World of Final Fantasy is a full-on nostalgia fest. From the moment Lann and Reynn find their way out of Nine Wood Hills, they’re encountering people, places, and monsters from the Final Fantasy series. Unfortunately, many of these guest stars are cameo appearances. Here for an instant, gone in a flash. That’s in every encounter. When it comes to the story, side-quests, and even battles, you only get to spend the briefest of moments with your favorite folks.
The most common occurrences are brief moments where World of Final Fantasy takes an opportunity to bring someone we recognize in to help move the plot along. The original Final Fantasy’s Cornelia is the town in Grymoire, with the familiar Princess Sarah as its monarch. Each location has certain heroes and heroines tied to it. Sherlotta, from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, runs an inn on the way to Saronia. Once you find your way down to Saronia’s docks, you meet both Faris (Final Fantasy V) and Quistis (Final Fantasy VIII). People only get a few minutes to share with these people and a handful of lines.
It’s reassuring, of course. These people act a lot like their main-game counterparts. Sherlotta appears in both her human and cat forms. They may use their standard abilities. Snow summons his Eidolon to create icy bridges between islands that he, Lann, and Reynn can cross. They even seem to have similar histories. Rydia is a summoner with a Mist Dragon that the twins meet in Nibelheim, and she mentions her fear of bombs and fire after her hometown was burned down.
At the same time, it’s also like World of Final Fantasy doesn’t go far enough with these cameos and opportunities. The people who are storyline-specific only really show up for those moments that involve them. Once their time has been served, they’re out of Reynn and Lann’s lives. A lucky few who happen to Champions get to serve a slightly larger purpose. These 14 get their own storyline chapters in The Girl’s Tearoom and can be summoned to aid the twins temporarily in battle. (15, when you count Sephiroth.)
The Girl’s Tearoom sidestories are brief segments that show what the Final Fantasy heroes and heroines get up to in World of Final Fantasy when Reynn and Lann aren’t around. Unfortunately, they don’t fight their own battles. Once you pay Arma Gems for a chapter, you watch their story snippet then have Reynn and Lann intervene and fight that battle for them. In a way, it’s good. Sometimes, you earn extra Mirages from these encounters. It’s also a way to see some absolutely adorable enemies, like the Goblin Princess. But then, it’s bad in that you aren’t actually seeing these people as a member of your party and fighting as them.
This isn’t to say the Champions aren’t handy when you purchase them from The Girl’s Room, equip up to three of their medals, and summon them when gauges fill in battle. Their specials multitask. The Warrior of Light is your first such friend, and his Oversoul deals damages to enemies and increases Reynn and Lann’s stacks’ defense stats. Refia’s fantastic, as Healing Light heals everyone’s health and cures all status ailments. They’re both each one star allies, which means you get all that help for a small investment. Some other, more powerful, allies, cost two stars to summon, but provide additional help to make up for the wait. Celes’ Runic heals ice magic damage and casts oblivion on an enemy, while also restoring your party’s AP. Cloud’s Omnislash increases everyone’s strength, while also dealing massive damage to an enemy.
Would it have been nice if familiar Final Fantasy heroes and heroines could have been actual party members who’d join Lann and Reynn as guests, helping out temporarily for a few fights in a region? Sure. It’d have been great if they actually participated as playable characters. Still, it is nice to see these familiar faces constantly popping up in World of Final Fantasy, even if they don’t always stick around for too long. Especially since it isn’t just characters from major installments appearing, but also people from more obscure games like Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. Just remember to always purchase and equip your Champions in World of Final Fantasy, so you can actually use them!
World of Final Fantasy is now available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.