Review by Dark_Schala

"Time to Relive the Old Days..."

Final Fantasy III is the only Final Fantasy I hadn't played until now. You could imagine my excitement when I heard it was coming out on the DS. I was not disappointed! It was exactly what I was expecting. When I bought it, I drove home as quickly as I could, took my DS out of its case, opened the game package, and put the game into the DS. I pressed the appropriate buttons to skip through the various warnings, and watched the opening FMV.

It blew me away! I didn't even know my DS could DO that! It was almost like the time when I realized my SNES could do the rain thing in A Link to the Past. I knew that this wasn't going to be just another Final Fantasy remake.

Well… let's begin the journey, eh?

Story: 8/10
We begin with a boy named Luneth falling through a hole and into the cave. Little did he know that that fall into that cave would lead him to his destiny…

The story is basically the four chosen Light Warriors must protect the crystals from the approaching darkness. Nothing new, right? Well… Square Enix tweaked the story just a bit to have character development. It has humorous and unpredictable moments, which is something that you would expect from a Final Fantasy game.

People keep griping about the lack of originality in the game's story. Well, of course the game's story isn't going to be that expansive. It's a freaking NES game! What do you expect? A huge story like Final Fantasy VIII's? I'm glad they didn't change the story. I'm glad they didn't create super-extra scenes that will take away from the old school aspect of it. This is supposed to be a remake of an old game. Therefore, keep it old school!

Gameplay

Battle System: 9.5/10
Even though the battles are turn-based, it's nice to go back to the old-style of RPGs sometimes. Going into my first random battle of the game, I was glad to see that the monsters and single party member had detail. You could see the weapons that you will wield in the coming round in battle, and the backgrounds are quite detailed.

You could use the stylus to select commands in the menu, or you could do it the classic way.

You can change job classes once a certain event occurs in the game. Although there is an adjustment period when you change jobs, I don't mind it. It makes sense that a Warrior would take longer than a Freelancer to become a White Mage. You just have to pick the right time to change job classes that drastically.

The battle system leaves room for strategy. The battles are harder than normal. If you're like me, you would use magic all the time and attack when you need to. Your party would be like this: Red Mage, Black Mage, White Mage, and Summoner. I soon learned that I CANNOT do this unless I'm leveled up and have a strategy. You need to pick and choose the right job classes for your party members in order to be successful in this game. I like that you can't just hit the ‘Confirm' button all the time and expect to win most of the time. Also, if you change jobs, there is a ‘job adjustment period'. Your character will not perform well at his/her job until a certain amount of battles pass. For example, if a Warrior wanted to change to a White Mage, they would have a job adjustment period of 2 battles. It makes sense, doesn't it? You need to pick the right time and place to adjust jobs sometimes.

Oh, and don't forget to level up. I like this game because the battles are harder. They get easier if you level up. It's not like you're playing a PSX or PS2 Final Fantasy and having a really easy time with it (although, I would say that Final Fantasy XII is the exception to that rule). I guess Square's trying to get back to the Old School ways of Final Fantasy.

When you cast a spell or use a special attack, the camera sometimes zooms in on the character performing it. I think that's kind of neat, especially on the DS. Also, sometimes you will have a fifth party member (“Guest” party members). They sometimes attack the enemy alongside your party, even though you don't see them in formation or the menu. You can't change their equipment either. You simply see them performing the attack. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. It's just nice to see them in action. Sometimes they contribute a lot to the battle.

Menu: 8/10
Again, you can use the stylus to select commands in the menu.

The menu is the same generic menu seen in every Nintendo Final Fantasy. Not a surprise, considering that it's the third game. I can't fault Square Enix with not doing anything else with it. What else are you going to do with the menu? Maybe reconfigure the menu to contribute to the mood/story of the game? The background is a stone-like blue. The font's nice. It's easy to use, and very organized. Beautifully drawn character portraits are nice addition to the menu. I love that they change when the character's job class changes.

Field: 10/10
…Wonderful 3-D graphics… on the DS?! WOW!

The world map is beautiful. It reminded me a bit of Legend of Legaia, but better. The towns are wonderfully crafted. The dungeons, although short, are also crafted in a way that could show the beauty of a temple, or the dampness of a cavern. Square did a good thing here. This is the best looking DS game thus far. The background colours chosen for this game adds nicely to the mood of the areas, and the overall gameplay.

I also enjoy the fact that you can see your characters on the world map/town/dungeon in their job ‘costume'. It's a very cute idea. The characters themselves were designed very nicely… almost like a mix of Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy Tactics. Whenever you view a scene, the camera zooms in on the characters (first-person view), rather than viewing the scene from far away in the third-person view. The characters are also in their costumes!!

Sometimes you get the opportunity to speak to your guest party member by tapping the stylus on the ‘talk' icon on the touch screen. They'll give you helpful tips, or start a conversation giving your party members more development or telling the party the guest's story.

The only thing I could ask Square to add is a town map on the top screen, rather than keeping the world map on the top screen when you're in a town. A map when you're in a dungeon would also be nice. Oh, and the zooming in with the camera is a bit annoying as well. Sometimes you have to zoom in with the camera if you want to find certain items or passages. The camera's too fast sometimes for my eyes, so I get a little dizzy (heh, I'm prone to motion sickness). I don't know if that happens to anyone else, but it seems to happen to me sometimes whenever I play any new video game.

Sidequests: 7.5/10
Considering that this is the third installment of Final Fantasy, I wouldn't expect that many sidequests. The existing sidequests are good. Hence, where the marks are coming from.

The newest ‘sidequest' in FFIII DS is the Mognet feature. I don't like it that much. I guess that Nintendo/Square Enix is trying to throw in support for globalization/peer-to-peer DS socializing/selling more DS's/more people buying FFIII DS. Although I like the idea of globalization, I'm not quite used to the whole online gaming thing. The in-game mailing is very cute. It's nice to get messages from Cid or Princess Sara. However, in order to unlock the secret job and the bonus dungeon, you must send mail to other people who have a DS and Final Fantasy III DS. I think it's a bit of a hassle to find people who fit both conditions. But that's just me…

Characters: 8/10
The characters are so cute! I don't mind that they look kiddie at all! The characters have some development, and if you take the time to use the ‘talk' function when you have a guest party member, you begin to see what your characters' personalities are really like. It's almost like a Dragon Quest VIII feature.

Controls: 9/10
I've stated before that you can use the stylus for the entire game, or you can use the classic controls. Use the classic controls. They aren't that annoying.

I don't really like using the stylus for games unless the game's called ‘Brain Age'. The problem with the stylus is that you have to be right on the mark. If you're selecting enemies to attack in battle, then you have to put the stylus ON THE ENEMY and not anywhere else. If you're using the stylus to move, sometimes your character doesn't move in the direction you want him/her to go. Therefore, use the classic controls.

The controls aren't really that hard to master (unless you're using the stylus). Therefore, they're ideal for one who has not experienced an RPG before.

Sound and Music

Sound: 8/10
Generic Final Fantasy sound effects. The sound effects actually fit in with the way the game looks. I mean, that it contributes to the mood of the game. The effects aren't ‘IN YOUR FACE'. They have a ‘humble' and ‘subtle' quality to them. For example, when you're on the world map, with “Eternal Wind” blaring in the background, and you switch to your menu, the sound effects are very small and fitting with the music.

The sound quality on the DS is as good as it could get. It's even better if you listen with your headphones on rather than turning up the volume.

Music: 10/10
I like the music from this game. As we all know, the music is able to make or break a game. This music fits in with the modest quality that this game exhibits. Listening to the OSV (for the NES version), the revamped music is a very welcome addition to the game. Although the OSV was very good, tracks such as “Elia, the Maiden of Water” is enhanced and made even more beautiful… if that could be possible. Another example could be “The Boundless Ocean”, which - on the OSV - conveyed a mood of loneliness. Now, on this revamped album, the same theme conveys the same mood, but adds a note of sadness. To be honest with you, out of the first four, I believe that this game has the best score, with FFIV coming in second. This was about the time when we began to notice the real talent of Nobuo Uematsu. FFIII was like the seeds of his plant. FFIV was the sprout. FFV was like the bud, and FFVI was the flower. At this time, I will add a “Come back to us, Nobuo!” Ahem.

Yes, the music can be a bit repetitive, but since this was an NES game, I think that's normal. Again, I'm glad that kept this game old school.

Replay Value: 9/10
I think this game is very replayable. If you need a game to play when waiting for class or waiting for the bus, take this game with you. Time will pass quickly while fighting monsters, listening to the soundtrack, and learning something new about your characters each time you play this.

Overall Score: 8.7/10… rounded up to 9/10

Should I Buy or Should I Rent?
If you're a Final Fantasy Fan or an RPG fan, I would recommend that you pick this up. If you're trying to get into the genre, this would be an excellent game to start out on. Even though you may not be able to unlock the extra content, it's still a nice game to play. I would say that anyone with a DS should pick up this game, as its graphics will overwhelm you.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/01/06


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