In the realm of video game reviews, I occasionally encounter titles that defy neat categorization, offering a unique blend of features that provoke a wide range of reactions among players. Final Fantasy Dimensions II is precisely such a game. A more enigmatic entry in the illustrious Final Fantasy series, it leaves critics and fans alike in a state of perpetual debate. It's a game that doesn't quite fit the mold, offering innovation, charm, and quirks in equal measure. In this review, I, Brighton Nelson, invite you to journey with me through the perplexing world of Final Fantasy Dimensions II. While this game undoubtedly has its share of strengths, it's also marred by certain aspects that leave me pondering whether it's a hidden gem or a missed opportunity. Together, we'll explore the intriguing battle system, the enigmatic storyline, and the peculiar elements that make up the fabric of this game. So, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... a Final Fantasy Dimensions II Review: An understandably underrated RPG.
Battle System - 9
This game finally took the Final Fantasy series back to my favorite type of battle system: the CTB system! This system is like Final Fantasy X's, my favorite battle system in the series! While it is less in-depth, it is still a great system! I love how the Summons work in this battle system, and while it is unfortunate you can't change party members in battle this time, this was still a great battle system! I also love that you get your HP and MP back after battles... there's no frustrating out-of-battle healing here! There's also an Auto-Battle system, which is as good as always. The biggest flaw with this system is the battles here are pretty slow, even when put on fast-forward, but in the end, it isn't nearly as bad as Final Fantasy IX or anything. My only complaint is I prefer having more than three characters, but in the end, that's such a minor issue. In summary, this is one of my favorite battle systems in the series because, quite frankly, it is similar to Final Fantasy X's! And thank heavens, because this game has a lot of battling.
Story - 8
It might only be me, but this story was full of extraordinary moments. I loved the time traveling, I loved Sorgue's story, and I loved Wrieg's Story. Also, the Eureka Arc was fantastic, as it developed the main character Morrow a lot and was centered around the Primals, basically the gods of Eidolons, the gods of humans. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this story, and this game had some incredible plot twists! Also, this game had a plethora of bonus character skits when you upgrade your signets enough, giving you stat bonuses and a better look into the characters and how they interact with one another! This gave so many extra layers to the characters, making me fall in love with them and their stories! In the end, Final Fantasy Dimensions II has one of the most underrated stories in the series, and if you can see this game all the way through to the end, you might be impressed by how much you find yourself enjoying this game. I wish I could share more about what I loved about it here, but I don't want to spoil it... it is a story worth keeping secret.
Music - 6.5
The biggest problem with this game's music is not the music itself but the lack of accessibility and memorability. I found the music of this game great while I listened to it, but since it is nowhere to be found online and you can't even find the names of the tracks? I can't even comment on the tracks in the game I did enjoy! My favorite tracks were the awesome J-pop opening theme (something you rarely see in Final Fantasy... definitely more of a Tales thing), the epic battle theme, and the town that played at the ninja town, which is honestly one of my favorite tracks in the series... but I can't even listen to it unless I replay the game! Overall, the music in this game is awesome, but with it being so inaccessible in every way, it is hard to give it a higher score.
Characters - 9.5
I loved the characters in this game so much more than I could have ever imagined... much in part to those character skits we got and the amount of dialogue in this game! I absolutely fell in love with the cast since there are so many cutscenes, so much slow-burn dialogue with these characters, and so much story in this game. From Morrow, an unforgettable yet typical JRPG protagonist, full of lovable and goofy charm, to Aemo, a girl from the future that the story is centered around; from Wrieg, a fabulous and very charming character that I really liked, to Jornee, an elven princess who needs to save her people from the Deathlord; from Parai, a man who grew up in the wild due to being lost as a young boy, to Maina, a young ninja who has descended from a line of powerful ninjas. And my favorite of them all? Sorgue, the villain, had a story full of twists and turns. And on top of that are the interesting Eidolons, Primals, and townspeople. As a whole, I loved the characters in this game, and the characters (like most things in this game) are incredibly underrated.
Customization System - 10
There are two customization systems in Final Fantasy Dimensions II: the equipment system and the Signet system. As you could probably guess, equipment functions just like any other RPG on the planet... you have your weapons, your armor, and your accessories. But the Signet system? To me, it was something quite special. So what even is the Signet system? Basically, every character can equip four signets at a time, and each of these Signets hosts an Eidolon inside of them, similar to the Magicite in Final Fantasy VI. These Signets give you huge stat bonuses, as well as teach you abilities... and you get tons of Signets, to the point each of the seven characters will end up having over 50 unique skills each... which is insane! You can also upgrade these Signets by finding magic stones scattered worldwide, allowing you to optimize your favorite abilities and unlock powerful innate abilities within the Signets! But that isn't it. Due to the game's summon meter, each Signet has its own unique (and upgradeable) summon! This adds a lot of depth to the game since, after learning the ability from a Signet, you don't need to equip it to use it (like in Final Fantasy IX), meaning you want to equip Signets that give you great stats and summons. And once you learn enough abilities from your Signets, you can unlock the aforementioned character stories, which, while they provide fun skits, also give you substantial stat bonuses, further incentivizing learning abilities! This system is simple yet layered, and it feels incredibly natural to pick up on. While this game is basically an endless cycling of battling, a few story cutscenes, and then more battling, I ended up being okay with that because, quite frankly, this customization system and the CTB battle system made this game enjoyable for me. Ultimately, this is one of my favorite Final Fantasy customization systems, which may be controversial, but I will never deny it.
Sidequests - 6
The Tower of Babil is epic. I'm not going to deny that. Also, all of the optional boss fights found through sidequests? Those were awesome. The Alba sidequests? Those were hilarious. All three of these sidequests were fantastic, and the optional Eureka Arc? That was an awesome postgame sidequest; although I see that as part of the main story, I'm not counting that here. Outside of those three types of sidequests, everything is replaying levels repeatedly to grind out items for fetch quests. On the one hand, I love some of the quests in this game, but on the other, I hate some of the quests in this game. So, a six is a fitting score in this category.
Dungeons - 0
There aren't dungeons in this game... so how could I even give this a higher score? This game is a point-and-click map, just like Final Fantasy Tactics. You battle and hear the story repeatedly, like in that game. That is a lousy gameplay loop, I will admit. I am okay with the fact there aren't dungeons in this game, and the game is good as it is, but this definitely takes a whole lot of points for the overall score of Final Fantasy Dimensions II because, quite frankly, fighting battles and watching cutscenes without moving around is not the most fun way to go about playing a game. But I could forgive this because, in the end, I still loved this game for what it was.
Quality of Life - 9
I found a couple things in this game to be annoying. First, the Signet shops would not indicate when you could buy stones to upgrade your Signets, which isn't a huge deal, but it would've been nice to know when the shop inventories were updated. Second, this game sometimes made you replay the same stages, which was annoying. Third, this game could have been more balanced regarding its characters, especially since the last character joins at such a low level. However, as a whole, this game was very well-polished and well-done.
Art & Graphics - 10
This may be the only time I end a review talking about the graphics, but holy heck, these are some of my favorite video game graphics of all time. The game masterfully uses high-quality sprites reminiscent of classic 16-bit and 32-bit RPGs, adding depth and personality through character animations and using an art style never before seen. Its richly detailed environments, from lush forests to bustling towns, create a captivating world for players to explore. The maps of the different eras are all gorgeous, almost rectifying the fact this game is a point-and-click adventure. It also has incredible art for each main character in the menus, text boxes, and on the title screen, as well as dazzling and thrilling special effects in battle. This game's commitment to the classic Final Fantasy aesthetic while creating a unique look I've never seen before. Also, the user interface just looks so visually satisfying. Overall, this game has some of the most unique and excellent graphics I've ever seen, and this game deserves a 10 out of 10, no questions asked.
Fun Factor: 7
Overall Score: 75%
Letter Rating: A
In this enigmatic journey through Final Fantasy Dimensions II, the game's innovative elements and idiosyncrasies remain at the forefront. From the captivating characters whose lives are enriched by witty dialogue to the intricate Signet system that allows for endless customization, the game is undeniably a hidden gem within the Final Fantasy series. Its 16-bit and 32-bit-inspired graphics, teeming with life and detail, present a visually enthralling world. However, the absence of traditional dungeons and the game's repetitive loop of battles and cutscenes may be polarizing. The sublime music, while appreciated in-game, remains ensconced in obscurity outside of it. Therefore, my verdict for this game is a rating of 75%, as it encapsulates the paradox of Final Fantasy Dimensions II—a game both innovative and eccentric, yet middling in many ways, leaving players to weigh its strengths and peculiarities in the pantheon of Final Fantasy titles. This game is worth a playthrough but may not be for everyone.
Primary Version: Final Fantasy Dimensions II (iOS/Mobile)