Completed Games (Click to view all of the game's related posts)

Incomplete Games with Progress

Monday, August 18, 2008

Final Fantasy IV - Retrospective

Final Fantasy II was one of my favorite games for the SNES. I never beat it as a kid; Not until years later when I played the translated Famicom version on an emulator. Final Fantasy IV is a classic-era RPG in all respects: Travel through dungeons, visit towns, fight monsters to gain levels, rinse, repeat. There isn't any chocobo racing, no monster breeding programs, city development simulators, or card battle minigames; Just pure RPG goodness from start to finish.

I already HAVE racing games and card battle games for my DS; I don't want to have to master an entire new game mechanic just to find some special items. This is how Final Fantasy VI shines compared to so-called modern RPGs. There is nothing extraneous to take away from the simple joy of watching your characters grow from weak young adventurers afraid of floating eyes to nigh-godly heroes that can dispatch 25-foot-tall killer robots with ease.

If you're used to RPGs with lots of go anywhere/do anything wide-open gameplay, there is a good chance you will find Final Fantasy 4 very limiting. But for the rest of you who are just looking for an excellent story perfectly told, (With freaking amazing music) Final Fantasy IV may be the answer.

The Good:
  • New updated 3D graphics, cutscenes, animations, and voice acting (Edge sounds exactly like he should.)
  • Improved translations, especially over the original North American Final Fantasy II release (Edward is still a spoony bard.)
  • New game mechanics add replay value and emergent gameplay to the standard game. (The mapping tool, while a cheap game-lengthening device, is still a satisfying way to get free items.)

The Bad:

  • Some of the new features seem tacked on and too time-consuming to be useful (I summoned Whyt a grand total of once during the entire game)
  • The opening montage of cutscenes, while impressive, is unrepresentative of the actual in-game graphics, and even the in-game cutscenes. (Cocktease!)
  • Almost NO new areas to explore. (There's an entire second moon out there.. Optional super-hard dungeon, anyone?)

Defining moments:

  • Being able to play as Golbez, (albiet as a child) and learning just how the schism between he and Cecil came to be.
  • Learning I'd been pronouncing FuSoYa wrong all these years.

Burning questions:

  • What exactly DOES Yang do inside the Tower of Bab-Il control room to stop the cannons?
  • Anybody else want to see Rydia and Edge get together? They make such a better couple than Cloud and Aeris. At least they're both, you know, alive.

No comments: