REBUTTAL TO: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful
Ok, first off, I want to say that I did enjoy playing through Final Fantasy III on the DS. It was a quality throwback to the NES generation in which it was first realized. Square Enix offered up a classic experience that was as true to the original as they could get while still updating certain aspects of the game. The graphical improvements are the easiest to point out. What you see is what you get. The developers really did an impressive job of creating a highly detailed game. My issue is with the shortage of other additions. Beauty can only get you so far.
I am happy about the additions this version of the game did offer. Updates to job classes, the addition of master items, extra quests, and characters with names and glimmers of personality were really needed for this title. The problem is there is just not enough of this to make the DS remake of Final Fantasy III great. Stating that they wanted to keep the experience as close to the original as possible is the reasoning behind things, but that's no excuse. Yes, it's classic. Yes, it's true to the original. Does that automatically make the game great? Not by far. These additions were the icing on the cake, but this cake was so old that it needed sprinkles and an extra layer of chocolate.
First, let's start with the game's opening cinematic intro. It would have been nice to see more of this high quality work within the game itself. The intro was quite nice but seemed superfluous tacked on as merely an intro, something that most people skip after the first viewing. The job additions were helpful, considering that a good chunk of the jobs in the original version were broken and needing a tune up. If the developers taken the time to add extra jobs that would have been great start. Replacing the starting job, Onion Knight, with Freelancer and then making Onion Knight a bonus job was not really all that innovative. New jobs, even if they were just bonus jobs near the end of the game like those found in Final Fantasy V Advance, would have been a welcomed addition. While it was nice to play a Final Fantasy game with some difficulty, it seemed artificially contrived. Most of the challenge came from over-powered enemies and a lack of save points and items. It was more a battle of attrition than a challenging game. Finally, the story was still quite weak. Though most likely an improvement over what would have brought with a direct localization of original game years ago, it was still flat and anti-climatic. The developers could have taken a few more liberties with the story and really fleshed out some of the bigger plot points. More dialogue, greater back story, and flashback sequences all could have helped make this adventure much deeper and engaging.
In the end, the game felt like an NES title with a few touch ups. If that's all that was aimed for by the developers, they nailed it. I really did like being able to play through an official version of Final Fantasy III, but this remake was full of so much untapped potential that it fell short of my high expectations. Back a few months ago, I wrote in this editorial how excited I was over finally being able to play FFIII. Maybe my disappointment in Final Fantasy III was due to my own hyping of the game. Even though I knew what I should be expecting, I was hoping deep down for something new and fresh. This remake was exactly what I asked for, a remake of Final Fantasy III. Next time, I need to be careful what I wish for.