Review by cloretts
This game almost made a Final Fantasy 4 fan.
This is the second Final Fantasy game to see a remake on Nintendos popular portable, and though I was never a big fan of Final Fantasy 2 on the SNES (Final Fantasy 4 in Japan) because the translation was terrible, and the story in the second half of the game wasnt all that catchy, I thought Id give the new DS version a try.
From the intro movie, to the over world and into the battle, this has to be the best looking DS game that Ive seen to date, and leave it to Square Enix to do it. The animation wasnt the smoothest, and the textures werent the greatest, but that may have something to do with the DSs weaker hardware than the other systems out on the market today. The only one main issue that I had with the graphics were the character models, they looked good, but the developers tried to give them more proportionate bodies, but they have massive heads, which wasnt exactly appealing.
This area is up and down. First of all, I would like to mention that this game had voice acting, am I am not talking about just simple phrases said after a battle, a lot of the events during the game had full conversations voiced out, and voiced well too, it didnt sound bad, it gave the characters some more life and added a very nice touch to the game, but it didnt come through that clear, but clear enough to know what they were saying. The sound effects were pretty standard, though I found them a little on the grainy side. The music was my big gripe with this game. The music was all re-done from the original game, but there was a specific lack in quality, it still sounded like the SNES music of the game with some more layers added in, some of it sounded good, some didnt sound much different, but there were a few tracks (the town theme for example) sounded terrible. I may have been a little more disappointed because I had played Dragon Quest 4 just prior to Final Fantasy 4, and the sound quality in Dragon Quest I found to be superior to anything else on the platform. The voice acting was done well, but everything else in the audio department was dull and lacking, probably due to the fact that a lot of the storage on the cart was taken up by the graphics and voice, and the rest of the sound had to suffer.
The game play, despite the new graphics hasnt changed all that much, but that is a good thing, Final Fantasy has always had a good formula for their games, and changing would be a mistake. There are however some new additions. On the over world you now have a map displayed on the touch screen that displays more as you explore and uncover either the world map or a dungeon. In the dungeons if you complete a whole map, youre rewarded with some items when you reach 100% map completion. In battle, you can now see your active time battle (ATB) gauges on the bottom screen, these werent present in the SNES version. The touch screen wasnt really used all that much, you can use it to move around instead of using the D-pad, but I really didnt find any other use for it. When you go into your menu, you will see Cecil standing there, and depending on where you are in the game, he will be thinking something that has to relate to the current situation at hand. The biggest thing that I noticed over the SNES version was the difficulty of the game has increased to be more like the Japanese Final Fantasy 4, making it much harder than the game that I remembered, but its nice to have an RPG with a challenge these days, theyre not that common anymore. I found a nice balance of changes and things left alone from the original to make this game quite enjoyable.
The story was left very much unchanged, but now, with a clean translation, I found it much easier to understand, but I am still not crazy about the story in this game. You play as Cecil; a Dark Knight who is sent to mysidia to steal their crystal by order of the king, when Cecil returns, he questions the kings motives and is then stripped of his command over the airship fleet and is replaced by a new face in the kingdom, Golbez. Cecil now leaves the castle with his friend Kain and follows a different path than that of the Dark Knight. The story I found was a little cliché, and during the second part of the game, the story pretty much went like this. Find and gain control of airship, someone important gets killed, find another airship, someone important dies again, find another airship, someone dies, modify airship, someone dies, modify airship again someone dies. The last part of the game becomes really redundant, and with all of the level grinding that takes place, finishing this game can become a chore, though the end part of the game was rewarding.
Final Fantasy 4 was decent on the SNES, and was done well very well on the DS, and though there were a few quirks about the new remake, I found that the new 3D models were refreshing, the intro movie was a nice touch and even more so with the voices, and all of the game play mechanics were left intact. This game was a great game in the 90s and is definite classic now, even with its dated story and somewhat questionable music.
Game Play: 9/10
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Final Fantasy IV (US, 07/21/08)
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