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on January 21, 2014
Oh how I miss the era of 90's games, where the JRPG was king. There were many gems during that time, but Final Fantasy IV will always have a special place in my heart. The definition of a JRPG classic, FFIV was a pioneer landmark that truly ushered in an age where video games could tell a complex story just as well as any movie or novel. While many Final Fantasies came after this one, most of which can be argued to be "greater"/better, FFIV's status as a classic cannot be denied, and I'm happy to say this remake of it is worthy of the original in every way.

First off, the original FFIV is a beloved entry in the series for a number of reasons. In many ways, it was the first of its kind in terms of storytelling in games. It has a rich world filled with likable, memorable characters with motives that make each easy to relate to and root for. The story is filled with events both exciting and poignant, many of which are truly unforgettable. The whole experience is saturated with charm and a tangible sense of adventure. The gameplay follows the traditional JRPG formula to great effect, with a wonderful balance in its RPG elements. Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack for this game is legendary, giving the already exciting story even more grandeur and gravitas. The game is definitely one of the best entries to grace the Final Fantasy series, and I hold it in high esteem in my heart alongside FFVI, VII, and IX. It's a lovely game. That been said, when you get a chance to play a remake with so much effort put into it, and from the same core team that worked on the original so many years ago no less, you take it, and you thank yourself and the gaming gods you did. This is, without a doubt, my personal favorite version of FFIV.

Why is this my favorite version of Final Fantasy IV? After all, you can get the game in its original SNES form (including digital rerelease form for the VC and PSN), as well as ports for the PS1 and GBA, and an even more recent, arguably more retro remake in the form of FFIV: The Complete Collection for the PSP which contains both FFIV's sequel AND a brand new interquel. So again, you're probably wondering why this is my preferred version. Let me tell you...

- The script. The script in the original SNES release, when it was known as FF II in the US, is imfamously known to be terribly botched. The localization team back then had no idea what they were doing. For this DS remake, however, Square went all out and had Tom Slattery translate this new version's script (the stellar Chrono Trigger DS translation was his work as well). The result is a script that finally gives the timeless story of Cecil and his companion the grandeur, depth, and sophistication it has always deserved. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, thee vest best translation of Final Fantasy IV. It has a tremendous amount of depth and nuance to it, and this story has never been more enjoyable to take it. It also has a great deal of levity and humor to the mix as well, including the "YOU SPOONY BARD!" line lovingly preserved. It's a wonderful balance that makes the story so compelling and charming. Complimenting this script in certain places are excellent cutscenes with voice overs from voice actors renowned in the business for their skill and ability, and they hit it out of the park here. Almost every character benefits a lot by their voice actor and new script. Not only that, but some characters' stories have been expanded to include more depth and background, which is also very much welcomed. Knowing that the same core team as the original wrote these new parts makes the entire story in this game feel brand new again. This, in my opinion, is the most compelling reason to view this as the definitive version of FFIV.

- The engaging changes to the gameplay. In order to make this game appeal to veterans of the original game, the development team worked hard to give this game a much increased level of difficulty, and they definitely succeeded. This version is hard as nails in terms of its combat. Enemies hit a lot harder. Bosses are so difficult, you really need to learn the right strategy just to stand a chance at beating them. While some may chafe at the difficulty of this game, I personally thought it made it more engaging. You are required to be quick with your fingers and your mind as you enter battles, employing proper strategies to stay on top. I really enjoyed this myself. There's also a new "Augment" system in place that allows you to teach certain skills and abilities (ones that used to be limited to certain characters) to anybody of your choosing. This new system allows for even more strategy and planning, as you can combine abilities in ways that lead to devastatingly powerful characters. For instance, teaching Cover and Yang's Kick augment to Cecil allows him to retaliate after defending an ally from attack with a super powerful blow to, not just the enemy who attacked, but every enemy. Talk about a powerful combination! This augment system made what was already a fun JRPG into an even more engaging experience.

- The visual enhancements. This tends to be the most controversial aspect to the game that turns people away. No one will deny that the environments and enemies look fantastic. Battle screens look splendid, the overworld is charmingly colorful, the towns all have distinctive personalities, and the visuals shine even in close-up scenarios in the cutscenes. What people seem to have a problem with are the "chibified" models for the main characters, but I personally like them a lot. I don't understand why some think they're untrue to the originals. If you look up promotional art for the game from its release, they looked a lot like the characters do in this game, except now they're a lot more detailed. Heck, they look like the PSP version's do but in a 3-D world. I find they are given more emotional expression in this style. I don't get the hate. I think the visuals in this game are pretty gorgeous, and they really seem to push the DS beyond its capabilities. As far as I'm concerned the visuals are a win in this game.

- The audio enhancements. Like I said earlier, Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack for this game is splendid, filled with a sweeping grandeur that still sounds great. For this remake, they remade the wonderful compositions with much more lush orchestration that befits such a moving score. Anyone who hears this game's version of Interlude, The Red Wings, the Overworld Theme, all of the battle music, etc. are in for a genuine treat. Wonderful job here! Like I said earlier, the voice acting in this game is another audio aspect that could have been disastrous but turned out great here.

Let me be clear, I am not bashing any other version of FFIV with this review. I love the PSP Complete Collection version of this game a lot myself, but with the aspects mentioned above, it is my personal opinion that this DS remake is, hands down, the best version of Final Fantasy IV available. The original was and still is a wonderful game to take in, with many timeless aspects, but with the DS remake, you get what was already a classic elevated to the level of a masterpiece. Square did great with this one. IF ONLY they would give Final Fantasy VI the same kind of treatment for the 3DS! So buy it, prepare for an amazing tale of redemption, friendship, and adventure, rediscover a landmark in video game history.
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on June 27, 2016
This is probably the best version of Final Fantasy IV. It has content not present in later or prior releases like Whyt and related minigames, as well as the augment system which, while present in later versions, is messed with in the PC/iOS/AND releases.

You can't go wrong with FFIV. It has an ATB system (this is the game that introduced it!) where you have gauges that slowly fill up and allow you to do an action with that character once their ATB gauge is full. If you set the battle system to "Active" in the options, enemies will attack you even while you're selecting spells or items, which forces you to think on your feet.

There's also plenty of unique equipment you can get throughout the game, particularly the incredibly rare and hard (tedious) to get Onion equipment and other equipment added in this version. Only equipment equipped to your hands will show up on your character, for better or for worse. Still, the equipment that does show up looks cool, and the various special effects are exciting.

The visuals are great, and will not make your eyes bleed like other DS games. Some people hate the slightly chibi art style, but I think it works rather well. FFIV DS has colorful and pleasing visuals, and this version is no different!

The OST is amazing. The tracks do a good job of not only setting the mood, but getting an emotional reaction out of the player. Since FFIV DS was my first experience with FFIV, I decided to listen to the original OST to see how different it was, and they seemed to have stayed very faithful. I'm impressed, since usually remakes butcher/change the OST so much it becomes unrecognizeable. Here, it seems like they made higher quality versions of each track, which is what every remake should do, provided that the OST was already good in the original.

(some minor spoilers about the plot here) The plot is not necessarily completely original, but it doesn't need to be. It's still unique enough that I care about it. It could be the world that it's set in, how strange and mysterious the world is, but the plot itself is still entertaining. Fetching crystals, conspiracies about the king, the main protagonist's girlfriend getting captured...oh, and the world of FFIV is larger than it first appears!

The characters, like the plot, aren't original, but you still might find yourself caring about them. The voice acting is likely the reason for this, as while the voice acting is so Shakespearian you might cringe, you find that you like it anyways. It's like how the VA in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is so bad, yet it has charm because of it. You have your angsty ninja, somewhat tsundere summoner girl, pretty/feminine white mage who also happens to be the main protag's girlfriend...again, they aren't exactly unique, but they are lovable.

The previously mentioned augment system was introduced with this version. How it works is that at certain points in the game, places or people will have abilities that you can receive from them and put on other party members. Once you use an augment on a party member, there's no taking it back unless you reset. You may take it out of their command menu so that it doesn't show up in battle, but you cannot assign that ability to another party member, unless you get another copy of said augment and use it on them. Now, previously unique abilities like Yang's Focus can be applied to someone like Kain or Cecil. While this is a good thing, it has some major drawbacks. You can miss certain augments. Also, if you forget to obtain some augments or don't find them before you beat the game once and go onto your New Game Plus, you're forever screwed out of that copy of that augment. So basically, if you want a true 100% run, you'll likely need to hit up GameFAQs or another site that hosts guides.

All in all, do not pass this up if you're a JRPG fan and want to enjoy the best version of a classic. While it's not flawless, it's easily one of the best RPGs ever, up there with Final Fantasy 6 and 7, Chrono Trigger, and Kingdom Hearts.
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on May 23, 2015
FF series just keeps getting better and better! FF4 might be an old game, but the DS version has crisp graphics, great voice acting, and even mouth movement during cuteness! It may seem like a small thing, but it helps you feel more immersed in the game. During cuteness, there are sound effects too, like Cecil's armor, and footsteps. These are big changes compared to FF 3. Combat has a wait system now, and there is even movement in the enemies! They are more detailed too. The music is great too. There are several memorable characters, and without spoiling anything, there are times when you feel emotionally tied to some of them too. All in all, one of my favorite early FF games.
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on November 3, 2017
I really enjoyed playing.
The graphics are very nice. I liked the voice acting.
I played the original version many years ago. Known in the U.S. as final fantasy 2.
Even if you played the original and enjoy old school turn based jrpg games this is a must buy.
Challenging but not hard.
Not the best Final Fantasy but very well worth your time.
There is replay value too.
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on December 28, 2012
This is a remake of a game published in 1991 for the Super Nintendo under the name "Final Fantasy 2." This port has been updated to utilize the DS technology. It has been completely reworked with improved 3d modeling and animation, improved sound (including voice acting) and some new mechanics to keep the game fresh.

I played this back on the SNES, and found it to be very hard, especially compared to Final Fantasy 6,7,8,9, and beyond. If you weren't prepared, the game would beat you into the ground, leaving you to ask "what just happened?" It was actually very satisfying and engaging. Some RPGs of that era (and modern ones too) have great stories and production value, but the low challenge just made playing through the game feel slow and boring.

Well, as it turns out, the version of FF4 that I played on the SNES 20 years ago was actually even easier than the original JP version. I suppose that the developers felt that the original version was too hard for western audiences. This DS version is closer to the original Japanese version in terms of challenge. And it will destroy you. Not in a frustrating way though - every time I was beat, I would think of what I could've done better and try again. Very exciting! It includes some surprises for gamers that know the original. Some encounters that were pretty easy on the original will surprise you and, if you're like me, you'll probably be laughing out loud at how bad you just got wrecked. I won't spoil anything, but just... always be prepared.

All in all, a very satisfying and nostalgic experience. The DS upgrade, with a few exceptions (average voice acting, some button lag) made the game even more enjoyable and the experience feels new and fresh.

First time gamers might find this game too challenging, but people looking for a nostalgia trip will not only find a game they've enjoyed before, but a new game, (true enough to the original to not be blasphemous,) but new enough to present a fresh, exciting experience. Highly recommend!!!
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on May 16, 2015
A lot of people will be turned off buy this version of the game's difficulty. I grew up in a time when games were all difficult to an extent. All I can tell people is the game is really not as hard as everyone makes it out to be, it just requires time, and patience. Final fantasy 4 in my opinion has one, if not the best final fantasy stories out there. Anyone who is a fan of this series should def give this game a try, and if your are really having a hard time you can always pick up the strategy guide here on amazon to help you out. I'm not gonna spoil anything for anyone who hasn't played the game before, but give it a try you won't be disappointed.
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on August 20, 2008
Seeing that Final Fantasy IV (known as Final Fantasy II for the Super NES) was released around 15 years ago, there are a whole generation of youngsters and teens that never got a chance to experience this game.

And, for some of us, Final Fantasy II was one of the best RPG's we ever played.

So why remake a game that is over 15 years old, especially when so many other good FF games (including FFIII(VI), FFVII, FFIX and FFX) have come out?

First of all, FFIV introduced the Active Time Battle system into Final Fantasy games. This has been the standard (for the most part) ever since. Second, the story in FFIV is outstanding, and even surpasses other FF titles that have come out on next gen systems. Third, the game has been given all new voice acting, been retranslated, and made much harder than previous releases of FFII (the US got the "easy" version).

Graphically, this game pushes the limit of the DS. Both the CGI's and the Summon animations are outstanding. Backgrounds have been enhanced and look nothing like the blocky SNES ones.

As for sound, FFII had a great score (again, some would consider it the best of the FF games), and while some found the voice acting terrible, I had absolutely no problem with it and it added to the experience.

For the DS, a new Augment system was added, and pretty much is mandatory to learn and use if you want to beat the two new optional bosses in the game. It definitely adds a new level to strategy (and, you have to play through THREE times to get all the augments and special bosses!). The replay value was significantly increased by these actions.

However, the one thing that may hold FFIV DS back in terms of being perfect is the difficultly level. This is not an easy game. Whether you are a FFIV newbie, or played previous versions, you are in for a shock. Message boards have filled up with people dying in places that would have been considered ridiculously early in previous versions of FFIV. Be forewarned: Level grinding is definitely required in this version. And, I would not have this be the first RPG for someone, let alone they get frustrated and chuck their DS!

Overall, this game is an awesome walk down memory lane for some, and introduces others to just how great RPG's have been in the past.

Definitely pick this product up. For sure one of the top 3 RPG's on the DS, and miles above FFIII DS!
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on August 14, 2016
This game, along with Pokémon Sapphire, was a pinnacle of my childhood. I am overjoyed to see this classic remade with stunning graphics and amazing video cutscenes. Each time I play I get wonderful deja vu, whether it's seeing what happened to the twins as they sacrifice themselves to save us or simply flying around the underworld. The remake truly is a treat.
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on December 25, 2012
SNES. DS. iOS. If there's a gaming system that ends with S, you're sure to find FF4 on it.

You probably already know the storyline. A man turns from darkness to the light in order to save his country, his planet, and so on and so forth. Even if you didn't play any of its many iterations yet, you've played something like it. Final Fantasy 4 was that influential and that prototypical. If it feels like you've seen it before, you probably have; it's left its footprints in virtually all JRPGs since.

The DS version is basically the exact same thing as the original SNES version... except it's actually HARDER. I've been a gamer for decades now, and this game eats my lunch repeatedly! The original was tough, but this one is freaking nasty. The only other real change to the game, other than the beautiful and scene-stealing graphical upgrades which are worth the price of admission alone, is a weird kind of job skill system, where you're able to add one or two skills per character, giving them some new abilities. For example: your paladin can use healing items at a much stronger efficiency, or your monk can block others from taking harm in battle. Honestly, it's not that interesting an addition, and could have been left out entirely.

As for the game itself, it's a gem. It's the video game version of a classic novel. Don Quixote on cartridge, a silicone Sybil, waiting to be discovered or rediscovered, one of the pinnacles of the JRPG genre and one of the very best video games of all time. The only question is, do you need yet another version? This one? The original? The new iOS one?

My answer would be simple: get them all and enjoy them at different times, in different places. It's like when a novel is made into a movie, then made into a TV show. Who's to say one is more worthy than the other? Well, I say it's a great game. I say it's one of the best ever. I say get it immediately and I'll see you in about 80 hours when you're done.
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on May 8, 2014
I've been a fan of the Final Fantasy series since the mid 90's... I remember playing Final Fantasy II (IV) on my Super Nintendo, and it was a great game overall. When I learned that Square released it on the Nintendo DS, I knew that I wanted to play the game again. What I didn't realize was that the game was given a 3D overhaul in terms of the graphical presentation, and I was pleasantly surprised as to how great Cecil and company looked in 3D.

I won't go too much into the story since you can simply find it online.

The music is great to listen to even after nearly two decades. The graphics are great.

I know there's also a Vita version of the game as well, but the characters are re-done, but done so with a 2D look, as opposed to the 3D presentation on the DS.

Overall, great game, I can't wait find the time to actually get past the first 10 minutes of the game... :\
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