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We spend an hour with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Square Enix’s new smartphone RPG By Tony Garsow on May 15, 2016 at 6:37 PM

If you missed it, don’t kick yourself. The soft launch of Square Enix and Alim’s Final Fantasy Brave Exvius in North America went live late last week for iOS and Android-enabled smartphones.

In the video below, we take a spin through the first hour of the game, which includes the introduction and tutorial.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius features its own original story, putting you in the combat boots of cheeky, brattish knight Rain. His friend and fellow knight Lasswell is the young man’s foil, scolding him one moment then joking the next. The two are on a routine mission when they encounter a woman encased in crystal who pleads with them to save the world. She imparts the “power of visions” upon them — the ability to summon allies from distant worlds in order to protect the crystals.

Yes, these “visions” come in the form of many Final Fantasy series characters, but surprisingly there are a quite a few original characters that’ll show up as well.

Combat in Brave Exvius is turn-based between ally and enemy parties, and encounters (save for certain bosses) play out in several phases before the victory bell rings. You’ll be able to bring a party of up to five characters from your ranks plus one extra member selected from the game’s social features. During your turn, you can click on a character’s portrait to begin their attack sequence. Sending multiple characters to attack in succession will trigger a Spark Chain — dealing additional damage. If you’ve played Valkyrie Profile game, you kinda know what’s up here.

Swiping left on a portrait will allow you to access your healing items like Potions and Ethers and swiping right will allow you to access skills, spells and limit breaks. Swiping down will allow a character to defend for that turn. When you unlock Siren, the first summon you’ll run across, they can be equipped to a specific character and used when a certain gauge in battle has been filled. Note that elemental properties are at play here, and equipping characters accordingly is highly effective. Thunder. Siren. Use… You get the picture…

In addtiion to mission-style progression, some locations will allow you to freely explore a designated area to harvest resources and engage in random encounters. By participating in either story missions or exploring areas will expend the game’s freemium resource (called NRG/Energy here.) This can be replenished over time or through micro-transactions. You’ll also be able to use the game’s currency to roll for high-ranked units. Equipment and magic can be forged in town through resources you collect in the field, and NPCs will offer you various quests.

The Final Fantasy Brave Exvius soundtrack is a wonderful effort by composer Noriyasu Agematsu, and Alim’s spritework gives legacy and original Final Fantasy characters a sharp look. If you’ve enjoyed Square Enix’s other mobile offerings of late, we recommend you add this game to your “must play” list.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is now available for iOS and Android.

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