Review by videowarrior59
"Square Enix & Nintendo did the solo gamer no favors"
I was very pleased when Nintendo and Square (now Square Enix) made up after many long years since the excellent SNES games. I dare say outside of Zelda games that a new Final Fantasy game may have been the most anticipated game in the GameCube's history. Was it worth it? Yes & no. The game is a sight to behold but looks can be deceiving:
Story-5: the idea of a poisonous cloud engulfing the World was an interesting one but whoever scripted this game really didn't do anything to make it interesting or exciting. In previous Final Fantasy games or various RPG's in general you felt some connection or caring about the characters. I never felt that in this game. I never felt that caring and empathy for the characters that I have in other games. I wanted to but it never happened.
Graphics-9: simply outstanding. I can't knock them in any way other than wishing you could zoom up and get a closer look at the characters and scenary. This isn't practical as a multi-player game of course but in single player it could have been done I think. The water effects are the best I've seen next to Baldurs Gate on the GameCube. When you do get close looks of the characters they are beautiful and detailed. I do wonder why 99% of the RPG's on consoles feature children as the heroes but I imagine the demographic of gamers has alot to do with it, although the age of gamers is getting older. I'd like to see some console games featuring older characters in roles other than parents, barkeeps, merchants, etc. The game environments are exceptionally with nice variation.
Sound-9: tremendous music and ambient sound. The main disappointment is so much text in the game where voice-overs would have added alot more to the personality of the game. I realize text drives a majority of games such as this and I certainly can read but as I said voices add more realism and as mentioned previously would perhaps make you feel more connected with the characters.
Gameplay-5: this is where the overall score is dragged down. This is my opinion (although considering the many posts and reviews I have read I'm not alone) but this game simply appears to be solely a multiplayer game with an ''optional'' solo adventure. Phantasy Star Online was much the same but as a solo player in that game you stood much more of a chance to succeed. In Final Fantasy I really think the solo game was not given as much attention as it should. I'd be willing to bet that more than half of the people who own this game will be playing solo. I mean how many really know multiple friends with GBA's? Gamers would have been much better served if you also could have used GameCube controllers instead of GBA's if you wished. I do admire what Square Enix and Nintendo were trying to do with the connectivity but I think it almost makes the game too pricey if you have to invest in GBA's, cables etc. to get the full impact of the game. I could however forgive all this if the solo game was fair but it isn't. Your computer pal carrying the chalice is of no use and often I end up carrying the chalice to speed up movement through the levels which stinks when you meet a foe and have to drop the thing and have the Mog pick it up or in lieu of that hope the Mog actually assists you in battle. The Mog ends up being a spectator I dare say 90% of the time which leaves you at the mercy of multiple foes and the bosses who I feel are too difficult to beat alone. I have read the difficulty in the game is toned down in the solo adventure to compensate but I haven't seen it myself. I think the control layout is passable but using the trigger buttons, aiming and actually hitting a target is problematic. At least you can pause the game mid fight to replenish health or you would have 0% chance. I also find there to be a delay in pushing a button and your command actually happening at times wich can get you killed. I could live with the protective circle if my computer partner was competent. I have no doubt the multiplayer aspect is fun but as I said at least you should have the option of using a GameCube controller for multiplayer. I realize the idea of the GBA's are the screens and such but I still think something using GameCube controllers in multi-player should have been implemented.
Rent or buy: this game cries out to be a rental. It has so much going for it but enough against it to recommend caution before buying.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/18/04
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