My my. This game has taken me quite a back. I didn’t expect for an original Final Fantasy game on the iOS to actually be fun. It might be because DeNA who is famous for partnering up with Nintendo; developed this game. Square simply published it. I promised I’d look at this game and give it a chance when it came out. I’ve taken two days to blitz through some of the dungeons and I’m really liking the fan service.

Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a combination of the traditional JRPG active turn based system infused into the familiar Puzzle and Dragon’s formula. This isn’t to be confused with the future collaboration between Square-Enix and GungHo. Instead of the ‘match the tiles’ system that fans of Puzzle and Dragon are familiar with, it’s replaced with Active Time Battles with a total of 5 playable characters on the screen. You give them commands similar to the older Final Fantasy games like attack and defend. You also get a chance to create magic, summons and skills from materials you gather within dungeons. These abilities can be added to certain characters who can wield them; and each character can only wield two at a time. Furthermore, each character has a special attack or ‘Soul Breaks’ which is this games version of a ‘Limit Break’ that is charged up in the ‘Soul Gauge’ when you attack or get attacked.

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The game starts off with the main character; a scholarly lad named Tyro who alongside his guardian Dr. Mog has noted a darkness fading the images that once portrayed the glorious battles and stories of the main Final Fantasy games. It is up to Tyro to save the paintings by jumping into the story themselves and teaming up with the legendary heroes of old! So okay, there’s the weird story to tie the game together and have silly crossover characters. The story isn’t the most innovative, but as a game on the iOS I can forgive it if it has fun gameplay and mechanics.

Upon starting the game post tutorial, I browsed about and saw I had unlocked Tidus. Okay that’s swell, now how do I unlock other characters? Well. Unlike Puzzle and Dragons and other variants of that game, characters do not unlock via random luck and draw. I love this fact. You unlock characters through completing a dungeon as a reward. This means people can unlock their favorite characters without having to throw their hand up to Lady Luck and hope to get the character you like.

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Instead of characters being placed in lucky draws, weapon and armor takes that place. Rare weapons and armor is what you’ll be wanting to scour dungeons and hoping to obtain through the random draw. You’d want to obtain these rare weapons since some of them actually cause certain characters who use them to learn a new Soul Break whilst equipped. The very first big one that has everybody praying for success is the Buster Sword for Cloud that teaches him Braver instead of his default Sonic Break. Otherwise, most weapons you obtain will be used for either fodder or upgrading into strong variants of the weapons so your characters can use.

Record Keeper obviously wants to have you sticking to the canon because it introduces the concept of characters, weapons and armor you use in a dungeon that share the same game in the series will get a bonus stat wise. Early game this is massive and have you one shotting a LOT of of the enemies, as you hit the higher stages it’ll still be helpful and useful to apply as well since you’ll want to clean up house ASAP. I’m just hating the fact there’s not enough FFVI represented weapon, armors or characters yet!

In fact, as of right now, the game doesn’t exactly have much content in terms of character availability. The key words being ‘right now’. They plan to have more characters and trailers have shown different characters, but as of now, the only available characters are Tyro, generic Warrior, Black Mage, White Mage, Ranger, Bard and the legendary characters Kain, Rydia, Cloud, Tidus and Wakka. It’s strange to not see Lightning despite seeing her on the app thumbnail, but hey, I can’t really complain. I just want my FFVI reps!

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Have I expressed how much I love FFVI yet? No? Okay.

The music is taken from their original series and is played through out the various screens in the game. Each dungeon plays its accompanied battle theme, boss theme and victory theme. It adds a nice flavor to the fan service and is certainly welcomed!

One of the most glaring issues that isn’t welcomed however is the slow frame rates during the menu screen. Thankfully it’s not extreme in battles but it does have noticeable frame lag when you move between screens to look at equipment or abilities or what not. It might just be because of the poor optimization of the iOS I’ve got running, let us know if it runs smoothly for you!

FF: Record Keeper is a blast to play. It’s everything FF: All the Bravest should have been. Not a cesspool of in-app purchases. Especially random potluck for familiar characters amongst the chance to obtain generic characters. This game is free except for the ability to purchase ‘gems’ which is currency you can purchase in game that can be used to refill stamina, purchase lucky draws and heal yourself in dungeons just like most other mobile games. Nothing too big as you can pay with Mithril which is the rare currency you obtain in game. What makes this better is that it doesn’t throw the offer to purchase gems in your face and I can definitely appreciate that!

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Final Fantasy Record Keeper is free, fun and a good game for people who love the Final Fantasy franchise despite its frame issues and lack of content. Both of these can be easily fixed over time as the developers add more content and hopefully optimize the game further to polish it. The game is available for the iOS and Android right now.

This was played on the iPhone 4S version 8.1.3


 

4 Stars:

Pros:

  • Fun combination of Puzzle&Dragons and Final Fantasy
  • Makes favorite characters actually obtainable
  • Not too ‘in-your-face’ concerning in-app purchases

Cons:

  • Not a very innovative story
  • Frame issues lag the experience
  • Not enough content in terms of characters, world locations and items
  • Not enough love for Final Fantasy VI (Pedantic but I want my Final Fantasy VI love dang it!)

  • MindsBeforeSights

    4 stars already?! Oh my, I can’t wait till three out of the four cons that are definite to be corrected in future updates are removed(frames content VI)! Who knows what the rating might be then, maybe a 4.6-7?

    • Patrick Nguyen

      Haha the frames are definitely game affecting, but I can’t guarantee that’s the fault on the game or if it’s my system. And the whole FF VI thing is just my personal preference 🙂 Content is the BIGGEST thing that’s lacking, but if that’s solved, I’m more than happy to bolster that score up!

      • MindsBeforeSights

        It’s only Version 1.0(1.1 now I think), it’ll surely have future updates!

        • Patrick Nguyen

          I’m sure of it 🙂 I mean there’s no way it’ll stay full of content in Japan and have nothing down here! 😀

  • Hansuke

    The Japanese version gives A LOT of love to Final Fantasy VI. Which means we will get it in a matter of time.

    • Patrick Nguyen

      Yeah! I’ve been keeping an eye on the Japanese version, I need all of that injected in the western release pronto! I’d also love to get some more weapons and armor from VI (Currently stuck at Vargas ARGH his gale move is frustrating!)

  • dmoney

    Any thoughts on how the battles are way too easy? Aside from the nostalgia, I’d like the game to actually be challenging.

    • Patrick Nguyen

      Oh the game gets challenging in the later games, and it’s ONLY because the nature of this game means the devs wants you to spend money on buying gems. The game is definitely easy in the early game so it encourages people to play through until the later dungeons where the difficulty spikes. I’m still stuck on Vargas because I’m not strong enough gear and character wise. Instead, I’m stuck fighting the event stuff to get better armor that synergises with the FFVI dungeons.

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