Review by Nexus_of_Sanity

"Surprisingly good! Exceeded expectations."

FOREWORD
I'm not too familiar with the Final Fantasy series. I used to play on it a little with my brother, but this was my first proper Final Fantasy game. I had never been too interested in the FF series, but after seeing the likes of FFXII and hearing about how amazing the series was, I decided to give it a try. However, when I saw this game, my heart sank. It did not at all look good. My friends and I all agreed that it looked nothing like the standards of Final Fantasy games for PSX/2. Was it worth buying this game on name alone, when the series had a lot of bad games also (Crystal Chronicles/Chocobo Tales anyone?). But deciding to take a leap of faith, I bought it anyway. And it was a worthwhile risk.

GRAPHICS
My first impressions of the graphics were very low. I thought that the graphics made the game seem very immature, and not at all deep or immersive. The characters are doll-like, which sometimes takes away from the game. However, the graphics do soon grow on you. The graphics style is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker; which was an excellent game appealing to lots of different ages, in spite of its cel-shaded graphics.

However, the graphics are very detailed, and are at a good standard for a hand-held console. The monsters are also far from cute, and battle sequences are very enjoyable due to the stunning 3D enemies. One thing that would have been nice to see in this game would have been proper cutscenes. The cutscenes are horrible in this game, and should definitely have been improved.

SOUND
The music is wonderful in this game! They create such wonderful atmospheres. Whether it be the joyful, merry music in towns, the loud, dramatic music of dungeons, or my personal favourite: the zany, fund music when riding a Chocobo. They feel so deep and immersive, and help to create a tense atmosphere where the graphics cannot. They are truly a high point of the game. Sound effects are nothing special, and could do better, however. But they suffice to the game, and do work well in battles.

GAMEPLAY
The release of this game marks the release of all the Final Fantasy games in English. This game has pretty much identical gameplay to the original version for the SNES. It was a bit of a shame to see that no extras had been added. It's a bit of a shame that they didn't think to update a game that was made 13 years ago.

The game is a turn-based style RPG. You start of with 1 player in your party, but you'll soon get the opportunity to get 3 more. These 4 characters will make up your party for the rest of the game. You keep one of them out in the field. However, during the game there will be other characters who join your party temporarily. Some of these characters may attack randomly at the start of a battle sequence, and will follow the lead character in your party around in the field

To prepare for battles, you will be equipping different weapons and armours to your characters to strengthen them. For each character, you can equip a weapon or shield in both hands, and then three pieces of armour. This is similar to most RPGs. You can also teach them different spells. Spells can be bought at a Magic shop in towns; they can be found in dungeons; or some spells can be given to you by other characters, as they are required to progress with the game.
However, the thing that is most unique to Final Fantasy 3 is its Job System. After a certain point in the game, you will be allowed to change your job. You start off as a Freelancer, but shortly into the game you'll gain the ability to change your job to: White Mage, Black Mage, Monk, Red Mage, Warrior or Thief. Different advantages (and inevitably, disadvantages) come with different jobs. For example, a Warrior can equip most types of weapons, and has a very high defence, but cannot cast magic. Similarly, a White Mage can cast all sorts of protective white magic, but has a low attack and defence. Each job comes with certain battle commands. Magicians can cast magic; Vikings can provoke the enemy; and Ninjas can deal out some serious damage by throwing things at the enemy.

As the game progresses, you'll have access to a larger variety of jobs. In total, there are over 20 jobs on offer. To maximise your party's strength, a variety of jobs in your team is advised. So while a team of 4 Black Mages might be able to dish out some serious black magic damage, you're gonna have an extremely hard time when your HP runs low. But like I said, there is a huge variety of jobs to choose from, so you won't have to limit yourself. And changing jobs is fairly easy, allowing you try out all sorts of different combinations.

CONTROLS
Turn-based RPGs have never had a great need for excellent controls. Final Fantasy has the option of using the touch screen, but this is rarely used. You can either use it to move around your characters, or to select commands in battle sequences. Both of these feel more natural to do without the stylus, but it is nice that we are given this option. However, the two screen system is barely used! Most of the time, the top screen will either be blank, or show a blurry world map which isn't ever particularly useful. When using menus, the game screen will be moved to the top and the menu will appear in the touch screen. I would like to have seen more use of the dual screens.

FINAL WORDS
The Good: Excellent gameplay. It's extremely fun and a solid RPG for the DS. Highly unique, and fortunately not repetitive. The graphics, though childish, are very detailed and high quality.
The Bad: Seemed like more effort should have gone into developing. It gets off to quite a slow and boring start, and only picks up after a while. Cutscenes are painfully bad.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/07


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