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Final Fantasy: All The Bravest – iOS

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest – iOS

mzl.qzxrqiewPlatform: iOS

Developer: BitGroove

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: January 17, 2013

Genre: RPG

Nerd Rating: 4.5/10

Reviewed by Paladin

Look, up in the sky! Its an RPG! Its an Adventure game! Its….huh?

Such was the reaction of many upon first downloading the recent entry in the Final Fantasy series for free on their smartphones and tablets. Simply looking at screenshots was enough to get fans excited for this seemingly mega mashup of FF characters. With the ability to build a party of 40 members, consisting of main characters from FF 1-13 as well as nearly every combat class bestowed by the crystals from FF 1, 3, and 5, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest (ATB) had us excited for what many expected to be a mini Dissidia.

The real thing however, turned out to be much different.

Most players’ disappointment began with the first screen of the tutorial where, through the instructions of a moogle, one learns that the entire gameplay consists of simply tapping on characters to make them attack…and that’s it. All you need to do is run your finger over the screen and watch your army execute a single offensive move against an enemy. Upon returning to their place in line a small Active Time Battle meter (hence ATB) will begin to fill up above their head rendering them unable to attack while still remaining very much attack-able.

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But wait, what about items? What about spells? What about the awesome combos and intricacies of combat that we’ve come to expect and love from this franchise? Not here. All you do is tap the screen while you wait for the enemy to plow through your troops with a series of one hit kills. That’s right, one hit is all it takes to fly off the screen. This wouldn’t be a problem if you could concentrate all of your efforts on a single enemy, but that particular feature was deemed superfluous and instead the game randomly decides which onscreen monster will be attacked. Effectively, all elements of strategy have been removed.

I know what you’re thinking; doesn’t it say RPG at the top of this article? True. I’d be lying if I said Final Fantasy: All the Bravest contains no elements of the beloved genre. For starters, your default army is made up of most of the memorable Jobs and Classes from the first five Final Fantasy games. Recurring favorites like the Monk, Thief, and every color mage, as well as more obscure warriors like the Sage and the Berserker are all yours to command, with each performing a signature attack unique to their class. Admittedly, this is one area where the game shines. Specific attention is given to each sprite as far as weapons they hold, spells they cast, etc…It’s fun seeing them appear one by one, as all the payer starts with is 14 Warriors, with each class showing up at random as the number of party members grows steadily over time. Going into the menu and reading a short bio on each new character and monster is also enjoyable, as is sporadically collecting weapons from enemies to increase your offense. Your party also gains experience points and levels up (another offense only spike), a linear path is traversed across a world map and each section features familiar Overworld and Battle tunes from different FFs. Even gil is collected after each battle, though exactly what purpose it serves remains a mystery. Wishful thinking would have it assist in the purchase of Premium characters from the other Final Fantasy games.

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Wait, what?

I’m afraid so. 35 heroes from the other games lie at the mercy of the dreaded in-app purchase for $.99 a piece. But being the legendary warriors they are surely they must have higher stats than the normal party, right? Wrong. They go down in one hit just like the rest. Again, they each have their own special attack and bio, but that hardly makes up for $35 down the drain. Add to that the $3.99 to be spent on Premium levels like Midgar, Zanakand Ruins and the Archylte Steppe, and you begin to see why most gamer’s have a problem with Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.

The basic plot of save the world with all of these great warriors quickly becomes a cash cow of how many characters can I afford and should I choose between one of them or buying more magical hourglasses to revive my party because I don’t feel like waiting for them to return one by one in three minute intervals (This issue arises most during boss battles, where the enemy’s life gauge drains agonizingly slow). The game has two goals: 1. Save the world. 2. Spend money doing it. The graphics, gameplay, pacing and just about everything else are extremely simplistic.

And to be honest, that’s part of the charm.

With so many complex games out there consisting of heavy plots and masterful, yet involved gameplay, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest can be a nice breath of fresh air when your brain feels a bit too overwhelmed and you just need something fun and basic. For all its flaws I did get a thrill out of hearing and seeing different aspects from so many different FF games all in one place. Even the $.99 is almost worth it to see characters from the later games get the 16-Bit treatment. (Its also exciting to discover which Premium character you unlock, as each time is a mystery.)

All in all, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest is a fun game that can become a money grabber, but certainly doesn’t have to in order to be enjoyed. The trick is to know what you’re getting into; its not a true RPG, but rather a fast paced, finger tapping game. Is it great for hours of binge gaming? No. But it is perfect for those few extra minutes when you find yourself standing in line or trudging through commercials on TV. Going into Final Fantasy: All the Bravest with the right mindset can make the difference between a bitter disappointment and a fun dose of nostalgia to take your mind off of things for a while. Give it a shot, but keep an eye on your wallet.

Written by Paladin

 
 

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