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Final Fantasy 4

DS remake of an SNES classic

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One of the Finest Fantasies Gets a Makeover

  • Aug 7, 2009
Rating:
+5
In 2006 Square-Enix released Final Fantasy III on the Nintendo DS. It got by in America mainly because the game never had a prior release. The success of the game was such a surprise to Square that they decided to redo Final Fantasy IV. Unlike Final Fantasy III, though, Final Fantasy IV has had several releases. The original Super Nintendo, the Playstation version and recently, the Gameboy Advance. With so many versions out there already, Final Fantasy IV DS will need more than just a face lift to make it worthwhile, and it manages to do so. At its core its still the same classic game you've played before, but there are some additions that make the DS version worth playing, even for those who completely mastered previous releases.

The story of Final Fantasy IV is a classic and still holds up well more than fifteen years later. The game opens with Cecil, the leader of the Baron Red Wings. He has just completed a mission for the King of Baron to secure a powerful Crystal, but feels it was the wrong thing to do. When he returns and questions what has gotten into a King, the King strips him of his duty and orders him to deliver a ring to the town of Mist. Something has gotten into the King of Baron, and now Cecil questions his loyalty to the crown and ultimately decides he must do something about it. His journey will lead him not only to do what's right, but to eventually save the world.

The story is told through on screen text that's been redone to give the game a better feel as well as some dramatic cutscenes. There are even moments of voice acting in some of the games more dramatic moments. The voice acting and fantastic cutscenes help to flesh out the characters, who remain some of the most memorable in the series.

Battling is one of the best parts of Final Fantasy IV. It uses the ATB battle system, which means that the flow of battle is fast paced. Every character has an ATB gauge that must fill up before they can take an action. Every character also has unique standalone abilities to help you out. Tellah can use his "Recall" to cast spells he's forgotten, Rosa can pray and heal allies, Rydia can summon beasts. There are a ton of characters who join you, each with their own unique ability. However, when characters depart (as several will come and go throughout the story) they'll leave behind Augments to teach characters their abilities. Unfortunately you can only teach it once. Once a character learns it, they can't forget it or teach it to another character. Augments are more than just abilities departing characters used. There are also augments for standalone abilities like Auto-Potion and Counter. It's a good system that really forces the player to consider strategy. And you'll need to keep your wits about you, as Final Fantasy IV is a very hard game.

Final Fantasy IV has often been said to be one of the hardest RPGs ever made. Apparently Square-Enix took pride in that, as Final Fantasy IV DS is even harder than the original game. There's a strong need for strategy throughout Final Fantasy IV. The bosses in particular are brutal. Even those who mastered Final Fantasy IV time and time again will find this game to be very challenging. If you began with later installments (in particular, the Playstation games), Final Fantasy IV is a rude awakening.

When not battling, you'll be trumping through dungeons. The bottom screen of the DS displays a map of the dungeon. Uncover all of it and you'll get a reward. Usually an item that can be used. Final Fantasy IV also allows you to roam around using the stylus, but it feels like an after thought.

There's a lot of new stuff in Final Fantasy IV. The game has new secrets, new sidequests and new optional bosses for the gamer to tackle. It also has a new unique summon for Rydia called Whyt. Whyt, when summoned, basically takes Rydia's place in battle and uses the abilities learned by all the characters in your party. You can't control Whyt, however. You can raise Whyt's stats by participating in a series of mini-games, most of which are simple, but they're also not a whole lot of fun. It's necessary to bring out the best in Whyt, however. One neat thing about Whyt, however, is that if you power him up enough, you can go and battle friends online and see who has the stronger one.

Visually, Final Fantasy IV is easily one of the best looking games on the DS. The towns and environments all have the same layout as the original game, but they all look better than ever. The monsters in battle are equally impressive as are the games many cinematic moments. Some of the game looks a little pixelated in some spots, but it doesn't separate from the fact that its amazing looking. Final Fantasy IV DS is a visual masterpiece. If there was anything about the graphics to gripe about, it would be that the character models look a little too cute. This is especially strange when one considers the dark story and mature themes that Final Fantasy IV tackles. Regardless, it's still a beautiful game.

In addition to that, much of the music is reworked and sounds better than ever. Most of the voice acting is quite good. The voices themselves really fit for the characters. There are some instances where the voice work isn't as good as it could be, but it's still very memorable.

Final Fantasy IV DS is how an old school Final Fantasy should be done. It's old school charm comes out a lot (particularly in the difficulty), but at least Final Fantasy IV gets more than just a facelift. With new quests, story sequences, an ability system and a refined script, Final Fantasy IV is worth picking up even if you played the original to death. This is how Final Fantasy IV was meant to be played. If you haven't played Final Fantasy IV, this is a good version to pick up. If you have, it's worth reliving again.

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More Final Fantasy 4 reviews
Quick Tip by . February 22, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
I played this looong after it was relevant, as in the last five years, so my view of it is extremely skewed, but damn if it isn't a fine, fine RPG that still holds up pretty well. Might have given VI a run for its money if I played it earlier, but as it is the setting and characters just don't seem as interesting to me.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Great remake that brought a lot of new to the table while still staying true to the original. Take it from me who at this time has played FF4 six times with six different versions. Don't listen to the haters. Plus I love the graphics come on guys how can you not. It reminds me of Final Fantasy IX which only helps to make it look even better.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Even with the new graphics and voice action, this game still felt exactly like the SNES original that I fell in love so many years ago. Moreover, the difficulty was perfect.and I enjoyed the updated soundtrack arrangements.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Great game, but the chibi / super deformed graphics of the remake did not do it for me.
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
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