Review by hecktic00

Reviewed: 06/26/06

"Miss, miss, miss... Miss... 'Inefective?' Miss... Miss.. *3 hours later* Level-up!"

And so it goes, a much tedious process constantly multiplying as the game goes on until you've either ripped out your hair, or decided to cheat. And any game that forces you to cheat or kill yourself, isn't really a good game at all, is it? Nope, sure isn't. Even more broken than Final Fantasy 1, Final Fantasy 2 brings a bunch of conflicts to the table. As bad as that sounds, it gets worse...

Gameplay:

Let's start with the normal stuff... This is a turn-based RPG game. You enter a battle, issue commands to your people, and they attack. There's really nothing stopping the enemies from attacking first, I believe it's just random. But, yeah, it mixes up and sometimes you'll get most of your attacks in before the enemy can attack. But it's still turn-based.

The battles are initiated in a random-style fashion. You run around on the map or in a dungeon and eventually a battle will trigger. Then you duke it out and you gain your "stats" and what-not and the battle ends. Rinse and repeat.

But here's where we got a problem. This game does not contain a level-up system. Much like FFX, you don't actually gain levels. Unlike FFX, you gain stats by what you do in battle. Let's say you attack a monster, ok... You'll gain experience with the particular weapon you're using and you'll gain points in strength as well. By that same aspect, if you get hit a lot in battle, you'll gain more HP.

While this sounds awesome in concept and it sounds innovative and great... It fails on so many levels. You see, much like FF1, it takes an extremely long time to gain these skill/stat level-ups. I think in order for your HP to increase, it has to drop by at least half of what you started with in battle. So, let's say you have 66 HP. You must be knocked under 33 HP for you to gain a level-up in the HP stat at the end of the battle.

Sound fun? Not really, because with stats like STR and when leveling up your weapons, it takes an ungodly amount of time! You literally have to attack about 50 times for your character to level up. Sometimes it takes more or less depending on how strong your opponent is. This is not difficult, it's just time-consuming. It's tedious and unneeded.

And then there is the fact that sometimes your characters will gain stats you don't want, and in that effect the opposite stat will lower. Say you attack physically with your mage because you don't feel like wasting MP... Guess what? Eventually their STR will raise, and that means their INT will lower. So, I guess you better keep on pumping out that mana for no reason at all. Hey, at least it'll raise your MP eventually!

You see, you can't defend in this game. You can't skip a player's turn. So basically, it's "attack", "run", "magic", or "item". It's more like "pick your poison" with this leveling-up system rather than "pick your fun". You gotta waste their turn somehow, you can't attack because it'll raise their str, so you have to waste MP.

Perhaps if the battles were a tad bit more fast-paced it wouldn't feel so horrible, but when you're constantly having to watch your characters walk back and forth, and it takes 2 seconds between each attack, and it takes 5 seconds to end a battle... Holy jeez, it gets annoying. Add that onto the fact that there isn't anything to keep you interested, and the game just doesn't work.

Also, during your first adventures through new lands with new monsters, you're going to be constantly getting "misses" when you attack. I mean... constantly. This is not fun. And also, they failed to fix the dreaded "missed because the monster died" thing with FFII. This means, if you issue attack commands for everyone to one monster, once that monster's dead, the rest of your team that hasn't attacked yet will waste their turn.

There you have it. With all these things in place it really doesn't make much sense to go on leveling up the "right" way. Since it takes about 3 hours to even hope to level up once, you might as well cheat. And when you cheat with the "bug" within the game, it still takes a while. So, what's the point? You might as well just get it over with and use an outside cheating device. But then you won't feel accomplished, so where does it leave you? Nowhere. You're going to feel like a **** no matter what you do with this game, so it's better just to not play it.

A little pet-peeve I have with this game is that when you press the A button, it checks the area and gives you a message no matter what you're doing. Why?!?!?! Why did a lot of old games have this kind of crap in it? It's annoying when you're trying to talk to someone, but they're walking around and you miss them so a box pops up saying, "Nothing is here." Great, but I don't care! I just want to talk to that guy. Chances are, I knew nothing was there anyway. How about we just skip the unneeded message boxes, and only tell me about my search results when I find something. Jeesh.

Cosmetics:

Oh wow, I've seen the main hero somewhere before. You mean... He was in FF1?! That's the fighter I used?! Naw, but they just stuck that same sprite in there anyway. That's right, the main hero in FF2 looks exactly like the fighter from FF1. One of your teammates looks exactly like the Thief from FF1, another one looks just like the hero except he's a different color. Oh my...

But not all is bad, this game actually improves some on the cosmetics department compared to the first game. You don't have any more of those stupid boxes during battle! You also get to actually enter shops and walk around now! Unlike in FF1, where it'd just bring you to a generic black screen with boxes, you get to see all the decoration and stuff in FF2.

This is also the first Final Fantasy with character portraits. Granted, they don't show up in conversation yet, they're still there in the menu screen. Which is nice, I suppose, but it doesn't really add anything to the game. Still, they are nice looking. Speaking of the menu, it's a bit more organized than FF1, but it doesn't impress me much.

The world map graphics really haven't evolved at all. They still look like the typical NES stuff. However, the water does animate now, so I guess that's a start. The sprites as far as NPCs go haven't changed much, but they're slightly more detailed. The towns don't really look any different. Same old buildings. The dungeons are boring. They're long, boring, and ugly.

This is my least-favorite Final Fantasy soundtrack. The battle music is absolutely horrid and makes me believe Square's purpose in this mission was to drive me crazy. That's all I have to say about the music, nothing really notable. It sounds like stuff you'd hear in a medieval kingdom.

Storyline:

You and your 3 friends are ambushed by a horde of evil knights from another kingdom. You see, you were trying to escape from the evil empire that was destroying your home. They beat you down and send you into the realm of unconsciousness. You wake up in a room with two weird people and they basically tell you you're a weak pathetic fool.

Ok, they don't, but they do tell you they can't use you due to your inexperience. They don't know where your other friend is(you were separated and now it's just 3 of you instead of 4) and therefore, you set out to look for him. Eventually, you come across a man that was captured and he explains what went down. You report back to the Princess and she gives you an assignment to help her kingdom.

The story revolves around a betrayal and a corrupt kingdom trying to destroy the land you live in. Granted, this may seem cliche, it's not that bad, and counts for a major part of why I didn't completely dismiss this game. The character development is pretty good as well.

Overall/Explanation/Recommendation:

This game is LAME. Ugh, I'm so disgusted with playing it, I can barely write a review without losing my temper. Don't play this game, folks. You can't even get an English version. Anyone who's going to spend money to import it or whatever... You're crazy.

Ok, if you're a Final Fantasy fiend, and you collect the games, I guess you're going to buy it no matter what. But, damn it, man... This ranks up there with some of the worst NES games ever. This game makes FF1 look like pure gold, and that game had a whole nother series of problems. Meh, don't buy this game. If you buy it to collect, don't play it. I warned you.

I'm sure some people will just tell me to get some patience. Or call me a video game newb. Whatever, go worship all your Squaresoft games and leave the rest of us to the real objectiveness needed to review video games. I hate spoiling myself with compliments, but one would have to be DELUSIONAL to rate this game high. It's crap, pure and simple. Sorry folks, see ya next time.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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