Fantasy Life 3DS Review
Despite this game having come out in Japan back in 2012, I had never heard of it until I was shown some gameplay videos announcing its venture out west. What I saw impressed me, but I was not quite prepared for the game being this good. I figured I’d enjoy it, but after around 160 hours of gameplay, with the story far back in the past, I still found reasons to return. It took the best things from JRPGs and removed all the tiring aspects, releasing a game of truly epic proportions. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised.
When you start the game, you’re presented with twelve classes for you to choose from. Some are combat classes, while others are more skill-intensive. Once you choose that class (I chose Mercenary), you go through a small tutorial to get the hang of things, and then you’re thrown into the story. In the city of Castele, a meteorite crashes into your house (well, the second floor of a house you happen to stay in) and you are chosen by King Erik to solve the mystery of the meteorites. Such a simple quest quickly grows more complex when a white butterfly starts talking to you. Once you begin teaming up with your butterfly friend, you’re soon leaving the boundaries of your home to explore the world of Reveria and help people while finding artifacts to save the world from the impending meteorite disaster. That old schtick is an equally old hat by this point, so you know the drill. Ancient prophecy, destruction is nigh, and only you can save the
princess kingdom world.
However, the way the game goes about telling you the story is where its charm truly shows. The dialogue is hilarious and filled with trope-busting characters that really shine throughout the story, making a well-worn romp through the end of the world feel fresh all over again. The graphics in the game are of a chibi variety, and they’re pretty cute, working well in this type of setting. The music (composed by Final Fantasy great Nobuo Uematsu) is great as well, setting up every area perfectly, and it’s good enough to stand on its own, meaning this is one game you’ll want to keep the volume up for.
Of course, like any open world game worth its salt, there’s much more to do than just the story. In fact, it’s sometimes tough to get back to the story, as great as it is, when staring at everything else you can do. As a Mercenary, many tough creatures awaited my blade throughout the world, though people with a less combative skill (like a cook or a tailor) still have lots of achievements to complete, helping you to level up and give you the ability to gain better items. You have your main level, and then you have levels in your various skills (like greatsword for Mercenary and weapons smithing for blacksmith). There’s even the ability to level up in dash, allowing you to keep running while using less stamina.
What’s great about the skills is how immersive they are. You’re not just clicking on a mining rock or a tree and waiting. You’re right in the action, having to manage your stamina while seeking out each creature or object’s weak spot. It’s a nice take on gameplay that feels very warranted. To make things even better?You’re not locked into one class. Once you grow bored with one class (more likely you’ll finish all the achievements way before boredom sets in), another one awaits you, with everything you’ve gained from your previous class(es) awaiting you to assist in your new mission. Many different people are also scattered around the world with tasks for you to do, offering you some sweet rewards in return. Of course, if you’ve finished all of those, you could always return to the story. It’s missed you.
There’s even a multiplayer option. You and up to two other friends can run around your (or your friends’) world and start up trouble together. Though you can’t do any parts of the story or citizen requests while in multiplayer, you can all fight monsters together and swap items, allowing you to help out a friend who isn’t as high leveled as you in a certain skill. Some monsters are just too tough for you to take down by yourself, so it helps to bring in a friend and slay them together. It’s actually a good idea to start as a combat class. Though you can attack as a skiller class, your weapon is a measly dagger, while the combat classes are allowed better weapons.
With a funny story, impressive amount of immersive skills, top-notch multiplayer, and a great overall atmosphere, Fantasy Life is worth every penny. There’s even a DLC package that turns out to be worth it as well, opening up an entire new place, new monsters to kill, armor to make, and even a new upgrade on all your classes. Despite this game more than likely being in a niche category to most people, it ends up being one of the best selections on the 3DS, and with all the great stuff you can do in it, it deserves all its praise.