Final Fantasy Explorers is a good game that still leaves something to be desired.
It plays on the Nintendo 3DS, and it isn’t a bad game by any means. However, it does take what I consider to be the less interesting parts of other Final Fantasy games and makes them its driving mechanics.
Final Fantasy Explorers has little to no plot. If anything, it borrows from the beginnings of other more noteworthy games like Final Fantasy XIV and then strips that story down to its barest of bones.
You are a new adventurer traveling to an island somewhere in this vaguely described world. Because said Island suddenly has these valuable crystals popping up everywhere, everyone is trying to get there.
But Amostra is more than just a coveted bounty of a land, it has Eidolons! And the goal of the game, apparently, is to beat them up and take their stuff.
Because they’re there, of course!
Let me be clear on something though: none of this is inherently bad. Some games do well enough by simply relying on gameplay. I just prefer a good story-driven game.
Final Fantasy Explorers borrows the guildleve system from Final Fantasy XIV and makes it the driving force behind progression, which has its good and bad points.
On the good side, It’s very clean cut; you basically have a neat little to do list for advancing through the game.
On the other hand, it tends to get repetitive. Yes, the quests differ in terms of objective, but any time you want to do something you have to check in with the receptionist at the front desk.
Also, everything has a time limit. Even exploring the world without picking up a quest has a time limit.
Granted, the time limits are very generous; unless you spend a lot of time being sidetracked during missions and gathering resources, you’ll never have to worry about running out of time. Thus, the time constraints are at best, a little arbitrary, and at worst, pretty pointless.
A Good Note: The Combat System
The really interesting portion is the actual combat system of the game. It’s all the skills and actions found in other Final Fantasy games, now implemented in an action-oriented system.
If you want to attack, you hit “Y” and BAM you’ve swung your sword. If you want to use a skill, you hold down “L” or “R” and your abxy buttons all convert to a predetermined list of abilities that you’ve set yourself.
It’s a really well-implemented system for a handheld title, allowing for a complex playstyle that isn’t usually found on handheld games.
The only major gripe I might have with the gameplay is that it was made with the “New” 3DS in mind. That means that if you’re playing on an older 3DS or XL (and you don’t have that nifty C-stick to make the camera flow nicely around you), you have to tap the L or R buttons to reposition the camera behind your character. It’s not a huge problem, just slightly inconvenient.
A Few Final Comments
- It has a nifty “recruit the monsters you fight” aspect so that if you’re playing by yourself you can have a small entourage with you at all times. This is actually pretty nice; it scratches that old Monster Rancher gameplay itch that has gone unscratched for so long.
- Changing to and acquiring the other jobs like Dragoon or Blue Mage is as simple as opening up a menu and selecting them and completing certain missions or defeating so-and-so amount of monsters.
Final Fantasy Explorers plays like a bite-sized Final Fantasy XIV; the main difference is that the story is placed on the back burner so that the its multiplayer gameplay aspects can take the front stage.
That’s really the way that this game was meant to be played (it’s also the way that it was marketed). I got a copy for my significant other as well and I can honestly say that I enjoyed this game far more when I had someone to run around with.
What are your thoughts on Final Fantasy Explorers? What’s good? What’s bad? Please leave your thoughts down below!