Review by DahlVaughnni

Reviewed: 01/10/08

An Old Classic Brought To Life

Final Fantasy IV (DS) Review

Welcome to my review of Final Fantasy IV DS. I have been playing the japanese version for a couple of days now, and all I can say.. Is wow.

Storyline:

For those of you who don't know, our story begins with a certain Dark Knight being given morally questionable orders by his king, and from there on, struggles with his conscience about whether to stay loyal to his king, or to do the right thing. At this point though, I'm sure the majority of the people in this forum, and of the fanbase waiting for this game are more than acquainted with the storyline, and are wondering whether or not this game holds up to its original on the SNES (released as Final Fantasy II in america), along with its port to the PSX and it's mild remake on the GBA. The answer is yes.

The storyline remains the same, otherwise it would not be a true remake. However, being in its new state gives it a feeling of realism that you can't find in Final Fantasy IVs previous 2d versions. Some of the events that were meant to be emotional, were drowned out by its graphics. That obstacle is no longer present in FFIV DS, and will feel like you're seeing a re-released movie for the first time, while still holding true to the original. It's something you'll have to see for yourself to really understand.

Ontop of that, there has been voice acting added into the game, creating a new level of realism that was missing even in games like Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX for the PSX, and that's saying a lot.

In short, the storyline remains the same, but most of the cons from the older versions have been eliminated, giving you a great experience. I give the storyline a 10.

Gameplay:

Here's where some of you may be a little disappointed. While it doesn't bother me, some people have been looking forward to some stylus action. Well, there really isn't any to speak of. Battle commands are given on the top screen, meaning you'll be playing this like a gameboy game. There is some stylus usage though. For example, you can move your character around from the bottom screen. The movement actually takes place on the top screen, so for those of you who have played Metroid Prime Hunters, you'll remember that you dragged your stylus around on the bottom screen but were actually looking at the action on the top screen. That's how it works here. However you can also choose to move your character the old fashioned way with the D-Pad, using the B button to dash.

Many new aspects have been added to the combat system, such as "Decant Abilities" which start out as items in your Key Items inventory, and can be given to characters to give them innate abilities, or some extra skills. These abilities will immediately jog your memory, as they are common Final Fantasy trademark moves, such as Auto-Potion and Counter. Ontop of that, there are "Bond Decant Abilities" which are abilities given to you by former companions, such as Recall from Sage Tellah. I haven't gone very deep into this but it is certainly a sizable add-on to this games combat system, creating more depth in character customization.

You'll notice right away the games difficulty will punch you right in the face. For example, Cecil and Kain have roughly 220-245 HP, and you face the Mist Dragon shortly into the game. This Dragon attacks for 60 damage per round, and if you somehow accidently hit this dragon while in its mist form, it will use an attack to strike the both of you for 120 HP a piece. OUCH! Luckily it's only the beginning that's insanely hard, and the rest of the game is just regular hard once you get used to it. Just don't expect to do nothing but attack, cast your best magic and heal when necessary, because this will require some strategy and planning. That being said, it extends the lifespan of a game, and it isn't PUNISHINGLY difficult. So I welcome our new difficulty level.

There are also some mini games that sound fun, however I haven't had the time to try them. They're just easter eggs though, and probably will only keep you occupied for a little while.

For keeping the original battle system intact, while creating new depth, and making the game a lot harder than our american versions, I give FFIV DS's gameplay a 9.5

Sound:

Probably Final Fantasy IV DS's biggest letdown is its sound. There isn't much to be said about it. I has generally the same music and sound as featured on the GBA version. Very little has changed. But since FFIV advance had a kickass soundtrack to begin with, it doesn't completely drill this games sound into the ground, even if it is dated. The sound quality, however, is much improved in the DS version. The inevitable buzzing in the background of every gameboy game has met its demise and instead we have beautifully clear sound and music instead.

For going where... Every other version of this game has gone before, I give sound an 8.5, only because the original soundtrack was good to begin with. Why fix what ain't broke? Although redone music would be a welcome feature.

Graphics:

Now, unlike most people, who compare these games to console, or psp material, I am comparing this to other DS material. Everyone wants to know, "Does this game look better than Final Fantasy III?" The answer is yes. The characters look like they have more limbs, personality, and altogether better texture. I would have to say this is one of the best, if not THE best looking game for the DS right now in terms of 3D graphics. This game looks like a PSX game. My only beef with the graphics are the characters small legs and feet, making them look slightly unproportional, but that's mostly in Dark Knight Cecil and Kains design. Their armor almost looks like Ninja Tights. A tad disappointing but the rest looks good.

For exceeding the previous Final Fantasy in the series, and being one of the better looking 3d games for the DS, I give the graphics a 9.5.

Overview:

Final Fantasy IV DS will satisfy both hardcore fans of the game who wanted the formula to stay the same to hold the games charm, and those looking for a whole new feel to the game.

When I heard that Square was remaking Final Fantasy IV into 3d, I was a little skeptical, especially when I started thinking that they would ruin the original feel of the game. It also worried me that they may remake Final Fantasy VI and ruin it's charm.

After playing Final Fantasy IV DS and enjoying it as much as I have, I have high hopes for Final Fantasy VI DS.

I hope you all enjoyed my very first review, and I hope to get some feedback from some of you. Happy gaming!

Overall Rating: 9.4/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (JP, 12/20/07)

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