I was initially skeptical when Square Enix announced a mobile version of Final Fantasy XV. The mobile game would allegedly cram the sprawling story of the console original into a narrative-driven episodic adventure, wrapped up into a snug 10 episodes. Would the story be pared down? How would they handle the voice acting? What about all those battles — how would they handle wandering the world while also making the game pocket-sized?
After spending some time with the mobile game’s first episode, I am actually quite shocked. Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is literally the full game, redesigned visually to fit a smaller (read: with lower-res graphics in a cute chibi art style) device. Sure, you can’t wander the open world of the console version — no chasing down side quests and going on hunts for you — but you still get the full narrative experience, which is what more casual gamers who play mobile games will appreciate.
All cutscenes from the original game have been redone in Pocket Edition‘s art style. It’s essentially a 1:1 experience, except the mouths of the characters don’t move. But the mobile version uses the exact same audio tracks pulled from the console version; the voice acting is the same, the music is the same, and you can even choose what language you want for the dialogue. Want to listen in Japanese but have subtitles to read along in English? You got it.
While the word of Eos definitely feels smaller — you’re confined to tinier areas that lead you directly from quest point to quest point with just a little room to roam around — it still offers plenty of combat opportunities. In Pocket Edition, you fight by tapping on the enemy you want to hit. You can also use Noctis‘s warp strike by swiping across the screen towards an enemy. It’s the same type of combat from the original, just scaled down. Battles move quickly and you’re still graded at the end, so there’s a ton of familiarity here in terms of the game’s bread and butter.
Even the back end is lifted directly from the game. In the pause menu, you can change and equip new weapons and tool around with the Ascension Grid using the ability points you earn in combat to level up Noctis and friends’ powers.
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition will launch sometime this year. All 10 episodes will be released in a roll-out fashion.