With the second year anniversary of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius’s release coming this Friday, it’s time to look back at some of the best moments from the game this past year. There were many hyped units to pull for, tough bosses to fight, and engaging storylines to follow. This review breaks down some of the original Brave Exvius content, nostalgic Final Fantasy events, and collaborations that took place from the past year
A Look Back at the Best of Year Two in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Most Hyped Characters
Exvius Original: Ayaka (Released Oct. 6th, 2017)
Most of the time White Mages are not the sexiest choice of character. Sure they heal and keep the party alive, but they usually don’t get a lot of respect in comparison to physical and magical damage dealers. That was not the case with Ayaka, who players looked forward to pulling for months before she arrived. Ayaka arrived during the “In Search of True Strength” vortex story event. She is Sakura’s student and is known for her love of candies.
Ayaka’s huge base stats, especially high spirit keep her alive against some of the toughest foes. Her white magic kit it paralleled only by the recently released Lotus Mage Fina. Notable moves are Dual White Magic, Curaja, Reraise, and Dedication, which can make her a minor MP battery. Against some bosses, her healing prowess and sustainability can make up for having characters with lesser damage per second capabilities.
Final Fantasy: Cloud (Released Dec. 15th, 2017)
This one should come as no surprise seeing as Cloud is one of (if not the most) beloved character in the Final Fantasy series. As soon as he was released in the Japanese version of the game, many Global players started hoarding their resources in order to give them the best chance to pull Final Fantasy VII’s spiky-haired antihero. Cloud was released during the “Destroy the Reactor” event just a bit before Christmas. Likely many players who hadn’t saved enough lapis or summon tickets may have dropped some real currency to secure him.
As a character, Cloud is more used for nostalgia purposes. He is outclassed by older finishers like Dark Knight Cecil, Olive, or really any character that can take advantage of using Fixed Dice. His real value, however, comes with his Trust Master Reward (TMR), Buster Style. This material gives a massive boost to a character’s attack and works with two-handed weapons. Along with his banner partner, Elfreeda, Cloud’s real value is in making finishers relevant again and preparing us for the eventual “True Doublehand” meta that is coming soon with 7* awakenings.
Collaboration: 2B (Available Aug. 11th – 24th, 2017)
Android 2B was probably the most hyped unit overall coming into Brave Exvius. She is the main character in the critically acclaimed RPG, Nier: Automata, and players could not wait to get their hands on her. Since units are released in the Japanese version months before they make it to Global, most already knew how powerful she would be. 2B was only available to obtain during the “Destroy the Machine Lifeform” Raid Event. Since the characters for collaboration events are always limited time, many people poured in hundreds of dollars in resources at a shot to obtain her.
Part of what made 2B so good was her innate Dual Wield Ability. Since this wasn’t too long after the first-year anniversary, Dual Wield was still a somewhat rare materia. Many players only had one, maybe two copies. Even if they did have one, it freed up a slot to stack on even more attack to her. 2B does have one downside: she cannot perfect chain with the “Orlandeau Family.” Still, their huge attack numbers and niche Machine Killer passive abilities make them sought after friend units to this day.
Since Brave Exvius was released in Japan first, most players know what is coming in advance, so not much surprises them. Occasionally, there are Global Exclusive events that bring unexpected characters that turn into stars.
Exvius Original: Chow (Available Feb. 9th – 22nd, 2018)
Chow is one of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s game overall and earned his spot here for being such a good boy. He is considered a “Mythical Beast” that bestows good luck upon those he visits. Well, he definitely has brought good fortune on those who managed to pull him during his limited appearance. Chow was part of a rare, limited time event created for Chinese New Year called “Festival of Love.” There was also one during the first year that brought another sought after unit – Ling.
What makes Chow so good is that he is the game’s only 5* base pure magic tank. Basch, who was released just before him is considered to be the first, and he can play the role of physical or magic. What makes Chow unique, however, is that he can double as a healer and MP battery. Chow innately has Curaga and Full-Life. Throw on a Holy Rod, and he gains Dual White Magic. His Limit Burst not only mitigates damage but restores MP for the entire party. He can equip rods and robes too, which gives lets him shoot up his spirit to levels that exceed most white mages.
Aside from that, he is just the cutest little boy ever!
Final Fantasy: Barbariccia (Available Nov. 11th, 2017)
Another surprisingly good character that no one asked for, but now everyone wants, is Barbariccia. She was released on “The Tower of Zot” banner that features the Four Elemental Archfiends of Final Fantasy IV. Initially, most fans were disappointed that the Archfiend’s leader, Rubicante was not the 5* base of the banner. Many feared that she would be more sought after for her looks rather than skills. Once she was released, she forced her way into a spot on most player’s teams.
She has very high base magic, passive skills that boost it even more, and high HP for a mage. She even has unique skills like Cyclone Shield, which boosts her magic and spirit, and lets her dodge four physical attacks. Add in Refreshing Winds, a skill that restores HP and MP over three turns to all allies.
What makes her truly devastating though, is her Tornado/Aeroja combo. Tornado is one of the best chaining elemental spells, because it deals 12 hits of wind magic, and lowers wind resistance. Then Aeroja deals single hit wind damage that increases with each consecutive use. Barbariccia is in a unique position that she can chain Tornado with another unit and finish her own chain with Aeroja for massive damage.
Collaboration: Charming Kitty Ariana (Available No. 17th-Nov. 23rd 2017)
Charming Kitty Ariana is one of the rarest units in the game due to her extremely small period of availability. She was only available during the “Dark Symphony” raid event which lasted for only one week. While the Ariana Grande events seem to get mixed reactions from Brave Exvius fans, Charming Kitty Ariana is a unit even people who dislike the collaborations admit is a great unit.
She has an interesting kit with unique “Charming” skills that do the job of white and green magic. Charming Kitty Ariana can dualcast most of her skills too, allowing her to heal HP and cure statuses, raise or reraise, increase break or elemental resistance, or buff party stats. She may not be quite as good as Ayaka, or the recently released Lotus Mage Fina, but with a lack of variety in top-tier white mages, she slips right into the number three spot.
Best King Mog: Destroy the Reactor (Dec. 15th-Dec 29th, 2017)
King Mog events are the definition of grinding in Final Fantasy Brace Exvius. During the events, players must run the same stage over and over (and over and over) again, accumulating the items that are used as currency to buy all kinds of other valuable items from King Mog in the game. This can get tedious and boring if the stage is dull or from a game that players are unfamiliar with or just plain doesn’t like.
“Destroy the Reactor” was not one of those stages. From the second it appeared on the screen and “Those Who Fight” starts to play in the background, nostalgia overtakes all other feelings. The bright green Mako soaked background looks fresh and sharp. Excitement for battle builds. More players than usual pulled hard on the accompanying banner and were glad to be able to use Cloud in his native environment. Those that weren’t lucky enough were still flooded with Clouds to take along as a bonus unit for the map. The one complaint is that Cloud was the only unit on the banner that was native to Final Fantasy VII. In reality, he was all they needed.
Best Vortex Story Event: A Promise Beyond Time (July 14th-July 27th 2017)
Vortex story events are a time when players get to branch off from the main characters of Brave Exvius and get some background on other minor characters from the worlds of Lapis and Paladia. Sometimes the stories running concurrently with the main line. Other times they go way back in the past to give some context to areas that heroes like Rain and Lasswell visit.
In “A Promise Beyond Time,” players were given a chance to travel way back to the past to follow the story of how a royal elf couple befriends a dwarf. Elves and dwarves are historically in conflict, mostly because dwarves embrace technology and progress, while elves tend to believe in disturbing nature as little as possible.
In this story, Ruggles the dwarf meets Lunera and her husband Bran, elves who live on the continent of Granoa. The entire landscape is covered in Miasma, which makes elves deathly sick. They take in Ruggles and allow him to research a cure to the poisoning, much to the chagrin of Bran. The story pulls at the player’s heartstrings as they see Lunera slowly succumb to sickness. Eventually, Bran also becomes sick and though Ruggles eventually succeeds in growing a tree bearing an antidote, it is not before he loses his only two friends.
Best Raid: Destroy the Machine Lifeform (Aug 11th-24th 2017)
It should be no surprise that some of the most-hyped units are also linked to some of the best events in Brave Exvius. Units were hyped because the original game they appeared in was so good. Like Cloud, and his event “Destroy the Reactor,” 2B’s event, “Destroy the Machine Lifeform,” stands out as one of the best of the year.
Players got to take on the larger-than-life boss of Nier: Automata, Engels, complete with the high-octane “Bipolar Nightmare” song hyping up the battle. It was a perfect time for players to showcase their 2B or A2 that they pulled from the banner. Since both have an innate Machine Killer passive ability, they were able to do massive damage to the gigantic mechanical monstrosity.
Another bonus to the raid was that it actually had some decent craftable items. The katana “Cruel Oath,” was easily obtainable, and second to only the Genji blade at its time of release. “Iron Will” was a decent sword to give to tanks with its 15% defense boost. Finally, “Emil’s Head” was an odd item in that it was a helmet that gave 15% magic boost. Most mages cannot wear helmets, but for those that can, it was a great item.
One of the best parts about RPGs is compiling and gearing up the best possible party and taking on the toughest optional bosses. The main story isn’t meant to be overly difficult, and many players breeze through it without even thinking about how to gear up their units. For these bad beasts, things are different though, and players usually must go through a lot of trial and error in order to declare victory and gain the awesome rewards locked behind these bosses.
Toughest Trial Boss: The Rumble of Malboro (Released Aug 17, 2017)
“The Rumble of Malboro” is a Global exclusive trial boss that gives players trouble to this day. Due to the way the battle works, it gave even players with top-notch units fits at the time of its release. It was almost as if it were created specifically to counter everything players had learned to do in the game so far.
For the fight, players went up against Great Malboro and two little regular Malboro sidekicks. The issue with this battle was that players had to take out all three of the Malboros at the same time, or they would just revive each other. This was especially tricky considering the smaller ones had different HP from the bigger one. PLayers also had to be able to deal a good amount of damage in one turn. This is because if the small ones got under 10% HP, they would unleash the devastatingly strong attack, “Acidic Explosion,” which could singlehandedly wipe out an entire party.
To make matters worse, the Malboros used their signature Bad Breath move to inflict every possible status ailment on the party. It doesn’t stop there, once under 50% HP, the Great Malboro uses Devour every three turns, which eats up a party member for two whole turns. This member is usually the tank, leaving the rest of the party vulnerable to the boss and his minions’ hard-hitting attacks. The only way to avoid this was to manage damage to where the Great Malboro revives his minions every three turns instead of using Devour.
Overall, with so much to manage, most players just avoid this battle altogether.
Toughest Limited Boss: Skeleton King – Castle Inner Chamber NIGHTMARE (Oct. 20th-Nov 3rd,2017)
As part of the “Return to Halloween Castle” event, players were “treated” to one of the toughest bosses in the game. The Skeleton King was worthy of its all-caps “NIGHTMARE” tag for its difficulty. It had a very odd mechanic of dealing magic damage based on how much MP it had. In that case, it should be simple to simply drain its MP to minimize damage, right?
Sadly, it was not that simple. Players had to deal with the Skeleton King using between six to seven attacks per turn, including draining MP, inflicting status ailments, debuffing defense and spirit, and just plain nuking the entire party with its magic attacks.
The lack of a real magic tank at that time to absorb some of the magic damage really made things tough. Parties had to gear their units more towards survivability above damage dealing. Then managing MP became a real problem, as it became a tug-o-war to keep enough MP for abilities and healing spells.
The trial was so tough that Gumi actually went in and tweaked the difficulty to make it a bit easier for players, but many were still unable to complete it. Even fewer were able to obtain the achievement of “Clear without an ally being KOed.”
Cheesiest Trial Boss Fallen Ice Bird (Released Dec. 21st, 2017)
No tough boss battle is complete without an observant player coming up with a way to “cheese it.” This strategy involves coming up with a cheap way to take advantage of the game’s mechanics to beat a boss in a way that was unintended by the developers. Many times, these cheese strategies involve some kind of glitch in the game’s coding or software.
“The Fallen Ice Bird” and its icy bird Glacial fell victim to one of the cheesiest strategies ever in Brave Exvius. The things about Glacial is that it hits the party with a pre-emptive strike that deals huge damage to random party members. Since it is a pre-emptive attack, the party cannot use their cover moves with their tank, so many times their damage dealers get killed before the battle really begins.
The thing is that it if the party can survive the damage, then Glacial is actually pretty weak. It takes 1,000% more damage to fire attacks, so it can basically be KOed in one turn by a pair of chainers like Orlandeau equipped with fire weapons, Avian Killer materia, and only modest attack. But how can it be guaranteed that the party’s two chainers stay alive, when it is completely random who gets attacked?
Well, some players had been taking advantage of a glitch in the game that allowed them to restart a turn if they closed the entire application before it had ended. For this trial, it meant that if Glacial killed the wrong party members, players could just force quit the app, and restart it as many times as necessary until their two chainers lived through the initial assault.
This was obviously not how the developers meant for the trial to be cleared, but it worked nonetheless.
Last Word on Year Two of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
It is doubtful that Square Enix or Gumi foresaw just how successful Final Fantasy Brave Exvius would be. According to Google Play, the game is the ninth highest grossing RPG and has over five million downloads. This year, it was also one of the first mobile games to ever be showcased at E3. With tons of content planned for the future, the game shows no signs of slowing down. There are still so many characters from the Final Fantasy catalog to add, and there are undoubtedly more Brave Exvius originals in the works. As long as the developers keep dishing out quality banners with pertinent characters and challenging trials, fans will be playing this game for a long time.
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