Hands-On: Final Fantasy CC: My Life As A King
Posted 27 Apr 2008 at 04:56 by Nathan Whincup
Written by Gabriel Grant
|"You are gifted with the power of the "Architek", which as your advisor so intelligently points out, "might have something to do with buildings". It seems Square Enix are going for a low age rating since you can't execute people for stating the obvious."
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King will be launched on Nintendo's brand spanking new WiiWare service in the coming months. It takes a radical departure for Final Fantasy's usual RPG roots and places the player in the role of King but I'm guessing you might have already got that from the title. MLaaK is like a toned down version of Sim City with added Final Fantasy and some rampant levelling up.
The game starts with your arrival in what appears to be a deserted castle. Within the first five minutes you will have made conversation with a large talking crystal, built your very first house and chased down a penguin (don't ask). It is pretty plain sailing from there on in. You are gifted with the power of the "Architek", which as your advisor so intelligently points out, "might have something to do with buildings". It seems Square Enix are going for a low age rating since you can't execute people for stating the obvious.
Anyway, after zapping in some new houses, Mr. Giant Talking Crystal notifies you that you can't beam in any more houses due to a lack of "elementite". You can get this from dungeons, but being the king, you can't put yourself in danger, and so you are going to have to force some poor, gullible serf to do your dirty work. In some crazy twist of fate, just like that, a villager appears to offer his services.
This is the basic premise of the game; every day you commission behests for the adventurers that you recruit. Behests are pretty straightforward. They are either explore, kill a boss or collect some material for research. As the game continues you open up new dungeons and warrior classes such as White Mage and Thief. Similarly you open up new buildings along with lifting the build limits on your current buildings. And so a once desolate wasteland becomes a thriving castle town. It is addictive stuff; you always want to explore a little bit more, so you can build a little bigger, so you can make your adventurers a little bit stronger.
The game is broken up into days. Every evening your advisor, the same genius who was so observant about "Architek", will force you, the king, to go to sleep. The forty winks serve as a save point and in the morning you are presented with an adventurer's log, keeping you updated on their progress and a budget. It's a great system that makes this game really easy just to play for a quick ten-minute play session.
Breaking away from the tradition of Final Fantasy titles, in MLaaK you order your peasants to do your dirty dungeon-crawling work whilst you concentrate on hunting people down for taxes and building new houses for your citizens.
The story, which Final Fantasy games wouldn't be complete without, is a pretty respectable one. Ok, there are the sickening clichés like a certain bad guy call "The Evil One" but otherwise it holds up pretty well and is engaging, sometimes even touching, without being intrusive.
The graphics are up to the usual high Square-Enix standards, in this case cute and colourful. Any controller combination can be used and they are all well implemented, bar maybe the Wiimote by itself, which is a bit fiddly. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King is looking to be a great little game, definitely worthy of a purchase, that shows just how much potential the WiiWare service has.
We'll have a final review up whenever Square-Enix decide to release this in Europe, which should hopefully be around May 20th. Thanks go to Gabriel for the hard work he put into his preview!