‘Final Fantasy Explorers’ review
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
I was excited when I heard about Final Fantasy Explorers for the Nintendo 3DS. Although I haven’t played a lot of the Final Fantasy games, this one looked different than the typical turn-based combat typically found in the retro games, and I was excited to try it. Although the game can be enjoyable, it was a bit of a letdown because it ended up being nothing new for me.
The aim of the game is to explore various regions and complete quests. The plot involves the player, as an Explorer, going through uncharted territory in the hopes of finding crystals. Unlike the other recent Final Fantasy games, the game quest driven rather than narrative driven. Unfortunately, this means the plot itself is pretty weak.
Players are able to choose from 21 job classes, which you unlock as you go. They are mostly the typical classes found in other roleplaying games, such as Ranger, Paladin, or Thief. Each job class also uses the typical weapons for that class, such as bows for Rangers—although it does seem odd that Monks use brass knuckles.
The only different element here is the customization options. You are able to upgrade each weapon and piece of clothing with extra stats such as Accuracy, Attack, and Recovery, using items found in the world. After collecting enough items, you can completely max out every item’s stats. Items can also be imbued with monster souls that will add traits, such as health boosts.
Another interesting element of customization has to do with the skills players can learn. When in battle, “Crystal Surges” can grant temporary perks. While under the effects of the Crystal Surge, compatible skills have a chance of mutating. This can add extra effects to the skills when used, such as Paralysis, Poison, Magic Attack bonus, or HP Recovery. Skills can hold up to nine different mutations, or you can stack mutations to make them stronger.
Unfortunately, this game is extremely easy. Even moderately high level players will manage to annihilate pretty much everything. Even Eidolon, which are rare bosses that, once defeated, can be summoned, can be defeated rather quickly if the player is prepared. The difficulty can be increased by adding challenges to the quests, such as restricted use of healing items. This adds an extra star to the quest’s difficulty. However, even five-star quests don’t provide that much more challenge.
There are a few things to like about Final Fantasy Explorers, the main thing being the multiplayer. When I play quests with my brother, they are actually harder to complete. All of the foes have higher stats and take more time to defeat. Depending on your class, this could make the game very challenging. A Ranger deals little damage compared to a Knight, so the time limit may be more restrictive for some player classes.
Final Fantasy Explorers can be enjoyable when playing with a partner, but it doesn’t manage to offer anything too new or interesting. If you really like these kinds of roleplaying games, go for it, but don’t expect it to have any “wow” factor.