Review by thirtyninesteps
"Moldy oldie - but still a goldie"
First, let me just apologize for that dumb tagline. Hey, it got you to click-through right? Heh, heh - maybe for all the wrong reasons though. Oh well, let's just get this started already.
Final Fantasy II was of course a must play game for this long time FF fan. I have never played a FF that I didn't like. Well, there were a few that I liked less (damn you FFVIII and sissy-boy Squall!). But they have for the most part wasted away many a happy minute of my life. So please stop reading if you are expecting an unbiased review - untinted by the ravages of past memories and experience. Or perhaps my catchy prose (as demonstrated in that highly effective tagline) or ascerbic wit has captivated you to read further. In which case, carry on. Perhaps I can entertain you with my perspective of this little gem which I view fondly as though twere a window through time.
The story of FFII I am proud to report is the exact same fluff you would expect from a game of it's time. A group of friends band together to save the world from total annihilation. Oscar material it ain't, yet as the perfect MacGuffin to get our tale started, it shall suffice. This being a remake, Square-Enix of course saw fit to add some nice cgi to the beginning. The old codger within me cries out: "In my days, we didn't need no dang cgi's to tell a story.....we'd just skip ahead to the actual game".
Speaking of gameplay (what? you didn't like that segway?!), that's where FFII really shines. This game must have been released sometime in the 80s when it was still frickin' revolutionary to fight a battle, gain experience, and level-up. Yet, Square instead chose to experiment with the formula in just its second foray into the FF universe. You gain stats by actions in battle. Want a faster character? Equip armor that helps it avoid attacks! Want a magician? Start casting more magic. Cripes, even just talking to people in the game was changed. You now can learn key terms that you can recall and ask other people about later on. Much better than the dumb mutes that made up the light warriors in FFI (nay, ground-breaking considering it's time I daresay)! Heck, the 3 main heroes of the game probably say more than Cloud in FFVII (with all his "..."s, "...."s, and oh yeah his "... ..."s).
Let's count the firsts in this game. The first FF that actually had real characters. Sorry, but the aforementioned light warriors were just mindless zombies that had the personality of a toothpick. The first FF that had a unique level-up system. The first FF with Chocobos. The first with Dragoons. The first with a character named Cid who pilots an airship. Dang, if it only had summons, moogles, ultimate attacks, real-time battle, and 2 characters named Biggs and Wedge. The series would be set from here on out. Indeed, half the fun of playing through this FF was finding out where alot of my favorite FF elements got their start. For this nostalgic gamer, that alone was worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/20/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy II (US, 07/24/07)
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