Review by Super Slash
It has finally happened: a 3D remake of Final Fantasy IV. But is it worth all the hype?
There have been many versions of Final Fantasy IV. It has been ported many times, and is probably one of the most ported games to date. After the release of Final Fantasy IV Advance, a brand new remake of the game was released: Final Fantasy IV DS. Japan got it in December of 2007, and unexpectedly, the US got it in July of 2008. It's a complete rehash of FFIV, and more than makes up for the crap that is FFIV Advance.
The story is the same as it has always been for every version -- there are seven mysterious crystals with lots of power that, of course, people want for their own reasons. Cecil, a Dark Knight and commander of the Red Wings, has been ordered by the king of Baron to seek out these crystals. However, Cecil begins to question the motives of the king, but continues to obey him due to his loyalty. The king strips him of his position as the commander of the Red Wings since he questions him, then he's ordered to deliver a package to the village of Mist, only to find out that it just burns the village upon opening it. Cecil must find a way to redeem himself as he meets many friends and must overcome many hardships. The story has lots of twists and turns and will always keep you coming for more.
Not only is the gameplay mostly the same from previous versions of the game, but some new things have been added as well. There are now Augments, which basically give your characters the abilities of other characters that you only get to use for a temporary amount of time. This actually makes the game easier than it would normally be, and there's no limit to the way you can customize your characters with the use of Augments. The game's difficulty has been upped quite a bit, and it's easily the hardest version of the game to date. All of the enemies have also gotten a big upgrade; you can no longer safely fight the Sandworm in the desert outside Kaipo without dying. One Whirlwind is all it takes to wipe you out, or at least get you down to critical health. Despite what most reviews might say, however, this game is still very possible to beat. With the right strategy, every boss can be beaten without a lot of trouble, and anyone who tells you otherwise probably doesn't use strategy well enough. One thing that I disliked, however, is that literally every boss is vulnerable to Slow, though that is justifiable because you obviously don't have to use it if you don't want to.
One of the biggest additions to Final Fantasy IV DS are the voiced cutscenes. That's right, now you finally get to see what Cecil and the others sound like! However, I found that there were not enough of these; maybe 15 or so in total, and most of them weren't that long. It was still satisfying to a certain extent, but I expected more in the voiced cutscene department. As for the voice acting itself, it's not that bad despite what lots of people claim. One of my personal favorite voices is Cecil's, who is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. Many people think his voice sucks, but Yuri has always been one of my favorite voice actors. If you're wondering, the two additional dungeons that were in the GBA version are not in this game. Instead, there are now two extra bosses. They can be fought in a New Game + mode after beating the game, where you restart the game with all of your Augments and some other things. Levels do not carry over to New Game +, however. For those not familiar with the battle system, it uses the ATB system. When a character's bar fills up, they get a turn and get to select between various options (like "Attack" and "White Magic"). There's not much else to it; it's simple enough. The overall difficulty of the game will provide a challenge and makes the game even more fun than before.
Let's face it: the graphics of this game are beautiful, especially compared to any other version of this game. The visuals are just amazing and everything is crisp and clear. There's even an FMV intro which looks awesome. I was honestly impressed by the graphics even more than I thought I would be. None of the characters look bad at all, and even the bosses look awesome. I normally don't care about the graphics in a game, but when a former 2D classic is remade into 3D, who wouldn't buy it for this reason (one of them, at least)? Simply put, you can't go wrong with the graphics.
The music is mostly the same, except it's been remixed using actual instruments. This has improved it in almost every way; most themes sound even better than they did before. For example, the town theme sounds much better, and you can easily tell the difference between the themes in this version and the ones in every other version. The music is most certainly not a letdown.
Replay Value: 7/10
Once you beat the game, you can save over a slot and load that file. This is basically what is known as New Game +, where a few things from your previous file are transferred over, but not your levels. There are also side quests you can do before you even beat the game, and those give the game some replay value. Chances are you won't feel like playing the game right after beating it again, though, meaning you won't be fighting the optional bosses any time soon. Overall, the replay value is decent but not great.
Buy or Rent?
Even if this is your first Final Fantasy game, buy it! It's very good and is arguably the best version of FFIV made yet. I recommend giving this game a shot even if you aren't into RPGs. It's challenging, but not overly difficult. Basically, the challenge is perfect.
After reviewing the whole game, I give it a score of a nine out of ten. This is a fantastic remake of a fantastic game, and it's well worth the price. Any Final Fantasy fan will love this game, and any FFIV fan will love it and anticipate it even more.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (US, 07/21/08)
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