Review by Fanha
"Not really a Final Fantasy, at all"
First off, I'll give a little background: I'm generally a Square lover, and especially a FF6/Chrono Trigger/etc. fan. I had complaints about FF7/8, but I still would have given them a very high score of 8 or 9 at least. I thought FFX was very good. I like RPGs, and I'm actually currently in college studying game programming/design. I got a hold of the game before release through Nintendo connections, and of course immediately sat down and played a very long session with 4 people.
Overall, the game would best be summarized not at all as an RPG or Final Fantasy, but as a Gauntlet game with a few features of the Legend of Mana battle system attacked (named the spell-casting). I won't even try to rate this game one-player; it would be worse. The game was designed virtually entirely for multiplayer play (at least 3 players), and the one-player mode is a mediocre attempt to reconcile some way the game could be played without friends.
The label Final Fantasy seems completely lost on this game. There is virtually no plot, and what plot there is is not worth listening to. You don't need to worry about spoilers; there is really nothing to spoil. An example of the horribly pointless introduction is when you come to a mansion, and it talks about how the master and his wife are upset because Tonberries cook slow. Then for no explained reason you run in and kill everything living there with no dialogue!
Anyhow, lack of plot aside, I'll focus on the battle system, which is the only area it could really be decent. The game is almost painfully simple hack-and-slash, with virtually no secrets, side-quests, or anything else. Even the battle system itself offers little variety, only sporting a bit of complexity in combining spells when two players cast them at the same time. This isn't particularly special, especially considering there are only 6 basic spells in the game. You only have three stats that you raise by upgrading a handful of equipment and by claiming a single prize at the end of each level. Go to town, upgrade equipment, go to next dungeon. Really, that's all there is to this game, sadly.
There's a caravan-racing mini-game that could be mentioned, but it's just a small add-on and doesn't play a major part in the game.
There's no greater depth than I have described thus far really. There are four races, which differ very little except in their starting stats and equipment. You get a bunch of randomly assigned background, such as family members, who send you random messages to simulate personality. It's not believable at all, and everything they send, and all of the ''memories'' that are recorded, seem to just be text written up for the sake of having text; it's not meaningful at all.
For having so little physical content, so little depth, and looking so incredibly half-finished and incoherent, this game couldn't get a very good rating. This game falls so far below my perceived standards of Square-Enix that it's hard to believe it. If you already happen to have three friends with three GBAs, and four links for the GCN, you might want to rent this game for a bit of social fun. It's about 10-15 hours long, so you should have it in a few nights. If you're really curious, you might want to rent it for one-player. But don't buy this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/07/04
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