So there’s this new iOS
scam game from Square Enix called Final Fantasy: All the Bravest. It was hyped by a countdown site — Square Enix must be the last company on Earth to still employ those — with silhouettes of 16-bit sprites splashed across the page. Before that, the “All the Bravest” trademark was thought to be the localized name of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, the terrific-looking RPG for 3DS from the same creative team as the darling Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light.
It’s a mobile game where you swipe characters on the screen once your Active Time Battle gauge fills. That’s it. A video at Polygon shows that you don’t even have to pay attention to what’s going on. Worse than the non-existent gameplay: this is one of the most crass nickel-and-diming schemes ever seen in this industry since, well, since Theatrythm: Final Fantasy for iOS. Let’s break it down:
- Pay $4 for the “game.”
- Pay $4 for extra stages based on the most popular games in the series: VII, X and XIII.
- Pay $1.29 for “premium” characters (main characters from the series like Cloud and Balthier), but when you pay, you get a random character — you may not get the one you actually want.
- Pay $1 for hourglasses used to revive your party. You need to buy a ton to beat the game.
Read The PA Report for another frightening play report. What caught my attention in that particular piece was the comparison to slot machines. Square’s used slot machines as major gameplay elements in actual video games before. The Digital Mind Wave from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is probably the best example of that. You can see the similarities in the ridiculous “Fever” attack in All the Bravest.
Literally a slot machine in the corner of the PSP screen, Crisis Core‘s Digital Mind Wave broke up the nap-inducing button-mashing in what was basically a re-skinned Kingdom Hearts game. This random game show segment occasionally casts spells and buffs, but without any direct input from the player. The game just decided for you when the DMW would do its thing, and often not to your benefit. You could score a fantastic, time-consuming special attack against an insignificant bug in any random battle or you could go a whole boss fight with nothing helpful happening at all. Sometimes the slot thing would roll with no result at all! It’ll just interrupt your playing for a flashing display of faces and numbers! It’s as confounding as Blernsball from Futurama.
Then there’s the DNA augmentation board from — shudder – The 3rd Birthday. Imagine an invisible Digital Mind Wave slot machine that randomly grants passive abilities during battle. Not active abilities you can control or play with — passive attributes. You’ll be shooting the same monster for an hour when — bliiiing!! ooh, pleasing sound effect and fancy special effect! — you’re suddenly granted the chance of critical damage and ammo regeneration. Again: the chance.
No, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest isn’t the first Square game to replace actual gameplay with a casino mini-game. Crisis Core experimented with it and The 3rd Birthday pushed the concept further by neglecting to weave it into the rest of the game or plot altogether. But All the Bravest does represent the culmination of Square’s hard work to suck the fun and the soul out of video games.
But hey, that Lightning Returns looks okay!