74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
The greatest nostalgia trip I ever took.,
This review is from: Final Fantasy IV (Video Game)
Hardcore RPG gamers of the old school variety will know what I'm talking about. When this game was originally released in the U.S. as "Final Fantasy 2" on the Super Nintendo; this genre barely existed stateside. But those of us that picked it up had our tastes in video games -if not in all entertainment- permanently changed after playing FF4. There were two kinds of people I showed this to back in the day: people who couldn't even comprehend a game where instead of controlling a character directly you issued them orders and watched them carry them out, and people who became instant hardcore RPG fanatics. Type B: this one's for you.
FF for the NES was a cute little adventure where you handpicked your party out of a small array of cookie-cutter archetypes and set about hunting treasure and fighting monsters and such. It was a start. That and "Dragon Quest" were the only games in town at that time. Then, along with the SNES came this mindblower. Having been skipped over by two Japanese sequels, Americans were treated to their first video game that was on par with other mediums of entertainment. Mario could jump around, Sonic was fast, Samus had cool weapons, and Link had massive worlds to explore, but did you ever really FEEL for them? Did you ever have to watch them die for reals, knowing that you wouldn't be playing as them again in this playthrough? this game made me feel loss, excitement, accomplishment, and a genuine NEED to see what was going to happen next. FF4 has a story that could compete with the best novels, great art designs, wonderful characters with unique abilities and personalities, epic powers at your control, and what I still consider to be the finest score ever in a video game. This one changed video games from a childhood diversion to a lifelong obsession for me. I've spent nearly two decades wishing for a direct sequel (FF: Mystic Quest" was a HUGE letdown), a cartoon series, a movie, something/anything to pay homage to the video game that deserves it most. Final Fantasy VII on Playstation was the first huge hit of the series and the one that gets most of the love from younger fans, but it lacks the flawless execution, focus, and originality of 4. Nonetheless, it's popularity earned it a cool CG movie and spin-offs. But my prayers have been answered in a way with this ground-up remake of my favorite game of all time. I bought the Nintendo DS just for this game. Now let's just hope it catches on this time around and gets the FF7-like treatment it deserves.
I showed the opening animation to a woman at work and her jaw dropped. "SO COOL!" were her exact words. That barely begins to describe how much I enjoyed seeing my favorite characters realized in 3D glory after some 17 years of picturing it in my head. FF4 has been faithfully reproduced in it's entirety with completely redone graphics, new character models, actual cutscenes, some voice-acting, and many more new additions that only make this classic better. You can now raise and train your very own monster who can be conjured to battle in your summoner's place using techniques learned from your party. The training consists of several mini-games that use the DS's stylus in interesting ways. You can even draw the monster's face however you like. Very cool. The dual-screens make using the mini-map extremely handy. The augment capability adds some customization to the game and assures that even when you say goodbye to your favorite characters, some of their talents can still help you out. The only way I could be happier with what I got was if it had been given the full-on next-gen treatment on the Xbox 360. And yes, I would buy this game yet again to experience that. It is that good. A hundred bloated Lost Odysseys, Legend of Dragoons, and Blue Dragons as well as subsequent Final Fantasy games have tried and failed to recapture the one-of-a-kind character work, epic story, unforgettable score, and perfect pacing of this almost-forgotten relic of a genre that is still going strong in part because of the groundwork laid by this title. This is the most fun one can have with one tiny game cartridge.
I spend most of my free time watching genre films, reading comic books and novels, playing story-based video games, and watching any outstanding television series out there, so rest assured that I know a great story when I see one regardless of the medium. Playing through FF4 -even for the dozenth time- gives me the same feeling I get when watching the Star Wars Trilogy or reading The Lord of the Rings. Great fiction is great fiction and this is the kind of game, dated as it is, that reminds me why I'm still doing this at age 30. If you've ever enjoyed a role-playing game in any way, shape, or form don't hesitate to pick this up. It is the best Japanese RPG of all time and it accomplishes that without mindblowing graphics, dozens of lengthy cutscenes, or even decent voice-acting. Buy it!
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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 19, 2008 8:59:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2008 9:00:08 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2008 11:15:54 AM PDT
Welcome back, Tantrum; I've missed you! You'd better have some killer reviews stocked up for me. Play "Dead or Alive 4" if you get a 360. I grew up on the same games as you and that one is my current favorite fighting game. FF4 is an absolute must for old-school fantasy RPGers. Even with all the advances in technology I'm still waiting for one that beats this one's imagination and sheer fun. "Chrono Trigger" is being ported onto the DS (sadly, not a remake like this one), and that one has got to be a close second as far as SNES RPG's go.
Posted on Aug 19, 2008 3:46:29 PM PDT
Nice review trashcanman. I loved Zelda, not sure why I never gave FF a chance.
Posted on Aug 19, 2008 5:46:27 PM PDT
hey, T-man! I'm making the rounds and I'm really happy to run across this review. However, it's been awhile since I played a game.
excellent review as always! Nostalgia rules!!
Take care, buddy.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2008 9:20:24 PM PDT
How about nostalgia on steroids? Zelda is definitely awesome, but I'll take a true RPG any day of the week. I could have gone on for days about the game itself, but I opted to go the fanboy rave route this time. I'm glad you guys appreciated it.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2008 11:11:31 AM PDT
From a nostalgic perspective, I think you hit it on the head. Final Fantasy IV was probably the first game where the characters were more than just pixels on a screen. They were human beings. You felt sorry for them, joy, etc. My favorite Final Fantasy game is Final Fantasy VI, but Final Fantasy IV comes in second place.
I think there were a lot of people who got that chance to experience Final Fantasy IV (the hard type) in Final Fantasy Chronicles (along with Chrono Trigger, another excellent game). But I think if you're going to experience Final Fantasy IV in anyway... it should be like this. I love your reviews. They're always filled with a lot of energy and excitement. And this was a great review.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2008 2:23:06 PM PDT
Thanks, Mr. Rhodes. What a humbling compliment. A lot of people love FF6 and I agree it had an amazing story. The apocalypse scene was jaw-dropping! But I didn't like that you could teach all of the spells to every character and just rain Ultimas all day. I give this one the edge because the characters are so individualized and you can't make your warriors into supermages and mages into warriors. Great post.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2008 7:44:31 PM PDT
Yeah, Final Fantasy IV really made you think and strategize. And even this re-release makes it so that while it's customizable you can't teacher say... "Counter" to every character. There were many moments where I was just like... "Who should get this augment?" I loved the new augment system. Simple, yet very deep.
Posted on Sep 3, 2008 5:34:00 PM PDT
Amazon Customer says:
Whenever I first saw the case for this, I thought it was for the Sega Dreamcast. I freaked out because I love picking up old Dreamcast classics.
Unfortunately it was a DS game. Great review though.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2008 12:02:06 AM PDT
Lot of old-time Dreamcast fans out there. It seems I really missed out on something cool with that one. Thanks for dropping by.