Review by JenovaFollower
"Lack of Story + Poor Executon + Repetitive Gameplay = The Worst Final Fantasy I've Played."
Final Fantasy III is a JRPG that was Japan exclusive for a rather long time. The Final Fantasy III that was released in North America turned out to be Final Fantasy VI. In order to play the true FFIII, you would have to import a Japanese copy. This changed in 2006 when Final Fantasy III was released for the DS. Finally, all Final Fantasies were available on North American soil. After playing Final Fantasy IV, I ventured over to Final Fantasy III. When I first played it, I loved it. As I progressed through the game, I found the game boring and not fun to play. Why am I giving a Final Fantasy game a 5/10? Find out below.
Story - 3/10
Final Fantasy games are known for their deep, engrossing story. While it isn't a major factor in a video game, it is still pretty important and makes a good game. Unfortunately for Final Fantasy III, it has no story whatsoever. Well, I shouldn't say it has no story...It lacks a story would be more accurate.
Let's take a look at the characters. In the Super Famicom version of Final Fantasy III, there were four generic characters with no names. In this version, each of them have been given a name and backstory. Here's the thing. None of their stories are really interesting. You have Luneth, who's an orphan. It turns out that his best friend Arc is also an orphan. They meet this girl named Refia who is an orphan. Then, they recruit some guard who also is an orphan. So, what's the story and connection behind the Warriors of Light? They are all orphans. Boring.
The minimal story that Final Fantasy III does have is really cliched. The balance of Light and Darkness has been disrupted. You, as the Warriors of Light, must stop the darkness from overweighing the light and restore balance between the two. Talk about a cliche.
Controls/Mechanics - 6/10
I'll tell you this right now. The controls couldn't be any more perfect. Seriously, it's not hard at all to control the game. Most of my gripes with this section come from the mechanics portion of the game.
So, why are the mechanics given a lower score? Well, they are pretty buggy. For starters, menu navigation is a pain in the ass because there are so many menus to navigate. You'll spend a lot of time in the menus healing your characters and whatnot, which is a big problem.
Secondly, navigating in general is a pain. When you are flying around in your airship, you have to move around the mountains. That's just tedious. I mean, it may sound like a minor complaint, but it makes navigating the world longer. Also, more chances of random encounters and cheap deaths to occur. Overall, the mechanics have some major flaws, but the control scheme is perfect.
Graphics - 9/10
One of the game's strongest points is its graphical aspect. The game is extremely colorful and pleasant to look at. The characters are very detailed and done nicely, and the towns/overworld is gorgeous to look at. Animations are also outstandingly done. My only complaint with the graphics is that some of the monsters are just re-colored sprites. I think they could have been a bit more creative with monsters, especially when the graphics are top-notch. One of the game's few redeeming qualities.
Soundtrack - 9/10
Another redeeming quality of this game is its soundtrack. This game features some very genius compositions. Nobuo has outdone himself with some of the themes in this game, such as the Eureka's mysterious land theme, the boss theme, and the final boss's theme. Final Fantasy III does have an amazing soundtrack, and the themes fit the situations perfectly. It's really superb and one of the best I've heard.
Gameplay - 5/10
And now, we move on to the most important aspect of any game, the gameplay. Well, this is where the game is poorly executed. The basic idea is a traditional Final Fantasy game. You visit towns, talk to people, buy equipment/items, visit dungeons, and save the crystals from enemies. Well, there were a couple of problems I found with this game.
First of all, a lot of stuff seemed limited. Phoenix Downs are not available to buy in this game, which is a problem for some of the later parts in the game when you need them the most. Basically, you have to rely on the ones you are given in chests. There are plenty, but you lose them fast. Also, the Inn doesn't restore your HP/MP if you are dead. You have to go to a magical spring, usually found in a house in a village, to revive a character. That just seemed limited to me.
Secondly, the difficulty. While challenging games are meant to be fun, they aren't supposed to be cheap. Final Fantasy III displays a high level of cheapness, which causes you to get a gameover frequently. Whether it be powerful enemies, cheap map death for exploring, or some other stupid thing, you'll die a lot in this game. That's just not fun for me.
I'd like to talk about the Job System a little bit. Final Fantasy III was the first to develop a Job System. By implementing this system, a player has complete freedom in deciding his characters. You can choose which classes to use. Do you want a magical team, or do you prefer physical strength? I liked the Job System, but it has it's problems.
One of the problems with the Job System is the leveling system. I feel it is pretty sloppy. In order to gain levels, you must use six actions in battle to level up your jobs. Job level ups will allow more power from a magical attack or more swings from a physical attack. That's all they really do. Since battles aren't really long in this game, you'll find yourself gaining job levels in 4-5 battles. This could be a problem when facing enemies because your jobs might be ill-prepared to handle them.
Finally, I would like to talk about the end game. Without spoiling anything, it's pretty boring. The final dungeon contains no save points (this is the case for every dungeon) which makes the game poorer. Why is this? Well, the final dungeon is pretty hard...You can easily die if you aren't careful, and you must do everything over again from the point of no return. This means, you'll find yourself repeating the same events over and over and over again. To me, that's not fun. If I was committed to beating every main Final Fantasy game, I would have put this game down a long time ago. All in all, the execution is poor and makes for sloppy gameplay.
Replay Value - 3/10
This game has absolutely no replay value whatsoever. The game is so patently frustrating that many will be relieved when the game is over if they haven't quit already. There's no appeal or desire to play through the game a second time, unless you are a hard-core fan of the series. Other than the actual game, there's really nothing to do afterwards. There are some quests and summons, but that's it.
And speaking of quests, they are so boring and not worth your time. In order to do these quests, you must talk to a Moogle named Mognet. Also, you need peoples' friend codes, as it requires you to send mail to your friends in order to complete them.
It sounds like a neat idea, right? Wrong! You can only link up with people in your region. So, if you are on two different sides of the world, you can't link up. So, what does that mean? Unless you have the person's AIM or continually check your DS every five minutes, you aren't going to know when someone is online. So, yeah. These quests are pretty pointless, and the rewards aren't that great for doing them.
Fun Factor - 6/10
The game is fun for the beginning part of the game. Once you get towards the end, it all goes down hill. The lack of savepoints cause you to repeat things you've already done, and the cheap factor of the enemies and map deaths are also annoying. All in all, if you are in to this stuff, this game is definitely for you.
Difficulty - 10/10
This game is very hard. The cheap factor adds to the game's difficulty, but the game is very, very hard. A lot of the bosses will kill you if you aren't prepared, and you'll find yourself grinding a few extra levels just to survive. Job grinding really isn't necessary, as it's very tedious with the short battles. If you are into really challenging games, you'll like the difficulty this game offers.
Rent or Buy?
I would rent first if you are new to the series. In fact, I wouldn't even recommend you start off with this one, as you'll be turned off from the series. If you are a die-hard fan of the Final Fantasy series, you should buy it. It's not all bad, but the difficulty and flaws prevent some enjoyment. Other than that, rent it first.
I am giving this game a 5/10 because I feel the description for a game ranked at this fits Final Fantasy III perfectly. The game is playable, but it's really nothing special. The things that it lacked would have made the game special, but I feel it was a cruddy attempt at a remake. Square added personalities and names to the characters, so they could have come up with a much better story than what they did. Also, a lot of flaws in the execution could have been made better. That's all I have to say about Final Fantasy III. It pains me to give a Final Fantasy game such a low score, but this is truly the worst I've played.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/12/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 11/14/06)
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