Brief History Lesson
When Final Fantasy IV was originally released on the SNES in 1991, it quickly became a hit. Unlike many other RPG’s at the time, Final Fantasy IV boasted a large cast of characters as well as a very deep and intriguing plot, which many RPG’s at the time lacked. In 2005, Final Fantasy IV finally made it to American shores as a remake of the original game. Before this the game was known as Final Fantasy II in North America.
Now, three years after the Gameboy Advance remake, comes yet another remake of the game. Like many other Square Enix Final Fantasy remakes, Final Fantasy IV’s visuals and have been improved to exceed the standards of a typical Nintendo DS game. The real question though is whether or not it will live up to the original game.
In Final Fantasy IV, players take control of Cecil, leader of the Red Wings. Cecil has lived his entire life watching over a group of elite soldiers and servitude of the King of Baron. Then one day the missions change. The government that Cecil has sworn to protect is falling into a dark evil. After yet another mission that leads to the destruction of an entire town, he and his long-time friend Kain, leader of the Dragoons, abandon their pleasurable lives and escape from the Baron’s army.
Since Final Fantasy IV is a remake of the SNES version of the game, you’d expect to see some improvements in the game. Thankfully, Square Enix has made a lot of changes to the game, but none drastically different. Though the story remains the same, practically everything else has been changed or modified. For starters, Square Enix has decided to take the original 2D game and turn it into 3D in order to take advantage of the DS. On top of this, they have also added 3D cut scenes. The in-game graphics look great but the cut scenes put them to shame. The only word that I can think of to describe the graphics is beautiful.
Though the amazing graphics are probably the most evident upgrade to the DS version, Square Enix has modified and changed some other things as well. When you first start playing the game, you will probably be pleasantly shocked by how beautiful the game’s beautiful CG intro is. The intro lasts for about two and a half minutes and the best part about it is that the entire thing is completely VO supported. A lot of other parts of the game are VO supported as well.
Besides the changes noted above, Final Fantasy IV has also had its gameplay tweaked a little. The DS version’s battles are a little slower than they were in the original. Picking up the pace a little is easy. Just crank up the ‘battle speed’ option to 1, which is the fastest option. Besides the pace of battles taking a hit, random battles don’t occur as often in the DS version. I guess that can be considered a good thing.
Unlike the original Final Fantasy IV, this version boasts a new feature known as ‘Wayfarers Map’. Anytime you’re in an undiscovered area, the map draws itself onto the bottom screen. As you explore the new terrain more of the map will become visible until you have eventually explored all of it. Maps don’t only highlight important facilities such as shops, inns, and equipment stores in villages. If you have managed to explore a dungeon completely, the game will reward you. One of the rewards that you can get is potion, an item that allows you to heal yourself.
The Final Remake?
In case you didn’t already know, Final Fantasy I, II, and III have all be remade for the Nintendo DS and took advantage of the DS’ abilities. Though each game has improved upon its predecessors, the fun factor in each game remained the same. Since each of the remakes has done very well in terms of sale numbers, it’s no surprise that Square Enix decided to remake Final Fantasy IV. Like the original, Final Fantasy IV promises to be a very challenging RPG. At the moment it is indistinct which version will reign supreme, but one thing is clear – Square Enix will continue remaking Final Fantasy games until Nintendo’s next handheld gets released.