Victory Conditions: All Enemies Annihilated
Late last month, powerhouse Square Enix released War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius for Android and iOS in the US of A. Since then, it has celebrated over 2 million downloads. That’s pretty cool.
This is a mountain of a game, and it would take a long, long time of casual gameplay (or a shorter amount of time of insane grinding) to be able to pry out all of its nuances, condense them, and deliver them unto the masses in a single game review. Nonetheless, I did my research.
This is a tactical RPG that hearkens back to the console game Final Fantasy Tactics. If you’re not familiar with that legend, please click the aforementioned link to a previous review of War of the Lions. You will be gently schooled in the OG FFT’s influence in the gaming world. If you can’t be bothered, know that it’s frequently lauded as “one of the greatest video games of all time.”
Now, War of Visions isn’t quite the successor to this dynamo, but it’s certainly formidable, even for a free-to-play gacha game.
Let’s Get Down To Business
The main story follows the character Mont. He’s the elder of the twin princes of Leonis, one of five kingdoms that are in conflict. He isn’t fond of fighting (unlike his brother who wants to but can’t because their dad is obsessed with preserving the royal line). Throughout the plot and interactions with other characters though, Mont learns that it’s necessary. It’s basically your standard fantasy plot, the crown prince burdened with glorious purpose.
The campaign takes place over 5 chapters, with multiple scenes per chapter, and multiple battles per scene. That’s a lot of battles, and while hardcore tacticians will blanch at the idea, the autoplay feature helps with that. I wouldn’t recommend it for the harder fights, unless you want to blame the computer instead of yourself for losing, but it’s helpful if you want to grind through levels quickly.
We’ve Got Components
This is a tactical turn-based RPG on a grid map. Because the game is largely comprised of battles, you’ll get a lot of experience navigating this style of fighting, even if you’re just a beginner. War of the Visions welcomes newcomers, providing a lot of helpful additions like the Beginner’s Hall. This is a section devoted to different battle components, from rotating the map to battle strategy.
Battling itself involves putting a team together of different characters you collect throughout the game via Summons or other gifts and using them to fight. Your characters all have different elemental focuses. Some are stronger against others, and either give them an advantage or hinder them. You need to pay attention to that, as well as AP and TP (Ability Points and Technical Points). Of course, these are concepts FF players will be familiar with.
This is a busy game. You’re constantly grinding through scenes in the Main Story, working through the tutorial battles in the Beginner’s Hall, fighting in Farplane or working on World Quests. And then when you’ve had your fill of those battles, you go back to level up all your equipment, cards, and character units, who all have their own skills and abilities that you need to level up.
So, yeah. This game has components. It has elements. Dare I say, it has aspects. But even though you feel like you’re drowning in the sheer amount of STUFF in your first login, it gets easier to navigate with time.
Square knows that it’s jam-packed with stuff, of course. They provide helpful red exclamation points next to icons where you need to focus your attention on next. War of the Visions practically holds your hand, at least in the beginning stages.
After a few days of playing, you’ll become familiar enough with its ins and outs to identify the essentials. I find that it’s actually pretty cool that they provide so much stuff to do in the game. The amount of interaction in the world it created gave it an even more immersive feel.
We’ve Got Aesthetics
Speaking of immersion, War of the Visions’s graphics and audio are surprisingly wonderful for a mobile game. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising, given the Final Fantasy franchise’s track record. Each battle is preceded by a skippable cutscene. Because I’m a fan of lengthy backstory and world-building, I don’t typically skip cutscenes, and I’m glad I didn’t this time, either. There’s commendable character dialogue in every cutscene, and some really juicy parts that I won’t spoil here. Kudos to the amount of effort put into the aesthetics of the game.
I’m also in love with the Arena music. Just putting that out there.
We’ve Got . . . Gacha?
Yeah, it’s a gacha game. The peanut gallery heaves a collective sigh. But! You don’t really have to buy stuff from the store if you don’t want to! I mean, unless you’re super into grinding and getting your characters to be the best-of-the best, completely maxed out in stats and abilities, and you want the cream of the crop in characters, then go ahead and buy that stuff from the store. You can spend in-game stuff, or real-world money, with the real cash pricing ranging from $0.99 to a ridiculous $79.99. (This begs the question, who are the crazies who are spending that amount on a mobile game?!).
If you don’t want to be crazy and spend money, then you can totally just collect what you need in the game without spending a dime. The game starts you out with a decent amount as it is. Also, it is ridiculously easy to gain things as a beginner player, by completing missions, winning battles, collecting items on Chocobo Expeditions, and a ton of other ways. War of the Visions practically showers you with gifts at the start.
With an immersive world in which you can play the main storyline, compete against others or yourself, join a guild or go solo, there is no lack of options when it comes to battles. While it has its complexities at first, War of the Visions is a spectacular tactical RPG.
Is It Hardcore?
It’s a tactical RPG on steroids, providing the nostalgia of the OG FFT from the comfort of your mobile device.