Review by The Dark Paladin
"“My first RPG ever, my best Final Fantasy forever!”"
Along with the PS2 masterpiece, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy IV deserved the title of my best final fantasy game, and I've played them all. It also holds a special place in my heart for being my first RPG EVER. This game was the gate to the world of the role playing games at my early years. I was 13 at the time, and never even knew that such gaming style exist. All I was aware of as a teenager was the action or adventures games, sometimes even sports games, but that's it. I got this game as a present on my 13th birthday from my uncle who lives in the US, and I got hooked to it right away! 10 years later, I got the GBA remake from my girlfriend in my 23rd birthday. As a really big fan of this game, I tried it right away on my DS, and was really happy about the improvement the game went through. Bellow is a break down for which qualities made that game what it is to hold such a special and solid place deep inside me:
FFIV has one of the most simple yet strongest stories in all RPGs I ever played. The story is about the rebellious Cecil, a dark knight from Baron kingdom who is struggling between his loyalty to the king who raised him as his own son, and his strong feelings for right and wrong. FFIV story appealed to me 10 years ago, and even now as I am almost 24 years old, I got the same feeling when replaying the GBA version, maybe even more. An epic story with its own share of lightheartedness and plot twists.
With 12 playable character, one might ask: won't it be hard for keep up with the characters development for all those characters and link them to the game's plot without leading to plot holes?. The answer is no. Not a single character in FFIV you will hate. Not a single character in FFIV is left undeveloped. Plus, for the larger portion of the game you can't change the party, yet as the story requires, you meet up and send away alot of characters along the way which will make all of them to contribute to the main story in a memorable way or another. If there's any other aspect that made this game great other than the beautiful story, that would be its character.
The sprites, portraits, colors & graphics in general are beyond awesome in this GBA release, and as expected they formed a great development from than their ancestors in the 91 SNES version. If you happened to play the older game, you will love how things were done here, especially how the characters look inside the battle. Although not one of the game's strongest aspects, but FFIV graphics deserves to be praised.
The music is really memorable and fun, and some of the themes are epic! Nobuo Uematsu really did a great job as usual. There is really a whole bunch of lovely tracks in the game, like the normal battle or the final battle theme, along with the really beautiful sounds effects. What else would you expect from a Final Fantasy game soundtrack?
One of the most simple yet fun battle systems with a wide selection of abilities and spells. And this is the only Final Fantasy game that allows up to 5 party member at the same times. Also,the idea of placing the characters in the front or back row at your convenience is outstanding and might give a numerous suggestion of possible party formations and strategies. It really deserves a 5 stars evaluation!
Replay Value: 9/10
With the addition of the Lunar Ruins and the Ordeal's Trials Cave to the GBA version, plus that you can change your party members near the end of the game(something you couldn't do in any of the past FFIV versions), and a wide selection of new ultimate weapon/armors/boss fights to pick up after you beat the game. All of that were surely a very thoughtful moves by Square Enix. Well done guys! You were able to please the fans of your FF series yet again!
Overall Rating: 9/10
The only thing I have against this game -other than the really minor glitches in the JAP & NA versions-, is that it might be easy even for beginners. But setting the battle speed up from the config menu, and also choosing the active option there will grant you a decent experience. You could always turn it lower again if you had certain casualties with a boss battle or something, so I think that leaves no problem here.
Why should you get this game?
If you were a Final Fantasy fan, or familiar with Square Enix games style, you definitely should, and really will love to, get your hands on this one. And if you were a newbie or an unfamiliar with this kind of games, FFIV: Advance will be the excellent choice to leap into the vast world of RPG, due to it's qualities and simple gameplay. Fan or not, you missed alot if you didn't try this one out.
Looking forward your next masterpiece, SE. My hat is off for you.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/24/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy IV Advance (US, 12/12/05)
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