Around six months ago, Square Enix and developer Gumi launched the global version of War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. This is the second game in the “Brave Exvius” mobile game series, although the two have little in relation. The original Brave Exvius is a simple, 2D RPG that focuses on its own original set of characters and world. War of the Visions does the same, but instead as a 3D, turn-based tactical RPG. War of the Visions knows exactly what it’s doing, and that is evoking the aura of Final Fantasy Tactics. But this is a mobile game, and there’s baggage there. Yet here I am, recommending this game. Read on to learn why!
War of the Visions follows Mont, a prince of the Leonis kingdom, as he finds himself in the middle of a world-changing eruption of political alliances and schemes. What follows is a chain reaction of violence and treachery as the relationships and conflicts between characters and their kingdoms grow more volatile and reactionary as the situation gets worse. Also, you can summon classic Final Fantasy characters, tons of goofy cards, and grind several other systems of statistical minuta because this is mobage, baby. But it’s good, I promise.
As you may have guessed from the last paragraph, I’m totally buying what War of the Visions is selling. The story captures a similar vibe that the original Final Fantasy Tactics did, with its web of politics, deception, and crazy anime stuff all with a serious tone. The localization is excellent as well, really capturing the otherworldly period piece tone that’s spot on for what this game is trying to do with the Final Fantasy brand. And while there are tons of large scale political conflicts, there are subplots big and small that are totally character-focused, introducing more grounded threads that players can latch on to. There are several Final Fantasy mobile games, and War of the Visions is one of the best-written for sure.
Honestly, I had a feeling I’d love this game from the title screen. It’s a classic Final Fantasy splash, with the logo and Amano-illustrated character art on a white background. The main Final Fantasy prelude theme opens up, but it’s accented with super prominent string instruments that add weight I didn’t expect from such a familiar tune. From there, it’s easy to see real money went into this game. It’s fully voiced in both Japanese and English, and the character models are big, bright, and distinct. The main character art is provided by Ryuji Ohara, whose past work includes Granblue Fantasy and Lord of Vermillion. But he works under Akihiko Yoshida, known for - you guessed it - Final Fantasy Tactics. And one look at the art, even on the 3D models, screams that combination of styles.
There’s no way to sugar coat it; mobile games are about grinding and War of the Visions is no different. There are tons of different resources, that you need to pump into different systems. I’ll even admit I’m not really into how this game handles equipment. But what I am into is what goes into pumping up your individual characters. It’s complex but easy to understand, and there’s a built-in compromise for players who are only playing for free. If you’re into the classic Final Fantasy Job system, there’s a form of it here. There’s a skill tree, character levels, skill levels, and other more mobile game-y progression. With the exception of super limited characters, all of it is achievable with normal gameplay at a reasonable pace. If you’re just trying to play the story, then you really don’t need to stress about premium elements.
The big ol’ beasties of Final Fantasy’s long history are just one of many elements in War of the Vison’s party-building. But it’s one of the cooler ones. Once again referred to as Espers here, you’ll be able to unlock all kinds of strange and powerful summon creatures over time. You can expect the usual suspects, like Ramuh or Ifrit, but Square Enix and Gumi also used this as an opportunity to bust out the kitchen sink approach. All kinds of creatures and enemies from Final Fantasy games can show up here, all fully modeled in 3D. Each character on your team gets to equip one, and building them up involves a bonus skill tree of passive abilities to power up further.
Final Fantasy… Tactics
There are other mobile strategy games that use the tactical combat style, but very few of them are actually as beefy as War of the Visions. It has all the mechanics you’d expect and then some, with the additional polish of a major Square Enix title. This somewhat plays into the production values, but it’s also the UI elements, the art style, the way the map is oriented, the way characters move and use their skills… it all just so perfectly and deliberately evokes the original Final Fantasy Tactics. There are limitations inherent to this being a mobile game, and a free to play one at that. But the spirit is very powerful here, and you can feel it the most during the moment to moment gameplay.
War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is definitely one of my favorite mobile games, and one that has captured my attention for nearly the full six months of its release. The anniversary event going on right now is a great excuse to try it if you haven’t, as the game is giving away free pulls with guaranteed high-level drops. But even without those fancy freebies, the visuals, storytelling, music, gameplay, nearly everything about War of the Visions is high quality. If you can tolerate or safely ignore the gacha mobage conventions, there’s a whole-ass game in here that’s great for anyone who was into the Final Fantasy Tactics series.
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What do you think? Are you going to give War of the Visions a whirl? Or have you already been playing it? If so, how would you rank it compared to other mobile RPGs? Share your opinion with us over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!