Monday, April 7, 2014

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest (iOS/Android, 2013)

This is the worst thing Square-Enix has ever done.



We get the standard Final Fantasy opening about fated heroes and crystals and Girlboy Whispering Dawn of Unicorn.

This cellphone game is played by swiping across the screen... a lot. You do this until either your party or the enemies are defeated.

When you lose, you can revive your party by tapping an hourglass, or by waiting for a couple hours for them to regen. Unfortunately, hourglasses cost money... but the game does give you a few of them for free.

Then to show you how they work, you get put in an unwinnable battle. NO! I DON'T WANT TO USE ONE!

Every couple hours, Fever Mode pops up. This basically freezes time for a little while and lets you attack with impunity. It's basically an "end the battle free" card when you get it, though most late-game bosses only lose 30-40% health from it.

The world map is pretty snazzy... but it never really changes. All of the standard worlds have this grasslands motif.

A squirrel! HE'S COMIN' RIGHT FOR US!

The first boss is Garland, of FF1 fame. I'll be showing every boss in this post, so you can get the experience of the ENTIRE GAME by simply rubbing the screen furiously while reading. No need to even buy hourglasses or wait hours between fights!

As you proceed, you get new classes added to your army. Sadly, the White Mage here doesn't actually heal. She just attacks like everyone else. Not that heals would be of any use in this game since every character has one HP. Yep, they can take one hit before they're down, and enemies can strike multiple characters. Luckily, winning a battle is another way to revive your party.

Chaos is the next boss. Note how the army at this point consists only of original game classes, in a nice bit of continuity.

White Mages in action! Note that you can't issue commands of any kind in this game; there are no strategic mechanics. Giving this game any real gameplay, and doing away with the microtransactions, would have gone a long way towards making this a much better game.

For what it is, though, it's a slightly fun diversion. While zero skill is required, three-starring all of these stats takes time, and it appeals to the OCD in all of us. It's a great thing to do while waiting in line at the DMV.


There's also a bestiary, and filling this up is a lot of fun. Some of the rarer monsters take a lot of random battles to find.

Gilgamesh, of FFV fame. One of the most beloved foes in the series. He doesn't do much here, though. Quick, furiously rub the screen until he is vanquished!

Exdeath. Worth noting is that these fights actually have their battle music from their original games, which is pretty cool. One can pause the game and listen to these themes. I particularly like Exdeath's fight theme, the decisive boss theme from FFV. It sounds weirdly similar to Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People".

You can actually make these nine free hourglasses last for a while; most of the standard game, even. I saved them for times when I actually felt like playing for a little while. For short bursts of playing here and there, I'd just let the party regen on its own. Never bought any hourglasses. The fact that they're buyable to begin with, for people who just want to play continuously, is kinda crappy.

 The next stage is FFII themed, as you battle the Palamecian Knights. Unlike the opening fight of FFII, this is very winnable. Odd that they stuck FFV after the first game instead of going right into FFII.

The Emperor from FFII is the next major fight. No Blood Sword to one-shot him in this game.

The FFIV area is next up. Looks the same as the rest of the overworld.

The four fiends are fought in succession here.

There's the clothing-averse Valvalis (or Barbariccia, if you prefer).

Golbez, brother of Cecil. I'm 98% sure that if you have Cecil in your party at this point, there's no special dialogue. From standard play, you only get generic class characters in your party; getting named characters from the series is a matter of paying $1 a pop in more microtransactions. All in all, this game runs about $50 to get the most out of, and given the quality of the gameplay, it isn't worth anywhere near that.

FFVI bosses! At this point I realized that this game kinda cheapens these beloved old Final Fantasy enemies by lumping them into what amounts to a boss rush mode involving no skill where you rub them to death.

Speaking of which, are you still furiously rubbing the screen? RUB THOSE MAGITEK ARMORS!

Everyone's favorite prancing clown, Kefka, is the next boss. He looks like a levitating Magus from Chrono Trigger, except vastly dandier. See how gaily he prances!

Hyne, skeletal sorcerer from FFIII. This guy pioneered the wall-change ability that some bosses have in this series. ...well, in his original incarnation he did. In this game he has no such ability, or anything really to differentiate him from the rest of these hollow husks masquerading as beloved villains of olde.

Cloud of Darkness, FFIII's final boss. RUB WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!

For being named after snowy plains from FFVI, this sure does look like more generi-overworld.

Atma Weapon is the first particularly difficult fight in the game. And by "difficult" I mean that you're basically guaranteed to wipe out at least once on this fight and need to put the game down for a couple hours to regenerate.

Another iconic fight, with iconic music. It's missing the iconic background, though. I don't know if Archangel Kefka would be cool with fighting in a measily field.

FFIV returns, as we face off with the Demon Wall. It'd be cool if this thing edged closer and closer and insta-KO'd your entire army if he got close enough, but... nope, he's pretty much the same as all the other fights. Kinda looks like a Xenomorph. Vaguely. It's probably nothing.

Here's Zeromus, who may or may not be a Xenomorph. Huh, seems like my army is capped at 32. I know the max is 40, so this is pretty weird.

The final area is the Dimensional Rift from FFV, but oddly enough it's home to the elemental fiends from FF1. Here's the purple menace, Lich.

Let's take a detour here. The Premium Character Shop is where the fucking happens. $1 for a randomly-chosen character from the series. If you want Cloud Strife, well, you have a 1/35 chance of getting him. I decided to do this just once, thinking it'd be cool to have a unique character. I was hoping for Locke.

...instead I got this. HOW IS THIS A UNIQUE CHARACTER? I've been told that Pig from FFIV is another one. Yikes. Well, that'll do it for me on premium characters.

Back to the gameplay, here's Marilith the fire fiend. Normally one would be advised to use ice spells on this treacherous foe, but in this game... RUB! RUB FOR YOUR LIFE!

Kraken, fiend of water... and girl-pleasuring DYNAMO in his native Japan.

Tiamat. Somehow, I just realized for the first time ever that FF1's bosses, aside from Lich, have way too many limbs.

Back to the microtransactions. There are three expansions for the game, adding up to a cool $12. If you enjoy the game for what it is and want it to last about 40% longer, these are actually worth the price. Though I think they could stand to cost half as much. The difficulty is artificially inflated for these areas, too; even at max level, the bosses and minibosses are guaranteed to wipe your party out a couple of times.

Oh, and I figured out how to get my party size to increase past 32... advertise the game on your twitter and another party slot unlocks. Can only do this every 24 hours. Well, that kinda sucks. Means it takes eight days to get your party size maxed out.

Here's the final boss of the normal game, Neo Exdeath. Not sure why FFV gets top billing over the rest of the series. Maybe because FFV was the latest cellphone release when this game came out, and they wanted to build it up.

The end features all the characters roaming around in a field like farm animals. Moooo!

But we're not done yet! Time to look at the three DLC areas. These areas...

A) Are the only parts of the game that don't take place in grasslands, i.e. have some unique look about them

B) Transpire in the most popular FFs (VII and X) as well as the most recent (XIII)

C) Were released as day one DLC, meaning they could have EASILY been part of the base game as a goodwill gesture to fans amidst this microtransaction-fest.

I take on FFX first. These areas are all postgame and all make Neo Exdeath look puny. All three are roughly the same difficulty level as one another, and all are designed for a max level party. Luckily, getting to Level 99 in the final areas of the base game is really easy. Enemies in the postgame barely give any exp in comparison, so it's better to be 99 before you start these.

Hey, it's the sword Tidus had in FFX's box art. Weapon drops in this game permanently increase the attack power of certain classes, above and beyond standard levels. Collect 'em all!

Anima is the miniboss here. That's a pretty sweet background, and the FFX boss theme is a welcome addition to this fight. I just wish the sound effects (which you're hearing about 30 of every second) weren't so damn loud that they drown out all the great music in this game.

Braska's Final Aeon is a beastly foe. He's accompanied by Other World, FFX's awesome final battle theme.

FFXIII is next. The grassland overworld returns for this one. Miniboss is the futuristic Behemoth from that weird game.

Next up is... this giant plant boss. It was one of the optional postgame marks in FFXIII, but I barely remember it. It says a lot that I barely remember any of these foes from the most recent game in the series, while all the foes from the earlier games are iconic and easily-remembered.

Orphan is the final boss here. Still not sure what the hell this guy is, except that he's three gods in one. Or something like that. Takes about eight hours to win this fight since I had to leave the party to regen after every 25% or so of his HP.

FFVII is the last one I do. I have to admit, it's cool to see Midgar rendered in 16 bit style. This stuff might make you want to go buy the game... trust me, it isn't as cool as it looks. You're getting the same experience by looking at these screenshots, because there isn't any more to it.

Oh yeah, there's also the gameplay. RUB THE SCREEN! BY GOD, RUB!

Cool to see an FFVI foe mixed in with FFVII foes.

Second-to-last fight is Ultimate Weapon. He doesn't retreat like he did in the original game. Indeed, nothing special about this. Just realized that this guy was FFVII's version of Death Gaze. Huh.

At this point I detour to hunt some rare monsters and get 100%. Some of them are as powerful as postgame bosses. Here's Omega from FFV.

Death Gaze is also quite powerful, but as usual he's on a lower tier than Omega and Shinryu.

Speaking of Shinryu, here he is. The game deserves props for utilizing Omega and Shinryu's signature beam attacks and Tidal Wave, respectively.

Finally, here's Seraph Sephiroth, complete with apocalyptic music. No Supernova, disappointingly. Another eight hour battle follows, and I win the game.

It's weird that FFVIII, FFIX, and FFXII aren't included in this game. In addition to Ultimecia, Necron, and Vayne as the finals, I would have had the minibosses be...

FFVIII - Giant metal spider, Diablos
FFIX - Black Waltz, Nova Dragon
FFXII - Judge Gabranth, Dr. Cid

Time to take a look at the character/gear/bestiary lists, which have some pretty funny descriptions. In other news, Dancer has to be the sexiest FF class.

Women... always poisoning people?

Guns? USA! USA!

This... is not what I envisioned the Light Axe being in other games. Hilarious.

Squids: Solely responsible for pleasuring the women of Japan, from what I hear.

I wonder if the basilisks themselves are stoned.

Implying that Ultros and Chupon might be lovers? GENIUS.

Also did some weapon collecting. Ultima Weapon here is the lightsaber of the series. As if FFVI didn't have enough Star Wars references already...

While rare monster hunting, I saw a very uncommon sight: A party consisting of all one class. It's comical when this happens, and has little effect on your ability to win fights. Most of the classes do fairly similar damage to one another, though some (like Onion Knight) can do above-average hits.

Siegfried here was possibly the rarest rare monster find. This guy and Master Tonberry were the last ones I tracked down, and both took many random fights.



The first number on the title screen is the base game, second is the expansion content. 100%'d the base game, but I probably won't bother with finding all the monsters/weapons in the postgame. Not even sure if it can be 100%'d without buying all the premium characters.

Completed the record screen, and that'll do it for this game. Surprisingly fun game, and it's clear that the developers put a fair amount of effort into paying tribute to the Final Fantasy universe. One problem is that corporate decided to go way overboard with DLC... the other problem is that there is essentially no real gameplay here. Had they made this a command-based game that required any skill, and not dumped DLC all over it, then it could have been something special and something easily worth, I don't know, $20 or so. Instead it comes across as the laziest cash-in ever. Don't regret the time I spent messing around with it, but do yourself a favor and stay far away.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. Now I don't need to buy this myself. :)

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  2. THANK YOU for putting this together. I wanted to get this game and the DLCs just to see what they did with it and how the FF series monsters would look in 16-bit 2D. You just saved me $15 or however much the game + DLCs are altogether. As bad as the game is, you gotta admit the FF7/10/13 bosses look cool in 2D. I wonder why they didn't go all the way and include 8/9/12.

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  3. "hollow husks masquerading as beloved villains" really says it all.

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  4. I'd say there's a lot to like here, but it looks like I've now seen most of the good stuff without actually playing the game to experience all of the bad stuff. Well played, sir.

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  5. The font for the blue-screen introduction is quite lame in my opinon.
    Hahaha, scrolling down on this post on a mobile also requires rubbing the screen, right? Schnazzy.
    After seeing a bunch of 50s-ish adults here wasting their minds on cell phone games I have to think Square knew what it was doing making this game dumb.
    You're right, this cheapens all the bosses, and putting all these guys in the GRASSLANDS is terrible.
    It's hilarious and so fitting you got the Imp as your character buy.
    What does FFV-graphics-era Midgar look like? It'd be quite interesting if they did a good job with that instead of just using fortress graphics.
    Ohh you BOUGHT them! Truly you care about your fans!
    YEAH it's great to see these 3D bosses demade. And the captions for the weapons and bad guys seem to be several cuts above everything else; props to whoever wrote those.

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