Review by Ethereal Blue
"Still my favorite Final Fantasy!"
Today, I'm reviewing Final Fantasy II (The snes version, not the ps version released as ff4 on the Final Fantasy Chronicles Set). This game is my favorite SNES game of all time and thereby, should win an award...unfortunately, it's too old to award it for anything and I'm starting to rant...Oh well, on with the review!
Graphics (System-Wise) 9/10
FFII boasts some of the best 2-D graphics on the SNES. Even though the graphics in this game aren't as good as FFIII or Chrono Trigger, this game will still satisfy an SNES graphics hound. One gripe I do have is that the characters on the field screen look so damn small...I mean, really. You'd hardly be able to tell Dark Knight Cecil in the field was Dark Knight Cecil on the battle screen if it wasn't spelled out for you. Speaking of battle screens, the backgrounds are brilliantly painted for you and the spell animations are very high quality for its time. Menus, on the other hand, are iffy. Just to make it short, I'll say if you like the color blue, you won't be bothered by the menus.
Sound (System-Wise) 7/10
Bad news first, most of the sound effects are horrifically generic. Most weapons sound very similar when used but most have unique differences. Also, spell sound effects fall into a similar position. All the fire spells sound the same. All the ice spells sound the same. All the healing spells sound the same. No matter what level of spell you select, it always sounds the same, and people who read my reviews know that I hate that. Now for the good part. The musical score in FF2 is not to be missed. It's WONDERFUL! The FFII chocobo theme is my favorite second only to FFVIII's. Thinking about it makes me want to rush out, buy an SNES and buy a copy of the game off ebay for an absurd amount of money. Every tune fits the mood of where it's placed and every one is epic.
Gameplay (Genre-Wise) 10/10
This is, of course, what makes FF2 my favorite game of all time. The gameplay is splendid and the game is massive. You have three, count 'em, THREE world maps to wander about and explore here!
Moving is easy and the controls are simple. Huzzah. But that's a given with almost all top-down rpgs.
The meat of the game is the battling, which never seems to get old. Every character has a different class (sometimes characters even change classes mid-game) and each class comes with its own abilities and in some cases, mixes the classes of previous games (I says gameS because this is really the fourth installment in the series). For example, the Caller(FFII's take on the summoner) serves as both the summoner and the black mage in the game. Early on you start out with A dark knight(the main character) who can ONLY use the attack and item commands as well as a lancer, or to put it properly, a Dragoon (jumping guy) with attack, jump and item as his commands. This small collection of characters quickly expands into a library of people fighting for your cause, each with a unique skill set, making battles highly varied.
There are also a variety of vehicles in this game...In total, you will end up using SEVEN different vehicles to travel the world (although you can't really control the boat). Each has its own special features. For example, the hovercraft is the only vehicle that can cross shoals and land on sand, but it cannot cross the deep parts of the sea.
This game is great for people who enjoyed the get-abilities-by-level system used most commonly in the Dragon Warrior series, but in this game, under the case of spell casters, you get a new spell every 4th level almost(for the casters anyway), sometimes two, so you always have different types of magic to choose from. It's also less of a hassle compared to the AP systems of other installments in the FF series.
Hands down, wicked gameplay that almost never gets old.
Story (Genre-Wise) 10/10
Best story of all the Final Fantasies, in my honest opinion. It has twist and turns every which way and is rarely predictable. It's also hardly ever confusing. Some weird details pop up here and there but it's never heavily important. The character development is phenomenal. Every single person who ever has the fortune of joining your party changes for the better. In addition, the main character is fascinating. Right at the beginning, too, you'll notice that he's the first ever angsty hero in final fantasy history. It's like reading a bloody book, only it's interactive!
All in all, Final Fantasy II = Best storyline ever. In addition, the translation turned out nicely. The PS1 port in Final Fantasy Chronicles had a very rough translation that drastically affected the quality of dialogue.
Replayability (Genre-Wise) 5/10
It takes a lot to make a game with perfect replay value. Unfortunately, only a few meager side-bosses and tiny bonus quests pepper the game.
-If I'm not mistaken, this is the first FF with a romance story attached to it...maybe.
-One or two characters have annoying personalities (read: Edward a.k.a. the wussiest man alive)
-For Jesus freaks, there's plenty of religious reference. (Example: tower of Bab-Il, as in, the tower of babel from the bible)
-This game has a sort of weird multiplayer interface in which Player 2 controls some of the characters in battle. To be honest, I never really tried it.
Although Final Fantasy II for the SNES isn't the perfect game, it does a damn good job at trying. Hey, nobody's perfect. This game is MUST PLAY for any hardcore rpger.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/04/04
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