Review by Ethenia

Reviewed: 07/28/08

Best version of Final Fantasy IV is now available on the DS!

A masterpiece from the SNES era have been reborn on the Nintendo DS with full 3D Graphic and some voice over. Has Final Fantasy IV lost its charm or it is still same as before or even better on the Nintendo DS? Read very long and detailed review to find it out!

Story – 9/10
The story of Final Fantasy IV has been given a new translation from the Japanese version rather than using the old translation. The new translation are better in the sense that it fit into cut scene, it manage to give cut scene more feeling as there are voice over. With the new translation Final Fantasy IV is still able to retain it storyline without changing much. However in Final Fantasy IV, there are more storyline which usually tells what happened in the past. So here is another reason to get the DS version of Final Fantasy IV as it tells more story when the Gameboy Advance or SNES don’t.

In Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy IV standout as one of the better one where many fans will agree. I will give a short summary of the story without spoiling anything. The story started with a young guy name Cecil, who is the captain of the Baron’s Red Wings, who is seeking for crystal for the king. However, innocence people have involved in the situation and those people claim that the crystal will have impact of the world. The story have mixed of love, betrayal and sacrificial. With so much feeling all in one game, you might think that it will be bad or complicated. But don’t worry, it fits the story perfectly. Final Fantasy IV offers a good storyline but not all will enjoy it, but the story should appeal to most of the people who have played this game.

Music – 9/10
Music of Final Fantasy IV is being composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Nobuo Uematsu is famous for composing music for the Final Fantasy series, so Final Fantasy IV is no difference. Final Fantasy IV soundtracks have been remixed by no other than Nobuo Uematsu himself. However, due to the slight remixed of the original soundtrack, some fans claim that it is awful. But, me myself and I believe many fans that found that the remixed version of the soundtrack is a lot better.

Final Fantasy IV offers awesome soundtrack during the SNES era and now the soundtrack on Final Fantasy IV still retain it awesomeness. The soundtrack itself is very epic which totally fits itself into the environment and carry a lot of feeling. For example, the most popular music in Final Fantasy IV which is Theme of Love. Therefore when playing this game, remember to use a headphone to have the best effect for soundtrack in game.

During important cut scenes, there will be voice acting. The voice acting is something new for Final Fantasy IV DS which all the previous version of Final Fantasy doesn’t contain. The voice acting together with the new translation which totally made the cut scene a lot better. With voice-acting, character now have more personalities than before. Sound effect is also one important aspect in game, which is nicely done on Final Fantasy IV DS. In battles skills and magic have different sound effect, with sound effect the game itself is better as the sound effect will not feel out-of-place.

Graphic – 9.5/10
Final Fantasy IV is one of the many DS games that are able to have really good 3D graphic. All the older version of Final Fantasy IV is all 2D base where 2D character on 2D map. However, Final Fantasy IV DS is the first Final Fantasy IV to have a full 3D graphic. You might think that 3D graphic on the DS will be all pixilated, but no. Final Fantasy IV uses both the top screen and the bottom screen where the top screen usually displays the gameplay as for the bottom screen, it is usually use for maps.

Final Fantasy IV starts off with a FMV as the opening video for the game where all character looks a lot better than the in-game graphic which fasted for around 3 minutes. As you should know, most FMV does by Square Enix are top-notch. Enough with FMV now lets move on to in-game graphic. During game, there are no FMV present, the cut scenes are represented by normal game graphic. There are plenty to cut-scene so it actually covered up for no FMV in the main story itself.

Final Fantasy IV is a 3D game as stated before where the characters, towns and maps are all in 3D. During battles, there is a difference between the normal battles and boss battles, normal battles the camera are shown from the side where the monsters in on the left while you are standing on the right. But during boss battles, the camera is shown from the back of the character meaning that you will be seeing only the back view of your character.

Now I am going to talk about sprites. Firstly the character sprites have 2 versions, one is the FMV type while the other is in-game type. The in-game character sprites are just a step down of the FMV sprites so they look similar but do not look as great as the FMV sprites. The character also looks exactly like those from the previous Final Fantasy IV where the sprites are 2D, however in the DS version it look bigger and clearer but in 3D. During game, when you changed your weapons, your sprites will change as well. However, it only applies to weapon. Secondly is the monster and the non-playable character (NPC), both the monster and NPC sprites look exactly like those in 2D but bigger and clearer and of course in 3D. Lastly is the town and map, the map and town still retain it same old structure but it have been remake graphically where now it look clearer and is in 3D.

Lastly about graphic, I am going to talk about skills and magic animations. During battles, skills and magic are very important, if the animation for both skills and magic is bland it would be very bad. However, in Final Fantasy IV for most of the skills and magic animation, most of them look very awesome and some of them can even give you a “wow!” expression. In skills and magic, summons stand out the most as the animation is being supported by a cut-scene then followed by the damage. One good thing is that you can skip the summon cut-scene by pressing a button.

Gameplay 8.5/10
Final Fantasy IV is a Role Playing Game (RPG) where there is story to follow and need level to proceed further into the game. As you know that most Final Fantasy, the party only allow 3 or 4 members only. However, Final Fantasy IV allow 5 members in the party. You might say that it is unbalance but enemies party can be up to 6. Final Fantasy IV have higher difficulties compare to the other versions as boss battle need strategy now.

Final Fantasy IV uses the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, where there is a bar to charge and if the bar have charge finish you can input commands for your character to perform. The speed of the battle is determine by the setting you made in game, it can be fast or it can be slow and more importantly there is slow and active mode. In slow mode, when you input commands, the enemy bar will stop charging while in the active mode even if you are choosing what are you going to do the next turn the enemy bar will carry on charging. So the difficulties can be control but the boss battle is still tough.

Like in most RPG genre, leveling and buying equipment in always there and Final Fantasy IV is no difference. You would need to level up and buy better equipment to kill stronger monster to advanced into the story line or to make the game more easier. Monster in Final Fantasy gives experience point and gil where is needed to level up and buy equipment. To encounter monster, you will need to walk around the map and random monster will pop out, this is called random battle. There are others way to encounter monster as well like using items.

Final Fantasy IV does not have job system that is similar to Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy V. Final Fantasy IV already have a specific job for each character, so you need not have to worry of changing too much on the job. In the DS version of Final Fantasy IV, it have something call augment which allowed you to use other character skills. I won’t elaborate on it as it contain major spoiler. Also in DS version of Final Fantasy IV character abilities have been revamped. For instant certain character is not longer useless as they are uselessin the previous version of Final Fantasy IV

Some nice addition to Final Fantasy IV have improve the gameplay for Final Fantasy IV such as the auto-play features. This features allow help players who are doing grinding, with this features players need not need to input commands as the computer itself will choose to attack for you, all you need to do is to press the “x” button to activate or deactivate the features. There are other features such as if you explore 100% on this particular map, you will be awarded with prize. There are other extras where you can find in the DS version of Final Fantasy IV.

Multiplayer / Wifi – 5/10
Final Fantasy IV does not have wifi so there is nothing to comment here. But Final Fantasy does have multiplayer support but it is pretty useless. The multiplayer for this game is basically to have some sort of battle with your friend. Not with your party member but with a summon. In multiplayer, you need to do some games to get scores and these score will affect the summon stats.

Lasting Appeal – 9/10
Final Fantasy IV offers player up to 30 to 40 hours in their first play through. Final Fantasy IV enable players to play New Game+ after their first play through. However, the New Game+ is only there for 3 play through. This game have side quest mini games which will occupy more of your time on this game.

Overall satisfaction – 9.5/10
Final Fantasy IV overall gives us a relaxing time to enjoy such great game. Final Fantasy IV offers a lot of thing for players and many new extras where all the previous version of Final Fantasy IV don’t. This game can also be enjoyed by players who haven’t play Final Fantasy IV before. Therefore I end my review with this; Final Fantasy IV DS version, by far is the best version of all the Final Fantasy IV.

Other Information
The New Game+ allows people to keep some of the items of the previous play through and there will be secret boss with each New Game+. This game also have a FAT chocobo that allow you to store your item as well as other functions like music players and event players. These allow you to listen to music and re-watch those event cut-scenes again. The music box function act like some sort of MP3, however you can only listen to Final Fantasy IV song, you may put your DS on standby modeand listen to them provided you have your headphone on.

Pros and Cons
+Good Story
+Good Voice Acting
+Awesome Music
+Awesome Graphic
+A lot of extras
+Good Gameplay
-Sometime a bit too difficult
-Only 3 New Game+
-Lousy Multiplayer and Wifi

Average Rating 8.5
Personal Rating 9.3

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (US, 07/21/08)

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