Review by Zylo the wolf
This remake is just a great excuse for us to play through the game once again.
You know, Square-Enix must be really proud of Final Fantasy IV. The game got released in 1991 on the Super Famicom, and then only a couple of months after Final Fantasy VII had been released in Japan they ported Final Fantasy IV to the Sony Playstation and a couple of years later they released it in America and Europe on the same system. If I'm not mistaken there already were 6 different Final Fantasy games on the Sony Playstation then but Squaresoft (not called Square-Enix) thought that we needed another Final Fantasy.
But that's not enough, in 2005 Final Fantasy IV was once again released on a new system, this time it was the Gba that got this game. So the big question is why the hell did they also released a DS version when it already was possible for players who owned a DS to play it? Well this time it's not just a fast port of the 17 year old SNES classic, this time it's a real remake, just like the one they made for Final Fantasy III.
Just like in Final Fantasy III they have improved the graphic, especially in the amazing opening scene which first shows the cast of characters in the game and then also a couple of scenes from the plot. It amazes me that we can now can make games look that the incredible on handheld systems. And of course during this opening scene you listen to the classic theme of the early Final Fantasy games, I really wonder what happened to that theme....
Anyway the game begins with that the main character Cecil, the commander of the Red Wings (an military airship fleet) have just invaded a mystic town called Mysidia and stole the city's biggest treasure, one of the four element crystals. In order to get the crystal the Red Wings had to stop any kind of resistance so they brutally slaughter some of the Mysidia citizens. Now both Cecil and his crew of soldiers begins to think about what they orders were and that they killed innocent humans just to follow their king's orders.
Once back in Baron Cecil asks the king why the Red Wings had to take the crystal in Mysidia from the people and that the King has recently changed in his behavior. The Kings then says that his disappointed.in him so he feels that Cecil no longer should be the Commander of the Red Wings, instead he gets a mission to deliver a ring to the Village of Mist. When Cecil's friend Kain Highwind asks the King to reconsider his order, he also sends Kain to accompany Cecil to the Town of Mist.
When the two friends finally arrives to the town the ring that they were supposed to deliver explodes and the entire village is in fire. In this Inferno Cecil and Kain finds a little girl who just have lost their parents, and when they realizes that their order is to kill her they decided that something is wrong about the King of Baron and that he needs to be stopped. Then there's a huge explosion and Cecil suddenly finds himself in the middle of nowhere and Kain is gone. All he got for company is the young girl that he just saved and so his journey starts. The only thing he knows for sure about his journey is that these Element Crystals are more than just shiny crystals.
During the whole game characters joins your party, and also during a big part of the game characters also leaves your party for different reasons, then some of then joins in your party again e.t.c. Gamers who thought that the FFVII spoiler was harsh for them will have big trouble to beat this game because here your party changes all the time. Lucky for you that even if this could be annoying sometimes, the party is usually balanced with both strong melee fighters and talented spell casters.
Since I said that this is a remake and not just port of the original Final Fantasy IV, there are a lot of improvements. One thing that I know that all won't like is that in some scenes there are voice actors, and personally I think Square-Enix have for once done a great job to give every character in the game a fitting voice. Cecil sounds like a typical leader man while Kain got a lot more darker yet not evil voice, and none of the girls got a bimbo voice.
Another good improvement is that you can skip all those scenes where they use voice actors, which I really like when they are just right before a boss fight so you don't have to see the whole dialog a couple of 100 times over and over again if there's a tough boss fight right after.
And tough boss fights is something this game got plenty of. It's not the hardest RPG ever but for those who are used to watch through their RPGs cut-scene after cut-scene won't get very far in this game. In fact if you thought the US version of the original was tough then you still haven't seen anything. I've finished every main Final Fantasy except XII (But that's not because it was to hard, it's because I got a hard time to understand the battle system) and I can without a second of doubt say that this is the most challenging Final Fantasy released this decade (including all the ports), and maybe even the most difficult game in the series since the original on Nes.
Another thing I really like about this game is that how it rewards you if you explore the dungeons, and isn't exploring what RPGs are all about? Besides from all the chests that you can find in the dungeon, there's another reward for you if you visit every place on a dungeon map. You see the lower DS screen is used as a map, and when you are in a dungeon you create them when you explore the dungeon. Once a map is 100% complete you get a small reward.
As I said before characters leaves your party all time, and every character got at least one unique ability. But this is the first version where you can actually make your other characters learn those and many other cool abilities. I'm sure you can use these in some combination to make this game much easier, but I didn't bother with this. It's easy to miss the really useful ones (I told you that this game was a challenge.)
It's possible to play through the whole game without using the stylus, but there are a couple of mini games that make you use the Stylus. You can use the points to improve the stats to Whyt (one of the summons), you can train this guy to make him useful in battle and even battle with one of your friends who also got this game to see who got the strongest Whyt, it's also possible to customize his look)
Final Fantasy III was an excellent remake of an already good game, but the remake of FFIV is actually one step better. While I'm sure that a lot of people who never played any of the previous versions will enjoy this one, it's also a great game for those who already know what a great game this is. Tough, enough extra stuff and just plain fun, just like an RPG should be.
However I wouldn't buy this if I already owned the Gba version, but for someone like me who haven't played this game in 5 or 6 years it was perfect. If you loved the game back in 1991 then you will also love this in 2008.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (EU, 09/05/08)
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