I got to play a second round of Final Fantasy Explorers at TGS, this time with a group of Square Enix employees in multiplayer. Since I’d already played as the Dragoon, I decided to go with a magic user class and chose Black Mage. The other members in my party where White Mage, Monk, and Knight, so we set off with a classic Final Fantasy party.
(Note: the screenshots in this post are press assets and not from our playthrough.)
The Black Mage in the Final Fantasy Explorers demo casts attack magic and was armed with spells like Blizzara (L + X), Fira (L + Y), and Thundara (L + B). Each spells also has a different areas of effect. Fira, for example, shoots a fireball straight ahead. Blizzara creates a splash of ice spikes right around you. Thundara is kind of like a bomb, a lightning bolt falls from the sky and creates a ball of electricity. I also had Drain to restore life and Aspir to sap which recovers the Trance gauge.
Most spells are cast instantly, but Flare, typically one of the strongest spells in the Final Fantasy series, has a casting time delay. That’s fair, considering that Flare has an enormous area of effect and dealt much more damage than any other spell. Flare also has a longer cooldown time. The other spells have cooldown periods, too, but you could rotate between Fira, Thundara, and Blizzara endlessly in the demo.
The multiplayer demo has a different quest where Shiva was the target. We started in a beach area and fought crabs as a warm up. The knight took the lead and I stayed in the back spamming magic spells. Black Mage was almost too powerful here, since even the most basic spells took enemies out in one or two hits. The White Mage player was a helpful healer and ran next to players to cure them. In Final Fantasy Explorers, Cure spells have an area of effect, too. All four players can crowd around the White Mage for a group heal. Just like the single player demo, regular enemies posed no challenge, but Shiva was a beast.
Shiva was tougher than Ifrit since she could freeze players in ice crystals, leaving them immobile and unable to attack. If you got caught, you were vulnerable to her other attacks where she made ice spikes pop out of the ground or her deadly Diamond Dust attack, which is a concentrated laser beam in Final Fantasy Explorers.
While the Knight and Monk could barely whittle Shiva’s life bar down, alternating between Flare and Fira hurt Shiva badly. Even though Black Mage was clearly overpowered, the fight was still a challenge since I had to run to dodge Shiva’s attacks and figure out when there was a gap in her attack pattern to cast Flare. Getting caught in Diamond Dust while waiting for the spell to activate was instant death, but fortunately the White Mage could cast Raise and bring me back to life. When I used a crystal to transform, the Black Mage turned into Terra from Final Fantasy VI.
After defeating Shiva, I played another round of the Final Fantasy Explorers multiplayer demo with the Ninja who has a mix of slashes and self-buffing abilities. The Ninja’s transformation morphed my character into Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. Another party member was Time Mage who had spells like Haste, which increases your dash speed, and Meteor, a slow firing move that dropped a giant meteor on to the battlefield.
Final Fantasy Explorers is slated for release on December 18 in Japan.