Game: Fantasy War Tactics
Fantasy War Tactics is a tactical role-playing game, developed and published by Nexon, the same company that developed Maplestory. It was released on the App store on the 5th of November 2015, and has developed a cult following of sorts. One of the main selling points of this game is that you can get all of the 50+ heroes in the game, free of charge (We’ll get back to this statement later on.) The game is free to download, but contains In-App-Purchases, ranging from 5USD to 100USD. The developers promise “Challenging fights to prove you are a master tactician” and “Intense PvP battles.” Let us now delve into the story of the game.
The story of the game has you play as an unnamed Lord, who wishes to conquer the world…or what’s left of it. You see, before the events of the game, there was a cataclysmic flood that wiped out around 80% of the world population, leaving only the Arc continent unscathed. Using his powerful life magic, the main character revives a knight from the ancient times, going by the name of Chris, and begins his plans to conquer the world. As the story progresses, the pair end up meeting more characters, including Ian, a cat that has lost all his memories and travels with the group to find them, Alfred, a wizard who taught the main character a few years ago and Serendi, a dryad who hasn’t left her home forest until encountering the protagonists. After reaching the first region, you soon learn that a mysterious organisation known as the World Reformation Council has already conquered the world. Defeating the final boss of the third region reveals that the leader of the Council is a talented arch mage going by the name of Klein, the rival to the main protagonist during his years in school. From there on, the story delves into the territory of clichés, such as the assistant of the main antagonist being the true mastermind, and the former empire committing a number of atrocities such as human experimentation and slavery. The characters also has a few problems; while characters such as Serendi, Ian and Lee have some personality and depth to them, a majority of the other characters are bland and one dimensional. An example of this is with Muang, an insane man who wields a flamethrower and is obsessed with burning stuff. Nexon attempts to develop these characters with numerous side stories that are unlocked upon recruiting certain characters, but these side stories mostly end up becoming random skits from a subpar comedy anime *cough*Lucky Star*cough*.
The sound design of the game is pretty decent. You can download the Korean voices for the characters in the options menu, and to the games credit, the voice actors did a nice job of capturing the characters personality. The rest of the sounds are decent, with none of them grating to the ears. The music however, is subpar. All of the tracks are generic and don’t leave a lasting impression on the listener.
The art is another story all together. To the untrained eye, the character portraits look alright. However, a closer analysis reveals several problems. The major problem is that the character proportions feel off, several of the male characters have large upper bodies, but ridiculously small and thin legs, leaving you wondering how they can manage to walk at all. One in particular, the werewolf Jack, has a thin torso and massive shoulders, as well as stick thin legs. The females are a different beast altogether; with the exception of the four young girls (Because the fanbase love their lolis), all of the girls have gravity defying breasts, that cause some serious strain to their backs. Lena in particular, has breasts that you would normally see on a Skullgirls character. I can safely say that the artists behind the character designs were drawing with only one hand. Apart from the characters, the rest of the art is quite nice. The environments are quite detailed and are generally well done.
So how is the gameplay you ask? Painfully average, bordering on subpar.
The main gameplay consists of sending your team of five heroes into battles, to fight off numerous enemies, in a set amount of turns. You can deal extra damage by attacking the enemy from the side, with a superior type, or on your heroes preferred terrain, (water, lava etc.) Each hero has one of three different types, (Rock, Paper or Scissors.) as well as a different battle type (Attack, Defence, Support, Area and Balance). The ideal strategy is to have a nice middle ground of types and battle types, to overcome your enemies. Each hero also has a set of unique skills, which can inflict different status aliments on the enemy, ranging from Stun, which prevents them from attacking or moving the next turn. Damage over Time, which inflicts a set amount of damage over a couple of turns, and Charm which makes the enemy fight for you. This brings us into one of the biggest problems of the game.
The Random Number Generator.
I know it’s common for there to be RNG in a game such as this, but the game relies too much on this, to the point where a battle could be won or lost, depending on whether a hero gets charmed or not. Another problem is that for a game that encourages you to try out all the heroes, most players only end up using 5-10 heroes, due to their powerful abilities, leaving the remainder in the dust.
You can power up your heroes using equipment obtained from capsules, which can be bought using crystals, the games premium currency. Each piece of equipment has a couple of enchantments on it, including boosts to attack, defence, crit rate, and many more. The game can devolve into a mini Cold War, as players spend thousands of crystals, hoping to come across the pieces of equipment with the most powerful enchantments. Enhancing the equipment on the other hand, is an exercise in torture. By paying a set amount of gold, you can power up the base stats of the equipment. Naturally, the process gets more expensive as you upgrade your equipment. Keep in mind that the chances of success get lower as your piece reaches a higher rank, making it possible to waste 1-2 million gold on a single piece of equipment.
The PvP content is quite lacking. You have the Battle of Honor, a mode where you pit four of your heroes against another player and their team, all set on one of three boring maps. You have the Ice map, where the main fight takes place in the middle, which is quite cramped. The bridge map, which is an exercise in tedium, and the square map, where both players have their fourth hero close to the rest of the opponent’s team. Winning the battle earns you points, which determines your rank for the weekly leader board that hands out a set amount of Honor coins, depending on your position, which can then be spend of exclusive hero genes.
Speaking of hero genes, they are the main way to recruit heroes in the game. Most of them can be obtained by defeating them in their boss stage. However you can only play these stages, three times a day, unless you spend a few crystals. Despite the fact that there are double genes events that occur throughout the week, it tends to wear a person down, due to the sheer amount of grinding that goes into it. Once you have obtained your hero, you will then need to level them up until they reach their cap, where you then need to grind for rebirth golems to increase their rank. Repeat the process three more times, then proceed to do the same for the rest of the heroes. I understand that games such as this are destined to contain some grinding, but this is ridiculous. Adding to the grinding problem is the energy meter, one of the biggest plagues to have hit the IOS market. You’re expected to do a large amount of grinding with a meagre energy bar, and that’s if you even want to have a chance to compete with the top players.
Now we get onto how Nexon handle the support for the game. For the most part, they do a decent job, however they have stumbled a few times, none more infamous than the Noblesse controversy.
For those of you not in the loop, the Noblesse controversy revolves around a crossover event between FWT and Noblesse, a web comic that’s famous in South Korea. FTW had an event where you can unlock four characters from the web comic, within a set amount of time (these characters being Frankenstein, Muzaka, Raskreia, and Seira.) The first three could be obtained as normal, however Seira was locked behind a 100USD paywall, betraying the company’s claim of being able to obtain all the heroes, without paying a cent. Naturally, the news outraged everyone, causing them to leave one star reviews and delete the game from their device. Nexon apologised for the debacle, claiming that it “won’t happen again regarding the heroes they create” as well as promise “There will be more crossovers planned in the future.” Though whether they will repeat their mistake is up to debate.
While the game is in no way a bad game, it is also not a good game. The story is clichéd, the gameplay, when not being grindy, relies more on luck than actual skill, and the character art is subpar. Considering the fact that the game is free, I recommend at least a download to try it out, otherwise this comment on the IOS store sums up the game perfectly.
My score: 5/10How is this game in the app stores best new games? It’s just like every other tactics rpg!
AN: In the months following after the review was posted, Nexon fixed a lot of the problems that I initially had with the game. In it's current state, FWT gets an 8/10.