Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon Review
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: h.a.n.d Inc. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Square Enix 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: July 8, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The story begins with Cid and Chocobo going on an adventure, just to be foiled (yet again) by Irma and Volg. However, as Cid and Chocobo confronted their enemies, they were suddenly transported to another world. In this world something strange is going on, and people are losing their memories. However, in an interesting twist, all the people in this world are happy they have lost their memories. Something terrible happened there, and although no one remembers what it is, they all agree it is best left forgotten. But the spell on the city starts to impair their memory of other things like their jobs, their families, and even their own names. But just when the situation seemed most dire, a newborn baby fell from the sky. This newborn possesses the power to unlock the citizens' repressed memories and turn them into mystery dungeons, which it will be your job to traverse.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot

Sure, the whole "your memories are dungeons" thing is a little hokey, but aside from that, the story is quite solid and allows for some very genuine moments (as you might expect from a Final Fantasy title). While it can feel like the story is taking a backseat to the gameplay when you're going through long and chained together dungeons, the game always brings the focus back to the characters, even if it is only briefly, which gives this game a real soul.

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However, not all aspects of this title are as great as the gameplay or the story. On a visual level, this game is really hit or miss. The cinematic scenes look very polished and have very smooth animations. However, the in-game animations are extremely repetitive and substantially less smooth. Environments also have a great deal of repetitive texturing, and the whole thing is a very dramatic contrast to the cinematic scenes. Honestly, if you showed me footage from both the cinematic scenes and in-game, I wouldn't believe that you were showing me the same game.

In addition to the graphical discrepancies, another area I was somewhat disappointed in was the sound. Generally, I don't have many gripes about English voice over, but this one is pretty bad. Voices sound insincere, and the dialogue doesn't even attempt to match character mouth movement. In fact, many times you bear witness to what I call the "Kung-Fu" effect, where a character will finish speaking way before his/her mouth stops moving. This game could have definitely benefited from a Japanese voice track, and it's unfortunate it was not included. The music, however, is absolutely superb. Level music is beautifully orchestrated, and the game's title song features sweet and melodic J-Pop at its finest.

One aspect of this title that many will appreciate is the different control schemes you are able to employ. You can use either the traditional face-up Wii-mote, the Wii-mote on its side, or you can forego the Wii-mote altogether in favor of the classic controller. All these are pretty easy and intuitive to use, but I would give the control edge to the classic controller just because the analog stick makes it much easier to get around non-dungeon areas and the shortcut shoulder buttons are very easy to use in battle.

Overall, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon is an excellent and surprisingly deep game. This title does an excellent job of walking the fine line between being a Final Fantasy title and a dungeon crawler and gets the formula just right. Plus, it has a cute little Chocobo as the main character, and that's certainly a plus for me!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.4
Graphics
Cinematic scenes look smooth and polished, but in game graphics have repetitive animations and texturing issues.
4.2
Control
With three different ways to control this title there's something that will fit everyone's gaming style, although the classic controller option seems to fit best.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music and score are beautiful, but the voice over is seriously lacking, and this title could have really benefited from a Japanese voice track.
4.5

Play Value
Although this title looks cute and fluffy, its dungeon-crawling nature makes it surprisingly challenging. The online pop-up duel element also adds a great amount of replay value.

4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • A charming, vibrant game world coupled with an engaging storyline and challenging turn-based battles to create a fun and entertaining RPG environment.
  • A compelling gaming experience utilizing a variety of classic FINAL FANTASY job classes such as the knight, black mage, and white mage to aid Chocobo in his fight against evil.
  • Character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, from the FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series and FINAL FANTASY FABLES: Chocobo Tales, lends his trademark art style.
  • Duel against friends via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in addictive card battles featuring popular FINAL FANTASY creatures in a unique 3D pop-up book style.
  • Collect hidden letters throughout the adventure and form special phrases to unlock secret dungeons and job classes.
  • The signature Mog House offers arcade-style mini-games that can be played with intuitive Wii Remote controls.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon screenshot - click to enlarge

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