Review by Dash_Jr
Reviewed: 09/25/08 | Updated: 12/26/08
Final Fantasy Bore = Dejavu all over again...
Final Fantasy IV. People have said many good things about this entry in the Final Fantasy series. Many have called it one of the greatest role playing games of all time, while others have noted it to be an important title in the series. Well, I won't go as far as to call it the best RPG of all time, but I will note that it is a good RPG for its time. My first time experiencing Final Fantasy IV in any form was on the Gameboy Advance. The overall game itself was pretty good, but the execution was a bit shoddy. So when I heard several stories about Final Fantasy IV being remade for the DS, I became a bit excited. At first, I thought it was a good idea since Square has released several older Final Fantasy games numerous times on different consoles and handhelds. I didn't think much of it as I wanted a second chance to play Final Fantasy IV after the disastrous Gameboy Advance port that was done a few years ago. But, was the effort and the $40 price tag worth it? Absolutely not.
Let's start with the story. Some people will call the story "cliche," but this is a game that's over 10 years old. The story may not be as epic or deep as some of today's RPGs, but it still is a good story for a game its age. Basically, the king of Baron has started terrorizing other nations for these elemental crystals. Well, enter our protagonist, Cecil, former captain of the Red Wings. A fine turn of events that leads to a few tragedies causes our hero to question his former king and rebel against him in his crusade. The story does have a few moments that are pretty obvious to what's going to happen, but all in all, it doesn't really change my view much. So yeah, the story can seem pretty cliched at times, but we have to remember that this game was part of the Super Nintendo games, so it may not have a deep story. Anyhow, the story is the least bit of worry here.
Gameplay, for the most part, is where most of my criticism lies with Final Fantasy IV. One thing that I was highly disappointed in with Final Fantasy IV was the difficulty. Lots of people have said this version of Final Fantasy IV was vastly more difficult than any other version. I found that to be highly erroneous as this game was very very easy. For one thing, the game throws numerous ways to replenish your health either by finding lots of potions(and there are plenty), or by healing spells used by several characters in the game. So dying should be no problem here.
Another problem that coincides with the games level of difficulty is the numerous random encounters. It seemed like every three steps I took, I was attacked by a monster. Running, while possible in the game, isn't much help since you have to hold L and R to run, and the enemy can still attack you. And on top of that, sometimes you'll lose gil(currency for the game) when you run from a battle. And that's not all - a lot of the monsters drop too many experience points from simple battles. Monsters that usually drop only a few experience points drop enough for some of my characters to jump up two levels. This made the game way too easy, and significantly threw out the supposed challenge that people claimed this game to have.
A new addition to this version of Final Fantasy IV is the Augment system. This is also another big criticism of mine. Many of the good Augments can be missed if you aren't careful as the game suddenly introduces them without any formal explanation. The game gives you little to no clues of their existence and whereabouts except a few story oriented ones, which is quite a shame as some of the Augments are pretty useful. And that's it. That's all you will hear and see of the Augments of Final Fantasy IV. You barely even get a hint of the hidden Augments, and in order to even find them, you'll have to look at a guide. I felt cheated here because Square Enix advertised the Augments to be a new feature never before seen in a Final Fantasy game.
Basically, other than the very vague Augments, this version doesn't really offer anything new that makes the gameplay feel any different. The Active Time Battle system has been fixed, and feels much more fluid in the game. And you still get New Game Plus at the end for a few secrets, but they weren't that good in my opinion. I felt a little bored going through the game as everything felt too linear and too laid out without any diversion.
Sound-wise, the game is pretty good. Many of the epic tunes you remember from other versions are back in all of their glory enhanced by the DS's sound capabilities. Some of the themes are pretty catchy, while others are just very epic like Golbez's theme. And to top it off, Square has included a music player to listen to the epic themes in the game, which is really a plus for those just wanting to listen to the game's music.
The game does have voice overs in a few scenes. They aren't really a requirement, but it is nice that Square included them in the game. Some people didn't like how the voices sound, but I actually thought they were pretty good as they bring emotion to some of the dark themes in the game. Cecil's voice can be a little off tune at times, but overall, the voices are really well done. It almost felt as if I were watching a Shakespeare play on my Nintendo DS. That's just how fitting the voice overs are.
There's not much to say about the graphics as they are top notch. A lot of the spell animations are very nice to look at *cough*Meteor*cough. In addition, the game does have FMVs for key scenes. They aren't very long, but they are still good for what Square was able to squeeze out of the DS's graphics. Overall, the graphics in Final Fantasy IV DS are great. No complaints here.
Overall, if you're a Final Fantasy fan and just really feel like giving Final Fantasy IV a run through, then this game is for you. It's a decent sized quest that will last you about 25 hours at the least depending how you go through the game. Some can probably beat it in less time than that. As far as secrets, there's two new bosses and the above mentioned new game plus, but they aren't really worth another play through. For many others who have played Final Fantasy IV before, there's really not much new content in this version to warrant another purchase as there's more flash than substance.
+ATB system is much more prominent here
-Very light difficulty
-Not any notable new content
-Augments have no formal, detailed introduction or explanation
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (US, 07/21/08)
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