Review by BlAcK TuRtLe
"A Square classic revamped, revitalized AND portable? Sweet!"
The North American version of Final Fantasy 4 was the game that got me into the RPG genre. Of course that version (which was titled Final Fantasy 2 due to the fact that the real 2 and 3 had not been released outside of Japan yet) featured a severely reduced difficulty and a poor translation. Square attempted to remedy those problems with 2 other re-releases: on the Wonderswan Colour which meant that not too many people knew about it and again on the Playstation 1 as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles pack which featured severe load times.
This version of Final Fantasy 4 is a complete improvement over both re-releases. The game has: touched up graphics, a re-translated script, the original "Japanese" difficulty, new bonus dungeons which also allow you to use all party members and portability on the Gameboy Advance.
Final Fantasy 4 Advance is a port of a SNES game so don't expect the graphics to be of very high quality. However, this port takes the SNES graphics and touches them up making the whole game seem crisper and newer. All new character portraits were also created giving some of the text-heavy scenes more visual. 9/10
Many people have complained that the sound quality was greatly reduced by the Gameboy Speakers, but I personally see nothing wrong with the new sounds. The original game featured some of the best music tracks to grace the video gaming scene and Final Fantasy 4 Advance does these songs justice. Although some of the sound effects don't sound as crisp or in some cases, totally different then the original, but that is a minor gripe. 8/10
There's nothing special about the gameplay elements of Final Fantasy 4 and the port changes very little. The original North American release had many commands removed for simplicity's sake and they have been restored for this version. The growth system is based entirely on experience points and characters will learn new spells and abilities when they reach a certain level.
The battle system is one of the first RPGs to use the Active Time Battle system which allowed a character to receive a command based on their speed and status effects. Certain attacks also take longer to execute. For example, casting a spell takes more time then swinging a sword.
The difficulty has also increased from the original American release allowing for a more rewarding experience and greater challenge. 8/10
No port is complete without extra content, and Final Fantasy 4 Advance does not disappoint. Featured are a brand new 50 floor dungeon with super boss at the end, the ability to switch party members before the final dungeon (in the original you are forced to take a certain 4 plus the main character), new dungeons that focus on individual characters and a Bestiary which lists enemies and their stats after you defeat one enemy of that type. 10/10
If you are a young gamer and want to experience a classic RPG, I suggest you go with this port. It is by far the best version of this game released in North America . If you are an old school gamer, I suggest you pick this up as well. It is an excellent port that improves immensely on the original. Plus it's portable, and we all know that portable is good.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/19/05
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