Review by TheGreatUltros
"A remake of a lost game aimed mainly for fans of the Final Fantasy franchise"
Final fantasy III was first released in Japan, 1990 on the NES. The game never reached the USA or Europe, but in 2006 the Nintendo DS remake got released in Japan, then in the USA and Europe in 2007. It's that remake you're reading about now.
The game has been improved from the original with the addition of nice 3D-graphics, actual characters (the main characters in the original game looked the same and had pretty much no personality), more character development, some side-quests, bonus content and a little lowered difficulty.
The 3D graphics is a great improvement, and actually makes it easier to find rare treasure. In the original version, there were hidden items and switches which were very hard to find as they really didn't stand out that much (mainly because of the NES' simple graphics), but in this version you can zoom in the camera and see glowing spots where items and switches are hidden. The new characters also help out to flesh out the story, and even though they aren't that great it's a nice addition.
The job-system from the original version is there, and is one of the more interesting aspects of the game. The system may seem complicated, but it's fairly simple. You see, you have four main characters in the game, and as you advance in the story, you unlock new jobs. You can change your character to a new job whenever you want (except when you are in a battle, of course). Most of the basic classes and jobs from Final Fantasy games are available, everything from the Black Mage to the Dragoon or the Dark Knight to the Bard. In the original version, you could change your job whenever you wanted, but you had to pay with points that you earned from battles to do it. In this version, you need to pay nothing, but instead, the characters strength gets lowered the first few battles after they changed their job. Also, in the original version, some jobs were plainly better then the other ones, and some ones were just plain bad, but in this game pretty much every job is usable in it's own way which allows for more customization of your party and some interesting set-ups and strategies.
You level up normally as in any other normal RPG, but your job has a level too. On the lower job levels, the character will hit less times and won't deal that great damage, but as you rise in job levels, your characters performance will greatly increase. Unfortunately, to get a job's ultimate equipment one has to reach job level 99, which will probably lead to job level-grinding, and you can only get the ultimate equipment through Mognet (which I will explain in more detail later), which requires Nintendo Wi-fi. The ultimate equipment has a nice use, though. As they are usually very strong and give nice stat-boosts, even the weaker jobs (like the Warrior compared to the late-game jobs) can match some of the stronger jobs with the help of it's ultimate weapon or armour.
The battling is turn-based, just like the first Final Fantasy, and the order which your characters act depends on their speed (For example, a fast job like the Thief will most probably attack before a slow job like the Viking). You can equip weapon, shields, helmets, armours and gloves to increase your characters abilities, just like a normal RPG.
Another new feature in this version is Mognet. It's a feature which allows one to send letters to each other via Nintendo Wi-fi and to NPC's in the game. It may not seem all that important, but it is the key to most side-quests and is the only way to acquire some of the best equipment in the game.
Now to another important part of this remake; the difficulty; the original version was considered a pretty hard game, with no way to save except for on the world map, and no way to purchase Phoenix Downs. This version also lacks save-points and purchasable Phoenix Downs, but the difficulty has been toned down to make it easier for none-experienced Final Fantasy gamers to play (this version has weaker bosses and enemies then the original). The game can be brutal sometimes, most often when a boss kills you after you've went through a long dungeon, but it's by no means impossible if you use the right strategies. It provides a pretty nice challenge.
The story is still pretty vague, but nonetheless a small improvement from the original. It's one of the weaker parts in the game, and it really isn't that interesting. Sometimes when I play the game I wonder why I kill that one boss, or why I am in that particular dungeon. The addition of more developed characters helps improve the story a bit, but it's still nothing spectacular. The story is fairly simple; the main characters are chosen and have to save the world from darkness. The story isn't THAT bad, but it's inferior to most other RPG's today, but keep in mind that this is a remake of a pretty old game.
It's the same music as in the original, but improved to fit better with the Nintendo DS' capabilities. The music gives a nice feeling and is very fitting. It's not anything spectacular, but it's not bad either. The graphics are very improved from the original, and as I stated before, actually helps improve the gameplay. The 3D graphics are pretty nice for the Nintendo DS, also. The game also utilises the Nintendo DS' two screens, by showing the world map on the bottom one. It makes it much easier to navigate around the world, and is a nice improvement from the original (where you had to use a spell to see a proper world map). The CG intro is pretty nice and its graphics are pretty advanced for a system as the Nintendo DS. The controls are fairly simple; you move around with the D-pad and talk with the A-button and so on. If you want, you can actually use the stylus to move around and navigate through the menus.
The playtime should be around 30-40~ hours if you do most of the side-quests, but the game can be much shorter or longer depending on if you level-grind, ignores the side-quests etc.
The replayability depends on what type of gamer you are, a hardcore fan of Final Fantasy games probably wants to replay the game to try out new classes, new strategies etc, but most other gamers probably won't.
If you are a true Final Fantasy fan, I recommend getting this game. If you never have played a Final fantasy before, it might be wiser to begin with one of the easier games. If you like a game with an interesting story, this probably won't be the game for you. Personally, I love this game and the original version, but it doesn't seem that many people share my opinion.
All in all, if you're a Final Fantasy fan or if you're interested in playing this game that never got released outside of Japan, get it. If you're new to Final Fantasy you should probably start with another game, and if you can't play a game without a decent story, you should probably consider ignoring this game. If you want a simple Final Fantasy with a decent challenge, I recommend getting this game. It's by no means a bad game, but neither is it a must-buy.
Buy or rent? Rent it if you're unsure you'll like it or not, otherwise I'd say buy if you're interested.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/23/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (EU, 05/04/07)
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