Final Fantasy Dimensions Review: High Polish, High Fantasy, High Priced RPG Is Almost Worth It
Did you hear about the iPhone game that costs nearly $30 to play? It’s called Final Fantasy Dimensions, and it’s the latest release from Square Enix, a company who hasn’t shied away from premium pricing in the App Store. Final Fantasy Dimensions is a grand and polished RPG experience, but the price is going to be a turn off for many potential players.
The Game Itself
First, let me review Final Fantasy Dimensions irrespective of the price. Dimensions is very much a retro-clone. It’s doing the old-school 16-bit FF adventure as well as the old-school FF adventures that came before it.
The game opens with a prologue (free to play!) that establishes the overarching plot (retrieving crystals and saving the world, natch!) and teaches you how to use the FF interface (pretty standard, if you’ve played any other FF iOS game, or Chaos Rings). The story flips between two main characters, Sol (Light) and Nacht (Dark), who work on the flip sides of the same, sundered world; this is both a good and a bad thing, as it means a lot of story but also a disconnectedness between elements.
Dimensions features the same turn-based combat system as all the similar FF games, plus the expected Black, White, and Red magics. Really, nothing about the way combat works will surprise players familiar with the franchise. It did feel like there was a LOT of combat here, with random monster encounters happening All. The. Time. The grinding against random mobs gets tiresome sometimes, even though they are necessary to level up.
Dimensions also features the same sort of jobs system that other FF games have featured. In fact, this is one of the most interesting versions of the job system I’ve encountered, as it’s very flexible and friendly to multi-classing. It allows players to more readily tailor their team to meet the challenges of a given dungeon or boss.
One other thing: Dimensions is LONG. Each of the four chapters is 10 or more hours of gameplay (though it would be a fair bit less without all the grinding combat). As is befitting a game that was originally released episodically (on Japanese flip-phones, no less), the storyline does sometimes feel choppy and, well , episodic. But it’s still the great, classic sort of RPG storytelling that the FF series does so well.
Put briefly: it’s a great game. It’s got all the things about Final Fantasy that you would expect in a FF game, and it does them as well as you’d expect them to be done.
About That Price …
So, it’s a great game. But is it $29 worth of great game?
Even in the world of Square Enix, whose games have always been the most expensive in the App Store, this game’s $28.99 (or more, if you purchase episodically) asking price is ridiculously high. If there were something uniquely spectacular about this game, I’d say yes. But at some level, this is just another Final Fantasy game, even if it is a great one. For $28.99 I could buy both Final Fantasy I and II for my iPhone and still have $11 to spend on other games!
On the other hand, this is a great Final Fantasy game. In terms of polish and tight game design, it’s a step up from FFI or FFII, and it looks great on both iPhone and iPad. If you’re a fan of the old style Japanese RPGs, then this game will enthrall you for hours on end (as of this review, I still haven’t made it to the end, and that’s after spending many, many hours with it). It is also in many ways a new Final Fantasy game, unlike the ports of other FF titles in the App Store. You never played this one on Super Nintendo or Playstation. For franchise fans, that alone makes it worth the price.
Square Enix clearly does not want to cede the price point on iOS. And it’s true that good games cost money to make; and it’s true that premium entertainment sometimes comes at a premium price. Whether or not this price is too high is really up to the individual player. If you love JRPGs, if you’re Final Fantasy fan, if you’re interested in lengthy, deep gaming experiences for your iPhone or iPad, than this might be worth the price. Unfortunately, I think the high price point is going to turn off a lot of potential players, those players who don’t know Final Fantasy all that well but who might become a fan, if only they could play a game like this. And that’s a shame.
Our Score: 4 out of 5