Review by Zylo the wolf
"After 17 years, this game is still fun to play."
I think I'm going to start with admit that I have a soft spot for old RPGs compared to the ones on the more recent system, and especially when it comes the Final Fantasy series. I dunno if it's because I started to play RPGs long before I could read any English, but still I could spend days to just level up my characters and see them get stronger and stronger, no matter if I had to make them stronger or not in order to advance further in the game. Now RPGs seems to set more of the story in focus than making your characters stronger, and I don't like that. Oh well back to the review.
Final Fantasy III was first released on the NES in 1990, but just like Final Fantasy II on the same system it never got translated to English because the first Final Fantasy took a long time to reach the English speaking world and then Squaresoft USA decided that it was better to quickly translate Final Fantasy IV, since it was on the SNES instead of the NES which started to become a dead system. However thanks to emulations, it's now not hard to find a translated version of the NES version on the Internet. While I haven't beat that game, I got really far in it and got really interested in this version , to see if Square-Enix could fix the few negative things I had found so far in the original.
The first different thing is of course the added opening scene, which is basically a quick movie where the four heroes explore the world they are traveling in. The movie doesn't tell much about the story, but you get a nice hint on how your party should look in the beginning of the game. After this you get to the menu and it's time to start the game.
In the original game you start with four nameless boys who just have fell into a mysterious hole, however in this version you start with only one character, don't worry the others will join him after a while. The biggest change between this version and the 17 year old Nes version is that in this game your characters are real characters, and not just nameless boys. This is one of the things that things that I think the fans of the NES version will have hard to accept, because there was a certain charm to play the game with random boys, but personally I prefer it like this.
Anyway since you start with only one character with pretty weak equipment the first thing you should do is to find better equipment, build up your character a few levels and get some hands on healing items plus finding a place where you can regain your health as many times as you like, you know all the basic stuff in a RPG. When you have done all this, you are ready to take on the game's first boss and then you will finally found out what the reason behind the big quest our hero will soon begin on. Final Fantasy III has begun.
In the first Final Fantasy you picked what kind of jobs your characters should have before you had even begin the actual game, but in Final Fantasy III you have to play for maybe an hour or so until you get the chance to change the job for each character. Since the characters in this game actually has a small character I think it's great that you get a chance to see what kind of job fits each character's personality, but it doesn't really matter which character who has a certain job, because the only thing that makes Luneth and Arc different warriors are the looks.
There isn't much to write about the jobs you get the first time, since every Final Fantasy fan already knows what each of those jobs is and considering that you still are reading this I suspect that you actually are one of them. Anyway the starter jobs are Warrior (A knight who can use heavy weapons), Monk (They do massive damage with their hands, but can't take many hits.), Thief (the job which gives a character the highest speed, andf fights with knives and throwing weapons.) White Mage (The typical healer job), Black Mage (The typical offensive magic job) Red Mage (The all round job) and finally there's a freelancer job, which is the job each character has before you get actually have any jobs at all. Later in the game you get more jobs, but all of them won't be as useful as these standard jobs..
In the first Final Fantasy it wasn't possible to change jobs for any character in the actual game, but in Final Fantasy III this is not only something that you are allowed to do, but in many cases the smartest thing to do. There are many places in the game where you have to use the spell Mini in order to be small enough to advance in the game, and then your only hope against the enemies are magic. Another time there's a boss which are almost impossible to defeat if you don't got at least one Dragoon, thanks to their jump ability. Then there's another one who can only be hurt by one type of magic, and the same boss can change his weakness so it's great to have someone with the scan ability in that battle. In other words you have to customize your team many times in the game depending on what challenge is ahead of you.
Final Fantasy II actually had a deep plot, unlike the first Final Fantasy where all you did was to collect crystals and save the world. The storyline in Final Fantasy III is a somewhat mix between the two, it isn't half as deep as Final Fantasy II's, but there's a lot more than in Final Fantasy. For example there are many non playable characters that will for a short time join your party to make the story progress. Another thing I like is how the world turns out to be much bigger than what you first expect.
Something that I both like and dislike about this game is how it uses the DS features. First of all it's nice that you can fully enjoy the game without your DS-Penn, but if you prefer to use it instead of your control cross it's possible. There are a lot of games on the DS that makes the games less fun to play just because it has a certain feature that would only be possible on the DS, so the makers just had to include it. However the bad thing is the use of Wi-Fi. You can't battle a friend to out who has the best team, instead you can only write letters to your friends. I seriously don't see the point of this, what is wrong with the program that's built in the DS, you know the Picto-Chat? Or just talk to your friends in real life instead? Seriously Square-Enix what's the point?
As I said something before this is a remake of an 17 year old RPG, in those days hard boss fights was a must, and while I at least thought that this version was a little bit easier than the Nes version. Maybe it was because I've already played the game and new ahead what I would face and changed my team a little more, but it wouldn't surprise me if Square-Enix reduced the difficulty a little. However there are some boss fights that still can be a pain if you don't build up your character's level a few times, and even then the final boss is a true pain. But the best advice to anyone who has trouble with a dungeon is either to build up a few levels or change the jobs so it fits the situation better. If magic doesn't do much damage perhaps another damage dealer is better? It really surprised me how useful almost all the jobs actually are.
As I said before I have a soft spot for old RPGs. If you play RPGs because you want an excellent story than this isn't the game for you, but if you are like me who likes to see my characters getting stronger and beating enemies who first seemed unbeatable, then this is indeed a game for you.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 12/18/07
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (EU, 05/04/07)
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