Final Fantasy IV - Review

The Classic Classic

By: Jade Falcon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 2
   Plot 10
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

25-35 hours


Final Fantasy IV

   In video game circles, there is a general concensus upon which games can be considered classics. Classics broke the barrier into newer generations of games. In 1992, Square released Final Fantasy IV, the game considered by the vast majority of RPGamers the classic RPG. In 2001, Square re-released Final Fantasy IV in Final Fantasy Chronicles, greatly enhancing the gameplay. That version is the one of which I will speak in this review. Final Fantasy IV is a great game to see from what base the current games developed. However, does it still shine in the wake of newer games?

   Unless you have played no other RPG ever in your entire life, you have experienced at least some sort of derivative of Final Fantasy IV's battle system. This is the original ATB battle system. However, you never could expect whose turn would be next because there is no battle meter. Each character has the standard attack, magic, item, and special skill. In the remake, Square did nothing to improve the system or make it worse. However, it still is a solid battle system. The menus are somewhat clumsy when compared to innovations of modern menus, but the menus still adequately provide all functions in the game.

Ugly graphics
The graphics may not be the best...  

   Once again, the music is some of the most emotion-provoking stuff around. There are several remixes of the score still being sold even today, many years after the game initially hit store shelves. The sound effects are a different story. Even though the game is old, the sound effects were not that great even during the time it was released. When remade, the sound effects have somewhat of a distorted sound (it may be me, but I hear what sounds like a fuzzy background on many effects), and a few tunes sound slightly different due to the PlayStation emulation, but the emotion is still present.

   Final Fantasy IV was a conglomeration of the previous three titles, two of which never saw release in the United States. Therefore, when originally released, the game seemingly had a large amount of innovation because we only saw one game. In hindsight and with the re-release of the game, we now realize that the game was not original in any sense. Everything in Final Fantasy IV was borrowed from somewhere.

   The plot is the one thing from the game that has survived the test of time. Even today I become emotional in the opening scenes of the game. Throughout the game there are sprinkled many twists, deviations, and emotional moments that cannot be described by only one or two words. If you want to play a game for the plot, not graphics, Final Fantasy IV is your game.

   Nintendo's evil censors deleted many of the objectionable quotes from the game, but the re-release cleared up all of the foresights, giving American RPGamers a chance at viewing the game's plot in its full intensity. Of course, the "spoony bard" line was left intact.

You spoony bard!
...but at least we still have our spoony bard.  

   Final Fantasy IV is a great game to play through during a boring weekend when there is nothing else to be done. Though I have only had the game for a short time, and I have only recently finished it, I would love to have another chance to play through the game. Though the game is an eyesore graphically speaking, the message it delivers clearly radiates.

There are absolutely no improvements upon the graphics from the SNES version, and the SNES version looks so dated with the old graphics. They were not even ground-breaking when the game was released, looking more suitable for advanced NES graphics. The PSX emulation caused the Mode 7 graphics on the world map to look really bad when it scrolls.

To address the difficulty lightly is quite difficult. Final Fantasy IV is a pushover. I only had to level up once, and that was when I went through a castle and I had amazingly few encounters. Even the final boss can easily be defeated, and none of the other bosses posed much of a threat. The game was aimed for a slightly younger audience, and the low difficulty level makes that fact obvious.

Now that I have finished the game, I can safely say that any RPGamer who has never played Final Fantasy IV does not deserve the title "RPGamer." Even though the game is not visually pleasing, the game just has to be played to experience classic RPG. It is quite short compared to more modern games (25-35 hours), but those hours will contain some of the best RPG experiences ever conceived.

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