Review by KingContributor

Reviewed: 09/02/08

Final Fantasy IV DS: extra content, magnified graphics, awesome animation and cutscenes, and engrossing gameplay. It proves why it's still the best.

Final Fantasy IV DS is the remake of Final Fantasy II for SNES and Final Fantasy IV for the PS. Many people claim that IV is the best Final Fantasy, and I would have to agree with them so far. I'm new to the Final Fantasy series and started off with XII. After being unable to grasp the concept of the game, I decided to start with the earlier Final Fantasies before trying that one again. This time, I tried Final Fantasy IV. This was a wise choice on my end. It is nearly flawless, but it doesn't have any major flaws that make the game unplayable.

Story
In the land of Baron, airships roam the skies and are used to protect the kingdom. Cecil, Lord Captain of the Red Wings and Dark Knight is sent to steal the Water Crystal from the people of Mysidia. After he sees that they offer no resistance, he begins to question the actions of his king. When the king is informed of Cecil's doubts, he is stripped of his command and sent to the Valley of Mist to slay a creature and deliver a ring to the people of Mist.

The story is really basic for a Final Fantasy game, as it progresses through. It's got the general plot of a Final Fantasy game. The four crystals of Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water protect the world. There is a dark king or villain who wishes to snatch the crystals and use their power for dark purposes. Even though it's been used before, it should not be penalized because it's good nonetheless. Also, the story has more deeper meaning as we go through, so it's not entirely re-used.

9/10

Controls
As the title describes, this version of Final Fantasy IV is compatible with the Nintendo DS/Lite only. You will use the DS's handheld controls to play through the game. So, the controls are pretty basic. The control pad moves the party leader and scrolls through the different options. A is the button that talks, opens, and selects. The B button can cancel in the menu or be held down in conjunction to the control pad for faster movement.

The touch screen is not used in the actual story of the game, but you will use it in this game. There are mini-games that require the use of the touch screen to complete. While they are optional, the controls are pretty smooth with the touch screen implication as well. The two outside buttons are rarely used with the exception of the R button, which allows you to run from battle if you choose. All in all, the control system is pretty smooth. Sometimes, movement can be a little sluggish in the caves and dungeons, and it lags a little bit in battle with attacks and commands. Other than that, fluent controls.

9/10

Graphics
This is one element of Final Fantasy IV DS that I cannot complain about. The graphics are beautifully done and really bring out the technology of the DS in this game. For those of you who are old school gamers, you'll probably remember the cruddy graphics of the Final Fantasy II SNES game or the PS version of FFIV. Well, this version makes those two look like mud spewed all over a field.

So, just how awesome are the graphics? Well, they are amazing. The cutscenes are fun to watch because the animations and scenes are done well with cool effects and designs that really bring the game to life. Also, the battle graphics are amazing. I love casting spells or summoning just to see which cool animations will dazzle my screen.

If that wasn't enough, the in-game content is done beautifully as well. The characters are in full color and brought to life. They don't appear lifeless like they do in the old school versions where they tend to just appear. Also, the towns are done nicely. Caves and dungeons were designed creatively and thoughtfully. I could go on and on about the game's graphics, but I don't want to just repeat the inevitable. They are flawless.

10/10

Music
The game's music is another thing that is flawless with this game. Each level has a cool theme that is appropriate to the design or mood of the level that you are in. For example, the kingdom that holds the Earth Crystal has a peaceful piece of music that is very pleasant and happy. In this game, the music really tends to describe the environments that you are exploring.

And if you thought the town/dungeon music was amazing, wait until you hear the battle music. I really love the music that plays when you encounter the main antagonist, and there's this one piece that plays in some cutscenes and is Kain's theme. It is just so beautiful and really pleasant to listen to. I have not heard one bad theme in this game that has made me want to turn the volume down and wish that I was on to the next area for another shot a good musical piece. Once again, it's inevitable, flawless.

10/10

Content
This is where the game really gets its good name. If you've played Final Fantasy II, this game will be very familiar, as they are exactly the same. However, this game added in some new bonus content that makes a DS version worthy to be named in the Final Fantasy series.

So, here's how you basically go through the game. You'll explore many fields, towns, caves, and dungeons. As you move through them, you will have a map drawn for you that shows the path. Furthermore, monsters plague the fields, caves, and dungeons. By defeating these monsters in battle, you gain EXP to level up.

One of the many changes to the game is the battle system. While it still sticks to the classic turn-based old school feel, it also caters to newer technology with a fresher look. It's quite nice to see a blend of old and new working together.

Also, they've added in new bonus content such as extra cutscenes, the use of voice actors in cutscenes, and things called Augments. These Augments give your characters new abilities and can give you some fun things to try out and experiment in battle.

That's pretty much it. While it is an exact replica of an earlier Final Fantasy, it has an addition called New Game + that allows players to go through the game twice again to get anything they've missed. How could you not love this game for its simple yet challenging mix and mesh of content?

10/10

Replay Value
This game has very high replay value. With the addition of New Game +, you can go through the game twice again to make sure you've gotten everything you've missed. Also, the story will take a while for a new player using no walkthrough for boss strategies and all that good stuff. Overall, you're looking at 15-20 hours for the first playthrough of the story. Also, it's such a good game, you'll want to play more files if you don't choose to do New Game + or have done it already.

10/10

Fun Factor
This game is tons of fun and very hard to put down. Yes, it has its frustrating moments, but am I to penalize a game just because you didn't do something properly and must do stuff that frustrates you? Heck no. This game is fun, and there's really no reason to get annoyed. It's hard to get mad at this game, unless you do a stupid thing and can't get back to where you were.

10/10

Rent or Buy?
This is a no brainer. You should definitely buy this game and add it to your collection. It is the best FFIV version to date thanks to its new features and advanced content and bonuses. Even non-fans of the FF series will be drawn into the spell that comes from the game. It's that good.

Overall
I'm giving this game a 9.7 or a 10 by GameFAQs' standards. I truly believe that this game deserves this score because it's really good. Why should it not get what it rightfully deserves due to minor flaws in plot and control mechanics? It's the content that counts most, and it delivers well. You must get this game and play it. If you've never heard of Final Fantasy, start with this. You won't be disappointed.

Recap
Story-9/10
Controls-9/10
Graphics-10/10
Music-10/10
Content-10/10
Replay Value-10/10
Fun Factor-10/10
Overall-9.7

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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