Review by Takarne
FF2 The good, bad, and ugly
The sequel to the original Final Fantasy. While there's a lot of people that will compare this game to the original, I'll try to keep that to a minimum. Here's my review:
The graphics are okay for this game. You have character portraits in the menu, decent looking spell animations, and unified windows in battle.
A lot of the graphics used (Firion) in battle is directly based off of the original FF. But this isn't the only FF game that was released on the NES that had that same image (FF3 did too). The world map has basically the same images, but you get some new ones too, such as the airship that flies around.
The world map wasn't original enough with the graphics.
I thought that this game had an awesome sound track. I loved nearly every song in it. The battle song is the base for FF4 - FF6, so even though there's a lot of people that say that it's not very good, they had to have done something right.
The sound effects weren't all that great in the original. On the PS1 (FF Origins), they revamped the sound effects and greatly increased the value of the sound all together.
Mad good character customization. There's nothing stopping you from doing what you want with your party. If you want a group of fighter-mages, go ahead and make it. You choose what weapons/armor/magic to use (everyone can use everything).
The leveling system was replaced with a cause and effect system. Instead of having everything set to specific values, your strengths and weaknesses changed throughout the game to match how you fought. This made you use your head, instead of blindingly holding the confirmation button to keep attacking (like you can in just about all the others). It took the leveling system to all new levels that had never been seen before. I personally thought that this was a great improvement, and a wise change. It gave the player complete control on how their party turned out.
The memorize system served as a minigame, and a massive puzzle that you needed to figure out to get through the game.
Instead of having eight levels of MP to worry about, you had a base value that all spells drained from. This has been carried over on every game since.
The large amounts of time that it took to level up your skills. The benefit to this is that it reflects real life. You don't become a molecular chemist, or body builder overnight. It takes time. This is what I thought Square was trying to put across with this system.
The dungeons were rather repetitive.
This is where I'm going to do my comparisons:
The original FF had no storyline until it told finally told you what everything was for after you killed Chaos. This game has plot twists, character developement, drama, just about everything that makes a great story. It was a massive improvement over FF1 that drastically needed to be done. I guess Square decided "hey, why don't we give this game an actual story, instead of four people running around aimlessly helping people that they don't know."
FF2 has a deep storyline that will draw you in. I know it did with me anyway. I'm not going to fill this review with spoilers. If you want to find out what happens, then play the game.
The controls were fine in both the original game on the NES and the PS1 version. You didn't need to waste money buying tents and things like that to save your game. Just go to the world map, and save it. This has been carried over for the rest of the series (until the addition of savepoints, which expanded on this).
In the original, due to the restraints of the NES' capabilities they weren't able to offer re-targeting in this game. This is mainly because of the shear size of the leveling system (one programming function for each weapon type, spell, battle effect on stats). When you have all those functions, they take up a lot of room on the limited 256KB - (maybe) 1 MB silicon cartridge, and that prevented the game from having re-targeting. They corrected this by having the simpler leveling system from FF1 in FF3, and included re-targeting.
In the PS1 version, because the CD was able to hold so much more information, re-targeting wasn't an issue. It was included.
This game has a great storyline, decent graphics, good sound, awesome character customization, a realistic skill system, and great controls. It was a great a game that took some time getting used to, but once you got the hang of it, you were set. It added a lot of new features that the original FF, and other sequels didn't. I suggest that if you haven't played this game, buy the PS1 version (you can still get it new on Amazon for less than $20). You won't be sorry.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Final Fantasy II (JP, 12/17/88)
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