Final Fantasy is by far one of the most recognizable names when it comes to RPGs and while the name title has a pedigree, its track record hasn’t been the most consistent in recent years.
Thankfully, with the dawn of mobile gaming, Square Enix has been able to dip into their older titles and give them a new lease of life on the mobile phone.
Oddly enough, the latest mobile offering from the realm of Final Fantasy was not developed by Square Enix themselves, but by Perfect World and released for the Chinese market only. Seeing its popularity, the title was licensed to a Hong Kong based company Efun and localized for the rest of the world. Based off the realm of Final Fantasy Type-0, Final Fantasy Awakening is an interesting inclusion to the already saturated mobile gaming market.
If you’ve never had a chance to play one of the best-reviewed games in the PS4 or PSP, Final Fantasy Awakening might be your best chance to explore the Crystal States of Orience for “free”.
Yes, I used the word free with quotation marks because this is a freemium game and there will be some microtransactions within. However, I’ve given the game quite a good amount of game time and at no point have I had the urge the make a purchase. Yet.
Final Fantasy Awakening starts off as straightforward as most action RPGs do and it certainly reminds me of classic Diablo. Players are given the option to pick between a Windblade Warrior, physical ranged Fire Gunner and the spellcasting Ice Magitek Knight.
If that’s not the makings of Diablo, I don’t know what else is.
Thankfully, apart from the opening similarities, Final Fantasy Awakening quickly sucks you into a world of magic and science. The gameplay is fast and fluid, and combined with great cutscenes and an awesome soundtrack as well. What do you have to do? Walk around, and mash buttons. The title is a straight up hack and slash with most of our concentration placed in creating combos and dodging an enemy’s attack. Too lazy to play more? Turn on “Auto” mode and mash buttons with one hand.
While the game starts off easy (naturally), the difficulty ramps up gradually to the point where you’d need to turn off ‘Auto’ mode and handle things manually. Auto mode is great if you’re commuting and need to play the game one-handed, but for certain boss fights later in the game, it’ll be best to turn it off to dodge nasty attacks. Initially, I felt it really encouraged lazy gaming but it did help quite a fair bit especially when you’re navigating dungeons.
Along the way, players can recruit or unlock new characters to add to their team, and a huge chunk of the game is claiming in-game funds to level up your teammates.
The world of Final Fantasy Awakening is broken up in many modes to keep players occupied. The bulk of the action would take place in the campaign, but you’re free to explore the rest of the world through dungeon runs, arena battles, PVP, and I’m only scratching the surface here. Even if you’ve run out of energy (yes, this is where the mobile part comes into play.) to do the main quest, Final Fantasy Awakening has plenty of distractions to keep you occupied as your energy recuperates.
At the end of the day, Final Fantasy Awakening is a freemium game and if you’re looking to power level yourself through the game, you’re gonna hit some roadblocks down the line. For me, it took me about eight hours of continuous gameplay before the game started to feel a tad overpowered, thus requiring me grind a few of the previously levels to earn more experience points for my party.
Be warned though – there are plenty of currency verticals needed for this game and it all can be paid for using gems which can be acquired using real life cash. However, it would also seem that these gems are distributed rather generously as you level up. PVE wise, gems have little impact towards gameplay in general, but how you fare in PVE also reflects how well you would do against other opponents in PVP. So, if you’re looking to garner bragging rights to top out the PVP ladders, you better have deep pockets to feed the habit.
All things considered, Final Fantasy Awakening is a great game if you’re looking for something to fill your commute, or do in-between meetings. Levels are short, and there’s a good amount of handholding for a game that’s marketed as a mobile MMO so even newbies can get into the action quickly. With a good part of the initial levels being mostly single player, the game has plenty of offer before you hit a roadblock.
But hey, it’s a free game so why not give it a go and see if it’s your cup of tea. Be warned, this is one rabbit hole that goes really deep.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A pretty decent title to play on the move if only there was a version that wasn’t based on a freemium model, this would be an instant hit.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Story - 6.5/10
Presentation - 8/10
Value - 6/10