Final Fantasy Explorers is viewed by many as Square Enix’s first attempt at a Monster Hunter-like game using the Final Fantasy brand, but according to consumer reviews on Amazon Japan, not only is it not a hunting-action game, it’s also got other issues that prevent it from being as enjoyable as it could have.
While many of the Amazon’s 2.5 star (out of 5 stars) reviews state that the game is actually pretty fun, they also have a lot to say about its shortcomings. Remember to take the information below with a grain of salt, as it is from various reviewers that gave it their own ratings based on different perspectives and opinions.
The most helpful critical review stated: “It took 9 hours to get to the ending. The developers said that everything up until you clear the game is like a tutorial, but I was able to get to the ending at a very high pace. I was able to keep going on up until there, and it was really fun.”
It continued, “You can get all kinds of monsters, and the fresh feeling of coordinating your moves together and unlocking jobs is among some of the elements that kept the motivation going. However, the problem begins after you clear the game.”
The reviewer went on to mention that rather than fighting multiple bosses at the same time like in Monster Hunter’s late game, you’re basically going to different areas to fight them one at a time. Additionally, you can use a shortcut to get to the first boss, but you can’t for the second boss, and it takes forever simply to reach the area its in.
This is one of the problems with Final Fantasy Explorers that is mentioned frequently. Running in the game uses up AP, which is the same thing that you use for abilities. Having to wait for your AP to recover after sprinting slows down the pace of the game.
“Up until I cleared the game, I thought that it was pretty fun,” said another player. “The problem is the movement distance, which you can’t even compare to other hunting games, and it’s boring after you beat the game…”
Yet another critical reviewer echoed this sentiment, stating: “There’s all kinds of elements, the multiplayer is super fun, and it’s a game that I kind of got into. However, there’s one thing I can’t overlook, and it’s the tiresome feeling of traveling. Yes, you can start closer to where the boss is located, but that’s where both the quest and marathon begins.”
Another problem seems to be that most people wanted something they could play in short bursts, as you could with other hunting game titles such as Monster Hunter. However, Explorers isn’t quite a hunting game—rather, it feels like something of a portable MMORPG-lite. Certain reviewers admitted they were expecting something like Monster Hunter and got a different experience instead.
One player, however, said that he actually dislikes Monster Hunter, and it looks like he bought the game in the hope of experiencing something different.
“In a good way, I was relieved that Final Fantasy Explorers’ combat wasn’t as troublesome as a game like Monster Hunter,” he stated. “However, characters don’t have levels and there isn’t much going on with stories as you simply take on quests. The simplicity of just taking up quests then clearing them is similar to what you’d get in Monster Hunter.”
Given the nature of Final Fantasy Explorers and how you upgrade your gear instead of leveling characters, along with the countless hours of farming that’s required to get your new equipment, it seems like a lot of people expected something more along the lines of a hunting-action game, but instead, got a Final Fantasy XIV lite with early-Final Fantasy XI’s walking distances (okay, maybe not that bad). It’s easy to see why there are such divided opinions on Explorers.
More importantly, though, some of the issues that the reviewers are complaining about could be remedied with a patch. Square Enix have stated that they’re taking user feedback from Explorers players into account, so hopefully they address some of the concerns that have been voiced. They’ve already released a generous helping of free DLC for the game in the form of the Blue Mage job.
Final Fantasy Explorers is currently available in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS. It has yet to be announced for the West.