Review by RPG Critic
"Why can't Square make more games like this?"
Without a doubt, this game is pure genius. It revolutionized RPGs forever. Between the battle system, the graphics, the music, hell even the story, this classic game defines the trend RPGs have taken. Square has yet to top the innovation of this game.
Graphics -- 10
The overworld map has unique looking areas in it's geography. The characters are well defined and have been used in many a Final Fantasy game, even games that came over a decade later. Same goes with enemies. You will recognize many of the enemies from this game in other Final Fantasies. Even many of the locations remind us of later Final Fantasies: the air elementals mechanical tower, the earth cave, the castles, towns, I could go on... All in all, the originality of enemies and bosses makes the graphics a great plus. Way to go Yoshitaka Amano.
Music -- 10
From the opening theme, to the heroic theme that plays as you first travel to a different continent, many of these songs have been used in many (if not all) of the different Final Fantasies. Even the battle theme is okay. My only complaint is the lack of boss music, but the classicness of the other tunes keeps this score a perfect 10.
Story -- 10
Okay, so you have four characters that can't talk. Big deal. The story includes the dark elf, who appears in other Final Fantasies. It features Garland, a recurring villain who reminds us of many other FF Villains. The dwarf cave features other characters we have seen over and over. In all of the different locations in the world, Square created memorable characters that have carried a legacy into other Final Fantasy games.
Also, the ability to choose your own characters to adventure the world freely is something missing in Squares later Final Fantasies. In FF 7, 8, and 9, your party is forced to remain on a very rigid path in order to develop a very rigid plot. Final Fantasy 9 allowes more freedom, yet still maintaines an overall plot.
The ending is hella classic.
Gameplay -- 9
The battle system is outstanding and set the stage for every other battles system in every other RPG forever. The battles are difficult, and you spend a good deal of time level gaining and building up cash, however, the battles are entertaining enough. There are no super duper special effects however, not that this really matters to me.
It was refreshing to be able to choose your own characters at the beginning of the game, since you had to use a definate strategy in developing a party. Strategy is used throughout the game, and battles often depend on the strategy you use. In most RPGs now-a-days, you can just hold the attack button down and beat the battles, heal your party afterwards, and repeat. In this game, each action makes a huge difference to the outcome of the battle.
The worst features about the gameplay lies within minor details. For instance, if you choose to attack an enemy, and that enemy dies before you attack it, your character will attack the dead creature, therefore wasting a turn. In a game where each action is so important, this feature can be frustrating. Also, only being allowed to save at inns makes this game a little too challenging. Because of this feature, you spend a little too much time level gaining just so that you can make the long long trek to the dungeon and then to the boss.
All in all, Square put some thought into this game.
Replay -- 9
The game is long and difficult, but there are so many different combinations of characters that you can choose to beat the game with. Personally, I only beat the game once, but then again, I played it about 10 years after it came out.
Just as a side note, all Final Fantasy fans that have not played this game should. There are so many things in this game that are in many of the other Final Fantasies. Even if you don't find this game to be as graphically pretty as later Final Fantasies, at least appreciate the effort put into this game, and all the connections it has to the later Final Fantasies. You can't miss most of them!
All in all, I applaud this game. It makes me wonder why Square could put so much effort into innovation with this game, and put so little effort into innovation into their present games. Final Fantasy 7 made me sigh. Chrono Cross made me bang my head against the wall. Final Fantasy 9 made me cry.... what next?
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/13/00, Updated 12/13/00
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