Unboxing: Final Fantasy Explorers Collectors Edition

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Final Fantasy was a major childhood favourite of mine. I love it, I seriously love every game in the series (except XII, which I could never play as it just made me feel nauseous).

Naturally, when I got wind of a new game with an awesome looking collectors edition I got straight in there with my pre-order.

Fair warning; this post is full of disappointment. If you want to skip the negativity and just see what’s in the box, feel free to skim the photos.

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This is the promotional image used to show the contents of the collectors edition. I do refer back to it, so take a quick look and you’ll be able to better understand what I was expecting.

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The packaging is awesome, I love the designs Final Fantasy games use. The outer box features special artwork, which is gorgeous 🙂

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And here’s what’s inside!

Here are the contents as listed on the Square Enix website:

• Collectors edition special packaging featuring Limited edition Amano artwork
• 20 x track music CD “Songs for the Journey”
• Branded Nintendo 3DS™ Collectors hard case
• Limited edition 40 x page art book
• Unlockable in-game quests for legendary FINAL FANTASY weapons

So, in reverse order, let’s look at each of these:

• Unlockable in-game quests for legendary FINAL FANTASY weapons

Ah. The first disappointment hits. These ‘unlockable in-game quests’ are, in fact, four one time use codes (one for each weapon). Really? Single use codes? I’d like to point out at this point that there are two save files on the game cartridge. Why not at least give us a code for each save file?

Oh yes, because you made it limited to one set of codes per game cartridge too. So even if you buy a second set of codes, you can’t use them. Seriously?

Should you mess up your initial save file, should it become corrupted, should you be sharing this cartridge like me and want to start the game again, tough. You lose your weapons and, to add insult to injury, you can’t even use a second set of codes to get them again. Nor can you use a second set of codes to get them on both save files. This is hardly a brilliant collectors edition bonus :/

Oh well. Moving on…

• Limited edition 40 x page art book

Well, we’re really getting the most disappointing items out of the way first. Look again at the promotional picture. Implies the art book is, well, an art book, right? A standard, awesome, hard back art book?

This is more like a glorified magazine. Seriously. Ultra glossy, soft cover, magazine-tastic. I had far higher expectations than this. I mean, you can’t even open the book fully without majorly creasing the cover :/

The actual content in the book is nice and varied, which I like in an art book. We’ve got some location shots, some in game character models, some concept art, some weapons, some fully renendered artwork, even some nice handwritten creators messages in the back (translated from Japanese to English, of course). But sadly, the quality of the content varies too.

Here are some photos from inside the book (which sadly illustrate my point about not being able to fully open it):

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I’d like to point out that none of the photographs are out of focus. Some pages are just blurry, like the page full of scene shots. They’re seriously blurred. The in game sprites have been sized up and are very pixelated, which could be forgiven but the fully rendered art is quite pixely too and really, there’s no excuse for that. Nothing about the print quality is particularly good. The ‘book’ just feels…empty. Unremarkable except on how low quality it is.

Oh. And it’s not even 40 pages long. It’s 32, and that’s including the first page that had nothing but one line of text and the blank page at the back.

Square Enix, this is no art book.

• Branded Nintendo 3DS™ Collectors hard case

I wish I could say the disappointment ends here, but…eh. Where is the quality in this collectors edition?

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The case is a pretty sweet design, although the off white colour was a bit of a mistake in my opinion. Final Fantasy key art always has the beautiful, pure white background with contrasting, colourful design and that is obviously what the promotional picture showed. In reality, they just didn’t deliver. The revised background colour just makes it look like a knock off, which obviously they claim it is not.

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I did wonder when they generically titled this a ‘3DS case’ what size of DS they were going to cater to. Logically, it should have been a standard 3DS case, right?

Wrong. This is designed for the new 3DS XL, which isn’t a problem as obviously people with a regular 3DS can still use a bigger case but still. Another thing they could have been more clear about. How hard would it have been to properly mark it Branded Nintendo 3DS XL™ Collectors hard case? I know, I’m nit picking now, but screw it. This case actually kind of sucks. Why?

Because if you dared to actually use it, you’d very easilly scratch the design off it.

Seriously. The design is one of the typical, cheap, ‘made in China’ flaky stuck on ones that scratches off at the drop of a hat. It wouldn’t even survive living in your handbag/back pack/school bag without getting destroyed. Again, very much a knock off feel. It’s raised, with unevenly trimmed edges, and just looks messily applied in general. I can’t emphasize enough just how cheap this case looks and feels, my one even has grubby black marks on it 😦

Perhaps I am being a little harsh here. Maybe it’s not entirely useless. Blame my bitter disappointment with this collectors edition as a whole. What you could use this for is a way to store your 3DS and some games in your own home. You know. As long as you don’t put it in a drawer with anything (it’ll get scratched), or leave anything near it on your desk (it’ll get scratched), or really do anything other than carefully set it somewhere (where it’ll still manage to get scratched).

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So. Branded Nintendo 3DS™ Collectors hard case; grubby display model only. Gee, thanks.

What next?

• 20 x track music CD “Songs for the Journey”

Sound track CDs are always kind of cool. This one is sadly continuing the cheap quality the rest of items have had.

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Very plain inside, which is fine. Final Fantasy products do simple, minimalist designs and they do them well. However, the disk…

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What is with that illegible writing?? Seriously! This reminds me of when my dad used to make copys of our CD collection in the 90s, when he would find the CD artwork online and print it with our awful 90s printer then stick it on. Is this the best you can muster Square Enix? Awful 90s printing? Eesh.

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The back of the CD features some super cute little in game characters. Sadly, they’re blurry as anything. Have Square Enix heard of good quality printing? You wouldn’t think so from any of these items…

As with everything else, the CD feels cheap and frankly like a knock off. Had I not bought this direct from Square Enix themselves, I’d be sending this whole thing back as a fake. I cannot believe the lack of quality 😦

I guess at least they delivered the promised amount of content with a respectable 20 tracks. That’s more than can be said for the ‘art book’.


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Finally, we get to the one thing I can be positive about. The game itself! The packaging features gorgeous artwork, well printed art work at that. See, you are capable of printing things well Square Enix; do it to everything you include next time!

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I love that there is a battle control leaflet included. I never remember the controls from the in game tutorials, so I’m glad to be able to have this sitting in front of me until I learn them 🙂

I feel the need to add a disclaimer here. I actually love the game. I’m not critical of it at all, honestly. My (highly) negative opinion is solely surrounding this let down and a half of a collectors edition.


Just as a bonus round, here’s the final nail in the coffin for me. The absolutely awful packaging:
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What they’ve done, in case you can’t tell, is plonk my very expensive collectors edition game in an oversized box, half filled the box (just about) with packing peanuts, then taped it up and slapped a ‘fragile’ sticker on the outside of the box like somehow that makes up for inadequate packaging (it doesn’t, read any couriers T&Cs about packing your items securely). I know the postage was free, but come on. I do expect it to be packaged securely, not rattling round like that.


Overall, this was a box of disappointment for me. I genuinely expected better. This is no way matches the quality of my other collectors edition 3DS games. Shame on you, Square Enix, the least you could have done was match the standard Nintendo provides when they’re in charge of producing the special editions :/

This is the first time I have ever experienced regret over buying a collectors edition. And I have a house full of them. Part of me wants to sell this on to someone who could perhaps take it for what it is and enjoy it more fully than I can. I wish I had just bought two copies of the standard edition so I could play with my partner rather than take turns with this copy. Oh well, you live and learn.

To put this post into context, I paid £59.99 for the collectors edition when the standard edition would have cost me £29.99. That means I paid £30 for the lackluster contents of this ‘special’ edition. There’s no way the contents are worth that. Not when they’re this low quality.

Square Enix, I’m sad to say you have one majorly disappointed customer here.

2 thoughts on “Unboxing: Final Fantasy Explorers Collectors Edition

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