Review by Reverent
Final Fantasy 4 was initially released in Japan under two different "types" to attract more gamers - a hard type, with more items and difficult battles, and an easy type that was created to attract new gamers to the RPG market.
The US shores never saw FF2 or FF3 from Japan, so it was re-named Final Fantasy 2 and was based off of the easier of the two types Japan saw. Entire abilities were taken away from characters, the storyline was re-written to be "kid friendly", and of course, items were missing as well.
For its day on the SNES, it was a good game, but over the test of time and learning about translation changes, a hardcore fan of the series would have to find FF4j hard type online to get a glimpse of what the game was originally intended to be.
Thankfully, Nintendo no longer demands harsh censor standards for US releases, and Square was allowed to release a re-done version on the GBA. There was another re-release on the PSX, but I don't recommend the buy for anyone who is used to a fast loading time for battles, and this version ran much cleaner because of the cartridge based advantage.
Storyline - 9/10 - You have evil kings, dark knights, wizards, ninjas, summons, betrayal, redemption, and some comical scenes all wrapped up into one nice package. Though this won't be as engrossing as a story as some of the newer RPGs that have come out since the initial release, it is a solid story that will draw most players in.
The re-translation brings the story back from what it was initially in the states - which was sometimes flat and lacked any real emotions from the characters - and gives it a chance to be what it was intended to be; a dark tale about good triumphing over evil (aren't all RPGs about that anyway?). Players of the original will be pleasantly surprised to find their favorite characters of the game acting more human and less like spoony bards. Newcomers won't find the story to be as trite and cheesy as it came off to be in the first release of the title.
Graphics - 8/10 - I will have to admit, that I gave this 8 out of 10 because of the TIME it was released. Compared to recent games, it is far below that, but this is a game port, not a brand new game, so it can't be held up to the same standards. The graphics are functional for the time, the character portraits are beautiful (Amano Artwork), and you'll never be left asking, "What the heck is THAT supposed to be?" Though there is a large variance of monsters you can fight, later in the game many of them are just pallet swaps of another monster, so repetition does occur.
Even with that all said, if you are a newer gamer (started playing on the PSX or PS2 era), there is a chance you might get turned off by the graphics. They have been reworked some, but they are still 16 bit graphics, and some people might think they look dated and ugly because of that. I would still suggest a new gamer at least try to play for an hour and adjust to them since the graphics are really not the meat of the game, and they do their job well.
Sound - 10/10 - Wow. What else can I say? This is one of the best titles for music in any of the Squaresoft titles produced, even to date. The GBA allows for the music to sound slightly less tinny than it did on the SNES, and every song fits perfectly the mood that is trying to be conveyed. From the first time of playing this game, to getting to play it again, I have never wanted to mute the game just so I wouldn't have to listen to the music.
Sound effects are also strong and are used appropriately. Not much more to say than that.
Game play - 9/10 - Though this is now the "harder" version that was released in Japan, the learning curve isn't high, and most gamers will be able to pick up this title and play it easily, even if it is their first RPG. Sometimes it feels that you are encountering to many battles, but it doesn't bog the game down.
Previous glitches that were in the game have been removed. Those glitches generally were used to cheat on the SNES, but regardless, you won't have to worry about technical issues.
There has also been an addition of two new dungeons to play through, both with new weapons, monsters, and extra storyline bits that will keep you playing long after the game is already done. Overall, you can expect to get at least a good 50 to 60 hours out of this game, but possibly more if you are a completist.
Overall - 9/10 - This is one of the strongest games that Square has ever put out, and now new players can get to go back and play through the adventure too. Unless you are completely against 16 bit graphics, this is a must play title for any RPG fan.
Buy or Rent Buy, without a doubt.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/22/07
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