Fantasian is a gorgeous RPG by Mistwalker; the people behind The Last Story.

© Mistwalker

「ファンタジアン」 (Fantajian)


iOS | macOS | Apple TV

Director(s)Takuto Nakamura
Producer(s)Hironobu Sakaguchi
Designer(s)Masahito Inoue
Artist(s)Takatoshi Goto
Writer(s)Hironobu SakaguchiAtsuhiro TomiokaMasaru Hatano
Composer(s)Nobuo Uematsu
Platform(s)iOS, macOS, Apple TV
ReleasePart 1 April 2, 2021 | Part 2 2021

Did you know? In my free time, I like to play video games, and sometimes, occasionally, I like to talk about them. Not all the time, so don’t worry, I won’t be annoying (this is something new I’m trying here on my blog, in case you wonder what’s up with this post).

So why should you play Fantasian, the new RPG by the guys behind hit games like, uh, I don’t know, (No their not the Xenoblade guys) The Last Story and Lost Odyssey After those games they still made other stuff but they transitioned into making small indie games with a big scope on the NDS. After that, they went head-on with The Last Story on the Wii. I played that game from start to finish so I have a pretty good reference point for Fantasian and the trappings behind the story. Which I will be discussing here.

The writing, that is.

Fantasian has a story! Yes, you have to read but let’s get over that stigma already, the characters do have some kind of computer-generated voice that speaks fast and gives you a sort of idea of how their lines are supposed to sound. But at least for me, most characters fall on the not-so-memorable side. I have vague memories of each one of them. Leo the amnesia boy, Cheryl the snarky princess, and – *google searches* oh right! Kina. The captain *checks notes* Zinikr, the other wannabe protagonist Ez.

There’s also Tan and some other people who I have yet to meet because I’m stuck at the Vam fight.

This brings me to my next point, the difficulty level. It’s balanced that’s for sure, as you grow stronger, you do feel like you could take larger and stronger enemies. But at the same time, it’s difficult enough for you to enjoy challenging boss battles. But they are doable. And if they’re not, use the Dimengion to level up a bit in the area before the fight, and you should be fine. That’s my main point with the battles. They feel fair, and some of them I did on my first try. But they start becoming sort of gimmicky, so by the end fights feel like something to conquer with the bits of help of guides and late-night internet searches, rather than trying to get them on your own.

But that’s a good thing, as some people might like that, you might like the grind, and so this game is right for you, but others might prefer a more streamlined experience. Non the less, it’s important to think of both.

Thankfully this game is on the Apple Arcade service, and while I do love Apple and use their products daily. (I’m typing this on a Mac!). I can’t help but feel all of those Android users who are not going to be able to play this game, without having to resort to other methods. The good part is the game is also playable on Apple TV, so you can play it on your TV, no need to worry too much about having to use your phone to play this game. Apple TV even has a PS4 and now PS5 controller support, and this game plays great on a controller. Not so much on touch-pads. Touch controllers click here to go there, it’s an elegant solution, to a rather clunky UI. I get they were trying to maintain a clean aesthetic. But an invisible touch-pad would have sufficed. I digress. I’ve been playing this game with my iPad, headphones on, and a PS4 controller.

There are some glitchy moment’s when the fixed camera changes perspectives, but these are minor and to be expected, not even Devil May Cry gets it right at times. And the fast speed at which Leo runs makes encounters with this clunky part of the controllers inevitable.

Fixed cameras worked in a game like Silent Hill for example, or Resident Evil because those games use them on purpose to build atmosphere. Here it was just a product of how they wanted to present the game. Those backgrounds are not pre-rendered, but in fact, they made them by hand, and then with the help of CGI enhanced them so they could put characters in the space. Character models are beautiful and stand out on their own. While the backgrounds act as supporting set dressing, each also beautiful on its own. It’s outstanding to look at them and think. They made all that by hand!

What a modern marble, and the hard work that went into this, incredible feat!

Talking about incredible, the music is also pretty great. Nobuo Uematsu scored the game, in case you don’t know who that is, it’s the man behind most if not all musical soundscapes on the Final Fantasy series. There are some exceptions, but he was responsible for laying the groundwork that would later inspire a new generation of creatives. It’s glad to see him participate in a much smaller project because his music elevates the game.

My favorite piece of auditory dope-ness is the song that plays during the Dimengion battle. I just can’t get enough I wish someone would remix that track into something more techno or EDM so that we could dance to it and make the normies feel included.

I have another complaint. I was eagerly awaiting this game, and over the past weeks, I’ve taken my time to slowly go through the entirety of this first part experience. When the game was released, I believe not even, a day after. The AAR service was filled with classic games. And yes, Apple is pushing news of this game to those that like RPGs and are viable clients for this game. I know I am at least getting news blurbs about Fantasian, telling me to go play it.

I’m already playing it, just very slowly. Thanks, Apple!

They could have held off on releasing the classics into the service and given Fantasian a little room to breathe. But I guess apple is of the mind that their customers just consume the content and move on to the next thing, and while that might be true. Fantasian is certainly worth experiencing, as it is an easy yet challenging single-player role-playing experience. But I don’t work for Apple, so I can’t do anything about it.

I just wished this game was given a little bit more of a spotlight as it was released.

As for the story, it’s there. It’s a thing. And you experience it. Is it groundbreaking, or it goes unexpected places? Not really, I would say it’s quite plain in its execution, even using the kid with amnesia trope. Come on we’re better than this, right?! You could at least mix it up and try to give him partial amnesia or something. That part is tightly used as a plot device to advance the story forward in certain scenes though. It’s an easy thing to do. Take the reader, or gamer in this case, through a story, and build mystery by slowly unraveling and having your main character remember more of who he is and the world around him.

We’ve seen it done a million times.

I did enjoy its use of lore though, honestly, I know I sound like I’m putting it down, but I hold it in high regard, I just think the story was a little bit plain and kinda plaid it on the safe side. Same with The Last Story, it’s just sort of a fantasy story, with Final Fantasy inspirations, but it’s just plain. There’s nothing special or unique about its conflict. Machines bad because emotions angry, take over the world, stop the bad dude!

It’s predictable? Maybe a little bit. But is it enjoyable, that of course is true, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent almost 15 hours now with the game? They did build a good world here, and it’s beautiful to look at, but at the same, it’s interesting enough that I want to continue playing and learning what else makes this world unique. Which is slowly dealt to you throughout the adventure.

Author: FJ

A young fantasy writer during the night, motion graphics and illustration during the day. Currently living in Mexico. Aspiring to make a feature film.

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