Review by TheGrandFinale
"Relive the glory days of RPGs."
I still remember my first RPG. It was FFVI then known as FFIII that I had rented for 5 bucks in a big videostore. I couldn't beat the first boss, so I simply used the saved games on the cart and had my fun. This went on for very long, as my childhood sped by. Breath Of Fire, Secret Of The Stars, Mystic Quest, Lufia II....RPGs ruled my game life by then. I loved them all and swore by them. I spent entire days writing down entire lists of bosses from all those games and reading Nintendo Power for strategies...It was glorious. Then came the first RPG I even owned, FFVII. Still my favorite release of the series and one juggernaut of a game. The clerk told my mother I looked too young to play such a game. Yeah, right. I finished it, of course with the strategy guide but still...
I remember when I stopped playing RPGs. It was half-way through FFIX. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Yet after a while, I couldn't bring myself to play anymore...I still liked the genre but the spark just wasn't there. No games just brought me the same fun I had with the SNES's glory days. When PS2 came, all the games I had were mostly action titles. FFX? Oh I bought it...liked it...and never finished it. Seems like I was through with the genre. I even ignored FFXII. I know it's a masterpiece thanks to all the positive energy around it, glowing reviews and watching a friend played it brought me great pleasure....But it wasn't for me.
FF3 on the other hand, is the game that pulled me right back in. Oldschool, gorgeous, fun and deep and especially extremely engaging. It's the game I've been waiting for since my last RPG I truly loved and finished( that would be Star Ocean: The Second Story, which I hated at first).
Luneth is a young orphan from the village of Ur. Of course, he was raised by the village's elder. One day, during a earthquake, he falls down a hole and into a cavern where he meets a giant, sentient crystal that sends him on a quest to save the world from the darkness that wants to engulf it.
A classic story. Cliche filled opening? Sure. But the game is 16 years old! At least the developers added lots and lots of NPCs and dialogue scenes to fill out the barebone plot and at least gave us real characters instead of the original FFIII's Onion Knights.
GRAPHICS: Beautiful art and tremendous 3D graphics. Everything is cheerful and clean. The 3D areas are very impressive and are well designed. All the places you'll visit is totally different from the previous and there's very little repetition. Lots of environmental details like barrel, candles, crates, ice spikes, stalactites and more make the areas more alive. The characters are striking with lots of expressions and smooth movements. The enemies are also cleverly made and animated.
MUSIC AND SOUND: Nobuo Uematsu works his magic once more. The beautiful and sad Final Fantasy theme returns and accompany a very well made soundtrack. The overworld theme in particular is memorable and you will hum it as you go on through your day. All the music pieces work well within the areas they appear and quite a few are very memorable. Unfortunately, many pieces aren't very catchy or anything special. While they work in the game it's nothing you'd listen outside of the game. The sound effects are well done if unspectacular. But overall, the sound is stellar.
GAMEPLAY: Archaic. It's the only word. If you are a fan of recent RPGs or the more action packed ones, skip this game. The mechanics are 16 years old and despite the game being a remake, the gameplay wasn't changed. Buy if you want a game to relieve the experience of old, this is the one. No innovative battle system, just turn by turn action like in the old days. The one gameplay gimmick is the Job System, that does work remarkably well. Even better than the same system in FFV. As you advance through the game, your characters can equip various jobs who will allow them to use varying abilities as well as influencing their stat growth. This time, the levels of the jobs and the characters are separated to prevent the player from permanently gimping a character. Many weapons to find, cool and useful spells and large dungeons will be yours to find and explore respectively. The encounter rate is perfect most times but it can get grating. The game is particularly difficult compared to most recent RPGs but older players with experience will love the feeling. Remember the Terrapin in Breath Of Fire II? How hard it was and came randomly in some cavern? Same type of difficulty here.
REPLAY VALUE: Not much to be found here, except playing through the game with different classes. But this is normal for most RPGs. There is a secret dungeon and boss to be found but many other games offer better replay than this. Yet it the context that this is a Final Fantasy title, it's got the series usual replay value...so it's still a pass.
In the end, if you're a oldschool RPG fan that wants a game like you played on SNES back in the 90s, this game is for you. It's archaic and simple compared to more recent offerings but it's got class and you'll feel like you're a kid again, playing FFVI, Breath Of Fire or Lufia...The game is hard. Very hard and unforgiving. Yet it's incredibly addicting. A masterpiece if you're into this kind of thing.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 12/11/06
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