Final Fantasy Explorers lets players create their own tale

Final Fantasy Explorers lets players create their own tale

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The "Final Fantasy" franchise has dealt with its characters in meaningful ways, from the death of Aerith in Final Fantasy 7 to Tidus’ journey back to his homeland in Final Fantasy 10. "Final Fantasy Explorers" is a spin-off title that allows players to make their own story.

"Final Fantasy Explorers’" game mechanics are similar to Capcom’s "Monster Hunter" franchise. In both games, characters don’t level up, but rather increase their character’s health and skills through battling monsters and gathering material to craft stronger equipment.

Upon starting the game, players create their character and are given a small subset of jobs to fit their playstyle. The character begins as a Freelancer, with the ability to use any weapon or ability at the cost of losing some its efficiency. Choosing a specific class boosts the power of certain items. For example, as a Knight, characters deal increased damage with sword skills.

As the game progresses, character customization expands with 21 playable jobs, new equipment and an upgradable ability system.

Abilities in the game are varied, allowing characters to use abilities from other jobs, as long as the character has the right equipment. Classes such as the Archer and Knight, who are primarily the damage dealers of a group, can use the White Mage’s healing magic to recover health.

By using abilities in combat, players can use “Crystal Surges,” which can enhance any currently equipped ability. These come in the form of Affinity bonuses, allowing players to combine their attacks with elemental effects such as a burning effect when striking foes with a sword. However, Crystal Abilities are randomly assigned, meaning players won’t always be given the right ability boost for the situation.

As well as “Crystal Surges,” players will unlock the ability to transform into Final Fantasy characters, such as Cloud from "Final Fantasy 7" or Lightning from "Final Fantasy 13." While transformed, Crystal Abilities become known as “Trance Surges,” allowing the player to use their transformed state to unleash a character-specific attack.

Quests in "Final Fantasy Explorers" are short, timed missions that task the player with defeating monsters, collecting items or taking down the game’s bosses, known as Eidolons. Though quests will change locations to add enemy variety, the overall structure of these quests does not change.

Often, players will fight an Eidolon only to face it again several quests later, with a small change to its attack pattern to make the fight feel different. The game treats each encounter as a new event, offering different rewards based on the quest, but the location and enemy remains the same.

Despite this, the game introduces new mechanics throughout the course of the story to allow for greater strategy while playing. Along with transforming, players can also bring along collected monsters as allies and even capture Eidolons for use in “Trance Surge” attacks.

While "Final Fantasy Explorers" can be played single player, the main focus of the game is its co-operative multiplayer mode. Players can join together with up to three friends or random players to take on monsters and gather items.

Final Fantasy Explorers is available now for Nintendo 3DS for $39.99.

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