If you have, by any chance, been thirsting for a mobile Final Fantasy game that didn’t seem to be a horribly implemented series of 3D skyboxes, then Brave Exvius might be your thing, especially if you’re more for the classic style.
I’ve always been amazed at the fact that we’ve moved forward with gaming in so many huge ways, but at the end of the day, we always come back to the sprite based systems. Nostalgia is a hell of a thing, isn’t it? Amazingly, even though it’s a pretty primitive form of presentation for a modern video game, it feels incredibly modern and works well on the mobile platform.
Previously, games like Final Fantasy 1-6 were ported to mobile, but Brave Exvius gives you something that those entries do not: community. Today’s games are all about being social, whether you’re playing Evony, Galaxy Online, or some mobile game that no one has ever even heard of – it’s all about connecting with your fellow humans and sharing in the same goals, which is something that Brave Exvius truly embraces and runs with.
Your Mobile Fantasy
Brave Exvius is a game designed specifically for mobile, which means you probably aren’t going to see it popping up on your favorite console anytime soon. It’s a role-playing game that includes all of the typical Final Fantasy elements from sullen heroes to expansive world maps and yes, of course, the crystals.
The story itself is going to seem pretty familiar to you if you’ve been a fan of Final Fantasy for any length of time; two knights of Grandshelt and a young girl set out on an adventure to find a crystal. If you’re like me then you’re probably remembering a certain College Humor video that involves the line: “Oh no! It’s the evil and weirdly high-tech empire from one town over!” Okay, enough with the sarcasm. Probably. In any case, you follow Raine and Lasswell as they traverse a complex world map that consists of points that you can move to.
Unfortunately, you don’t walk around the world map freely as you would in a typical Final Fantasy game, which puts it in the same category as Mobius, unfortunately. I will say this; the world map looks pretty damn good, to put it mildly. That art style is beautiful and there is plenty to keep you busy. On the world map, once you finish with one area you will be free to move on to the next, or you can go back to a previous are and continue grinding.
Enter the Dungeon
There are several different types of dungeons for you to enjoy, or die in, as you explore the world of Brave Exvius. There are the typical story dungeons, and then there are event dungeons that tend to yield more rewards. The types of dungeons available aren’t what make this game interesting, however, it’s the fact that you can bring your friends with you.
When you enter a dungeon, you are given a list of characters to take with you and the cool thing is that these characters actually belong to real people. Yes, you can add a real person to your party and you can use their abilities to augment your party. In doing so, you give their character experience and you get to potentially survive the dungeon. It’s like renting an entire person! There are added benefits for having the individual in question on your friend’s list – you can use their items, which gives you a much better advantage while you’re
There are added benefits for having the individual in question on your friend’s list – you can use their items, which gives you a much better advantage while you’re dungeoning. Remember, however, that others can use your character in the same way, so don’t be too surprised if you come back to find your character rocking back and forth in a dark corner going: “I’ve seen things, man. I’ve seen things.”
You, as the player, rank up through your own separate experience system but the characters or units in your party have their own experience that needs to be obtained. Through game completion, you will receive exp items that you can fuse with your character to drive their stats up. The only problem is that in order to level up and fuse the items, you’re going to need to farm some serious gil. Getting your characters to max level isn’t really going to be difficult but getting the gil to do it? That’s where it really starts to get hairy.
Summon Old Friends
True heroes never die, even if their game is decades old. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius brings to the table the opportunity to summon characters from games past, one of which, as of late, has been the characters from Final Fantasy VI. Unfortunately, in order to do so, you’re probably going to need to expend some real life money, unless you’ve been farming lapis like a mad person.
If old friends aren’t your speed, there are still standard summons which are a bit lighter on the wallet. Naturally, in addition to the hero summons, you also have esper summons which serve a dual purpose.
Their first, and probably most important purpose, is to bring forth magical attacks – but you already knew that; they’ve been doing that since Final Fantasy was first conceived. Their second function is very similar to Final Fantasy VIII, in which they are junctioned to specific stats. These boost your characters quite nicely and will give you an edge in battle – but wait, there’s more. Along with giving you emotional support, they allow you to use an ability that your esper has already learned, making you a conduit for their abilities. Now that’s pretty damn cool.
Bringing it Full Circle
It wouldn’t be Final Fantasy without some form of crafting, and Brave Exvius doesn’t disappoint. It features an extensive crafting and recipe system that gives you extra items that give you the cutting edge you need (sometimes literally) to make it through dungeons. Of course you could just ignore the crafting system altogether and barrel through the dungeons like a mad person but it’s just not recommended. That said, it would be a good idea to at least look into the system and see how you can use the items to enhance your party.
Oh My God Yes, the Chocobos Are There
I read a review from another player that stated chocobos were noticeably absent from the game, but they are in fact there, even if you don’t get to ride them (yet). First of all, they’re right there on the loading screen; you get to watch them run across the screen as the game downloads; isn’t that enough for you? No? Well, you’re in luck. Do you remember a little game called Final Fantasy III? No, not the one for the Super NES, that was actually Final Fantasy VI relabeled as III. I’m talking about the actual Final Fantasy III that was re-released as a DS game like twenty years after its initial release in Japan.
The game actually featured a ‘Fat Chocobo’ which resided within your airship and was able to store items inside its stomach. I don’t want to speculate on the effects of stomach acid, really, or what those items might be covered in when they come out of the chocobo, but Brave Exvius uses a similar system with the fat chocobos acting as shops. Throughout the course of your adventures you will come across ‘star quartz’ which can be used as currency with the fat chocobo in several different towns. Some of the items up for purchase from the fat chocobo are healing rods, phoenix downs, pieces of armor, and more. Yes, chocobos are there.
All in all, it’s a great game. It features the gripping narrative that you would expect from a Final Fantasy game, combined with the social gameplay that we crave.
If you’re used to the typical Final Fantasy style game, then this might be a bit confusing for you as the attacks and abilities are very much attuned to the touch screen. You’ll have to unlearn a few habits, but other than that, it’s not a bad time investment. The rest of the game can be a bit confusing, I’ll admit, but you have to stop thinking of it as a single player FF and as more of a social experience.
As far as innovation goes, I have to say that this one isn’t that different from other social MMO’s on the market. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan (I know I am), then this is probably the one that you want to settle into. This is a game made for fans, and fortunately, it’s made by a pretty solid developer, so you can expect to have fun doing it.
The community in this game is pretty solid, but the one thing it really has going for it is that the game practically forces you to work together with others. You could probably solo the game, given enough time and money, but it’s going to help you immensely to bring others along with you.
I would like to say that every Final Fantasy game has lived up to my expectations as far as sound and graphics go, but we all remember that…incident, so this part has to be included. That being said, YES, Brave Exvius has outstanding graphics and sounds. Like I said before, it uses sprite based animation but it does a great job of implementing it. It has a score composed by Noriyasu Agematsu, and it’s definitely something that I’d be happy to listen to on my iPod, if I had one.
Value for Money 8/10
This section is always going to boil down to one very important question: can you enjoy the game without money? The answer is yes, yes you can. If you want to get ahead, have more gear, and employ more summons, then yes, you’ll want to splurge on some lapis, but other than that, you can play it just like any other Final Fantasy game.
If you’re looking for a great mobile Final Fantasy experience that isn’t one of the games from the main series and isn’t a series of poorly rendered skyboxes, then this is probably the direction that you want to go. Also, because it’s technically an MMO, you don’t have to worry about saving your game – you can just exit and come back whenever you want; it’ll save your progress.
+Borrow other People’s Characters!
+Full Featured Final Fantasy Storyline
-Extensive Cash Shop
-Can be Confusing at First
-Summons are Limited