War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Review – Tactics on the Go

    Title: War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
    Developer: Gumi
    Release Date: March 25, 2020
    Reviewed On: iOS
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Genre: Tactical RPG

The thought of the Final Fantasy brings with it memories of epic stories, intense battles, and well-written characters. However, most might not add “compelling gacha” to that list. Regardless, Square Enix has released War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on mobile devices as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. What we end up getting is a quintessential tactical RPG experience, with all of the gacha systems you’d imagine.

War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius follows Mont and Sterne from the kingdom of Leonis, which possesses the power of visions, along with Machérie, the beautiful Steel Maiden of Hourne. Within their continent of Ardra, individual nations try to struggle for dominance, and it’s up to Mont’s group to help turn the tide of war.

While this may sound like a typical JRPG storyline, this is one that’s incredibly well written with a handful of memorable moments and character arcs that I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil. It helps that is has a star-studded dubbed voice over cast popular in the gaming and anime community (if you decide to play the game dubbed that is). The credits include Bryce Papenbrook, Zach Aguilar, Skyler Davenport, Chris Tergliafera, Faye Mata and so much more. The cast really put a ton of effort into bringing these characters to life, which made it feel like a true Final Fantasy title.

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The main campaign is broken down into a number of battles for every chapter. Each puts you into an encounter with a setup that Final Fantasy Tactics fans will find familiar. Players choose five units to deploy on a grid and then they must prepare for some turn-based tactical RPG fighting. Each unit has a basic attack, various abilities, and the power to summon monsters called espers to utilize during a match.

Given the tactical nature of the game, each fight doesn’t play out the same. There’s a variety of enemies from white mages to giant ogres who will put up a fight, which puts your tactical skills to the test. Luckily, there’s an autoplay feature that works for some of the weaker encounters, but you’ll be better off manually controlling units during the tougher matches. The battle system is pretty straightforward, but there’s plenty here that makes things very “Final Fantasy” for long time fans.

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Throughout the adventure, you obtain additional units which each have an ability tree, vision cards, and espers. To quickly break these down, the ability tree is as it sounds – a tree where you unlock new abilities, level up those abilities, and increase your stats as you level up. You can also access new “jobs” on this menu to unlock even more skills. Vision cards are additional items that you can equip to a unit that provides other stats as well as a party-wide buff.

Espers are summons that can be used after a certain amount of time on the battlefield has passed to do massive damage to enemies. Additionally, each esper has their own ability tree, giving the unit it’s equipped further stat boosts. While all of this may seem daunting, it’s pretty easy to understand after navigating the menus for a bit. In the later parts of the game, it’s imperative to make sure you’re leveling up your best units, as it can get pretty hard once you reach the middle of chapter 3.

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Aside from the main campaign and side-quests to obtain items, there are co-op and PVP modes available. The co-op mode pairs you and three other players to fight in chambers and acquire items and materials. The only time you’ll actually have to worry about the level of your unit here is if you want to take on higher difficulty chambers. On the other hand, during a PVP match, you’re definitely going to want to invest more time in leveling up and maybe focus on summoning stronger units.

Like most mobile RPGs, highly rare and powerful units and items can be found, which is most evident in PVP as I got smashed every match even when I was at the same level as my opponent. The only difference being, they had an ultra-rare unit known a Mediena. Mediena is a mage with one of the strongest single-target spells in the game as of right now. Sure, other ultra-rare units have their uses, but if you don’t have a Mediena and your opponent does, you’re probably going to lose.

This forced my hand, and I decided to reroll for the first time (the process of deleting my data and starting the game again to get a unit I want from the start). If you were wondering, it took me around 24 times before I was able to pull Mediena. As it stands, the PVP mode is insanely paid (or reroll) to win. I’ve even run into instances where an opponent didn’t have Mediena but had an ultra-rare vision card that gave them some insane stat boosts that put my team at a substantial disadvantage, but such is life.

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War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is an excellent extension of the Final Fantasy Tactics series. The game features a charming cast of characters who embark on a memorable quest that I wasn’t expecting. Still, there are definitely some balancing issues found in the PVP offerings, which make matches much easier for those who pay. As a fan of Final Fantasy Tactics, I felt right at home in terms of the battle system and turn-based mechanics found in this adventure, which pave the way for a great mobile RPG experience.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Brock Jensen

Saebyeolbe is the Tom Brady of Overwatch. MOBILE GAMERS ARE STILL GAMERS. Send me stuff [email protected]