Final Fantasy is a series that just seems destined to be most at home on mobile devices. With battle systems that have mostly all been adaptable to a touch-screen interface, to games that are low in spec requirements and high in story, pacing and world building, it’s a wonder the entire back catalogue hasn’t made its way to iOS and Android yet – although this may be happening, for all we know.
The good news is that Final Fantasy Tactics S has launched on iOS and Android, and will satiate the gaming desires of so many Final Fantasy and turn-based-strategy fans around the world. Not only are the Tactics series heralded as some of the best mobile games in history, the new game also provides a chance to experience the system on latest popular platforms. With mobile companies like O2 recording high-volume demands for both iOS and Android devices (like Samsung Galaxy S4), the game would most likely be welcomed by FF fans with mobile devices easily.
Interestingly, it’s a free-to-play game, and that’s often a double-edged blade. While it is free, there may be a horde of microtransactions attached to the main game mechanics that end up taking more money from you in the long-run than a fully-priced game, and this is worrying. Many would rather just pay the cash up front, but considering the backlash Square Enix have had to put up with over pricing their games normally on iOS and Android, it’s no surprise they’re looking into options that are less likely to hurt them financially.
Luckily, despite this, there’s been a spate of Final Fantasy games for iOS and Android over the last several years – some of them simple ports of older games, and some of them ports of the more recent updated versions, such as FFIII. It’s been a good time to be an FF fan, given the amount of attention Square Enix have given the franchise – unwaveringly, actually, since its inception – and now it’s coming to mobile, there’s all the more reason to celebrate.
Currently, the list of titles available on iOS/Android are as follows:
Final Fantasy V – iOS only
Final Fantasy Tactics – iOS only, as Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics S- iOS | Android (Market links unavailable.)
Now, while that’s quite the list, you’ll notice there’s an absence of their later, 3D-driven content. I’d love to list the “classics” of the later years of the franchise for you, but realistically their PS1 and PS2 era was flawless, and all releases were held in extremely high regard by fans and critics like. While their latest releases did see some criticism for the length of time it took to get into things, and FFXIV is being relaunched after a less-than-smooth-sailing launch not long ago, iOS and Android may get them back on track.
In addition to the release of Final Fantasy Tactics S, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions recently received a notably shiny graphical update, taking all the assets and making them HD-friendly. This is an impressive feat, and has allowed Tactics’ fanbase to enjoy updated, cleaner graphics that showcase all the skill of the original artists while not looking as foggy on later devices as the original version.
From now on, Square Enix’s main challenge is going to be figuring out what’s worth porting over, and whether they’re better off focusing on developing Final Fantasy titles specifically for the iOS. All their RPGs could be played via touch – a finger is all that’s needed to move you around the various obstacles on any particular map, and the combat is likely going to run faster when you’re tapping rather than scrolling through a menu.
For now, they’re going to have to really justify free-to-play, as that’s a minefield in an RPG. What does cash do for you? Sadly, it’ll affect combat or another basic means of interacting with the game normally, rather than changing aesthetics and offering optional features that don’t alter the game’s balance.
Final Fantasy VII’s recent PC re-release contained an option that would push all your party’s stats to 9999 in order for you to just enjoy the story. While this isn’t a bad idea for those who want to do so, it makes the combat a hollow experience devoid of any real challenge at all, and that’s a shame. Square Enix have offered this to players, though, and it’s clear they care about what kind of experience their playerbase want to have.
Now, if we can just get them to finally make an HD FFVII, we’ll be golden!
This article was written by Nadia Hyeong of Techdoolers.