Review by MythrilCrystal

Reviewed: 11/17/08

The definitive version of Final Fantasy IV. No matter how many times Square releases it, it will never get old.

Final Fantasy IV finds itself being released a fourth time; this time, it's been released as a DS remake. I had never really played any real Final Fantasy games, so I figured I'd give the series a chance. The first one I started with wasn't really my cup of tea because I didn't understand it. I figured that I should play some of the earlier Final Fantasies before attempting that one. So, I set my sights on IV, and it's one hell of a game. This game has officially gotten me hooked to the Final Fantasy series.

Story - 10/10
Yes, the story is somewhat cliched, as most games had those types of stories in 91. As cliched as it is, however, it's surprisingly very good. Cecil, Dark Knight and lord captain of the Red Wings, has been ordered to steal the water crystal of Mysidia. After returning triumphant, Cecil begins to question his king's motives, and he is then stripped of his command and told to go to Mist and slay the eidolon. After more unspeakable things happen, Cecil vows to make up for his mistakes.

That's pretty much the opening of the story. The DS version adds bonus content scenes that really help implement the story, such as childhood scenes. Never before have we seen some of the characters as kids. Also, the story scenes have been enhanced graphically, and they are now accompanied by voice acting. Many old-school gamers may find this a fresh breath of air to the game, or they may hate it. It's all a matter of taste. In my personal opinion, the voice acting is done perfectly.

Controls - 9/10
The game's overall mechanism is pretty simplistic. You have your in battle controls, where you simply move the control pad and press A to confirm scrolled over commands. If you have to run away from a battle, you simply hold in R until you successfully run away. That's about it. Simple, no?

The outside controls aren't really any different. You control your character with the control pad, and you press A to do several things such as talk to people or open treasures. From the menu, you can go through options and customize the speed of battles and other game settings, allowing for comfortable gameplay preferences.

There is one minor flaw with the control system, and this happens in battle. Sometimes after acting on a command, there will be a brief lagging period where everything sorta freezes between commands. This generally happens after summons and casting spells. Speaking of summoning, there's another minor yet annoying flaw. When you go to summon an eidolon, it exits you out of whatever menu you were in. This is pretty frustrating, especially when you're in the middle of Dualcasting a spell. Overall, the control layout is smooth with two minor bugs in the mechanics.

Graphics - 10/10
Well, there really isn't much to say about the graphics. They are done beautifully and really are up to par with the technology of the modern world. It's amazing how they could take designs from 1991 and give them a modern feel. The animations, summons, character design, level design, and environment were all well done. I really can't complain about anything visually speaking. The characters are one of the highlights. Golbez is much more badass looking than he was in previous versions. You are going to love the graphical improvements they've made to this remake.

Music/Sounds - 10/10
Again, not much to say. The music you knew and loved is back and fully orchestrated to accompany this flashy new game. I must say, some of the pieces are much better in this version than previous versions. Notably, Troia's remixed theme. It's so peaceful and out does the original by far. There are some pieces that were much better in the previous versions than in this one. I found Theme of Suspicion to be much better in FFII (SNES) than this version. Basically, you could argue which pieces were better than others; however, bottom line, this game has an amazing soundtrack.

Content - 10/10
Finally, we get to the best part of Final Fantasy IV. The content that's within. Not only do you have the amazing story of Final Fantasy IV, but you have tons of bonus content as well. The DS remake comes with a lot of new features, and they really managed to help spice up the game.

First, there's an addition of a New Game + and New Game ++. This feature allows players to play through the game not once, not twice, but three times. Square has given you three chances to get everything 100% in this game. The story portion of the game does not change, but you can get more Augments than you could your first playthrough, and you have the option of fighting two incredibly difficult optional bosses, which require you to be pretty high leveled with the best equipment available to win. You won't be disappointed with this feature. In theory, it sounds awful because it sounds like just a repeat of the game, but there's just a bit more you can do for the next two playthroughs that make it worthwile.

Second of all, there's the introduction of the Augment System. This is a very neat system, yet it tends to get a lot of criticism from people. Under this system, you can take abilities from characters who forever leave your party and equip them to another character. You can also get better Augments by giving Augments to the characters. There are a few issues that people have with this. First of all, they feel the Augments make the game too easy. I disagree because the difficulty was souped up because of the Augments. Since the Augments tend to make battles easier, they had to buff some enemies and throw them some cheap attacks. Another people don't like about it, is that you miss out on a lot of good ones without using an FAQ. Those people have a point because some required Augments that make stuff easier can easily be missed. Then again, you should always experiment in an RPG.

Overall, the content is incredible. If you've never played a version of Final Fantasy IV, go with this one. It is the definitive version, and it offers you the most. In a nutshell, this game has: flashy graphics, an amazing soundtrack, souped up difficulty, voice acting for scenes, bonus scenes, optional bosses, New Game ++, and an Augment System. Is it worth the $40 dollars to buy this game? Hell yes.

Replay Value - 10/10
You knew this was coming. Like I said above, you have New Game ++ to keep you busy for another two playthroughs of the game. This gives you a good chance to do everything perfectly, such as collecting everything and maximizing stats. Even when finishing a New Game ++, there are tons of challenges you can do to make the game even harder. There's so much to do in this awesome game that it never gets old.

Fun Factor - 10/10
This game is tons of fun. You may get a little aggravated from cheap enemy attacks and certain game over spots, but it wouldn't be any fun if the game wasn't challenging to say the least. This game is magical, golden, and legendary. While the game may start off a little slow, it picks up rapidly and gives you one hell of an experience.

Challenge - 9/10
Due to the introduction of the Augment System, the game has become increasingly more difficult. The first half of the game is pretty straight-forward and easy, but the difficulty will peak once the second half of the game comes into play. I gave the challenge a high score because it's pretty difficult, especially when you get to the final dungeon. At that point, everything should be treated as a boss battle and with caution.

Rent or Buy?
Absolutely no contest. Buy this game. It is worth the money. That's all there is to it. Don't even consider renting it.

Overall - 9.8/10
This game is near perfect, but it has some minor flaws that hold it back from a perfect 10. According to GameFAQs' standards, this is judged as a 10/10, which I think the game deserves to be anyway. Does it have flaws? Every game does. Are these flaws so major that they ruin the experience or game? Absolutely not. Square has done a fantastic job with this remake, and I hope to see more remakes like this in the future. Maybe we could embrace the possibility of a V or VI remake sometime soon...

Recap
Story - 10/10
Controls - 9/10
Graphic - 10/10
Music/Sounds - 10/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Fun Factor - 10/10
Challenge - 9/10
Overall - 9.8/10
Final Score - 10/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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