Review by CAHowell
"Time to eat Snake!!! Oh, wrong game..."
The series that has been the basis for most of the the RPG world, it was awhile ago that Square released another game on a Nintendo system. With the release of the excelent Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on the GBA, things were looking up for square and nintendo. FF:CC was already out in Japan, and reports started to flood in about the gameplay. Although early screenshots were not clear, it became well known that this isn't a traditional FF game, and more of a mixture of some of the other Adventure games out there (Think Zelda meets Kingdom Hearts meets Dark Cloud). Now that the game is released in the US, we can finally see what the hype (or dissapointment) is all about.
Like I said earlier, the games gameplay is largely based off of a combination of some of the other games out there, only in a more Multiplayer sence. FF:CC single player game is somewhat of a let down, both in story and core gameplay. Right from the start, you can choose from a wide range of races, classes, and jobs to suit your own needs and start off your adventure, one of the better parts of the game. Once you get to the main game, it looks similar to any other FF game, but once you get into combat, you find things quite a bit trickier.
In combat, you are given the traditional FF moves (Attack, Defend, Fire, Thunder, and so on). Unfortunatly, one of the bigger mistakes that plegue action games such as this is the level system. Instead of the traditional ''Hack, Slash, and gain EXP'' style the series has closely followed, it goes off and creates a ''Relic'' system of sorts, somewhat similar to the way The Legend of Zelda and Castlevania: LoI does it, only a bit sloppier. You need to collect these items to even go up in status, and since you are on a wide field with pretty much only what you started out with, you will find very quick that you WILL be dying a LOT in the beginning.
Another interesting twist in the combat is the poison mist that plagues most of the world. You must carry around a small jar that creates a barrier limited to about 8-10 feet. Fortunatly, in the Single player quest, your parter moogle carries it around most of the time, while multiplayer players must have at least 1 party member carry it. Why is the mist bad? Well, for one thing, if you step out of the mist, you lose a small portion of life, and since your life is already quite small, it can be a chore to even SEE the barrier in the heat of combat (Personally, they should have added a better effect instead of a red circle indicating the area you can go around.
Off the combat for awhile, and into the graphics. With the gamecube being supperior with it's graphics engine, Square made good use of it, and created a game that rivals FFXI for visuals and reminds people of FFIX (First one is 11, second is 9). Although some things look a bit blurry, most of the world looks great, and many of the enemies, while somewhat toned down, look beautiful. Rivers look like running water, Trees look like trees, wierd helmented chicken like things look like they are described, and so on.
The music itself is pretty much similar to FFIX's. Light hearted and calming, most of it is fitted well, although a few additional tracks and sound effects would have done the game some justice (and the simple fact that there is no End Battle theme, or pretty much any remixed music.)
Control, quite possibly, is the biggest problem with the game, both single and multiplayer. In the single player mode, combat in itself is a big mess, obviously takeing lessions from other adventure RPG games. With a layout that is similar to Kingdom Hearts, and a arena limit, it can be a major pain in the ass just to switch to spells, or a healing item. Squre seriously could have AT LEAST took lessions from KOTOR and allowed combat to be turn based while having free moveability, something it does poorly, and add the jar you must carry around, your pretty much going to have to teach yourself how to move around.
Multiplayer is even worse, with the whole ''GBA required because Nintendo likes big bucks'' crap. I have nothing against the GBA connectivity, but in a game like this, it seriously isn't warrented. Besides the fact that you will have to either A) Buy GBA to GCN link cables and several GBA's, or B) Find someone that does, it just limites the ammount of fun the game incorperates. Sure, don't get me wrong, Multiplayer is extremely fun, but Sqare seriously should have just added GCN controler support for the ones without.
Saying all that, the story itself has already been revealed. You are a child from a race you select, and you must go out and find some liquid substance (The same stuff that the jar uses to protect you) to keep your village alive for years. Sadly, this is pretty much the only final fantasy game besides XI that has very little story, and like everything else, is rather dissapointing.
As you can see, I have bashed the hell out of this game, but you must understand, there is still very good things to be said about this game. The adventure itself will keep you hooked on the game for hours, and the multiplayer will be a blast for anyone who has a GBA, but for everyone else, it is somewhat half assed. I personally wouldn't recomend getting it if you are a hardcore RPG fan or FF fan, but if you enjoy adventure games and have a few friends, you will enjoy every last bit of the game, otherwise, look at a rental before buying, as it will leave you dissapointed
Graphics: 9/10, Something that can rival the PS2 and PC games
Sound: 7/10, Needs a bit more, but good for the game.
Control: 4/10, BAD SQUARE, BAD SQUARE!! Go to your cubicles and make a game that's control's arn't half assed!
Story: 5/10: Dissapointing for a FF game, but sadly, better then most of the stories on the market.
Gameplay: 7/10: Solid, but needs a bit more of the old FF charm to get it going.
FINAL SCORE: 6.4 OUT OF 10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/11/04
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