Review by DarkKnight114
"For those that would give it a chance, this is a great installment to the long running series"
Replay Value: 7
Reviewers Tilt: 9
Length: 20+ Hours
Hot on the heels of its vastly successful predecessor comes Final Fantasy II. A game which takes all the basics of the original and expands on them in new experimental ways. Out the window are the basic concepts of levels and experience, in are the new ideals of the Custom made character. Out are the generic Fighter/Mage four set, and in come real people with real stories to tell. The question is, do all these new experimental ideas work? The answer to that, is without a doubt, yes.
The Military Empire of Barmekia is on a mad quest to enslave the world under its dark rule. The only ones who can stand in their way are Queen Hilda and her small Resistance Movement in the village of Phin, but they are quickly losing ground and hope for the future.
Four young orphans by the names of Frionel, Maria, Guy, and Lionheart are trying
to flee the Barmekian Empire in an effort to escape the tyranny, but are caught by Barmekian horsemen during their escape. Lending no match to the mighty warriors, they are quickly slaughtered and left to waste. It is only then that Queen Hilda's men find them and take them into the Resistance. When they awaken, Lionheart is nowhere to be found.
On a mission to save their friend and discover the truth behind Barmekias evil, the three depart on a journey that will lead them to many people who will join their party and become entangled in their quest for freedom. Little do they know, they may be the last hope for a world enveloped in chaos.
What we find here in this great sequel is a game with far more substance and flow than its predecessor. When you consider its original release date of 1988, one can only marvel in just how deep and marvelous an adventure this was. The plot in this game still rivals that of many RPG's today, and in that right, the game stands on its own as a game that will envelope you into its world.
As was stated in the opening section of this review, Final Fantasy II is all about new things, and the Interface on the whole is perhaps the biggest culprit. Gone is the old Level and Experience system you know and love. In its place is a system the mirrors in many ways, the one found in the Final Fantasy Legend series (original SaGa Trilogy). Characters gain status points according to how you use them. If you Want Frionel to be a
killing machine, then all you have to do is level up those stats. If you want him to be an all powerful mage, then you can just focus on his magic. Magic which can be built up and used through the new concept of Magic Points rather than having a certain number of uses as with the first game. Add to this the fact that the blocky and ugly lines from the battle system in the first Fantasy have also been removed, and you have something of a winner. All the maps towns and dungeons have a far crisper feel in this game than they did in the first. This game, as Square has made a habit of doing time after time in their history, looks and feels much better than you could imagine a Nintendo game might look.
Of course, its one thing to have a game look and feel like a winner, but when a game also sounds like a winner, you have a real gem. Nobuo Uematsu comes back for a second run in this game, and does it in style, delivering once more, a great soundtrack with numerous tunes that will catch you humming them at lunchtime, be it the catchy battle theme, or the beautifully scored World Map theme, which still stands to me, to be the best in the series.
This game truly is a tribute to the series and is without a doubt, well worth your time. If you're tired of playing through easy RPG's, or want an experience you can enjoy time and time again in new ways without blocky, bland randomized dungeons, then this great game is exactly what you are looking for. Be it on a sunday afternoon, or in a quest to play them all, this gem from the 80's is one that should not be missed. The only tragedy is in that it never graced our shores, and many still grimace at it for wanting to be different.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/06/03, Updated 06/06/03
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