Review by megamaster125

Reviewed: 08/22/08

I was under the impression that a remake was supposed to be better than the previous version

With the recent success of FFTA2, I thought SquareEnix had broken free of mediocre DS games. I also assumed that being Final Fantasy IV, one of my favorite games of all time, it would be a sure-fire success. You all know what happens when we assume things…

GRAPHICS/STORY

The 3-d graphics are excellent, and some of the environments are absolutely beautiful. I was originally going to give this score a 9, until I saw the Slyph Cave, which is the best looking environment I’ve seen on a DS game yet. There’s also cinematic cutscenes, one of which I thought was very well done (won’t say due to spoilers, but it is latter in the game). I would give the graphics/story an 11 out of 10 if I could… wait, this is my review, of course I can. :)

11/10

GAMEPLAY

If only the review could stop there. Unfortunately, there was a price for those graphics and cutscenes, and that price was too high. FFIV has always been my favorite RPG. The release of FFIV for the GBA put it over the top when I found out you could switch characters and that there were new bonus dungeons. However, that was the GBA version and this review is for the DS version, where this content was removed. WTF, now we're REMOVING gameplay content from newer versions of the game? Last I checked, newer versions of games should be ADDING content, not subtracting it. Well, there must be some new gameplay content to replace what was taken out, so what do we get? A few useless minigames and a couple of bonus bosses. Wait, what’s that? You have to play through the entire game twice before you can even challenge the bonus bosses. Where did Squareenix get this stupid idea from? Wait, there’s more? Next, you have to grind to level 99 just to stand a chance against these bonus bosses. *yawn* Well, that certainly isn't worth the time, in my opinion.

FFIV DS also introduces the new augment system, which replaces switching between characters. Now, instead of being able to freely switch between 10 unique characters, your final party of 5 is set in stone. You get augments from the other characters which you can use to mix and match their abilities with your characters. However, in order to receive all of the augments, you have to give certain characters augments before a certain point in the story or you will miss out on some of the augments. Sound confusing? It is a bit confusing at first. Heck, even if you’re a FFIV veteran and know which character will leave and when, you still have to know where to find some of the augments. Basically, if you’re not following a guide, chances are you might miss an important augment, an augment so important that if you miss it, it’s best to start a new game, otherwise you won’t be able to keep up with enemies later in the game. In the end, the augment system is really a hit or miss thing, and for me it was the latter.

This remake also has an increase in difficulty. For the early parts of the game, this is great. The game is challenging, in a good way. For instance, the goblins at the beginning of the game no longer deal 1 damage, they hit for ~20-25. However, for everything SquareEnix did right, they did something else wrong. Take for instance the back row. There's really no point to it anymore. Oh look, there's a dangerous enemy hiding in the back row, but that's ok, because my fighters can do almost full damage to back row enemies, as opposed to previous versions where enemies only take 50% damage in the back row. Now, later on in the game is where the “difficulty” changes. There are various enemies and bosses that can deal massive damage to your entire party, and by massive damage I mean enough to kill off 2-3 of your party members in 1 hit, with full hp. The only real solution to this is to level grind for more hp. SquareEnix defines this as difficult, I call it poor game design. For this reason, a lot of battles later on rely on the luck of who gets to act first, you or the enemies, and when battles rely on this much luck, it takes away from any form of strategy/skill. Again, this just leads back to poor game design.

5/10

SOUND

SquareEnix took the same music from the previous versions of FFIV and updated them. Overall, the sound and music is well done, just like the graphics/story. The only problem is that sound and graphics can never make up for poor gameplay design.

10/10

REPLAYABILITY

You can replay this game again to battle the 2 optional bosses, but that’s about it. And as I mentioned before, you have to grind to level 99 if you hope to beat these bosses. That isn’t my idea of good replay value.

6/10

OVERALL

It’s not that FFIV DS is a completely horrible game. The problem is, it’s a remake that removed gameplay content and is overall inferior to a previous version (the GBA version).

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

RENT OR BUY?

I would recommend that you buy FFIV if you’ve never played it before. That is, I recommend the GBA version, and not the DS remake. If you’re a long-time fan of FFIV, you will likely enjoy this game for the graphics and cutscenes, and if that’s enough to make you want to play this remake, then I say go for it.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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

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