Review by Galactus21
"Too late to the party..."
Being the only Final Fantasy to never be released in America, Final Fantasy final arrives on the Nintendo DS with great anticipation. Unfortunately, it feels outdated. The Final Fantasy series has evolved far too much and FFIII simply cannot hold up to recent editions. Even with that said, FFIII is still worthy of a play through, but the issues that are present makes you ponder at some of the problems that SE could have addressed. Having never experienced the import version, I got to try first hand with this old school style rpg without comparisons to the older version. If it had been released at the time period it was in, then the game would have been one of the greats, filling you with plenty of memories. But since it's 2006, the game simply has been passed up by better rpgs in the Final Fantasy main series.
One of the main ingredients in an rpg is its story and characters. Story wise it feels generic, with the characters being lifeless. The story revolves around crystals that gives you power to save the world. The character interaction is tedious and lacks any emotional attachment. The story being as basic as it is could have been better if the characters were able to convey it to the player better. Since this is not the case, it makes the story less enjoyable. Consequently, the game's story and characters does not keep you interested in the adventure or lift your spirit in saving the world.
From the beginning
Soon after starting your adventure, you will be filled with a roster of 4. As previously stated, these four characters are lifeless and emotionless. Either way, the characters are a team of generic and forgettable characters. This could have been negated if the combat system was well made. Although I like turn base combat, the one present in FFIII is extremely basic. A game like Dragon Quest VIII was able to meld a basic turn base system with a good story and make it work, but for FFIII this is not the case.
With the menu system, the player can choose between attack, magic, and other options. The system also feels slow, as each player and enemy takes turn in slow motion it seems. Despite this, some of the enemies make you strategize and think about how you will approach facing it. In some ways, this makes the combat system more strategic. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the tediousness in the long run. Like any classical Final Fantasy, the game features random battles. The random battles however, are more than manageable, as the encounter rate isn't very high.
One thing that I particularly liked was the job system. The system allows you to choose jobs for your characters. For example, a black mage will differ in skill sets than a white mage. White magic emphasizes more on curing fellow party members as opposed to black magic. Aside from leveling up, you will also level up in your job system. Through time spent, the job system will show you how it greatly influences the game's mechanics. This is because depending on what you choose it can influence how you play.
The items that the player will encounter are reminiscent to other items in the series. Players will have the opportunity to gain items that can give your extra HP or a chance to cure a status ailment. Like the stable of any Final Fantasy game, the names of some of the items stay true to its roots. With items like Phoenix Down that has been in the long running series. While Final Fantasy III is older than any recent incarnation, SE still released it more recently than most games in the series. With concern to this issue, the thing that makes me glad is SE staying true to many of its roots.
While boss battles like many Final Fantasy titles feel epic, the ones in FFIII felt like a let down. It had its fair share of epic battles, but for the most part, there were a lot of disappointing fights that left you with a bad taste in your mouth. Even with that said, when you take a look at it as a whole, boss battles felt solid. It could have used some improvements, but it did its job to entertain for the most part.
The length of the game is fairly solid. However, with the lack of a quality storyline, it pretty much negates any chance of playing through the game again. Playing through it once should be more than enough. With a generic turn base system, emotionless characters, and a weak storyline, it makes playing through FFIII a chore at times. There are times that were fun, but it wasn't enough. It certainly isn't enough for another play through.
The graphics however looked gorgeous. Character models looked great, with plenty of details. The environment of this fictitious world was also nicely design. Filled with plenty of color, it brings the world to life. From the characters to the environment, FFIII sports some of the best graphics on the Nintendo DS. The musical soundtrack also felt very strong. With many of its tracks reminding you of other great Final Fantasy tracks. The mix between the gorgeous visuals and its epic tunes almost negates the flaws within the game. Almost...
Not quite timeless
Had this game been released when it was first created, then some of the issues at hand wouldn't have been noticeable. But after the likes of FFVII and FFX, this incarnation in a classical series simply does not hold up. This is especially true when you consider how much the Final Fantasy series has improved. I prefer a well written story in rpgs, and FFIII did not deliver in that aspect. It surely does not help, when the combat system is as basic as it is. Even with all the negativity of the game, FFIII is still a fairly decent rpg. If you are craving for an rpg on the DS, then by all means pick this game up.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/17/07
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