Review by alemme01

"My Favorite Game Ever"

Where to begin with my favorite game?

Story: I guess I'll begin with this. The story is, by far, one of my favorites in video games. It tells the story of Cecil, a man high in the ranks of an air force, who begins to question those who give him orders. This moral quandary is started by a mission to take a crystal from some people. As he does it, he realizes that the people he's taking it from are innocent, and are pretty much just being bullied by a large empire. Cecil is bothered by this, and when he asks about why they must've taken the crystal, the king strips him of his rank for questioning his authority. It is at this point that the gameplay begins, because the king gives you one last order: to deliver a package to the village of Mysidia. In order to get to this place, he must go through a cave. Your friend Kain is also ordered to go with you, as he has also been stripped of his rank for being your friend. You then set off on the journey to Mysidia, but before you get there, you must go through a misty cave. The name? Mist Cave. It is here you face your first boss, who I will cover in the gameplay section. It is also here that you begin to discover how many monsters the world has. Then, you go to Mysidia. The package is opened, and it turns out to be a bomb! The place is destroyed, people are killed, and the evil of the empire is fully confirmed. It is from this point that you begin your journey full of redemption, self-discovery, and moral battles. Like many stories of this kind, it is about good vs. evil.

The plot itself develops nicely, like a TV show that continues to unravel. It has many twists and turns, with characters dying and reviving. The constant traveling and moving conflict of the story gives you a great sense of the world, which you will probably see more of than you think. The characters are good because although you have the basic good guys and bad guys, there will be members of your party that are anti-heroes, who are easily the most interesting type of characters. The game will probably take you 20 hours or more to beat. It fits the story nicely, as it ends where it should: at a point where you still want more. 10/10

Gameplay: The battle system here is sort-of typical. Nothing ground breaking, it's your expected turn-based fighting complex. There is really nothing wrong with it, although the magic tricks will occasionally try your patience. The way monsters are fought is like many other games: If they're easier, have one party member attack one all by themselves. If they're harder, put all your eggs in one basket, and attack the hardest one first. If they're all the same, take your pick. The monster fighting is vastly improves on the fighting in the previous game. (As in the game released before this in America.) In that one, if one of the enemies was killed, and another party member was set to attack, their attack would go nowhere. This would prove to be very frustrating. Luckily, in this game, it automatically goes to another monster. Isn't that how it should've been in the first place? Whatever. The boss battles are clearly mapped out for you by the first boss, who actually tells you what he's going to do. This is no problem, considering it's so soon in the game, and that it prepares you to look for patterns in the bosses you will face.

Grinding is not very much of an issue in this game. You will gain enough experience from the monsters you will face on the way, and from the bosses that you face, that you'll probably spend 2 hours maximum building up your characters. I don't think there's a single person out there that wouldn't prefer this, because RPGs are the only genre where the story is usually more important that gameplay. There will be some tough bosses, (Rubicant for example) but that is more about strategy in most cases. So don't be surprised if you will find yourself taking out a notepad and paper!

And although I should mention it, there isn't much to say about the controls. They're good, nothing wrong with 'em. Although, sometimes I will find myself wishing the characters to go faster, but that's more of a bad mood type of thing I think. 9/10

Items, Weapons, Magic, and Shields: As with many RPGs, the quest you'll occasionally find yourself going on to look for items is sometimes a tiresome one. There are at least two swords I remember, where getting them was a side quest in and of itself. These either require finding the materials in a cave, or defeating a monster that carries it. While those are fine and dandy, trying to find good item drops will most likely cause a few eye rolls. I mean, sometimes you don't wanna spend a bunch of money on Cure, but trying to find it by defeating enemies? You;re better off saving your money.

Weapons in this game are usually pretty good. The usefulness and quality of them is on par with the difficulty of the game at that point and time, 99% of the time. They have some pretty cool names, even if they're somewhat cliche. (ex. Excalibur) Magic is pretty useful, too. It usually requires some trial-and-error, in terms of what monsters will be damaged by what, and when to use it. But really, the problem I usually have with it is the time it takes for some to use it. Although it is worth the wait, it'll piss you off when a member of your party is two seconds away from using their all-powerful magic attack, and they get struck down by the enemy. Dead. But, that stuff will happen. Shields, at least I found, are a little too expensive when buying them at shops, but are still worth it. They will really come in handy with certain magic attacks, which will completely deflect some of them. (Of course, depending on the shield and the attack.) 9/10

Graphics and Sound: Oh. My. God. The soundtrack is easily my favorite of any game. It is pretty much perfect, except maybe for a song or two towards the end that sound ridiculous and cheesy, and it greatly enhances the atmosphere. It is haunting, beautiful, victorious, and ultimately emotional. It proves that a great soundtrack can amplify a mood in a scene, and turn it from a good scene to a great one.

The graphics are good. Not too bad. They're not as great as the soundtrack, but they have created some spooky looking enemies, and some beautiful environments. Plus, comparing audio and video is, well, you just don't do it. But it is the combination of the audio, video, and of course the story, that create this great atmosphere throughout. It goes from mystic and mysterious, to haunting and scary, to sad and dramatic, to heroic and majestic. It is all of this that makes the game very enjoyable, and the atmosphere will probably stick in your mind long after the final credits have rolled. 10/10

Overall rating: 9.5/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/02/13

Game Release: Final Fantasy II (US, 11/23/91)

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