by Jason Clement
reviewed on PSP
New Content? Yes Please!
As mentioned earlier, The Complete Collection also offers the previously-exclusive-to-Wiiware sequel, The After Years, as well as a brand new Interlude designed to connect the events between Final Fantasy IV and The After Years. The Interlude, for all intents and purposes, was not quite what I had envisioned when I played through it. It does fill in some gaps between IV and The After Years, but at only a little more than 2 hours long, it mostly seemed like a quick retread of a few areas from the main game for the purpose of filler, and what transpires during this time isn't all that interesting either. Instead of an ending with a cliffhanger that builds into the events of The After Years, it feels more like a, "What just happened?" moment, not quite giving you any real explanation of what's going on.
However, The After Years is far and away the better addition to this collection (and much longer than the Interlude as well), and even though it uses the same areas you played through in the original game, it somehow manages to keep them feeling fresh rather than rehashed. This time around, the story takes place a couple decades after the initial game, and follows Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa. Old characters return and new ones are introduced, and the story is told through episodic chapters that focus on the different characters. As a sequel, it succeeds and tells another interesting story that will keep you hooked till the end. One of the most interesting concepts The After Years explores are the whereabouts of old friends and what became of them, which really adds to the overall mystery and suspense of the story.
Helping to further differentiate The After Years from its predecessor is a new battle command known as the Band system, which combines two characters' attacks in one. There's also a new element based on the phases of the moon which adds some interesting effects to the battle. Every day, the moon will shift to a different phase (new, waxing, full, or waning), and depending on which phase the moon is at, different battle stats may be halved or doubled.
The game also includes extras in the way of unlockable music, concept art, a bestiary, and the CGI introductory cut-scenes that play before Final Fantasy IV and The After Years, both of which look pristine and gorgeous on the PSP's screen. As for the music player, I was pleased to find that all of the original music is unlocked from the get-go, but the new arranged music will unlock as you play through the main game. Speaking of which, the arranged music is fantastic, especially the song, "Into the Darkness," which is the hauntingly beautiful theme that plays in caves and dungeons. The concept art is a wonderful addition as well, collecting the various pieces Yoshitaka Amano drew for the various characters and scenes in the game. Simply put, you'd be hard-pressed not to be content with what The Complete Collection offers in the way of extras.
A Worthy Remake
So does Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection offer the quintessential Final Fantasy IV experience?
Absolutely. While I may still have a soft spot for the DS remake, this version delivers the most faithful adaptation of the game, complete with high quality visuals that evoke feelings of nostalgia, plenty of extras for the most hardcore fan, and an interlude and a sequel. Really, what more could you ask for? The three games will last you a combined 60+ hours if you intend to see everything the collection has to offer, making it a great value. If you're a fan of Final Fantasy IV, the question isn't whether or not the game is worth buying, no, the question you should be asking is, "Why haven't I picked this game up yet?" Old fans and newcomers alike will have something to enjoy here, as Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection is something every RPG fan and completionist ought to have in their collection.
Fantastic visuals, lots of content, over 60+ hours of gameplay
Too many random battles, lots of level grinding involved