Review by BakaOrochi
"Bugs, glitches, remakes, oh my!"
Final Fantasy IV is hands-down one of the most beloved games in the FF franchise, even now. It may not be everyone's favorite, but it's classic RPGing at one of it's finest moments; it helped break Square's series out in America even further.
So now with 2 ports of the game already in the market, we get to see a third one. Now, note that each version of the game previous to this one had it's own issues...so naturally, one would like to think that with every new remake, Square would learn from their mistakes and make their next port even more flawless.
Too bad Square took one big step backwards rather than forward.
The new portraits are pretty. Some may not like them, at first I didn't myself, but I got used to them, and...well I very much appreciate the updated profiles.
Most of the graphics are for the most part cut and paste from the SNES, which in my book is great and charming. But with the new games coming out, and with a 32-bit processing core, could Square afford to update the overworld graphics just a tad? Plus, there are still deceptive spots that can't be walked on or landed on...something that, while seemingly obvious, isn't and hasn't been fixed since the original release.
My biggest gripe however is how slow the graphics move. I replayed my SNES version shortly after beating my GBA version, and I felt like the SNES version was going on turbo speed. All the graphics on GBA drag like no other.
The airship crawls at 2MPH, the game is completely devoid of mode 7 effects (i.e. going to the underworld), certain spells look really cheesily redrawn and lazy, not to mention again, really slow...it's nasty.
Oh dear God, where do I even start.
Yes, the overworld movements are fine. In fact, some of the overhead sections like in caves and what-not, it's nice that I can either choose to run or trudge around like in the original SNES/SFC release. Menu navigation isn't bad...but the worst? The battles. I could do fine if I had input lag during menu navigation, but the parts where I really need my inputs to be timely and accurate, it isn't. On top of that, the battles themselves lag. How on Earth Square did you manage that? It's like playing a game meant for a Pentium II being played on a 486.
So why is input lag bad? If I want to keep my battle speed at 2 and at Active, then I want to select my spells as fast as I can. But say I activate my White Spell menu, and on row 1 is Reflect and row 2 is Holy. I expect to hit down, then A twice to activate Holy on the enemy, but the game will conveniently lag, and doesn't input the down, and I instead end up casting Reflect on myself. Sounds not like a big deal? What if Cecil were at 1HP? Now I can't heal him without items AND I wasted a turn. And it doesn't happen once or twice in the game, it happens fairly often.
Second problem, while usually not too bad but can be annoying is turn priorities. Some players may end up having two or more turns in a row without waiting for their gauges to fill.
The more annoying problem is gauge priority. Some may end up waiting forever to get their turn: say Edge's bar fills up after Cecil's, then while I'm picking Cecil's action, Yang's meter fills, then Palom's, then Porom's. There are many times where instead of Edge going after Cecil, Edge will go last AFTER everyone else, and sometimes by the time Porom would take her turn, Cecil's bar would fill up, and Edge would have to wait again.
Also very rarely, the enemies can move out of sequence. I've had this happen to me on a Bahamut battle, and if you understand how crucial timing is, it's very frustrating when Bahamut almost completely skips a count, and you end up dying as a result.
The Lunar Ruins, now there's another place that got me stuck for quite some time. I spent almost 30 minutes trying to get out of a section that usually should take about 2 minutes, but the warp points weren't working correctly. Even after I reset the game and reloaded my save, I kept running into the same problem.
SquareEnix did one really poor job in testing this game and fixing the problems with this.
This only gets a 7 because the music is just so great, and the remade music was done very well in my opinion. The original FF4 music was very dated, and this keeps the same spirit while updating the synths so it didn't sound as cheesy.
However what hurts this score so greatly is the sound effects. Oh why Square must you use such bland sound effects? They're not bad per se, but they just don't have the same oomph as the original did.
The game is still short, no matter what you do to it. The added features do keep replay value up though, especially the Lunar Ruins, since it forces you to go back and beat the game with everyone if you want every quest.
The story is so well done, I don't mind playing this again. The added feature of the bestiary is also really nice, although it can be frustrating since there are those monsters that you only run into once, and if you miss them, it's gone. But again, because the game is so enjoyable, I did it again, and I had no qualms about it.
There's also a good amount of rare drops from enemies that will keep you trying to get them if you want a sense of completion of the game. Some player may take 10 minutes to get a Pink Tail for example, others may take hours, and still not receive one.
The only problem is, once you hit about level 75, the game becomes a complete joke, provided that you have everyone's ultimate weapon and armor.
Nonetheless, I got the game 2-3 months ago, and I'm still playing it.
The game is still the same Final Fantasy 4 that you may remember on SNES, with a lot of updates to the script (and the classic Spoony Bard line preserved) to make it flow better and make more sense.
Unfortunately, the bugs in this game can be so problematic, I can't see how SquareEnix let this go out the door.
Bottom line: If you enjoy Final Fantasy 4 enough so that these bugs won't bother you, by all means. I liked FF4 enough so that I really enjoy this game.
But if you're looking for problem-free gameplay that may possibly get you a little frustrated (or if you're short-tempered like me, very), you won't find it here.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/23/06
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