Final Fantasy Blog: Dimensions

Love Final Fantasy? You're in luck! I'm going to be starting a series of blogs going over games in Final Fantasy starting with the app store exclusive: Final Fantasy Dimensions. If you haven't heard of this game, try it out. It's free! At least, the prologue is. But the rest is worth the money.

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1. Prologue


 

     Oh Final Fantasy. How I love you. You became a staple of the RPG genre for so long with a series that never ends no matter the fact that your name is FINAL Fantasy. I just love these games, as well as RPGs in general. I especially love the Final Fantasy games and any game that follows their turn-based combat system (Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga being my personal favorite). But yet like a music artist, you go through a rough phase of substance abuse that not only affects your image, but the work as well. And most certainly Final Fantasy has gone through this since FFX and has gone into a spiral of producing games with horrible characterization, long tedious cutscenes, broken combat, and stories that leave me from scratching my head from one minute to banging it against a wall (FFXIII.)

     Is there hope? Possibly. a few months ago I found a Final Fantasy game in the app store next to other known games of the franchise: like FFVI, FFV, etc. I wasn't aware of this title and found it was free... and that I had to pay for the rest of the game.

     But this isn't a bad thing, because you can pay for all 4 chapters in advance for 13.99 instead of buying all, one at a time, for 21.99. Not only that but unlike the other Final Fantasy games in the app store, its not a re-release. It's a fully original game.

     What really urged me to buy all four chapters was how I enjoyed the first part of the game wanting to continue and complete it; and I didn't regret it. The story was better than I expected. Then I noticed that the game felt it was a self parody of itself, and a tribute to the fans of old Final Fantasy.

     Tell me if you heard this: A tyrannical empire controls most of the world. Our heroes do a job for the empire involving a Crystal that was immense magical power. Then the heroes fight against the empire they were a part of.

     It's every Final Fantasy in a nutshell. I guess the appeal is how cliche to story really is, yet is better than the complex cluster of XIII.

     Side Note: If you also didn't notice, the artwork for the game, like the one above, was done by returning artist for the series, Yoshitaka Amano. The guy had the courtesy of making art for every chapter in this game, which I will display for every chapter I go through.

     Still, it's one of the cheaper FF games in the store (If you buy the chapters in a bundle,) the cheapest being the first two. I wouldn't recommend those though. They are full of bugs the last I checked. "But that game still has 4 chapters" you say. Well that's what I'm here for. I'm not urging you to buy it, but I am going to go through this game and let you see for yourself if you want it.

     The prologue itself is free and gives enough to let decide if you do want to spend 13 dollars on an app. But I'm going further. I'm going through all 4 chapters in this blog, going over the gameplay and characters, because this really is one of the better games Square Enix release under this series.

     Keep in mind, I will make numerous comparisons to FFXIII. 

     Without further ado, let's start.

 


 

     We start the game proper with some text informing us on the world's constant war against the expanding Avalonian Empire which has supposedly brings prosperity to lands they annex. We then cut to an old man and a knight sensing somethig is going to happen. Followed by an airship flying over the game's landscape.



     


     We then get introduced to our first main character, Sol. Who sees another airship fly over him wishing he could join the empire. Yeah, you know where this is going. You see it in characters like Luke Skywalker who wake up and realize the ruling authority is evil. While he falls in hero/protagonist territory, he's not too likable yet not too unlikable. But he makes some poor choices as we'll soon see.

     One last side note: I want to compare him to a FFXIII character, but I found that he doesn't contrast with Lightning enough. However he does have a lot more in common with Sazh. Why? For starters, their personalities are too similar that they are on par with each other. That would be a complement because he's one of the more better characters in FFXIII; except Sol doesn't remind us who's the enemy of who every cutscene.

 

     So having his head up in the clouds, Sol is attacked by his best friend Glaive, giving us the battle tutorial. This is one of the very few times there is a tutorial and gives you the basics you need to know for the entire game. Ya hear that FXIII? We know how to use your crappy battle system. You don't have to remind us a hundred frickin times.


      The gameplay is similar to that of FFVI in which there is a constant timer determining who attacks first. It becomes more clear when you play the game yourself but simple enough.

      After attacking a couple of times, Sol will win (unless you do nothing.) And the fighting will be broken up by the game's main love interest Diana to remind the two that her brother will return from a mission by the empire.



        Remember what I said about Sol screwing up? Don't worry. We're getting there.

        I guess I should also talk a little bit about Glaive and Diana. As I just said, Diana is basically the love interest for Sol and Glaive, but I find her relationship with her brother Aigis to be the more interesting part of her character; as we'll soon see. Her stats and starting abilities make her a good white mage to use. Glaive is basically a polar opposite of Sol. He's more reasonable and definitely the more tolerant. In combat they're the same aside from their ability. Where Sol has Counter, Glaive has Focus.

       So now we head off to the border to meet Diana's brother Aigis. We are first stopped by a guard until Aigis tells him to fuck off. Aigis was on a mission for the empire fighting in the war, but at this point we never know what exactly they have him doing. It makes him mysterious without making him too much of a slate or a wet blanket.

      After traveling back to the kingdom of Lux, where our characters live, Aigis is called back to the castle for another mission leaving his sister Diana in a gloomy state. Remember what I said about Sol screwing up?

Well......



And then she slaps Sol.

https://media2.giphy.com/media/ddd0HBTakik00/200_s.gif

Sorry. I couldn't get a snapshot of that moment.




      I mean seriously. What the Fuck Sol? I almost take back what I said about Sol being an OK character. What keeps me from doing so are events later in the game. But rule of thumb: You CANNOT have a character be this unlikeable in the beginning. It can be a major turnoff for people.

     So to try and redeem himself, Glaive tells him to apologize; it doesn't work.


      Moving past this melodrama, Diana joins back with them to sneak into the castle. According to Glaive he knows a secret passage into the castle. That's another point for Glaive. Yeah I'm going to be keeping score for Glaive and Sol. At this point you can freely roam the village and talk to the people. Another step up from XIII, because hearing from a world's inhabitants going through their daily business adds more to world building than exposition dumps in ten minute cutscenes.

     But you may say "But these conversations are also exposition dumps." To that I say "Eh, sometimes."

     Let me elaborate more. World-building is the act of shaping an imaginary world both figuratively and visually. Moments of world-building comes from moments that happen in a story or from expositional moments. The reason I think this game does a better job at world-building than I think FFXIII does comes by the delivery of these moments. In FFXIII the aspects of L'Cie, Fal'Cie, Focus, Cocoon, and Pulse are constantly mentioned but never fully elaborated or experianced until long after the player stops caring. We don't know why the Fal'Cie or L'Cie are bad because they never give a reason why they're bad. We don't care about the conflict between Pulse and Cocoon, becuase we don't know what's great about either of them.

     In this game and many Final Fantasys before, we explore a bit of the world in the beginning and along the way learning what is either necessary to the story or what is necessary about understanding this world. So far in this game, we know about Avalon's control on the world and thanks to the exploration of our protagonists' home, we have knowledge about the world and why we care about the Kingdom of Lux and give a crap when something bad happens to the place.

     Going to the castle the guards obviously won't let you in leading Glaive to reveal the secret passage way he was talking about. After a bit of old fashioned dungeon crawling, the passage leads into the throne room, where coincidently Aigis meets the King of Lux. According to him, Lux is home to a crystal that gives the entire world its magical power and that the oracles, who have a deep connection with it, sense something is wrong.

     So Aigis' mission is to go to the temple and investigate on what could be happening. He is offered a squad of soldiers to go with him but refuses and tells our trio to come out of hiding. Aigis gets permission from the king to take them on this mission to his advisors dismay.

     Then he says something that you'd expect Princess Celestia to say. I don't know why but it cracks me up the way he says it.

     So now that we have Aigis in the party and orders from the King, we set out to the temple which is farther away than it should be. It's not as far as other parts of the game, but you have to go through two caves to get to it. You'd think a kingdom dedicated to protecting the Crystal that powers all the world's magic would be a little closer for safe keeping. 

     Side note: in battle, when you activate spells or abilities, each character/class has their own little stance that they do. out of the four at the moment Aigis has to be my favorite. 

    Seriously! He's shooting the bird! I'm sure he's probably doing something else like holding up his index finger, but I'd like to think he's giving the finger everytime he kills someone as if telling them to fuck off.

    At the end of the second cave, We see that and old man is being attacked by a giant turtle. After defeating the mini-boss, the old man introduces himself as Elgo and joins the party. Just like Aigis, he is a Red Mage, but has a higher level and larger move pool. But hell because he's a hermit warrior who will be killed off, I'm going to call him Ben Kenobi.

     Next stop, The Temple! So when we get to the temple, there are of course monsters there who I assume guard the crystal and do not discriminate even those who live to protect it. But it becomes a problem when the Crystal's strongest guardian starts to destroy the crystal in a shocking revelation.

DAMN ROBIN WILLIAMS GOT RIPPED

 

     So in those classic Final Fantasy situations, the boss fight ends with the Watchbeast crippling the party with a powerful strike ending the fight. It's not really game over it only happens after beating the boss. So then the monster continues destroying the Crystal until another party through the walls claiming the Crystal is theirs. Then the screen fades to black.

     A text scroll tells us that as the Crystal shattered, rip through space and time separates the world into light and dark. Finally topping off the chapter we get a brief introduction to more characters who we'll probably meet later in the game.

     Who are these guys? What about our party? What does splitting the world apart mean? Why did the guardian break the Crystal?

     PAY WALL

 

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