Review by Princess Lynaly

Reviewed: 09/12/01 | Updated: 04/07/02

This game is AWFUL!

Hi, Lynaly here and I've FINALLY gotten around to doing my Final Fantasy 2 review. In case my little synopsis didn't give it away, I think this game is terrible. Why? Square seemed to follow the suit of several other game designers and make the sequel to a popular game experimental.

Yes, all of us long-time gamers know about it. The experimental sequels. Nintendo gave us Adventure of Link (bites) and Super Mario 2 (wasn't even a Mario game). Konami gave us Snake's Revenge (Ugh) and Castlevania 2 (a good exception to the rule.

Well it looks like Square had the same idea and went ahead on making Final Fantasy 2 the most unorthodox and unenjoyable game in the entire series. Not even Final Fantasy 8 is this bad. Games can stink but this one reeks like a mountain of elephant poo. Also, don't you notice that after the experimental sequels, all these companies went back to the formula of the original games? Just a thought I had. Anyway I'm going to tell you exactly why this game is terrible. Believe me, I have the proof to back my claim up.

Graphics:

A lot of recycling from the first game, but then what do you expect? This game came out only a year after the original Final Fantasy. Expect to see a lot of your old buddies playing different parts in this game. (Heh)

Now aesthetically, a few improvements have been made. The water in the ocean is animated, the spell effects have unique animations, and there is just a bit more life added.
However, just about every moving sprite from FF1 has been pulled over to this game, maybe with a color swap, but usually all the same as before. In battle, the main hero, Frionel, uses the same sprite as the fighter from FF1, albeit with a tad more detail added to his outfit. The other guy, and I'm sorry but I forgot his name, uses the same sprite, down to the pixel, of the thief from the first game. I guess they did this to get the game out quicker but labor pays off and Final Fantasy 3 certainly shows that and it's on the same system. I think this game is early evidence that Square really listens to money and the success of Final Fantasy brought out a half-a$$ job for a sequel to cash in on that. I truly believe that.

Sound:

Well Nobuo Uematsu does the score again and for the most part, it's pretty good. This game is more story themed than the first so there is music to fit the various plot points. I'd say the only bad piece of music in this game is the battle music. It's atrocious, and you will hear it a LOT because in this game, you fight a LOT. I'll get to that later though. Anyhow, while the music is good, the sound effects are just okay for the most part. They aren't too different from the first game and are just standard atmosphere. A big plus is that the music in this game doesn't reset all the time like the first one. It will continue to play even as you open boxes, browse the menu, or advance to a different floor. In the first game, this was cause for the tracks to start over from the beginning.

Control:

Being an RPG, this game doesn't need super-precise controls and Final Fantasy 2 does just fine on this merit. It's easy to play and the menus are a bit quicker to navigate than the first game. Nothing bad here.

Plot:

Typical Final Fantasy plot. What do I mean by that? Well, it has familiar elements that seem to find thier way into later games in this series so you'll feel right at home with the plot to this game. Trouble is, you have to bear the actual game-playing part of this mess to experience it.
In a nutshell, it involves four orphans who escape from their captured hometown. They are caught, beaten pretty badly, but are found by a Princess who is the head of a rebel faction. Your band decides to join them and so the story unfolds in typical RPG fashion, mainly in the form of fetch-quests and simple plot points. The story isn't heavy or moving in any shape or form and when certain characters die, you may be hard pressed to even care a wit about it. Overall, the story is pretty weak and hardly worth the price of admission. All you emulator users who scoff at paying money, I mean you too. By price I am referring to the act of having to play this game to forward the story. Pure rubbish is all it is.

Gameplay:

Wretched, awful, horrendous, need I say more? This game is like your worst nightmare come true. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to why the stuff in this game happens they way it does and I'm sure the LSD addicts who thought this system up are partly responsible for FF8 as well. Heck these guys stink of Saga fame! Let's break down this mess of convulted stats, screwy attributes, and the mundane weapon system.

Levels- Gone. Thrown out the window with the empty wine bottles after the FF1 success party. Your characters do not gain levels at all in this game. There is no mark for the true strength of your party members and this adds to the moronic aspects of it all. Did you know that you can actually ''level-down''? I don't mean it literally since there are no levels, but it IS possible for your individual attributes to rise and fall at a whim. Stupid? Yeah I know. Now you are practically forced to make your magic users use magic, for your choices be damned! Have them use a weapon and their magic proficiency decreases! Likewise with your heavy hitting guy. Don't even let him get a whiff at being scholarly or he'll turn wimpy in no time and trade his battle-axe for a nice hefty novel and a cane. Basically this game looks like it has the promise of more customization but when you delve into it, you find that this is not so. Moreover, the bulk or your stats are just randomly calculated based on maybe the alignment of the planets, the time of the day in Canada, and whether or not you are wearing long or short pants.

So you are probably puzzled. ''So HOW do you raise your HP/MP?'' You might ask. Well it's simple. So simple it's a crime and you can cheat this game like a trailor trash wife in denial. Want 9999 HP? Well all you gotta do is beat yourself up. Really! The amount of life you gain after battle, to add to your max HP, is calculated on how much you got hurt in the fight! This works two ways.

1. You spend quite some time getting good armor, that you are never hurt. Your brand new weapons cleave the enemy away and you think all is good until the boss monster lays the smackdown on you with one blow. You stare at the screen and wonder why this is and then it hits you. You couldn't ever get hurt enough to gain more max HP, so now you must put away your shiny new armor and start fighting in your old leather tunic with the kool-aid stain. Just so you can get hurt alot and feel good about it!

2. You already know what to expect. You know that no pain equals no gain so you do it yourself. You get in a fight and you smack yourself around while the enemy looks in wonderment, maybe even fright at these strange humans who like to stab and kick themselves. You HP totals rise faster than the South, and soon you are invincible! Just like Boris! Then you take your god-party out into the world and you show just who is the silliest party of fighters ever: The ones with whom their battle scars where inflicted by their own hand. You end up beating the game in about 2 days or so after a mere few hours of this mindless self hatred.

Simple. Now the MP is a slightly different story and it ties very closely into spell level as well. See, as you use spells, they somehow gain experience. This means it is possible to have, say, Cure 14 or whatnot. But to do this you must use the spell quite a bit and to do that you must have quite a bit MP. Well how do you gain MP? C'mon and try to think of the stupidest way for me. Think you got it? Well here's the answer. You use what little magic you have, over and over again. Does this make sense? Of course not. So here's the equation, courtesy of a confused mage living in the Final Fantasy 2 world.

MAGE: Okay. I have Fire 1. I want to be REALLY powerful and have Fire 20! Well all I got to do is use Fire 1 over and over to build it up...but wait. I don't have lots of MP! Hmmm... Gotta figure out how to get more MP. Oh! That's right! I gotta use Fire 1 over and over again! Or any other spell! Right now I can cast it a whopping 2 times so this is going to take a veeeeeeeery looooooong time....*Sigh* Might as well swing a sword a few times and become a fighter.

So that's that. The stupidest, most annoying little system in the world. But it doesn't end there. No, Square has given you a paper cut and now they are holding you down while they pour lemon juice and tabasco sauce on it. Now we have the weapon system to cover! Oh yay! How does it work? A lot like the HP/MP system! What ever where you thinking?!

So look at this. You equip a cool new weapon, you know it's capable of knocking anybody down and you set out to battle. You are confident. You select the target and wait to see it die.

A miss.

Okay, so it happens. You select it again and then prepare to watch the fool die for daring to attack you and your band.

Another miss.

You check to see if you have the blind spell cast on you. Nope. Maybe it was a fluke so you try again.

And yet another miss.

Now this is messed up totally. Why? Because your character doesn't know how to use that weapon silly! Didn't you know? Characters have weapon levels and this level determines how well they use the weapon, and if it will take the full amount of damage that it is capable of dealing. If the level is too low, then you will miss and miss and deal low damage point numbers.

So now you're going to ask me ''How do I fix this?'' And I'm going to tell you the answer that makes me look like a moron. It's the same answer for the HP/MP system. The answer?

Use that weapon a lot and you'll get good at it.

Bah. It's enough to infuriate a Nun on zoloft and it's going to surely get the best of you too. So now you must swing this weapon about, killing the mystical air demons, maybe hitting the REAL demons who want your flesh, and you'll get better with the weapon? Come on now, this is too much! I've already messed with HP and MP, now I have to earn the right to smack somebody with a sword? I should give up! And I almost did but, lo and behold, I wanted to say I've completed this game and have fair grounds to write a review on it. ~_^ You know what adds insult to injury? Equipping a new weapon of a different type takes you back to square one. A kid with a bandanna on in a pinata game has a better hit rate than a hero from Final Fantasy 2 with no weapon skill. It's just all to true.

So there's your gameplay. Quite enticing, isn't it? I bet you can wait to play this game! Well it doesn't end there. There is one thing. ONE thing that makes this all sink in.

The speed.

This game is frighteningly slow. Everything takes forever to happen and it's enough to put you to sleep. The battles are not exciting, they are irritating (and you know why by now) and it moves like molasses. Here's an example:

EnemyA casts sleep on the whole party. What happens? VERY SLOWLY, the graphical effect hits the first member. A window tells you how it did. Then it repeats for the second character. And so on. Guess what? If there are two of these enemies, they might do the same thing, prolonging the battle even more! The same applies for your own band. The spell cast on everybody takes so long to do it's round that it's just ridiculous. Plain and simple. And this speed is the final gripe I have about this game. I'm outright tired of talking about it and I think I've given you fair warning!

Conclusion:

Yeah I know I was long winded here, but I can't help it. This game is so incredibly stupid it hurts to think about it. I'm glad it never came here and I'm glad they didn't do this again. If you want an awesome RPG experience for the NES, got with Dragon Warrior 3 and 4, and Final Fantasy 3. They are much much better than this game by a considerable margin. This one is worth passing up and you won't miss a thing, trust me.

Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

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