"Not as good as I remembered..."

Final Fantasy IV is a decent game. At first I thought it was my favorite in the entire series. However after playing it on the Final Fantasy Chronicles package, I have come to realize that it lacks a lot, especially in game play.

STORYLINE:
First time I played this I thought the storyline was the best ever. However, after playing through FF2j, I find that this is not true, and in fact, its story resembles a lot like FF2j! This said, the story still is really well done. A power hungry empire (as most empires are in Final Fantasy games heh) by the name of Baron is on a mad quest to cease the Four Crystals of the Elements: Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water (the same four crystals on FF1, FF2, FF3, FF5, FF Mystic Quest, and maybe even FF9!). The guilt-stricken leader of the Red Wings (Baron's fleet of airships) questions his Kings actions as to why...and the story builds from there.
- Overall 85% -

GAMEPLAY:
In a word... 'beh.' I used to love this game for its game play, but the game play is so tiring. Although all your characters are given pre-defined skills, your party is also pre-defined. What that means is that every time you play the game you are playing the exact same game. Every battle is pretty much the same as every other battle. Very few instances require a strategy other than 'using your strongest spells while your warriors fight.' Every Final Fantasy game before this and every Final Fantasy game after this offered some sort of player freedom. This game does not. Instead you have to deal with what the game gives you. For instance, if the game deems you worthy of a paladin, two mages, and a sage then that's exactly what you get. In the end the game's battle system is a drastic set backwards from Final Fantasy II and III's, maybe even I's. The game play would be a lot more entertaining if you could pick your own skills or at least form your own party, but you can't. For that reason, the game play is tiring, especially after playing a game a few times. I'm ranking this category low because the game doesn't offer any freedom at all and that hurts the game in my opinion.
- Overall 60% -

GRAPHICS:
Heh. Speak of the devil...The graphics in this game resemble those of the Nintendo Final Fantasies. Nothing too fancy, but decent. They have definitely improved since the days of Nintendo. That's without a doubt. Although they can't compare to the graphics of the other SNES FF games, Final Fantasy 5 and 6. But hey, the game is like 8 years old for Pete's sake. The spells amazed me when I was nine or ten (when I first played it); they're still kinda nice today. The graphics were good for it's time, and I am rating them as if it were still '92 or '93. So back then, these graphics were above average (as most Square games are, keep it up-just try to focus on other things besides graphics in your newer Final Fantasies).
- Overall 90% -

MUSIC:
Hey!...this music is pretty catchy! That's what you'll tell yourself as you wander aimlessly from town-to-town or dungeon-to-dungeon. I like this music, even still today. It's upbeat at times, and it's slow and sad at times. It really helps strengthen the mode or tone of the story (which any good game's music should do as it adds to the overall feel). The Final Fantasy series is almost legendary for it's music - no arguments here - and FF4 is no exception.
- Overall 95% -

REPLAY VALUE:
I don't see myself replaying this game in the near future. Although I've beaten it more than any other RPG, it's just not fun anymore. All the cool things I loved about Final Fantasy IV actually started with Final Fantasy II and II on the Famicom (Japanese NES), go figure. Since every time you play the game you are more or less playing it exactly the way you have before, there's not enough to do after beating it. Like I said, throughout the entire game your skills and party members are chosen for you. Since that's the case, you can't mix things up from time-to-time and try something different. That hurts the replay factor.
- Overall 70% -

OVERALL:
I think the only reason why I used to think so highly of this game is because it was on of the few RPGs on the market (in the US that is). However after playing all the 'skipped' Final Fantasy games (II, III, and V) I can honestly say this game ranks number four or five on my 'Favorite Final Fantasy' list. This game has a great story, but as for game play...
- Overall 73% -


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/17/01, Updated 09/22/01


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