Final Fantasy Origins

Remember Final Fantasy? Well, now it's back! In PS form!

What foul magic is this? Just when you thought the PlayStation was well and truly dead, another PS RPG makes its bewildered way into the pages of this fine magazine! And not just any RPG, either?Origins is a remake of the first two games in the Final Fantasy series, the second of which never saw official American release?until now.

FenFox Gained a Level
To be brutally honest, gamers who started with FFVII won't recognize these two titles at all. FFI is very obviously a 1987-era game?your party has no real identity, the battles are unrelentingly difficult, and the story is strictly "Go to yonder cave and fetch me the Fabulous Flagon of Fentwhistle"?level stuff. FFII, on the other hand, is more story-oriented but has one of the weirdest character-raising systems in all RPG-dom. Instead of winning experience, you gain levels only in the areas you actually use in battle?attack with swords and your offense will rise; lose over half your HP and you'll gain more vitality. This is, to say the least, obtuse. How obtuse? Obtuse to the point that most players will spend the first hour or two whacking their own party members just to raise everyone's maximum HP. Yes, that obtuse.

Your Party Is Dead
Still, where the games shine, they shine dazzlingly. The music is fantastic, of course?FF composer Nobuo Uematsu rearranged the original tunes himself?and the graphics (save for a few CGI bits) are early-SNES caliber but have a suitably retro cuteness to them. While regular Joes will miss nothing if they pass this up, the art galleries and new music are enough to make Origins worth it to hardcore FF fanatics.

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