Review by Nightmare827
"Another epic quest. What else can we expect from Squeenix?"
"Final Fantasy DS!!!"
I bought a DS for three reasons: Sonic Rush, New Super Mario Bros. and Final Fantasy III (I also got it for Metroid: Prime Hunters, but didn't realize how centered on WiFi and multiplayer it was, neither of which are that interesting). Aside from Metroid, these three are, in my opinion, the best handheld titles thus far. Sony, you can KEEP your cheap PSP ports of old PS/PS2 games: This is what innovation and handheld gaming is about. In short, its what Nintendo is about.
Final Fantasy is known for its unique game play, and with Enix and Dragon Quest, immortalized turn-based RPGs' place in the US for centuries to come (not ironic that Square and Enix merged, in my opinion the best business move since the microwave was mass-produced). The gameplay, although very similar to all of the earlier Final Fantasy titles, captures that very essence of "tried-and-true".
But its not all recycled gameplay. FFIII was the first to implement the Job system, a system that allows you to make your party members into whatever kind of character you want. The difference between this and the class system from FFI is that one's job can be changed anytime outside of battle (although you recieve a small, temporary stat penalty). 22 job classes (along with the hidden 23rd class, Onion Knight) gives you the opportunity thousands of combinations.
Any complaints? Its too hard to implement using the stylus, and although you can use the d-pad and face buttons, it doesn't have a DS feel if the touchscreen isn't used. If I had designed it, I would've used the top screen for a battle display, and the ENTIRE touch screen to make LARGER touch spots for inputting battle commands. If you've played the new Pokemon game, this is what I'm talking about; this game would've benefitted greatly from a similar imput system. Same with menus: Top screen, a HUD, and bottom used for inputting commands. Instead, the top screen is vastly unused, and is even turned off during battle!
Also, one last thing: This game is ridiculously hard. Some jobs, you'll find, become outdated fast, and you'll want to stop to level up 5-10 levels before even thinking about entering a new dungeon, or even heading to the next town.
My jaw hit the floor during the opening FMV (the one before the title screen). However, this is the only one in the game. The graphics, however, are very good. The characters all have a seperate model that is altered depending on their job (whereas, in the original version, characters who had the same job had the same sprite). The graphics are easily better than that of Final Fantasy VII (in some aspects, although the pre-rendered backgrounds of FFVII are a bit nicer looking), and environments catch the eye and make you just say, "Huh, this place is cool". I would say this is the most graphically impressive title on the DS so far.
All I can say is this: Nobuo Uematsu is an absolute genius, and this project is no different from his others. The music is interesting and catchy, and totally sets the mood for a dungeon or a new quest.
Instead of giving you four unnamed characters, this game gives you four individual people who have their own backstories, and the plot is interesting and somewhat original (especially compared to earlier incarnations of the FF). Other than that, the game has more or less the same amount of story as the first 2 installments, with nowhere near the same amount of depth as anything from Final Fantasy IV onwards, but having its own epic tale told nonetheless.
Replay value: 6/10
I really can't speak much for this: I don't have WiFi, so I can't access all there is to offer. There are a few extras for hardcore gamers to enjoy, but neither the Onion Knight job nor a secret dungeon can be accessed without WiFi.
All in all, this game's fun, and absolutely beautiful, but gamers who are new to the Final Fantasy series might find it a tad over their heads. If you're new, play the fabulous GBA remakes of IV, V, and VI (all of which are outstanding). It's a great game, but it takes some real strategy, patience, and luck to make it through.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/27/06, Updated 08/03/07
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