“Hey, can we get some of that Monster Hunter money?” is a quote I would wager was uttered somewhere during the inception of Final Fantasy Explorers.
It’s certainly not the first to try a take on the MonHun formula, which has become a bona fide genre of its own over the years.
In light of this, I will simply state that those looking for more Monster Hunter would be better served looking elsewhere, as Final Fantasy Explorers is a very different beast altogether.
However, different doesn’t mean bad, and while FFE has its share of flaws, there’s still a lot to like here for long time Final Fantasy fans.
Multiplayer: Local and Online Co-Op up to 4 players.
Length: 14~ hours till credits, much more with post game content.
Played: 40~ hours.
If nothing else, the structure of FFE is similar to Monster Hunter as there is a hub world where there are venders to browse and quests to take on.
After taking on a quest, the player can either choose to walk out the front gates or take the airship to start at a different place on the world map.
The quests are the fairly typical laundry list of “Kill X” or “Collect X amount of Y”, but there are also some subquests to undertake at the same time that award CP, which are used to buy new skills, among other things.
The combat is fairly fast paced with cool down/AP based skills which can be used on the fly by holding down either the L or R button along with one of the face buttons.
Oddly enough, there isn’t a native dodge maneuver to speak of, so in its stead are some different defensive skills unique to each class.
For example, Monks have a “Counter” that allows them to nullify one attack and then counter hit with a strike while giving 100% critical chance on their next attack.
Outside of class specific ability and magic, most of the skills are tied to the type of weapon the player wields.
Given there are over twenty classes and a dozen or so weapon types, there’s a nice variety of different builds that can be utilized, and I personally found this to be the most enjoyable aspect of the game.
There’s also a mechanic called “Resonance” which allows the player to trigger a “Crystal Surge” which can trigger some rather dramatic, albeit short lived effects.
Regular enemies can even be tamed and made into allies to take into battle by acquiring a rare drop from the foe in question.
Lastly, there’s also “Trance”, which allows the player to summon an Eidolon or even become an iconic Final Fantasy character like Cloud, Terra, Cecil and more for a short time and unleash their devastating ultimate attacks.
While this is all fine and dandy, they tied the ability to increase the effect of a skill through the use of crystal surges, but I found this to be rather cumbersome as it’s quite the random and grindy affair.
Mindlessly wondering map to map killing monsters hoping for that one crystal surge affix to pop up isn’t my idea of fun, and the thought of having to do that dozens of time just to optimize my skills made me feel like I’d rather take a nap instead.
If I had to point out my biggest complaint about FFE, it would be that it’s way too easy.
Now, let me be clear in saying that I don’t think every game has to be ball bustingly difficult to be enjoyable, but in a game with such an emphasis on combat, I think it needs to offer a more satisfying experience.
From the moment I first loaded up the game till now where I’m a little past 40 hours into the game, I have one-shotted every boss they put before me.
This is all after I opted to increase the difficulty of the missions using modifiers like less time/no items/double damage and double enemy HP for sake of the better rewards at the end of the mission.
Lastly, while the online co-op works well enough, there are some key functions missing that makes it difficult to use.
Nintendo has always been shy about letting their players communicate with each other, and it shows once again in FFE as something as simple as keyboard inputs are disabled in lobbies.
The room search function was also quite limited, as I couldn’t even search with the parameter of something simple like “has not started mission yet”.
Despite these flaws, Final Fantasy Explorers offers a good time with friends taking on iconic enemies from the FF universe- just don’t expect much of a challenge.
Fun Tidbit – My Sword Paladin is an unstoppable killing machine.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.