Review by zeshin_reloaded

"A decent, if somewhat bland RPG with little hook"

JRPGs are somewhat of a mixed bag for me. Some have been downright awful,
like Enchanted Arms, and some have been good enough to be placed among my favorites games lists, like Final Fantasy IX. I only played Final Fantasy III for the DS for several reasons:

1) One of my goals as a gamer is to beat all the Final Fantasies. Don't ask, just assume I'm insane and move on.
2) I needed something with more depth to play on my DS than Sonic Rush.
3) The novelty of playing a game thus far unreleased in the States piqued my curiosity.

FFIII has aged decently so, but it has aged. For one, the story is rather bland. The first and second entries have better stories than this one does. Until IV came out, the Final Fantasy “epic tale” was “Go kill some universal evil” and that's pretty much it here. The re-release tries to repair this, with your characters having dialogue for a change, but it doesn't do much. The plot is straightforward enough for an elementary student to comprehend and the characters don't have any development whatsoever.

To provide a brief summary, you start with an orphan named Lunith who lives on a floating continent. An earthquake before the game's beginning causes Lunith to stumble on the Wind Crystal, which tasks him and his friend Arc as Light Warriors that must eventually recruit the other two and recover the four crystals, only there aren't any of the cool fiends from the first game.

I think the story was placed on the back burner so they could focus on the new class system they were experimenting with at the time. The class system allows you to customize your party rather than just arbitrarily set a party member down a set path. Unfortunately, this sometimes works against you when you're trying to manage inventory. It kind of forces you to stick with one class or type of class for the majority of the game just to simplify things.

The game also feels a tad easy. While it helps relieve the anger that comes with dying 2 hours after your last save, it doesn't provide a sense of accomplishment. At least up until the very last boss, who is really the hardest boss in the game, aside from the bonus Iron Giant boss.

It's like being told to go on a journey, only to discover you have to just walk through a park. Only, unexpectedly, when you reach the exit, a giant tank drops in front of you and starts bombarding you. A real surprising kick to the balls, if there was one in gaming.

One thing I really liked was the new stylus control. It works great and it's much faster navigating menus with that rather than scrolling with the D-pad, which you can still do if you're somehow still attached to such primal methods. The only problem I have with it is that the boxes during combat are a bit too small and require more precision than I would prefer to provide.

What it lacks for in story, it makes up for in presentation. The opening cinema is really magnificent and I was forced to scratch my head wondering how they were able to do an FMV like that on my little old DS. The general game's graphics are pretty nice for a handheld as well. I've been told that the upped graphics is the reason why only three enemies are the maximum number available to fight, but honestly I didn't really care.

Oh yes, I must make note of one very stupid “asset” of the game. The DS is Wi-Fi capable, so I guess that Square felt it necessary to utilize that, because they put in a messenger system in the game, accessed by Kupos in towns. My first bash on this is the easy target of friend codes; I don't need to explain those to you, if you're familiar at all with the DS. Second, both you and the recipient have to be online at the same time. How this makes sense is beyond me. It's even worse because the only way to unlock hidden dungeons and an extra boss is to do this accursed thing 10 times or so.

Final Fantasy III isn't too bad, but it is certainly not great. It's certainly not as good as the first one was. One thing it does have on its side is depth and length. It's decently paced game with a fairly complex class management system that should garner some love from micro-managers, even though I wasn't crazy about it. Unfortunately, the bland story hurts it, as a JRPG's nature is dramatic story telling, and does not do enough to justify its outrageous $40 price tag. If you can get it for cheaper, and are a Final Fantasy fan, then I would suggest it. Less inclined people won't get much out of this game, unfortunately.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/01/08

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


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