with some quality storytelling), I'd be okay with that.
But no, I'm probably not going to buy this.
*Facepalms at Square-Enix*
I just don't understand the logic behind this game at all...
Oh, wow. Another sh*tty Final Fantasy game? Who would've thought...
Mobile gaming = for suckers please sign up and make us more rich! dummies
I don't think we should really hate on Sqaure Enix as a whole for this abomination, but rather the one or two guys in the higher up positions at the company whom forced this thing through the "development" process and got it published.
Hmm.. seemed like a decent game and first glance but I didn't realize how money hungry it was.. a little over the top there, Square Enix..
Final Fantasy has never been my cup of tea. I keep trying to enjoy it, I Bought FF VI last year but still need to beat it.
what a joke
My hope is that they're doing these cell phone cash-grabs in order to fund a larger product. So here's me clinging to hope that one day we will see Versus or a Kingdom Hearts 3.
When I saw the announcement for this game on GI a couple days ago and looked at the screen shot of it. I thought to myself, this game looks horrible why in the F are there 90 gabillion party members on the screen... I love Final Fantasy as well but this game, even w/o playing it, I knew would be a train wreck. Sad...
I really don't care for the mobile space much, even if I am a big FF fan. Thank you for the look at this game Matt; abit disappointing SE would put out a sub-par game that looks like a cash grab.
Wouldn't it make more sense to use their 16-bit sprite games to do micro adventures within some of the FF worlds? Just odd to me the direction SE has been doing their smaller FF titles.
I was wondering why there were so many chars on screen at once, thinking it was a glitch or something. Shame about it's combat system and micro trans system goin on. . . could've been somethin much better