Square Enix has created a visual spectacle in their return story, Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis. Optimized for mobile, you can find it now on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. During my demo at Pax West I was able to tap through the first introduction to the game and was absolutely amazed at how good it looked on the IPad Pro, but as an initiate to Final Fantasy games, will Ever Crisis catch your attention?
Although Ever Crisis is a mobile game, you almost need the powerful display found on the iPad Pro to get the full experience. On the PAX floor, I could tell the game had some amazing visuals, but I was able to play again on my iPad mini, and while still visually invigorating, it wasn’t the same. The game starts out with an introduction and a player’s guide taught through an initial battle. This battle is epic. They really pull you in with amazing moves and visuals to get your fighting juices flowing. As you progress through the initial stage you’ll get to experience the dynamic visuals as the game moves into its retro roots.
You’ll move by tapping where you want Cloud to move to, or you can also drag your finger across the screen to move the player. Again, this game is optimized for mobile play, so you’ll do everything with your finger, and there are no real requirements for alternative controls. For those unfamiliar with the game, Ever Crisis is a mix of old and new experiences based around the popular Final Fantasy VII game. You’ll be introduced to familiar characters again such as Cloud and Sephiroth, and there’s a mix of other Final Fantasy moments such as Crisis Core to keep things interesting.
This is where, at least for me, the game lost its appeal. Game play is slow with constant interruptions and prompts, requiring that you do something else, or to let you know about some kind of microtransaction. I can also play devil's advocate with this and say that other players not as ADD as me, that don’t need constant action, may enjoy the slower pace. If you’re a fan of enhancing weapons and drilling down on a particular playing style, then this game will be right up your alley, but my personal preference didn’t find it very appealing.
I have to continually remind myself, this is a story. Not just a story of what was, but new story lines too. No doubt hardcore Final Fantasy fans will absolutely love this game. And that, ultimately, is who I think this game was designed for. The consistent action and fast play most mobile gamers enjoy isn’t this game’s focus. As someone who plays mobile games often, I was excited to get a Final Fantasy title that might introduce me to the popular series. During the PAX Demo, there just wasn’t enough time to dig into the story with how slow the game moves, and now that the game has released, that pace hasn’t accelerated, but there’s enough here to entertain, even for new players. Unfortunately in several encounter the game just kind of goes through the motions of playing out its own story, and I feel like I spend more time watching than I do playing, and those are not the kind of mobile games I enjoy.
Additionally, although I was not able to experience this in the demo, one major feature that could be a significant plus for the game is the multiplayer aspect. You and 2 other players can team up together in Co-op battles. I think this is a great idea given the game play. I can see people playing this game on their own but showing the game off to their friends just based on the epic visuals alone. I would suspect it would get even better if you can get 2 other players to experience the game firsthand alongside you.
In the end, Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis didn’t hook me into the series. I think for players that really love Final Fantasy and know the characters from Final Fantasy VII you might really enjoy what this game has to offer. If you’re a new player, looking to experience the series for the first time, or if you’ve only played other games in the series, you might still enjoy the game for its gorgeous graphics, easy of play, and setting. However, if you’re a mobile player with no ties to the series, you probably won’t enjoy how slow the game play is, the huge 5GB download, and being taken out of the game by gameplay interruptions that may not mean a whole lot to you.