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Lots of people like II.
What is your second favourite of the series?
Which do you prefer , this or I?
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I've never played any of the others, so I can only state that this one was very good, despite the limitations of this being on the gameboy. The game itself is pretty extensive for a gameboy game, probably lasting longer than Link's Awakening, which I got around the same time as this one.
I'd start with this one, if you are trying to make a choice as to which to play first. But if others play like this one, then I'd certainly pick those up as well.
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Definitely this one. The first FFL is pretty shallow.
Each FFL game has its own advantages and disadvantages. All 3 are enjoyable 8-bit RPGs though.
FFLI: It seems the most well-liked because of the overall story/setting and people seem to find it the most memorable of the 3. Each world has its own setting & story and the Tower is ultimately the center of what's really going on. The gameplay is the most rough/unpolished compared to later games. There's a rigid penalty on killed party members (they get 3 lives then they're gone forever unless you can buy a very pricy item).
FFLII: It has a similar format to FFLI (multiple worlds the party treks across), but the gameplay is much more polished and the rigid death penalty is gone. There are also more temporary 5th party members which aide the party, making it easier than the 1st game (although sometimes you can run into 15! enemy battles). Whereas FFLI has a darker, gloomier atmosphere, FFLII has a more upbeat adventure feel to it (somewhat similar to FFIII, which also came out the same year). It has an overall story and some worlds have their own stories, though many worlds have no story, just exploration to them.
FFLIII: It's very different from the other two, played more like a conventional RPG. No more limited use weapons, there being actual magic with MP, specific named party members. The gameplay is solid (very few bugs compared to the first 2), although rather unremarkable. It has an ongoing story and a lot of travel between 'worlds', which in this case are 3 time periods (each with a full underwater map) + another dimension (with a giant underworld map too). It expanded on the race system of previous games, now adding Cyborgs, Beasts to the Humans, Mutants, Monsters, and Robots. There's a lot to get into if one chooses, although the game is easy enough to not experiment around and not have to strategize (similar to FF7's ease leading to no necessity of building useful Materia set-ups). The boss fights can be tough though. Outside of those (which can be hard in FFLI-II as well), it's rather easy. Enemy parties are limited to a max of 8 and not often are there that many either. It feels rather vanilla, garden-variety, but it's not a bad game at all and it has some cool elements (the extensive underwater exploration. FFIII, FFV, FFVII were the only other games to have it. Morph spell to visit monster-populated towns. Elemental Stones of limited supply that can make exclusive magic spells, weapons, armor). You can tell the game came out the year of the Gulf War because the airship the game uses is a F-117 stealth fighter.
FFLII is my favorite. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the gameplay, the different worlds. It feels the easiest to get into. If one likes 8/16-bit Square RPGs, all 3 should be played eventually. They're a worthwhile experience (although FFLIII was developed by a Square branch office in Osaka that only put out 2 games before Square ended the venture, which is why it has a different design than FFLI-II. The FFLI-II team was making the SaGa SNES game at the time).
All three of them have good points; they're close enough that which order I like them varies from time to time.
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FFL2 is often cited as the best because it clicks more "2015 tastes".
It's chapter based, allowing bite-sized plays. It's got different classes for different players (grinders, customizer, adaptives). And it has a great MEMO feature that tracks progress/quests.
I feel FFL2 is the quickest to get into, it moves along at a brisk pace, and the art and dialogue are cute. Because of how many short worlds there are, the story can vary wildly from cheeky to cheesy, serious to funny, shonen (boys' action) to shojo (girls' romance). Sometimes all in 1 world! The DS remake adds even more treasures to find.
Personally, I'd pick FFL3 as my second. It is rather long with lots of semi-optional things to find, uses time travel, has an airship, and I like the upbeat music. The game has a lot of bits I dislike: the graphics are clunkier (though special-effects have improved), the plot a little silly (like how lightly death is treated), the XP and MP system incredibly generic, the difficulty significantly reduced, and classes lose a lot of uniqueness. The DS remake I feel over-complexifies the original, making for a slower paced game.
That doesn't make FFL1 bad.. just not as good. FFL1 was incredibly primitive, especially with the poorly parsed text and only 1 save slot. The classes were not well balanced, not intuitive to use, and very grind-heavy. The GB visuals were so detailed it became murky via monochrome. That said, FFL1 had the most mature settings (darker and edgier... and tragic and philosophical) and the most rewarding difficulty (you really feel like you earn every victory given how player-unfriendly the world is). The WSC remake, which eases things a bit, also lools really great and offers multiple saves.
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FFL2 is my favorite, but it has this cheesiness to it that just doesn't work for me. It also has the most disappointing ending, imo.
The first game is probably my second favorite. Again, it's that unique gameplay that I just don't see anywhere else in RPGs. Tons of games will give each class different stats and growth rates and exp requirements, but how many other games can you mention where the very system of leveling itself is so completely different for each "class"? FFL1 and 2 are the only ones I know.
And that story: epic in its simplicity, like a fairy tale with much heavier subject matter.
FFL3 is cool in its own right, but it falls to the bottom of this list simply because it trades out the idea of each class leveling differently for your basic exp for everyone, but with some forms needing meat/parts in order for their level ups to take effect (the power of the creature who dropped them is completely irrelevant). But letting you shift between forms as you play is a brilliant addition with a lot of customization and strategic possibilities.
The story also has this cool mythic quality. It's not always clear exactly how everything works, but it's consistent enough to accept at face value, and it touches on a lot of cool ideas.
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FFLII was my favorite since the '90s. Unless something's been trending about it the last few years, over the 00s-early 10s of the internet, it seems like most FFL fans split between FFL1 & FFL2 over which was their favorite for intrinsic reasons, not the 2015-favored format (although a format favored in the future vs. present seems to be why Metroid took off and was a big hit whereas Kid Icarus just did reasonably well on the NES).
Yeah, with FFLIII, there is a pervasive genericness to the battle system, as described above and in other topics. Its not bad, it's just... vanilla.
The graphics of the enemies were not as good as FFLII, but that seems to be down to the artistic choices favored by the Osaka team. They went for depicting all enemies in the small window, not 1-3 enemies with number tallies in another box. The small box enemies had less space for detail, likewise the narrow ones (there were 4 types of regular enemies: the small squares, the narrow vertical ones, the narrow horizontal ones, the full-sized ones). Notice how good the bosses look or the big enemies (gargoyles, headlesses, etc). Then some of it was actual style, like the ghosts sticking out their tongue. They favored light elements in some, like that, cat witches, mummycats (actually cool since pharaohs did mummify their pets). The clowns were originally based on a robot clown drummer outside an Osaka restaurant. Some of the names reflected that (one clown was named after the company that many stand-up comedians worked for). There's more personality in the names (FFL2 was more conventional, but we could see personality in places, like the robot enemy names, what anime they drew from, or Hong Kong Flu, something that might've menaced some of them as kids or they heard stories about). Of course, then the bosses are 180 from that, eldtritch abominations (Lovecraft inspired, as some places names were based on the original names in Japanese).
That said, the dungeon map graphics are good. They're clear, generally distinct from other dungeons (the 2 towers are the same though) and they utilized some gameplay elements (the jump mechanic was gratuitous basically, the damming of the water was cool). FFL2 had really stepped up its graphics (compare caves from FFL1 to FFL2) and even though the caves, volcanoes shared the same graphics set, it felt like most locations had a discernible difference in their style over same tileset dungeons. FFL3, despite being new to the platform, took what FFL2's team learned graphically. Also note the underwater maps have different tiles so the player can tell what time they're in- seaweed, coral, then starfish & anemones.
FFL1 is simpler (1 save slot, et al) because look at its release date. It came out within the first several months of the Game Boy. It was new hardware and it seems like developers didn't have a handle on how to program for it well. Some games had way too small sprites (Super Mario Land), some had no idea how to make music for it (Mega Man 2). FFL2's enemy sprites look so much better because I think they had a better understanding of how to make the details stand out. FFL1's tend to be too dark. Even in grayscale they don't stand out as much as FFL2's. Add in pea green monochrome and it becomes even worse. It seems like after the first game or first year of games, companies had a better handle on how to design for the Game Boy.
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