Review by PuzzledBread
"FFIII, older gamers rejoice, new gamers will be left behind"
For those of us that grew up in the golden age of gaming, or grew up with those games, the Final Fantasy series was the best Nintendo had to offer for a time, it had its issues, such as its overly linear gameplay with limited development, and bland repetitive stories, but they were one of the pioneers of games. The remake of the third in the series, containing an extremely cliched story by today's standard, has shone through many problems with previous games. As stated above the story is old and overdone as it can get. You play as generic character Luneth, book-smart character Arc, rebellious woman character Refia, and badass Ingus. You're fighting to restore... you guessed it, a set of crystals based on the elements. Now the story was ahead of its time when it was originally released, as the characters had a back story, and you interacted with characters who had a bit more than 1 or 2 lines of dialog fairly often. You also have several people join your party for short times, and you see a development of relationships between the characters and these temporary friends, from giving simple advice to having a heartfelt goodbye, you felt more into the story as the characters within the game had a feel less like robots. The games combat system has remained nearly identical, save the enhanced graphics. You fight using magic, physical attacks, and special job abilities.
Now onto the pros and cons. The graphics are a fresh new look at the game, they are nice and clean, though the characters are all chibi'd, its still much better than a mass of pixels. The old great point of the game shine through, the ability to change between a variety of jobs, the impossibly hard feel of many of the boss battles, a wide assortment of weapons and armor, and a great variety of magic. The story feels stronger in this 3D version, as its easier to see emotions play out in models rather than sprites. The music is a completely remastered version of the old soundtrack, with new tracks added in. It feels sleek, and makes you want to turn the volume up. The hidden treasure rooms that require the pressing of a hidden switch can add a lot of fun to the game, especially when it leads to exclusive armor or weapons. And overall, the game is fun.
Unfortunately, the game contains many drawbacks that combat the fun. Job changing allows you to optimize your party for any situation, however, a switch of a job requires a small number of battles fought with the new job before you can gain the stat boosters from the job, severely weakening the character. In one situation, I had to change my red mage to a thief to open a door, and then switch back, giving me a period before I could really use my magic or physical attacks. Of course with my luck, I didn't run into many random encounters before a boss battle, and got my ass handed to me. Many people will be very frustrated by the limited save function, instead of utilizing save points, the game only allows you to save your progress on the world map, and gives you a quick-save function within dungeons (which only works as a one time save, as in, it shuts off your DS, and next time you turn it on you can continue from that point once). This becomes increasingly frustrating if you enter a dungeon at a lower level than you should, as you'll get all the weapons and treasure, only to have to start from the entrance when the dungeon boss ruins your day. And to add to that frustration, you usually follow this with the ever uninteresting portion of RPGs, the grind. You have to grind (or fight legions of random fights in order to gain levels to move further in the game) a LOT. It truly becomes frustrating, as you'll grind for an hour to face a boss you weren't prepared for, only to find out you need even more experience to have a chance. Of course every RPG has this drawback, so you can disregard this if you are an old RPG fan. The problem that drives me truly insane is the lack of a BUY-ABLE revive item. Phoenix Downs can only be found, they cannot be bought in stores. Making for some problematic moments in dungeons, when you have to trek back to the last town in order to revive downed comrades at a well spring. Magic can also be frustrating, as there are only two ways to restore magic power, well springs/inns, or elixirs. The latter, which can be used anywhere, are pretty rare.
The game is still a load of fun, and extremely hard, you'll have a challenge throughout, if you're trying to pop your RPG cherry, this game is NOT FOR YOU.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 11/14/06)
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