I’ve been generally pleased with the reception that World of Final Fantasy is getting. People are seeing it as a fun experience that isn’t too demanding or stressful. It’s a perfect game to welcome in newcomers and tease decades-long veterans with hints of the series’ past. I wish I had more free time to sink into it, because it’s definitely one of my favorite games of 2016.
However, I would like to point out that being an entry-level game is in no way a negative mark. If people see it as such, then they clearly had misplaced expectations. I mean, just look at it! Are these adorable chibi characters the face of a long, grizzled JRPG? Hardly…
Those pointing out that World of Final Fantasy is too simple or too easy are forgetting that Final Fantasy VII isn’t exactly the deepest experience either. Over the years, Final Fantasy VII has undergone a sort of revision in how we see it, and many now agree that it was mostly the visuals and story that brought in gamers. The game’s iconic Materia system provides a very basic way to bring variety to spells and abilities, and even then, characters vary so little that the only real difference between them is whether they have long-range weapons or not.
Final Fantasy VII is hardly a pillar of strategy or mechanics. It’s a tech demo in which a group of personified Materia slots run through the world and have adventures. It was immensely popular not only because it ushered in a new era of 3D graphics but also because it was easy enough for people who had no JRPG experience to pick up and enjoy. Those 10 million copies sold back in the day? A good many of them were thanks to the game’s barebone mechanics welcoming first-timers in with open arms.
In fact, I would say that tooling World of Final Fantasy’s Mirage Boards, playing with different combinations, and swapping between stacked and unstacked battles provides far more options than Final Fantasy VII ever did.
I’m not singling out Final Fantasy VII at all or calling it a bad game. Hardly, it’s a perfectly fun JRPG to romp through if you need a nostalgia bomb, and even if the mechanics don’t hold up, the overall experience certainly does. However, the Final Fantasy series has never been consistent in its accessibility, and singling out World of Final Fantasy as being entry level is a double standard when Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X are all extremely easy games. Much like World of Final Fantasy, they barely push players to the brink except during a few select boss fights and endgame content.
On the flip side, Final Fantasy V, VIII, and XII are the best examples of the series providing a true challenge to gamers and an infinite level or variety. I also remember how stumped many players were with the complexity of Final Fantasy Tactics after thinking they had mastered Final Fantasy VII earlier that year. Nope, that’s like night and day, right there.
Let’s give World of Final Fantasy the credit it deserves
The point is, no Final Fantasy game should be singled out for being “too easy” or “an entry level game” because the series has no standards for difficulty and has been all over the place throughout its existence. World of Final Fantasy might be on the easier side of an overall spectrum, but everything I’ve seen from it so far provides just as much customization and fun as Final Fantasy VII.