DS

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Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales

by Jeff Shirley - May 11, 2007, 12:23 pm PDT
Total comments: 3

7.5

I think I know what a Pokemon feels like.

I'm not much of a Final Fantasy buff, but I know what Chocobos are. They are those big yellow birds that heroes routinely ride to suit their transporting needs until they find a ship that may or may not be airborne. I also know what Pokemon are. They are creatures that inhabit a world in which the humans live with and utilize them for tasks and other purposes, and they are stuffed into a ball for storage. You wouldn't think that they have much in common, but they do. Both are used to serve human convenience and both are then tucked away into forests or small spheres. Both are used by the ruling human class to participate in gladiatorial combat for the amusement of their owners. And finally, at times both get their share of the limelight in sidestories. Chocobo Tales is one of those times where the workhorse gets a chance to shine, even if that shining is still at the behest of the workhorse's masters.

First, a quick and dirty description. Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales is a single-player Mario Party game with an above average card game and oodles of Final Fantasy fanwank. It was actually sort of fun having my Final Fantasy Fanatic brother identify the music that was playing out of my DS. "Hey… that's from V. Hey… that's from the first!" Yes, a lot of old music has been remixed. In fact, having unlocked the sound test, I can say that the only totally original piece of music in the game is the game's theme, and even that is a remix of the Chocobo music that is so familiar to us all. But it's all good.

So what is actually happening in this game? That is to say, what is this yellow bird's motivation? Well, a white mage named Shirma wants to read a book to all the chocobos on this farm, when a black mage named Croma busts into the scene with another book for Shirma to read. She accepts, the book eats all the chocobos except hero chocobo, and hey, guess what? You gotta free them all. This heroic act is done by finding storybooks dispersed throughout a surprisingly large game world and completing the challenges therein, all to the tune of familiar old stories most of us have heard before, like "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." All, of course, gussied up in Final Fantasy attire. In each storybook is a mini-game that is not unlike the ones you would find in Mario Party, except a little longer and more in depth. For example, in the "Tortoise and Hare" type story, the player must guide a turtle up a mountain in order to defeat a cactuar… whatever that is. In the "Shiva and Ifrit" story, you collect fruit that falls down from the top screen. You get the idea. The game progresses like this, finding more books and playing more mini-games until the "boss battles" occur, in which the player brings in the aforementioned card game. I won't get into the rules of the card game, but rest assured it is not nearly as complex as Yu-Gi-Oh. You can unlock more powerful cards by completing more difficult levels of the mini-games, though this action also has effects on the outside world as well. And that's the game, really.

Now that's all well and good, but is the game fun? Surprisingly, yes. The game design for each mini-game is very solid, and the card game is also strategic without the need for an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules. This card game is available to play through WiFi, which I did for a couple of rounds to see how it performed. I found little to zero lag and felt it went as smoothly as the duels in the single player game. The mini-games are not available to play on WiFi, but all of them are playable locally via Multi-Card wireless. Rarely was I not challenged or entertained by the content, and I found a strange urge to continue playing. And here I will have a special note about the presentation. The graphics of this game are very creative and in some cases downright amazing. Most of the visuals have a storybook-meet-Paper Mario look that is more than welcome on the DS and looks great to boot. The sound quality is also an aural pleasure, and these two facets really show that Square Enix knows how to push out the production qualities of the DS.

So, how does Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales make me feel like a Pokemon? Mostly because the hero character still runs errands around for the humans as they stand oblivious to the world around them. They run this poor bird ragged, and all he gets for his efforts is a bunch of cards for a fictional game. Whoopee.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
9 9 8 7.5 6 7.5
Graphics
9

I think Square Enix made a deal with the devil to learn how to program visuals on the DS.

Sound
9

No one will ever successfully accuse Final Fantasy of having bad music, and Chocobo Tales reflects this with faithful remixes of classic tunes, although a bit too many from FFVII for my taste.

Control
8

The entire game is controlled with the stylus, which is a boon, except for this one mini-game about steering a turtle through a river, which has some definite issues as far as control goes. But otherwise, good enough for me.

Gameplay
7.5

Solid, Solid, Solid. The mini-games are entertaining and sometimes frustrating-in-the-good-way challenging. What brings the score down is the merely adequate card game, which I am biased against because I don't like card games, even though this one is not as bad as others I've had to endure.

Lastability
6

The game encourages replay through each of the mini-games at higher levels, and the card duel is available for internet play. While I did play for a while after beating it, I didn't feel very compelled to play further, and since I don't like the card game that much, I didn't really feel the need to continue that either.

Final
7.5

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales is a surprisingly substantial game, which is something not expected upon viewing its cover. Since the game is even about books, it might be a good time to dig out that old adage of not judging a book by its cover. This mantra is aptly applied in this situation.

Summary

Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Solid game design
  • Very nice visuals
Cons
  • A little spotty touch screen controls for some of the mini-games
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Karl Castaneda #2Karl Castaneda, Staff AlumnusMay 11, 2007

When I played Jeff online, I was totally destroyed. face-icon-small-frown.gif

NephilimMay 11, 2007

suprised at 9 for graphics, I dont think the FF3 engine could get much better on DS

CalibanJuly 07, 2007

I apologize for the bump.

I just finished this game and then jumped on the online battles for my first time with this game, it was excellent, I battled a brit on 2 battles for 2 wins.
There's no Friend Code thread, is there?
Anyway, I started playing this game last week and then as I was half-way through the game, coincidently at the same time ign-ds had posted an interview with the game producer Yuki Yokoyama, and to top it all off you can get one secret-promo card if you read the interview.
The 9 for graphics is well merited, the art style just oozes of awesomeness for a ds title that is lol, even the 3D graphics are above par for an average DS title.
Overall I would have given this game an 8.0, but it has an online battle-mode and it works well for what it is, so I give it an 8.5.

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Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Square Enix
Players1 - 4
Online1 - 4
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
Release Apr 03, 2007
PublisherSquare Enix
RatingEveryone
jpn: Chocobo to Mahou no Ehon
Release Dec 14, 2006
PublisherSquare Enix
RatingAll Ages
eu: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
Release May 25, 2007
PublisherSquare Enix
Rating3+
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