Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is a throwback to all of the great memories that were in the Final Fantasy series. This games lets you relive those memories as it puts you right into the most memorable battles of the franchise.
Square Enix has been advertising and hyping up their new game, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper for quite a while now. They teased the game week after week, held social media contests and offered to make you a character in the game if you were chosen. For a franchise that has seen better days, having Square Enix create a game based on those older titles is one of the best things they could do. Especially considering this game would hit the nostalgia button for millions upon millions of people.
The overall concept is simple, in a world where the ‘records’ of the world are kept in paintings, something has gone horribly wrong. The paintings have started to disappear and as a result, terrible things are happening to the world. It kind of reminds me of the Final Fantasy 3 story where this happened but you replace paintings with crystals. In any case, a moggle is there to guide a lucky person to a way to restore order to this world. The way to restore order is by going into the paintings and playing through the memory.
When you go into a painting, you are taken to a series of battles. These battles are just like Final Fantasy’s traditional turned based fights and they even implement the ATB bar(Active Time Battle). This means you have to wait until your character’s ATB bar is full and then you can issue a command. This means that slow characters would end up getting less turns than fast ones, and weak characters get less turns than advanced ones. This was a feature of Final Fantasy games of the past, but you could turn those off if you chose.
The battles are aimed at whichever point in time the painting, and the door you entered, is about. For instance, the first fight you go against takes place in the Final Fantasy VII room and the first enemy you fight is like the first soldier you fight in the real game. At the end of the series of battles, you can go up against a boss, as shown above. The boss is much harder than the weaker enemies you faced before so it’s wise to save up your special attacks for them. Speaking of attacks, each character you have has certain moves they can do. Everyone has a regular attack but then special classes have special abilities. Like the Black Mage can do a Lightning attack, the White Mage can do a Cure spell.
There are even Summons and Limit Breaks, but they don’t call them Limit Breaks. There’s a meter for each character that fills up slowly for each time you attack and each time you are attacked. The more damage you take, the more the bar fills up. Just like it was in some of the Final Fantasy games like number 7. Once your bar fills up, you can use that limit break. The limit break bar even looks like it has multiple sections. So it’s possible that you get more powerful limit breaks depending on how far you let the bar fill up. I can’t say for sure since I have only played about an hour of the game.
While I’m on the topic of time played, the tutorial to this game is excessively long. I’m talking 10-15 minutes long and I was afraid to stop mid-way through because I thought it might make me start over from the beginning since I hadn’t signed into my Google Play account yet. I get that Square Enix wanted to make a game that had a lot of depth, but this was a big much for a tutorial. If a tutorial is required to explain your whole game, it should be sprinkled in throughout the game, not all crammed into the start of it. That’s a lot of information dumped onto the player while they are already getting used to the mechanics and how things work.
As I said, the game goes through each of the Final Fantasy games and this is done via the Hall of Doors. As you can see from the image above, this was the door for Final Fantasy VII, which is the first room you enter. As you restore a painting in that room, it opens up new paintings that you can complete. New paintings seem to be spread out throughout the franchise. For instance, after restoring the first painting, you open up a second Final Fantasy VII painting, but you also open up a Final Fantasy V painting(or one from another title, I forget). I can see how this helps to prevent the player from getting bored since not everyone likes every single Final Fantasy Game out there.
That was another thing I wanted to bring up too, not everyone has beaten all of the Final Fantasy games and anyone who has plans to play through them might not want to restore any paintings from that game. I haven’t played enough to know how much of the story is spoiled, but I still have a few Final Fantasy games on my ‘to be played’ list and I will definitely be trying to avoid those rooms as long as I can. For anyone who doesn’t care about spoilers or who has no intention of playing the older games in the series, this won’t matter to you. It’s just something that I wanted to mention.
After you complete a level, you are graded on how well, or poorly, you did. The better you did, the more this bar fills up. The more you fill the bar up, the more/better prizes you get at the end. Prizes consist of weapons and equipment, mythril, ether, potions, playable characters and more. You’ve probably seen something like this in multiple mobile games in the past. These are generally done by a star system. I’ve also been playing a little bit of Heroes Charge and that uses the star system. Where, you get three stars if you complete the level well, but only can 1 or 2 stars if people in your party died. A similar system is here in Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, except that it seems to have much more depth to it.
Like I said, when you finish a level, you can unlock more playable characters to add to your party. Here you can see the Black Mage(which some people might know as Vivi) and you can add them into your party. In the tutorial, the moggle guide tells you that using characters in the same realm as the one you are playing(as well as using weapons and equipment from that same realm) will grant extra rewards and additional powers. For example, you unlock Cloud toward the beginning of the game and if you use him in your party during Final Fantasy VII paintings(since he is a character in that game), then he will gain more experience(and maybe do more damage).
The same can be said about using weapons and equipment from a specific realm in paintings of that realm. For example, if you use a signature Cloud sword weapon while you are doing Final Fantasy VII paintings(because those weapons were featured in that game), then it will do additional damage. The same can be said about armor too, and that character will take less damage. This is a nice touch as it encourages you to rotate characters in and out so that the game, hopefully, doesn’t get boring. I am a little worried that the game might balanced around this, though. It would be a shame if, unless you over leveled your party, that you would have to use characters from a game that you don’t particularly like.
I’ll have to play a little more to see how well the game is balanced though. It’s way too early for me to tell right now. I am a huge mark for the Final Fantasy series and this game seems perfect for someone who played the games when they were growing up(or those who just enjoy the classic RPG genre). I generally enjoyed the story of the Final Fantasy games more than the battle system, but I think this might hit enough nostalgia buttons to keep it entertaining.
The game has been out a few days so far, so maybe there are some readers who have played more than I have. I would love to get your thoughts and opinions on the game and how much longevity you think the game has for a freemium game. There are some in-app purchases that can be bought, ranging from $0.99 – $84.99 per item, but I haven’t yet looked into them. I did notice a stamina bar, so that is probably one of the things you can buy. I don’t generally cry foul with freemium games, and I will just play around them. Especially with a stamina system as it gives me a reason to put the game down and not waste too much of my time.
If you have more experience with it, or maybe you thought I missed out on some of the things I talked about here, use the comments section below to add to the discussion/correct me. I don’t mind being corrected at all since I would much rather the correct information be available than something that is wrong.
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