Tag Archives: chocobo

Final Fantasy Explorers forces the player to endure

At the beginning of 2018, I was real close to getting Monster Hunter: World. In fact, it’s now the beginning of 2019, and I’m still thinking about biting the bullet. It’s a genre I’ve always been intrigued by, but terrified to get into due to what seems like a massive amount of complexity and menus and history to learn. However, this newest iteration, which jumps from the realm of handhelds to big boy consoles, seems to be somewhat more friendly to people like me. Or what kids back in the day referred to as n00bz. Side note: if you know what kids refer to people like me nowadays, please let me know ASAP. However, instead of getting this, I dug through my Nintendo 3DS collection and found something similar called Final Fantasy Explorers. It both compares and does not compare.

Final Fantasy Explorers is an MMO-lite that revolves around the titular group of explorers from the rural town of Libertas who hunt the world for crystals, objects which are the source of life and civilization for the world. The most major source of crystals is the new island of Amostra, but they are guarded by fearsome beasts that the explorers must fight. So yeah, surprise, surprise–it’s another Final Fantasy game dealing with crystals as the magical MacGuffin, but then again I wasn’t expecting much in terms of story from a Monster Hunter-like game. They generally are about fighting big monsters and crafting cool gear from their dead, shredded body parts. Also: cats cooking.

For the most part, the combat, which is the bulk of what you do in Final Fantasy Explorers other than stare in horror at confusing menu after confusing menu, is pretty solid, even though one of the shoulder buttons on my Nintendo 3DS is not working properly. It’s a bit hack and slash, with some spells and special abilities thrown in for good measure. To start with, Final Fantasy’s signature job system is here, which adds variety to the battles by letting you equip a mishmash of weapons and abilities tied to your chosen profession while in town. Spells and skills can be tweaked and tailored however you want using special mutations learned in battle, which can make them much more effective, so there is plenty of customization to work with. Personally, from my three-ish hours so far, I’ve been sticking with the Freelancer job, which is kind of your all-around job, capable of both casting basic spells and also wielding decent weapons for physical attacks. Alas, I’m currently stuck trying to beat the legendary flame djinn known as Ifrit.

Let me get more detailed. By default, you have a simple, quick attack that you can mash; however, squeezing the left or right bumpers grants you access to one of eight hand-picked abilities–some magical, some physical, and some related to your current job and weapon. The best strategy is to chain all these abilities together to begin building up something called Resonance. Once you have enough, you can squeeze both bumpers simultaneously and select one of four crystal surges, which supercharge all your abilities for a limited time. This is wisest done during boss battles, as most of the generic enemies you fight along the way are easily dispatched with simpler attacks.

Like Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy Explorers is probably meant to be played with other real-life people in your party. I don’t have access to those kinds of friends; I’ve only ever played online on my Nintendo 3DS with Animal Crossing: New Leaf and some cooperative multiplayer thingy for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Thankfully, solo players get the ability to gather essence from some downed monsters and create your own monstrous allies, who will wander after you and join you in combat. Unfortunately, their path-finding is terrible, but you can fuse them other monsters and materials to up their level or unlock perks. I currently only have one monster following me, a level 8 goblin that carries a large cleaver. What’s nice about this is that you can basically recruit your favorite Final Fantasy monsters, such as Cactuar, TonBerry, or Chocobo, like they are Pokemon. Fine by me.

Look, I haven’t played a whole ton of Final Fantasy Explorers yet, and I plan to give it a few more hours, but I can already begin to see the grind here. The real hook for me is seeing all the things from various Final Fantasy games on display, such as summons, characters, spell names, etc., plus the option to basically dress up your avatar as, say, Sephiroth or Tina. If this ultimately doesn’t do it for me though…there’s always Monster Hunter: World.

New friend request from Chocobo’s Crystal Tower

Many Facebook games pass me by day in, day out. I prefer it that way. I think the website did something recently to hide the thousand and one status updates pertaining to Farmville cows and one’s desperate plea for wood (::snerk::), which I’m eternally grateful for because you can only see so many of those before you begin to worry, not only about your sanity, but that of your friend’s. And when I did play a few Facebook games, such as Farmville and Pet Society, rarely did I ever choose to tell my friends about my latest in-game accomplishments. It’s not my style. I mean, I don’t do it with Fallout: New Vegas, rushing over to my laptop to alert everyone online that I completed the High Times quest and they should “like” this. No one cares.

And so it takes something special to get me into a Facebook game these days. Most are often click-spammers, lacking depth and forcing social interaction left and right. Thus, I was shocked to learn that Square Enix released two games for Facebook this week, both related to their Final Fantasy series: Knights of the Crystals and Chocobo’s Crystal Tower. I did not glance too long at the former title as it is very much a Mafia Wars sort of game, but the latter hooked me with its chocobo raising and RPGness.

I mean, the most fun I actually had in Final Fantasy VII was raising, breeding, and racing chocobos to obtain that ultimate summon spell hidden on a tiny island that only a special chocobo could get to. Took many long hours, as well as a strategy guide, but I did finally get it. And I ended up growing pretty attached to my giant magical birds, too.

So, in Chocobo’s Crystal Tower, which is currently in beta status, you raise chocobos on a ranch. You feed them, brush them, adorn them with adorable outfits, and, when they are old enough, send them off to a local tower to battle enemies, collect treasure, and gain experience. You can also breed your chocobo with other players’ birds. Everything takes time, which is fine, and you can spend your earned gil on decorations for your ranch, food, or special outfit items. The game also supports Achievements. It’s simple fun, with a cutesy art style and classic soundtrack; it’s biggest selling point is, naturally, hearing that instantly recognizable kweh! from your chocobo. Warms my heart every single time.

The game does a decent job of explaining most of its important parts to the player during the tutorial, but it’s a bit slow going, especially since none of my friends are playing it with me, and there’s some horrible load times as you switch between menus. I even got locked up on a loading screen and had to refresh out. Also, my current chocobo star Tiktok recently came back from a dungeon missing all of his gear (French hat, shirt, rubber boats), and I have no idea what happened or how to find out. Love throwing gil down the drain. We’ll see how long this one keeps me hooked…

Here’s the link to the game’s main page if you’re interested in giving it a shot.

BONUS QUESTION: How do you pronounce chocobo? Is it cho-co-bow or choc-oboe? Tara and I say it differently.

Holy ginormous chocobos!

The chocobos in Final Fantasy XIII are huuuuuuuuuuuge! Much bigger than they’ve ever been, if memory serves me correctly. Don’t believe me? Check out these scans below: