Review by Shivan Reincarnated

Reviewed: 12/04/06

This game isn't THAT bad

Final Fantasy II was originally released for the NES only for Japan. It was to follow up the game that saved Square from bankruptcy, Final Fantasy. Places outside of Japan were able to play Final Fantasy II first on “Final Fantasy Origins” for the PSX but soon afterwards Final Fantasy II was part of Final Fantasy: Dawn of the Souls for the GBA. At this point, pretty much everyone had access to Final Fantasy II. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy II ultimately ended up getting rather bad reviews and is often seen as one of the worst Final Fantasies. Having played Final Fantasy II, I really don’t think it’s that bad. I can see where the complaints are coming from but I feel they are blown way out of proportion. Final Fantasy II still isn’t a great game and I’d say it’s on the lower end of the Final Fantasy spectrum but it still wasn’t terrible. It’s almost as good as the original actually.

Final Fantasy II does place a much bigger emphasis on storyline and characters than Final Fantasy did. In Final Fantasy, you couldn’t name your characters but in Final Fantasy II you can. The storyline starts off with empire of Palamecia and its ruthless emperor attempting to take over the world. When a rebel army from the town of Fynn rose to challenge the empire, they were crushed and four people found themselves fleeing from this incident. The main character is Firion. Firion reminds me a lot of Cecil from Final Fantasy IV although his character development is lacking. Of course, this was an NES game so it’s quite alright. In addition to Firion, there is Maria who is a young woman looking for her brother Leon. Also joining you is the unique Guy, who is your gentle idiotic giant that can speak to beavers. How many characters can speak beaver? Final Fantasy II was a game of many firsts. To start, the tradition of Cid actually began in this game and not the original Final Fantasy. There was no Cid in the original Final Fantasy although they added a Cid in Dawn of Souls to FF1. Also, chocobos were first introduced in this game. Lastly, many enemies that would become tradition were first introduced in this game. Malboros and Hecteyes come to mind. The storyline to this game was a move in a different direction that would impact future games. There is a fairly high emphasis on story and characters, at least compared to most NES games.

The game play is what seems to be the biggest complaint about this game. Gone is the way of gaining experience from random battle. Gone are the levels of characters. Instead, the development system is implemented. I’ll be honest, the development system sucks. Since you aren’t gaining experience and growing levels through battles, there has to be another way to enhance stats. In the development system, for you to gain HP, you need to lose HP in battle. For you to increase your strength, you need to keep attacking in battle. Casting white magic would raise your sprit while black magic increases intelligence. Increasing magic in general helps to raise both Magic stat and MP. You can see how this isn’t really fun. You really have to take damage to raise stats? Also, this system is very easy to abuse. If you haven’t already guessed, attacking yourselves would really increase the rate at which you gain HP and strength as well as stamina. Skill Mastery is a better part of the game. All spells from Fire to Cure, from Blind to Ultima all start all level 1. The more often you use that magic, the more it will increase your gauge bar and when the gauge bar fills up, that magic level increases. The higher the magic level, the more effective it is obviously. This works with weapons and even shields too. For weapons, the more you use a certain weapon (Sword, staff, spear, knife, axe etc) the more it’s weapon level will increase. A little extra feature is the learning system. Sometimes, important words or phrases will be said to you and highlighted in red. “You then can learn this phrase and ask certain people. Sometimes they’ll know something and give you vital information.

The soundtrack still retains it’s simple, concise, classic soundtrack that was found in Final Fantasy. While there wasn’t anything overly impressive, there were a couple boss themes that I found to be pretty good. The graphics are a notch up from the original as the enemies have more color and detail. There are also the beginnings of rendered “cut-scenes” in this game. While they are a joke compared to say, Final Fantasy X, they were impressive during the NES era. Well, to the Japanese anyway. This game can be very difficult or it can de mildly challenging depending on how you raise your stats. It’s very smart to take a lot of time to raise your stats at the beginning or even use the cheap method because this game does prove to be a bit challenging despite a broken battle system. Overall, I liked this game. I can say I understand the complaints of this game with the battle system. But to deserve a score of 2 or 3? I don’t think so. Final Fantasy II still proves to be an important member of the Final Fantasy series.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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