Review by horror_spooky

"Back to the Basics"

Ever since playing Final Fantasy XII, my faith in most traditional RPGs (though Final Fantasy XII was everything but traditional) has been crushed. I was looking forward to Final Fantasy XII for the longest time, and when I finally got to play it, I was so unbelievably disappointed that I started doubting whether or not I would play any RPG again. However, as soon as I got my DS, I ended up playing Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, which was a better RPG than Final Fantasy XII, but still pretty mediocre. So, after some searching, I found the Final Fantasy III remake for the DS. At first, I was skeptical that maybe the Final Fantasy series, and RPGs in general, have lost their flair, but Final Fantasy III definitely rekindles the flames.

Unless you've been living under a rock, or a mountain of first-person shooters, for the last thirty years, Final Fantasy games are usually turn-based. You get a team of four characters, who you get to name, and you use those characters to battle monsters in random battles (where they automatically pop up every few steps). I used to be very annoyed with random battles, but Final Fantasy III, for some reason, actually makes them fun to do. Leveling grinding isn't as strenuous as it is in most other RPGs and the random battles can actually be pretty entertaining.

What makes Final Fantasy III stand out from the recent Final Fantasy titles is that in Final Fantasy III, you get to choose the “job” each of your characters has. The jobs dictate what kind of magic your character can use, whether it is black (mostly offensive spells) or white (mostly defensive and healing spells). The job your character has also affects what kind of weapons that character can wield, what kind of armor they can wear, and everything else. Though you don't get to pick the jobs your characters have right at the beginning, after about an hour into the game, you get to start assigning jobs to your characters. Say you don't like a certain job later on, you can even switch the job virtually whenever you want to!

Final Fantasy III is played somewhat differently than the more recent Final Fantasy games that most gamers are familiar with. For example, there is a world map that you travel on to get from town-to-town. When on this world map, your character is bigger than the towns and stuff (just to make visibility better). Also, in this world map, there are the random battles. A little bit later in the game, you'll even get an airship (surprised, anyone?) to traverse the world faster, as well as various other means of transportation.

One major complaint I have, that certainly docks the game some points, is the need to constantly save and the lack of a continuing system. I mean, I'm glad that Square went back to their tried-and-true formula for Final Fantasy III, but they could've fixed the problems that were present in the formula years ago, too. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to level grind for about half an hour and then all of a sudden get killed by a fluke, and end up having to restart to the last time you saved? It's very, very annoying, and makes the need for constant saving very prominent (unless you want to keep doing that until your DS lies in front of you in two pieces).

Another complaint I have that also takes away from the game's final score, is the real lack of the game taking advantage of the DS's features. You can move your character with the touch-screen and stylus, select moves (which makes battles go a LOT faster), and select items in the environment, but there really isn't anything else that really makes the gameplay unique to the DS.

Final Fantasy III does have some multiplayer capabilities, however (a big rarity for the series), including a co-op mode. However, this co-op mode is only available, and you guessed it, in a multi-card format, somewhat ruining the multiplayer experience for me, but it was still fun. You can play the multiplayer online, also, but with Nintendo's Friend Codes, it makes it very hard to end up playing with someone that you don't know (what's the point of playing online if all of your friends have the game, anyway?).

Sadly, the story in Final Fantasy III feels very generic. However, this doesn't mean that it still isn't addicting. I don't think I could find any gamer that would be able to put this game down, simply because you just have to know what's going to happen next, even if you already have a pretty sure idea. The plot is, basically, four orphans are the Light Warriors and they need to save the world by finding all these talking crystals…you see my point?

Who knew that the DS could create something so freaking pretty?! Seriously, the graphics in Final Fantasy III would make Jessica Alba envy at its beauty! I'm talking about the cut-scenes, however, but the in-game graphics are still amazing for the Nintendo DS, and by far the best I've seen (save for maybe Resident Evil: Deadly Silence). I hope every DS game from now on takes its graphical cues from the DS remake of Final Fantasy III.

The audio, like you could probably guess, is pretty decent. I don't think I've ever really played a Final Fantasy game with a bad soundtrack. Anyway, even though the background music is pretty good and everything matches up relatively well, there are some breaks in the sound every once in a while that can get pretty annoying. Thankfully, this problem usually only lasts a few seconds.

The game is relatively short, especially compared to most RPGs on the market today. This was somewhat disappointing, and there really aren't that many side quests to complete, which is another disappointment. After completing the game, I really doubt you'll feel like playing through it again, so there really is just the multiplayer to try out for replayability, but even that will grow old fast. I really wish that Square had included some sort of mini-games to take advantage of the DS's features, or added another multiplayer mode that played similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, to add to the replayability value of the Final Fantasy III remake for the Nintendo DS.

Any RPG fan should definitely check out Final Fantasy III, as it is probably the best traditional RPG to be released in a couple years, and it's most definitely one of the best RPGs available on the DS. You become immediately addicted from the get-go, though the constant saving does take away from some of the game's overall fun factor, and makes the gameplay feel a little bit too broken-up. I hope that Square's next Final Fantasy game for the DS (whether that is another remake or a brand new game) will take better advantage of the DS's features, add more multiplayer modes, have a somewhat more original story, make a continuing system, and fix some of the audio problems found in this title. With most of my faith restored in RPG genre, I anxiously await the next outing of the classic Final Fantasy series from Square.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/04/07

Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 11/14/06)


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