Review by HeoandReo
"If RPGs were people, this would be the reckless party animal who died from a motorcycle accident at 22."
There were many games released for Japan that were brought to the rest of the world in due time. This game is one of them. Like 2 and 5 before it, this game is now available in English, and legally, except now it has an intense revamp of graphics, sounds, character development, and many other things I can't be bothered to figure out and/or say.
The original FF3 was one of the main pinnacles of the entire series. Jobs are introduced, a mainstay for a fair portion of games, the famed Moogles appear for the first time, and that's about it, to be honest. It offers a new, fun experience like in the other games, and it's taking you on the ride of your life. You'll have fun. It's the party that seemingly never ends.
The game looks great. It's clear they spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to put an expansive world in 3D in those screens. The FMV (Yes, there's only 1) looks awesome, despite their only being 1, clearly depicting the events in the game in a reloaded manner from the Famicom, and the world itself isn't bad looking, either. The characters are stylized, the areas are pretty clear, and a vast mesh of colour and care fills the voids. It's certainly not a masterpiece compared to other systems, but it's the best the DS has to offer.
Along with looking good, the game sounds nice, too. The music is composed with a variety of instruments, capturing the feel of every event in the game, though some are a bit overused, and can become very tedious as you're forced to listen to it every 20-30 minutes or so. (Tension music. You'll see.) The battle themes, though, are very well-done, combining the heat of battle with that classic FF arpeggio, and the boss music are good, too. Traveling the overworld has a fine, journey feel to it, and sad music can get quite emotional.
An impressive music track, however, it balanced with a disturbing lack of sounds. There's your basic menu sounds, hitting of weapons, hitting of opponents, magic sounds, and that's more or less it in terms of sound. The limited sound is also well-done.
The battle system and leveling are also of note. They are retained from their predecessor from Japan, and are vastly improved from the prequel with an abomination of a system, Final Fantasy 2. (No, not the one with the Dark Knight.) You just pick your actions and see what happens, and use items as you need. The leveling is a basic EXP system, so you can fight and grind to your heart's content.
The basic story is pretty chill, 4 warriors are chosen to save the world from some evil guys, and are sent on a crazy adventure through all boundaries of the world, visiting every village and solving every problem, beating up corrupt authoritative figures and getting the girl. Except this time around, you don't have a bunch of kids dressed like jesters to use pitifully. Instead, you have 4 characters with fleshed-out backgrounds with hidden desires, dreams, hopes, and fears. They're still pitiful, but hey, that's what jobs are for, right?
And with that I'll go through the job system. Basically, any character can become anything. Need a fighter to smash through enemies like a hot knife through butter? You got it. Need a healer since your strength is low? You got it. Need a mage to cast spells to take advantage of weaknesses? You got it. And as you go through the game, more are available to you, either the old ones with mild changes or completely different ones only for the niche player. Tons of variety.
But, after spending a wild ride grinding levels, getting hidden items, profiteering, training your jobs, getting involved with royal affairs, overthrowing tyrannical kaisers, defeating optional bosses, and ultimately saving the world, again, you're pretty much left with a hollow, bare husk of a game, leaving absolutely no reason for you to play it again, or further. You can get every treasure or fight every enemy, but that gets old fast. Beating the game with different jobs? What's the fun in that? Sure, you get variety and all, but it also gets boring quickly. So what are you to do? Of course, if you have Wi-Fi, you can, of course, get Friend Codes to unlock various sidequests, super equipment, and other junk. However, if you're either a recluse, have no idea how to use Wi-Fi and other computing jibber-jabber, or for some reason just can't interact otherwise, you're more or less shunned by the rest, doomed with inferior equipment and a playless game. While it has a good concept, it isn't exactly the best way to figure things around, leaving the unprivileged discriminated, and the discussion filled with a ludicrous amount of Friend Code requests. It's self-explanatory. I will admit, though, I do have a slight bias, as I am one of the 'unprivileged'.
The game itself also adds to the tediousness. You spend a heavy portion of it gaining as many levels as you can, hope that you'll survive the next dungeon, rinse and repeat. There's also a few bosses or 2 that will drive you to the edge of insanity after about 20 or so attempts with higher levels and different jobs with no luck. Retrying a difficult fight an absurd amount of times is not my idea of fun.
Let's measure up.
Graphics: 15/15. As I said before, it looks spectacular. Everything is finely detailed. It's clear there was a lot of effort converting everything from 8-bit to the modern age.
Music/Sound: 11/15. The noticeable near-absence of sound variety is strange, and about a quarter of the tracks get so 5 minutes ago in 5 minutes.
Gameplay: 17/30. The innovative job system and simple battles is balanced out by several difficult areas, an unforgiving save system, and a zig-zagged learning curve. One minute you're breezing through the game, and the next you're cursing it out.
Control: 14/15. The game just controls well, period. There's an occasional error, but it's not noticable at all.
Story: 7/10. A simple story of all the FF games is lavishly added with more background, good ideas and riveting sequences of events. However, some of the revelations read like a bad Harry Potter fanfiction. Cliche'd to the core, from the secret pasts to the various men and women.
Tolerance/Difficulty: 9/15. The game is very strange with whether you can beat it or not. There's random events leading to a game over, tough fights that require lots of strategy beforehand, and fights starting without warning. It's also again, tedious to level, since the encounter rate is very low indeed. You could go a whole minute moving and not meet a monster.
Extras/Replay: 4/15. (Without Wi-Fi. With, I'll venture an 8.) Whether you can get something out of the game is decided here. If you can connect with other people via Mooglesomething, you get plenty of gifts and quests to accomplish with your party. Without, you more or less have no choice than get 100%, restart with another party or challenge, or play something completely different.
Final Tally: (For convenience, I'll take the Extras/Replay and average it.)
15 + 11 + 17 + 14 + 7 + 9 + 4 = 79, rounded to 8/10.
Rent? Buy? Massive Firaga?: Eh, it's good for a buy, but only for a reasonable price, like 30 dollars or less, or something.
Final words: FF3 has valid potential. Based on the lost game, it's clear lots of work was put in to bring an old crone into the next generation. Impressive redesigns and redos of other things are good points to use, along with the sheer fun of jobs. But, if you're looking for something that can entertain you for months or even years, this definitely isn't something to consider. It's a bit of a 'throwaway' game, but it's fun while it lasts.
Rest in peace.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/27/07
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