Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Developer: Square Enix, Inc.
N Amer - 07/22/2008
Intl - 09/05/2008
- Also available on:
Final Fantasy IV Review
Next to Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy X, the fourth game in the franchise (well, it was the fourth in Japan) has always been one of my favorites and it’s mainly thanks to the story that stands out beautifully. I’m a sucker for a good adventure with romance and intrigue that is so genuine that you can’t help but be swept away by it and the plight of the characters. Square Enix has released an updated and wonderfully rendered new version of Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS and let me tell you that it is - by far - one of the best versions of the game you will definitely want to buy.
I should note that the game had been remade before on several different platforms including on the Game Boy Advance. On the Game Boy Advance it played just like it did back in the day but there is just something exciting about playing an original with enough updates that change things enough while keeping the core just as pleasant as the original. Final Fantasy IV on the DS not only does just that but it manages to be one seriously impressive way to show off what the DS is capable of bringing fans of handheld gaming and the role-playing game genre.
The game’s story, as I mention, is one of the finest in the franchise and epic in scope. It tells the tale of Cecil, a Dark Knight and Lord Captain of the famous Red Wings that serve the King of the land Baron. For years, Cecil served his King without question but lately the King’s decisions have been haunting the young knight to the point that he begins to question orders. It isn’t until Cecil returns from stealing a mystical crystal from a peaceful kingdom that the King demotes him for questioning the order and sets him on a mission of destruction. Along with his friend Kain, Cecil’s love interest Rosa and a mysterious summoner named Rydia, Cecil and his friends embark on a quest for redemption and discover the real reason why the King of Baron wants other similar crystals.
Square Enix is certainly no stranger to great production values and the DS version of Final Fantasy IV is no exception. You know you’re in for a pleasant surprise when the CG opening looks like it would fit right at home on a television screen. The classic 2D game of the Super NES days is now replaced by wonderfully detailed 3D environments and characters and they even managed to fit in all the memorable scenes and quests from the original. The bottom touch screen isn’t utilized except for multiplayer mini-games and a feature that allows you to draw a new face on your Summon character. In short, everything you liked about the original is present but there are also some nice new touches that complete the package.
You’ll still encounter many of the interesting and endearing characters in the game but you will also get wrapped up in situations involving said character so when you run into the Moogle called Namingway you will not only brush him away like in the original but also become involved in a quest related to him. The same core quests are also back and will feel familiar to fans of the original as well as the insane difficulty setting that makes each random battle fierce trails and boss battles feel epic. As an old school gamer, I’m glad to jump back to the days when boss battles were lengthy affairs that required patience and strategy. You’ll find yourself thanking the Gaming Gods for the Quick Save feature throughout the game.
Still, the difficulty level doesn’t make for complete frustration. This just means that there is much emphasis in strategy and your ability to make good use of the updated party allocation features. You can set up your party’s placement on the battlefield by placing the weakest characters in the back and the stronger ones up front and switch on the fly during the turn-based battles. This means that battles require skill rather than just hoping your character will land a critical blow. Auto Battle is available but believe me when I say that you will want complete control during battles.
Another new addition comes in the form of augments that allow players to combine abilities much like you would a special item and transfer new abilities to each character. If, for example, you’re not happy with Kain’s default ability you can augment a skill better suited to him. Rydia is back and as a summoner she has the ability to call up her summon creature that comes in the form of Whyt. On a related note, Whyt (and the return of Fat Chocobo) is also the center of the game’s multiplayer feature that allows you and a friend to take each other on in a wireless battle. There are also a few fun mini-games that make use of the touch screen and Stylus as well that are used to train Whyt.
As I mentioned, the production values of this version of Final Fantasy IV are extremely high and the game’s visuals are truly something to be savored. The CG cut scenes alone are simply gorgeous and outshine past FF games on the DS. With nicely detailed backgrounds and character models, the new 3D look will not fail to impress. Even the animation and visual effects are awesome.
The sound is also just as appealing as the game’s graphics, although there are moments when the voice acting will make you cringe. Still, this is hardly a complaint seeing as it’s great to hear the voices of Cecil and Rosa bring the characters to life during cut scenes. Most of the voice acting isn’t too bad, though, and the sound effects are actually decent enough. The game has an updated soundtrack that is definitely a highlight.
One of the most impressive and brilliantly updated remakes, Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS does not fail to capture the spirit of one of the most beloved games in the series. Pushing the handheld’s technology to its fullest, the upgraded visuals and gameplay simply serve to advance all the things we loved about the game. In short, Square Enix has brought us a definitive version of the game every fan of the genre must not be without.
Review Scoring Details for FINAL FANTASY IV
The updated battle system keeps things fresh while retaining that classic feel of the original and you better believe that the battles are still just as tough as the original. Still, there’s a lot to explore when you’re not locked in battle and the story that unfolds is delightfully epic.
Once again, Square Enix is able to impress DS owners by not only pushing the graphical capabilities of the DS but also managing to display some truly impressive visuals. Aside from the more than decent 3D character models during gameplay, the CG intro is gorgeous.
Just like the stellar visuals, the game’s sound is equally impressive and the soundtrack is superb to the point that you will definitely not mind it playing over and over again. The sound effects are good and do the job nicely. There’s also voice acting in the game and much of it is good while the rest is just plain awful.
Considered one of the more difficult games in the Final Fantasy series, this one will have you sweating bullets early in the game and very often to the point that you’ll be glad you made use of the Quick Save feature when a random battle erupts. Believe me when I say that boss battles are major events that will keep you very busy.
As far as remakes are concerned, Final Fantasy IV is surprisingly superb on the DS and is just as enjoyable as the original. This one also has a great story with a collection of very likeable characters and there are even wireless multiplayer features.
Fat Chocobo also serves as a gateway to Wi-Fi communication and multiplayer Whyt battles against a friend. You can also go up against a friend in a few touch screen mini-games that are actually quite fun … although one or two of them are tough.
Without a doubt one of the best portable remakes of a console classic, Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS is a remarkable and downright satisfying game that does justice to the original and RPGs. Yes there are a few problems that pop up but they pale compared to the awesome nature of the material and updated gameplay that makes this a real Must Have.
Final Fantasy IV Comments
GameZone Review Detail
One of the most impressive and brilliantly updated remakes, Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS does not fail to capture the spirit of one of the most beloved games in the series.
Reviewer: Eduardo Zacarias
Review Date: 08/04/2008