reviewed on NDS
Age is a funny thing. It causes some things to fall apart, to become mere ghosts of what they once were. On the other hand, some things get better as time passes. As I started playing the newly released remake of Final Fantasy IV, it became apparent the game fit into the latter category. Despite being seventeen going on eighteen, the game holds up remarkably well. Final Fantasy IV DS is a great game, few people will dispute that. The question is; does it do enough to allow it to excel over previous incarnations?
Final Fantasy IV’s tale starts in the kingdom of Baron, after dark knight Cecil returns from a mission to the city of Mysidia. Cecil was tasked with stealing the town’s elemental crystal from the defenseless villagers, and the act causes him to question the king’s motives. For disloyalty, he is stripped of his rank and sent as a courier to the remote village of Mist. After the king’s package causes the destruction of the town, Cecil leaves the Baron army to stop the King and atone for his sins.
Of Strong Heritage
Final Fantasy IV was one of the first RPGs to star characters with an identity, instead of the faceless mages and warriors of past games. The numerous characters you encounter are all well-rounded and imaginative enough to ensure you actually care about their fate. Everyone is fleshed out enough to be fully believable, and personalities range from naďve to spiteful and hate-driven.
As for the story itself, it is not quite as groundbreaking as it was eighteen years ago. It does still manage to tug at your heartstrings more than a couple of times, touching on big themes such as love, redemption, and treachery. Final Fantasy IV spins an extremely good tale worthy of recognition. The script has also benefited from a revised translation, and key story scenes are now told using dynamic camera angles and voice acting. Both of these help make a great story even better.
If you have played classic Final Fantasies in the past, Final Fantasy IV’s setup should be instantly recognizable. You move your party of five around an expansive overworld map and visit towns and dungeons to help advance the plot. Random enemy encounters are frequent on the overworld and in dungeons, but the game’s battle system ensures they never become a bore.
Final Fantasy IV was the first game in the series to make use of the Active Time Battle system, or ATB. Using the ATB, enemies will attack regardless of whether you move or not, so you will need to organize your strategies quickly. And the game is tough – it does away with the feeble difficulty of the American releases, and introduces audiences to the real thing. But as long as you fight all your battles you will rarely find the need to level-grind, which is a definite plus. If the need does arise, you can set your characters to ‘Auto-Battle’ with a hit of the X button, making the experience virtually painless.
No Pros and Cons at this time