Visually, FFDII is gorgeous and a faithful rendition of what you’d expect from a Final Fantasy game on iOS. Those who have played older titles will feel right at home with the 16-bit pixelated character sprites and lush environments. Character portraits for dialogue boxes is beautifully drawn, and the blue text boxes are familiar. The colors in FFDII are a nice range of bold and vibrant hues to dark and muted tones. Animations are smooth and fluid on my iPhone 8 Plus, with no lag or choppiness whatsoever. The game also has the typical Final Fantasy music and retro sound effects, so old-school gamers get a sense of nostalgia when playing this.
Unlike traditional Final Fantasy games with an over-world map, you’re not able to freely walk around and explore in FFDII. I was disappointed when I discovered this, but I suppose that’s to be expected from a Final Fantasy game designed for mobile devices. Instead, players get a world map with points of interest marked as destinations, and multiple stages in each. These levels consist of waves of enemies, where players engage in turn-based battles with them. You’ll earn rewards and experience points for your party members for successfully completing these stages. And with no towns and inns to rest in, all party members’ HP and MP are restored after every level.
The combat system is turn-based like the old-school Final Fantasy games. On the left side of the screen is a gauge that shows you the turn order between your party members and enemies. On the right, you’ll see the menu of actions that your currently selected party member can do. This consists of the basic “Attack” with their equipped weapon, “Ability,” and “Summon.”
The abilities that each party member has varies, and they can learn new ones as they level up with their Signet Stones. These stones are earned by defeating Eidolons, who are bosses that you must face off against in trials that test whether you’re worthy. Using abilities costs MP to use, with more potent skills costing more. However, they can do much more damage than a regular physical attack, so make sure to take advantage of them when you can, especially since your HP and MP get refilled after battle.
Summon allows party members to summon powerful creatures onto the battlefield to help you out. But like previous Final Fantasy titles, you must find and earn these summons by defeating the creatures in battle first. They’ll be tough foes to face, but owning their power to use at your command is well worth it.
The cast of characters in FFDII are completely new and span across different races and eras. Eventually, you’ll find items to equip, and can spend the gil you earn to buy more gear for battle. The storyline is your standard Final Fantasy fare, where a great disaster is caused by human error and destroys everything as we know it. Then it’s up to you, as a young boy who seeks adventure, to save the world by traveling back and forth between the past, present, future, and even beyond.
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