Released in English earlier this month, Final Fantasy Record Keeper has finally hit for both Android and iOS, much to the delight of Final Fantasy fans everywhere.
Final Fantasy Record Keeper is pretty much aimed directly said fans as you get to relive key moments from each game represented by painted pictures in their individual halls. It’s not the first Final Fantasy game put on mobile by Square Enix but it’s one of the more unique ones we’ve seen so far. Granted it’s not the first ever game from the company to feature crossovers from different games in the series with Final Fantasy Dissidia being the most popular one to date.
The basic premise of the game is that your kingdom thrives on stories which are bound in the form of paintings kept in the Royal Archive, which in turn are kept safe by the Record Keepers until one day the records in the paintings started to disappear, bringing ruin upon the world. Your job? revitalise the paintings by reliving the memories preserved within them with the aid of heroes from their respective stories.
The game essentially puts you in the shoes of Tyro, a young Record Keeper who is tasked to relive and ultimately rejuvenate each painting to avert whatever darkness cursing the land. Sound familiar?
Right in the nostalgia
While it is based mostly on the Final Fantasy series, Record Keeper does share some basic characteristics with other mobile RPG type games like Brave Frontier; both have energy bars that dictate how many battles you can have that session, level-able units, premium item system, daily dungeons as well as a simplified, somewhat linear gameplay style.
The game is free to play but has the option to “pay to play” by buying Gems to help nab yourself better equipment, inventory slots and even battle revives earlier on. The same things can be done with Mythril, which is earned via completing “Master” completion for certain battles. It’s great that the option is there at least so players who don’t want to spend any real cash on pixels really need not do so.
Right now the game hasn’t had all “realms” opened yet but we’re sure that the entire cast of characters will run the gamut from the original Final Fantasy all the way to Final Fantasy XIII, with periodic updates bringing new dungeons and characters to the mix.
When you complete certain events or realms you will unlock more characters as well, but the game starts you off with a solid bunch of heroes to choose from core batch of character classes from the first Final Fantasy. Tyro is also extremely versatile, so with respect to a few exceptions, he can use the vast majority of weapons and abilities available ingame.
Plan or die
To sum it up, each dungeon consists of a string of battles in multiple parts which you have to beat in order to progress. Each round will expend Stamina, which in turn needs to refill over time but as you progress you will get more stamina to spread around when you win Stamina shards. And a run through will consist of a listed amount of battles before you hit the boss at the end.
Here you will encounter a lot of familiar monsters, music and environs as you hack them to little bits but there’s still a bit of planning involved; when in a dungeon you basically cannot heal outside of battle unless you’re willing to expend Mythril or Gems and status effects as well as damage do get brought over from the previous battle.
Monsters weaknesses and strengths remain the same as they did in their original games, so you’ll do good to remember what kind of spells and equipment to pack; some are totally undefeatable otherwise.
But there is a good reason to bring back heroes to their original realms. When you do so, equipment and heroes from said realm will synchronize and become a lot stronger than normal and this is evidenced by a blue glow around the characters and the items in question. They will even gain experience a lot faster too, so keeping this in mind while grinding levels makes it a heap easier.
And yes, the game can be a little grindy, so they’ve included a helpful auto attack button to help you plow though those baddies without lifting a finger. But going full auto does have a price; if your characters aren’t strong enough they can and will get clobbered; no skills and abilities are activated in auto so it’s best to be done when you’re confident enough that they can survive on their own.
One of the key aspects of progressing in Record Keeper is upgrading your equipment and abilities. While they’ve done away with level limits for equipping items, you have to upgrade them using other bits of equipment and special stones in order to make them stronger. When you have a high enough leveled piece of equipment and a duplicate of it, you can combine it to create a stronger version of itself till it reaches it’s max level cap.
Abilities can be honed as well but instead of making them stronger, it allows them to be used more often. Abilities are created by fusing different stones together and these same stones are needed to hone them as well. It would have been nice if they had a combination system that let you create new special equipment but there’s still a possibility that might come along later.
It does feel very good to relieve those little bits of your childhood but the game is still lacking in a few aspects. While the way each chapter in a realm is narrated does give you a rough summary of what is happening, if you’ve never played any Final Fantasy game before you will find yourself somewhat lost as there isn’t much story besides that. I would have liked less grinding but that’s sort of an integral part of the game too.
However, Final Fantasy Record Keeper is still nowhere near done and Square Enix is throwing in more goodies as the number of downloads increases as well as events that let you earn more characters and epic loot.
But they have managed to keep what small bits of the game quite faithful to it’s origin material. Battles are very familiar as are the characters and let’s be honest, it’s really cool to see characters from newer Final Fantasy games as sprites.