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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Final Fantasy Dimensions II

Final Fantasy Dimensions II was released five years after the first game, and despite being developed by the same team it has a completely different look and feel to the original.  Evident right away is that it has a much higher budget than the first game, with an animated intro and an original song, as well as a revamped visual style a bit reminiscent of Square Enix's late-00's fare on the DS with higher-resolution sprites, some gorgeous 2D backdrops, character portraits and much flashier spell effects.  Combat is also overhauled to be more reminiscent of Final Fantasy X - a straight turn-based system with turn order management as a focus of its strategy.  The game is also much more stripped-down in terms of design, having you click on destinations marked on a map containing story events and/or strings of battles to complete, with your HP and MP restored to full after each battle string.  Rather than the classic Final Fantasy based system you also get something more akin to Final Fantasy IX, equipping "signet stones" that grant abilities which you can then learn permanently by earning enough points through battles.  Signet Stones can also be powered up by using certain items, boosting all of the abilities they contain.  As one deals and receives damage they also charge up a meter which can be used to summon creatures for various effects like dealing damage or buffing the party, with more powerful effects requiring more filled pips.  Equipment is similarly simplified too, with each character just getting one weapon, armor and accessory slot apiece.  When originally launched the game was a free-to-play title with episodic design, microtransactions and an "energy" mechanic that ensured you would have to wait several minutes of real time in between combat challenges, but the subsequent release of a pay-up-front version seems to have completely removed all this.  Even with the change though it's not a particularly great game - far from awful, but it's all a bit shallow and insubstantial unless you're really invested in the storyline, and doesn't even attempt to recapture the look and feel of a 16-bit FF like its predecessor did.  Dimensions II might be worth a purchase to die-hard Final Fantasy fanatics if you can get it on sale for a couple bucks, but otherwise I'd say it's one you can safely skip.

Developer: Matrix Software
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 2015, 2017
Platforms: iOS, Android