Final Fantasy: All the Bravest
Is An Insult to Fans of the Series

January 19th, 2013 by Sharjeel Hanif

I will try to keep this relatively short,and my aims are twofold here. One is to warn the viewers of this site not to make a purchase they will likely regret, and two is to generally get some word of mouth going to place pressure so that something like this does not happen again.

If you are a self respecting Final Fantasy fan, do not buy All The Bravest.

To start off with, the game initially has a lot going for it. Charming and in some cases absolutely gorgeous sprites, Final Fantasy music worthy of squeals, an ATB style battle system with humongous parties optimized for touch, and a localization effort that should be commended.

Everything seems fine on paper, and with so much Final Fantasy history crammed into one iOS title, one would expect to be simply overwhelmed by the bliss of nostalgia. However, that is not the case. Because underneath this shell of nostalgia is a game, if you can even call it that, devoid of any pleasure whatsoever.

There is no strategy, no customization, no player choice. None of the hallmarks of Final Fantasy are here. You simply go from one battle to the next (or backtrack to previous battles), wildly tapping or swiping at the screen until one side ultimately prevails.

And in a way, this is okay. Mediocre games exist, especially on mobile devices, but really on any platform. Games that are meant for casual play also exist, something easy to get into, something anyone can play. (But let’s keep in mind that even the cheapest and most popular of mobile games have some semblance of thought, action, or strategy to them that justified their popularity. Hell, one of the best most fully fledged iOS titles out there is indeed a Square Enix title, well loved and highly regarded by fan and critic alike.)

No, the problem is not that you are buying a title devoid of any meaningful game play in return for your dedication and nostalgic tendencies. The problem is that you are repeatedly being kicked in the balls while doing so. Over and over.

This is a money extraction app at its best. And let me make it clear, there is no problem with micro-transactions, and there is no problem with whatever ingenious payment models companies come up with for their entertainment applications. The issue here is how obnoxiously and without tact this game does it, essentially waving a middle finger at its most dedicated customers.

Let’s break it down shall we:

  • Initial Purchase – $3.99: For the final depth and quality of the game and the amount of money it will attempt to extract from you, the game should really be free to play, no excuses. You can find games orders of magnitudes better than this for free.
  • Characters – $.99 x 35 (Randomized purchases): I was initially enamored by this idea. Add characters from throughout Final Fantasy’s history to my party and have them simultaneously fight alongside each other in adorable art? Sign me up! I wanted my first purchase to be Seifer. Unfortunately, something that could have been such a fun little character shop is designed in a way to extract the maximum amount of cash. When you make a purchase from the character shop, you are randomly given a character. That’s right. Don’t get the character you want? Well, keep paying up!
  • Additional Worlds – $3.99 x 3: Once again, very neat in theory. Players can purchase additional worlds from other Final Fantasy titles (Midgar, Zanarkind, Archylite Steppe). And once again, I want to commend the excellent sprite work. But for what you are getting this should be a much cheaper purchase. And if the base product is not engaging in the first place, there really is no incentive to make further purchases.
  • Revive Items – $.99-$2.99: After you have been thoroughly swindled, the fun really begins. In the oft chance that you die (and you WILL die, if not by a random enemy then a boss encounter), the player is presented with three options. One is to go back and grind, which would actually be a viable option if doing so were even somewhat enjoyable. The other is to wait 3 minutes per character revive to continue playing. That is not simply three minutes total, which is kind of an odd game mechanic in and of itself, that is per character, meaning for a party of thirty will easily take over an hour. Why implement such a feature? Why, only to ask you to hand over more of your hard earned (and apparently easily relinquished) money. That’s right! You can revive your characters using Gold Hourglasses, which can only be purchased with real world money in convenient sets of 3, 8, or 20! Having fun?!

Look, I am a Final Fantasy fan through and through. I am A-okay with cheap ports if it means I can get Final Fantasy on every device. I have patiently waited an extra two years to be able to play Final Fantasy XIV on my PlayStation 3. Despite my loathing for everything and anything related to Lightning,  I understand that a specific market (albeit shrinking) exists for those titles. And I still have high hopes for the future, even faith in Versus XIII.

But for a series and company whose fans already feel cheated, over-accommodating – and in the case of titles like Bravely Default and Final Fantasy Type-0 – ignored, releasing a lame cash in is a huge and truly perplexing mistake. With the game sitting at a Metacritic rating of 25% from critics and not even 10% from fans, its clear these types of moves damage the brand even further. And sometimes it is irrevocable.

For the love of god, do not reward this type of behavior. It is not just bad for Final Fantasy, it is bad for gaming in general.

 

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  • Lucas

    square-enix sucks, she is ruining final fantasy image series, they announce a lot of games from the series itself, and most of them sucks! XIV sucks, XIII-2 sucks, and type-0 it’s not going to be released here, no one knows anything about versus date release… and final fantasy X HD too!, so, square-enix, you are the worst game company ever. PS: sorry for the bad english, i’m a brazilian fan nad i’m still working on my english ;p

  • Tony Garsow

    This type of gachapon-style gaming is pretty popular in Japan, and with the introduction of Guardian Cross in markets abroad, Square Enix seems to be starting their “mobile revolution” with games that are deliberately designed to funnel players’ attention towards paid micro-transactions to even continue playing.

    This type of content negatively impacts your user experience, and should not be praised, tolerated, or even ignored. It should be discouraged. It also damages the brand reputation more than Square Enix seems to realize. Once a series that tried using its elements to create lasting and memorable experiences has been sold down the river to make something artificial and hollow.

    From Fabergé to papier-mâché.

    There was an interview with Naoki Yoshida, the current director of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, where he openly stated that Square Enix had been dishonest with the original version of the game — that they could simply ship out an unfinished game and hope that Final Fantasy fans would bite because of the name and be complacent because of the quality that name lent. His goal now is to restore that trust by creating a Final Fantasy game he feels is worthy of the brand name. Whether he succeeds or not remains to be seen, but it is an attitude Square Enix needs but seems is not universally shared among its employees.

    For a while now I’ve had to reconcile that titles like Final Fantasy Type-0 and Bravely Default’s localization chances were grim because of the cost of that localization and distribution — as well as piss-poor performance in the hand-held market. I’ve essentially rationalized Square Enix’s decisions on this subject. I’ve had the chance to play the Japanese version of both of these titles at a respectable length, and it’s safe to say that fans abroad are missing out.

    At this point, Square Enix might be looking at losses for localizing and distributing these titles, but right now they have a bigger loss on their hands than that: fan trust. The series reputation is on life support. I’ve seen the general gaming public start to forget Final Fantasy. I’ve seen the fandom slowly grow more fractured and disinterested in new developments. I’ve even seen so-called “brand champions” abandon the series, no longer willing to keep up a aura of cognitive dissonance.

    What kind of future does Final Fantasy have as we’ve begun the 25th anniversary of the series? The series you came home from work and loved to hang out with — the series you anticipated to hear from every day — the series you would dream about creating your own iteration… It’s become the old friend that shows up at your doorstep and asks you for money before skipping town.

    What about the new generation of gamers? What is there to like in Final Fantasy when it starts to deliver unremarkable experiences that are vivisected to take advantage of a market with more disposable income? What about market-tested focus-grouped Final Fantasy games that only promise to meet fans’ expectations rather than exceeding them?

    While the height of Final Fantasy may have come in an age where young people like myself were interested in counter-culture and games that couldn’t be explained in a few saccharine sentences, it doesn’t mean it has to stay there. What made Final Fantasy the series it was — was to take that bold new step into creating an experience that left you in awe. This is something that reaches beyond demographics and speaks to the “gamer experience”, and when such a game is achieved then the accolades and reputation will follow.

    So I have to ask…

    Is this Final Fantasy’s tragic legacy?

  • Meh

    You hate everything related to Lightning? okay now I know not to value your opinion in any way whatsoever.

  • LordGfet

    @Meh
    We all know that Light’s history is already over, they are just using her to sell more games, and in this way….screwing all FFXIII.
    And another thing cool to remmember is that no matter what, they don’t listen to us when we ask for Type-0 localization, news about the remake of FFX, new of FFXIV for the PS3 and….the game that i once dreamt to play, Versus XIII.
    I miss that series that i grew up playing, that taught me so may things, that made me cry and made me happy so many times :/

  • AgitoXIII

    Proud to say I’ve never paid for a single DLC on FFXIII-2. That’s where all this began anyway.

    I do think FF is going to have a tragic end. SE just needs to release a FF that most people can agree on that is really good. That last happen with FFX.

  • Defrift

    @LordGfet
    I agree they are milking the life out of Lighting, I am still getting LR cause I have FF13 and F13-2. Biggest disappointment for me with FF13-2 was I had hoped the story would bring true closure at end by seeing Vanille and Fang freed from their crystal sleep….Of course nope that didn’t happen. I’ve wondered how many others who played FF13-2 hoped for the same thing…

  • Matheusfbp

    I regret having bought this “game”… it is an insult! But I definetely won’t be buying any of its DLC. I hope SE learns a lessons from the fans after this terrible title.

  • alexsam

    You guys are so right about this… Even the people on the Square-Enix Europe forum have recognized that this is just doing damage to the company’s image. And at such a time, when they should be doing everything they can to improve it after the XIV fiasco and the 7-year wait of Versus! Honestly all I can say is this year’s E3 better be something else for Square-Enix otherwise they might end up making half the sales of XIII-2 for Lightning Returns, no matter how good a game it may be…

  • AgitoXIII

    @AgitoXIII (my own post)

    Meant to say I DONT think FF will have a tragic end!! I fail :/

  • http://S2RW gmoyajp

    I’didnt bother with bravery after I’ve saw IGN review and was disappointed, and it’s sad Square enix, dont take the FF series serious anymore,But Dimensions was a very well made Classic Like new Plot. I like it alot and it’s about the only ios game that SE had done well but the price was steep and FFXIV was bad in v.1 but still ARR seem’s like it’s gonna pull FFXIV right off the top and Anything with Lighting’gave up after The first game finished it and done with it and yeah you can see lightning is being milk to the new fans alike because let’s be honest here Lightning is the icon of bring new Fans to the series,eather it’s that or it’s FFVII Games but anyways glad I’ve live threw out Square- Square soft and square enix but now, I dont think Square enix will go down anytime soon. To much new players alike that will support the series no matter how much garbage they release and Like everyone is saying with all these ios games and lightning games,if they wanted to they could have give us type 0 and Versus but you know it’s in square enix japan not to give type 0 that’s the battom line or else he would have gave us a fast release like he did btw the time of NA and EU with XIII, he responded fast on that.

    All i want is news on Versus, it’s been how long? heck am gonna be 32 this year >.<

  • hutch

    “There is no strategy, no customization, no player choice. None of the hallmarks of Final Fantasy are here. You simply go from one battle to the next (or backtrack to previous battles), wildly tapping or swiping at the screen until one side ultimately prevails.”

    Ha Ha. I thought you were describing FF13.

  • Defrift

    SE Does need to release information about Versus and a release date, and this year no less. The game has been in development for seven years now, games that go through such a long development are not always well received after they finally release. Fans began to lose interest and some even develop higher expectations for the game then what the developer has aimed for which leads to disappointment. SE wants Versus to bring the series back but that’s not going to happen if they keep following the current road their on…give the community info some nice fat covered calorie loaded heart attack inducing info.

  • hutch

    @Defrift
    Yeah, Kind of like Guns and Roses and their long delayed ‘Chinese Democracy’ record. After 10 years of waiting, no cared when it actually got released! The only difference here is that GnR didn’t keep putting out other stuff in the interim while fans were waiting. I can’t imagine what square is thinking knowing we want Versus, 7 remake, 15, KH3, 10 HD, but continuing to shovel 13 in our face. I don’t even think the people who tolerated FF13 asked for sequels-let alone two of them.

  • Defrift

    @Hutch I liked FF13 and FF13-2, out of the two 13-2 is the one I got a issue with. The only thing left hanging unanswered from 13 was Fang and Vanille. When do they wake,how do they wake and what causes them to wake. That was the one and only question at the end of 13 I wanted answered and I had hoped 13-2 would answer it but no luck. LR but answer the question and end the series, 3 Games is just dragging it out.

  • Defrift

    On a side note @Hutch I am with most fans, I am not fond of FF games having Sequels :)

  • DzY

    They did FFXIII-2 to cure the issues people had with XIII. Now, I loved XIII. But before I played it I knew what I was getting myself into.
    Pretty visuals + new exciting battle system. I liked how it ditched all those normal RPG tropes.

    You have to remember FFXIII came out in a time where EVERYONE was complaining about the JRPG. So they did something different and now everyone’s back to saying that miss JRPGs. lol

    So I feel they tried to remedy it with XIII-2 and at first I loved it. Then eventually realized the game is just a big mess.
    At least FFXIII felt like one whole complete game. Not some huge orgy with a bunch of ugly dudes in the room.

  • maggosh

    *buys All The Bravest*

  • Steven

    To guys talking about the years of development of Versus XIII:

    Stop saying it has been in development for the last 7 years, it has not. The core team started production in 2009, but full production started only in September 2011, which is not even two years ago.

    Stop complaining, it will come.

  • Defrift

    @ Steven look at Wiki about Versus…it has been in development seven years, it was first revealed in 06 alongside Final fantasy 13. Development started in for it on 05.

  • Defrift

    Final Fantasy Versus XIII (ファイナルファンタジー ヴェルサスXIII Fainaru Fantajī Verusasu Sātīn?) is an upcoming action role-playing game that will be published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3.[5][6][7] The game is being developed by a team within the company’s 1st Production Department and began development in November 2005.[1][8] It was unveiled in May 2006, alongside Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series.[9] According to its developers, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is a completely independent game, with a unique story, characters, world, game design, battle system and musical score. Although using the same Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology as Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, the title is not directly related to any of them.[8][10]

  • Steven

    It has been unveiled at E3 2006, yes I know, no need for Wiki to tell me that.

    At that point it was only a CGI made by Visual Works. To start the real development, they needed a game engine, which at the beginning was Crystal Tools, but that engine was completed only in 2008, when full production for FF13 really started off and the team behind Versus was asked to help the FF13 team to release the game ASAP.

    So the Versus team, couldnt really work on Versus until 2009.

  • Defrift

    Game developers don’t see things the way you do, for them game development starts when they began to lay out story boards, concept art, etc. Not when they start working with the engine, FF13’s development is counted as starting in 2004 4 years before the engine was ever ready. Most people on this website’s forum see thing’s the start of Development the way developers do..which is it starts on paper.

  • Steven

    The work on paper isnt actual development, it’s called pre-production, and means practically nothing to the actual development, since while in pre-production, they were working mainly or other titles like:

    The World Ends with You, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts Coded, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, The 3rd Birthday, and many many more.

    Check the staff team members resumé for more information.

  • Lushipur

    However for those who were tricked into buying this crap, u can cheat the game by changing the internal clock. So no need to wait 3hr for fever or buying hourglass.