This isn’t exactly a new game, but they have just recently added some new updates and content for the month of December 2015. Final Fantasy Record Keeper was developed by DeNA and Square Enix, and launched for the US earlier this year in March 2015, and has received mostly positive feedback.
First, I want to start with why this game is so cool. In Final Fantasy Record keeper, there is a world that collects stories of heroism and adventure and tells these stories by placing them inside paintings. Dr. Mog, one of the chief Record Keepers, asks our main hero Tyro to restore the vanishing records because a darkness is sweeping across the land and erasing them from existence, which is also creating chaos in the land of the Record Keepers. Tyro must now go on a grand adventure of his own to restore the past records by diving into the paintings and reliving the stories of old.
Every story is set in a different Final Fantasy game, each with characters, music, and bosses from that game. Tyro essentially gets to relive all the grand battles and epic moments from other Final Fantasy series, but in a classic retro 2D art style. All of the monsters and characters keep their original stats and abilities, so if you remember how to defeat a specific enemy from that game, chances are you can use that exact same strategy for Record Keeper.
Cloud, Tifa, Lightning, Yuna, and Squall are now 2D sprites as they team up with Tyro to save the combined Final Fantasy universe from the darkness that is taking over. This makes this game a lot like Kingdom Hearts in that regard since it is now a shared universe and story that links all the worlds of Final Fantasy together. You are then able to complete those stories and slowly unlock rare heroes (such as the ones named above) to join your team and fight alongside you. So essentially, Cloud and Lightning could be on a team together fighting in the world of Final Fantasy IV.
This world jumping takes place by using the grand Hall Of Doors, inside the Record Keeper’s main collection vault. Each door leads to a room that stores the stories for that specific game, so the door that leads to Final Fantasy V would have characters and missions from that series. As you progress, you unlock more doors to restore stories, characters, and equipment from that specific game.
You don’t travel around or talk to NPCs, this is a battle game where you mostly just engage in combat to collect rare items. Most of the time the only person you have to talk to is Dr. Mog, who serves as your guide when you first start the game and he (it?) helps run you through the tutorial to help teach you how to play. The only other character you will mostly interact with is Cid, who serves as the game’s crafter to help you gain new skills and abilities.
The combat system more or less plays out exactly like classic Final Fantasy games; you can attack, defend, and use special abilities. However there are a few things that were changed for mobile gameplay. Items are automatically collected and consumed when you pick them up, such as healing potions and ether to restore your magic. I don’t really like this because this takes away the ability to heal specific characters when they need it, instead you have to rely on luck or magic to heal your team.
Your magic abilities now have charges instead of MP, so you have a set limit of spells you can perform. For example, instead of having 90 MP to cast spells, you might instead have four lightning bolt uses, once you run out of those four you will need an ether drop to cast more spells. This can be challenging as dungeon battle runs can sometimes stretch out to be quite long, having you to really balance out and strategize how you spend your points to last you until the series of battles is over, normally finishing by defeating a powerful boss monster at the end of the dungeon.
You also now have a Soul Break bar; every time you attack or take damage the Soul Break bar will fill up. When it reaches the top, you can unleash a devastating attack to do deal extra damage to enemies. On top of this, you can call in friends that can jump in and join the battle, kind of like a special Tag-team call in feature, where you will ask a special Final Fantasy character for help to use their Soul breaker to attack an enemy and assist in battle.
At the end of the battle you will collect rare relics and items that you can equip, as well Gil (money) to buy new items and equipment. One thing that I don’t really like is the Stamina bar, every battle costs a set amount of Stamina to enter a new fight, this means that if you want to keep playing you either have to pay out money to refill the Stamina bar, or stop playing until the bar recharges after a few minutes.
Mythril is the real life money to game money currency, meaning you can buy Myhtril by dishing out real life money, which you can use for a variety of things to purchase special gear, or even more Stamina.
I really like this game and it is fun to play, but I do feel like it caters towards the Final Fantasy VII crowd WAY too much. I don’t know if the game updated to reflect the recent announcement of Final Fantasy VII‘s Remake, or if the game was always this way. But it seems to me that they are pretty much shoving FFVII down your throat once you start the game. The first weapon I unlocked was from VII, the first Record dungeon I ran was from VII, the first character I unlocked to fight with me was Cloud, and as I went into the options menu to look at the cash shop and gear, one of Final Fantasy VII‘s songs was playing in the background. This can be a bit annoying for Final Fantasy fans that didn’t really enjoy Final Fantasy VII (like me), having to play through so much of it at the start of the game.
Another problem I have with this game is the Synergy system that they created, so characters from their own game, using weapons from their own game, is stronger in the world they come from. So in simple terms, Cloud in the world of Final Fantasy VII, using a buster sword will be A LOT stronger than using that loadout in the world of Final Fantasy II. This is a bit frustrating because it pretty much encourages you to use default characters for their own universe instead of mix and matching them to create your own dream team. You can still mix and match your team, but they will essentially be nerfed if you use them outside of their respective realms.
It would have been nice if you started from the beginning of the original Final Fantasy games and worked your way up through the ages to the more modern games, unlocking characters and content from each respective series until you reached the end, perhaps allowing you to run special event dungeons to unlock characters along the way, or maybe have the Darkness mix and match characters so that the memories were jumbled and Tyro would have to collect the pieces to retell the story in the proper order.
In other words, Final Fantasy Record Keeper starts you in the middle of the series, then jumps you around different worlds as you unlock more content in an almost random order. Although I am a huge fan of Final Fantasy, I personally think that Brave Frontier did a much better job at progressing the story forward as you unlock monsters that you battled along the way to join your team. I also personally think the combat system in Brave Frontier gives you a bit more freedom with how battles play out since you can use magic and health potions when you need them and can mix and match characters in any way you choose, which also makes it an overall better game.
Regardless, Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a great game for those of you that would like to relive the classic moments in the Final Fantasy series, and I am sure fans of Final Fantasy will feel a lot of nostalgia while playing through the records and unlocking all their favorite heroes and weapons. I also found the cash shop to actually be quite reasonable since you can unlock characters by playing through events or story missions for free (as long as you wait for the Stamina to recharge).
Final Fantasy Record Keeper is free to play and download from the Google play store for Android, as well as the iTunes store for Apple iOs. For additional details, you can also visit the official Final Fantasy Record Keeper website to see all the latest updates and announcements.