The first Final Fantasy Dimensions was a delightful old-school adventure reminiscent of the earliest entries in the storied series. Final Fantasy Dimensions II is an incredibly basic free-to-play mobile game that’s been stripped of its microtransactions and granted a premium price tag.
The latest mobile RPG from Square Enix, released this week on Google Play and iTunes for $14.99, started life as a free-to-play game called Final Fantasy Legends: Toki no Suishō (Final Fantasy Legends: Crystal of Space-Time). Launched in Japan in February 2015, it was a story-driven game with randomized treasure chests, rotating cash shops, daily login bonuses, a friends system and regular community raid events. Service for the free-to-play version of the game ended this week, and now we have Final Fantasy Dimensions II.
The story remains the same. A boy named Morrow meets a girl named Aemo, and together they embark on a journey to save all of time and space from destruction. Along the way they gather companions from the past, present and future, leveling them up and outfitting them with special Signet Crystals, which teach them new abilities and grant them access to summonable creatures.
The story and basic gameplay mechanics are intact, but just about everything else is stripped away. No microtransactions, no random loot drops, no ads, no friend requests. This would be wonderful if the game were anything like the first Dimensions, but it’s not.
The first Dimensions gave us overworld exploration, dungeon crawling and lazing about in villages, three staples of classic Final Fantasy. Dimensions II replaces that with quests that spawn as points on a map. Instead of running into random encounters while wandering the world, battles are pitched, turn-based affairs presented as a series of waves. Tap the mission, enter battle, complete four or five battles in a row, complete mission. There’s a wide variety of abilities to unlock and assign to characters, which is nice, but as long as you’ve got a character on heals, the game’s Auto Battle feature is more than capable of doing most of the heavy lifting.
It’s a system that works just fine in a free-to-play environment, where players have to wait for a stamina meter to refill before they can fight again, but this premium Dimensions II doesn’t have a stamina meter. Players can endlessly grind these rolling battles on autopilot, easily staying ahead of the enemies in the game’s story. The only obstacle to progression is making sure your mobile device doesn’t go to sleep in the middle of a fight.
So we’ve got an interesting story about time travel, presented in the most boring way possible. In the hours I’ve played through the game so far, I almost found myself hoping for my stamina to run out, an ad to pop up or some sort of random weapon machine to ask me to pump points into it for a chance at rare gear. That’s very sad.
If you’ve ever played through a free-to-play role-playing game and thought, “This would be so good if not for all of this FTP bullshit,” Final Fantasy Dimensions II is proof that might not be the case.