Review by LeoLion0818

"This is the most revolutionary Final Fantasy game of its time; but it still leaves something to be desired."

Final Fantasy III broke all of the typical cliches of its precursors. We no longer have a class system; everybody is essentially equal on FF3. Everyone has very similar stats, rather than having a few people excel in physical strength while other are meant for their magical abilities. Now everybody can use magic, a first in the Final Fantasy universe. Although equipment still varies from character to character there are universal armaments; plus every character can equip their fair share of heavy weapons and light weapons. On FF3, the characters are much prominent throughout the story than in previous FF games. Character development is extraordinary, every event that the characters go through bleeds into the story perfectly; and they portray real human emotions through their actions and behaviors. Even the story is magnificent… at first. We're introduced to a society that has been ravaged by a war, this war set human civilization back 1,000 years; but now there are those who are trying to repeat the war so that they can gain power and control over the planet. Once you reach the game's halfway point (you'll know it once you get there) the action slows down extraordinarily as you spend the remainder of the game regrouping and gaining the necessary abilities to take down the empire. This game is not the middle-aged world filled with castles, villages, knights, legends and other such things that the first two FF games introduced us to. Now we're in a society of machines, empires, underground resistance movements, technology, cities, and eventually an intense mess of a situation. Our heroes are nothing more than ordinary people, only three of them were born with the gift of magic; everybody else has their own unique skills, but they can acquire the ability to learn and use magic as you progress through the game.

Story: 7/10
It's hard to truly measure the story of FF3 because it starts off very strong but deteriorates into a fragment of what it could be halfway through the journey. The biggest reason for this being that the climax takes place way too early in the game; but once they got there they realized that the game was too short so they had to double it in length to appease the many people who will play this. It starts off very interesting; the bad guys searching for what will add to their power and they acquire it by manipulating an innocent soul, then the person snaps out of it and joins the returners who are opposed to the empire. Every event, no matter how small, directs the game to the overall goal that we're here to accomplish (which is what a good RPG should do). All of the events bleed into one another, all of the small little tid-bits clash into one massive adventure that will be remembered throughout the times. Unfortunately, Squaresoft couldn't keep up with themselves when writing the story; or they just didn't know how to advance it anymore, so once you get halfway through the story just dies. Although the story is still present at this point the only purpose it serves is to tie up all of the loose ends that couldn't be solved in the first half of the game. Other than finishing up those small, scattered events that remain there's nothing left to do but find all of your remaining party members, and hunt for Espers to increase your strength and magic supplement. You have no sense of direction by this time; you're really just expected to revisit every location and hope that you get something out of it, rarely will somebody tell you where to go next (if you're lucky a townsperson will hint you at something significant going on somewhere in the world, even though it may be completely irrelevant to what you're doing at that moment.)

Characters: 10/10
Okay, FF3 has some very strong characters. The emotions portrayed by the heroes and villains are both realistic as well as captivating. FF3 is a dramatic tale dealing with many complex emotions such as: Love, Greed, Betrayal, Vengeance, Despair, and Loyalty; all of which are realistically captured through various interactions. Some people may see the characters as being too whiny or emotional; but in reality this is how people really are, especially during times of war (which is when this game takes place). There is much longing in the second half of the game as everybody does their best to try and fix the world; whereas the world's denizens are all aimlessly wandering around suffering through hopelessness and despair. FF3 is a world filled with very three dimensional characters all doing their best to accomplish their personal goals in life.

Battle System: 10/10
Your characters are no longer limited to performing certain actions in battle and having certain strengths and weaknesses as was the case in previous FF games. Now everybody starts on the same scale and they develop evenly over the course of the game. Everybody can learn every magic spell in the game and they each have their own unique ability which is equal in power to another character's unique ability. Once you gain control of Espers you can even guide your characters through their own path by raising certain stats as they level up (An esper may increase a character's Magical Power by 2 once they level up). You have full customization of your characters, and nobody is really any better than anybody else. You are allowed four group members to participate in battles and you're not stuck with a main character who's there for every single battle you participate in. Despite the equality of the battle system there is still a major level of strategy involved. It's about using your character's magic spells to set up the next character or you could have two or more characters using their best spells to take down a powerful foe. It's also about using the right weapons and armor. This game introduces a whole slew of different monsters for your group to deal with; but they're nothing with the right weapons and armor equipped.

Difficulty: 10/10
Any RPG game is just as difficult as you want it to be. If you breeze through the game on your first try then beat it at lower levels. If you struggled through your first game then try leveling up some more. If you breeze through the game at low levels then try adding a challenge such as: Solo character, Initial equipment, Beat within X time or before x number of steps. Try it without magic, try it by only using magic; the possibilities are truly endless here. If you're going to play the game normally though (just the right level to scathe by, no additional challenges, etc.) then this game provides a fairly tough challenge towards the end. Actually, throughout the whole game you'll see a major challenge; it's not easy to walk out of certain dungeons or certain bosses alive and intact, but it can be done. With a little bit of time put into it this could be the easiest game that you'll ever play or if you just want to get through it you'll find a decent challenge waiting for you.

Level Complexity: 8/10
FF3 has some difficult dungeons to navigate through, however, they're not difficult enough to warrant decent exploration. Most of the treasure chests are comfortably along the main path (in some cases a godsend, but in others pointless). There's really no reason to stray from the main path other than fighting additional battles to level up. With that being said, even a lot of the dungeons are still relatively easy to navigate through as there are never many twists and turns (with some exceptions). Don't expect to spend more than a couple of hours exploring any dungeon in this game; at least half of them only take minutes.

Music: 8/10
FF6 has a wonderful soundtrack which fills your ears with many songs of anger, danger, despair, hopelessness, regal life, calmness, joy, and many other emotions that are conveyed wonderfully. FF3 still uses the same music for every town and the same song for every cavern that you enter which makes some of the songs get a little old.

Sound: 4/10
This game has very little sound and whatever it does have it lacks, greatly. Kefka's laugther sounds like a woman screaming, explosions are just loud ambient noises synthesized together, a lot of the magic spells just sound plain funky. FF3 tried to have sound, but even for its time there wasn't much to it.

Graphics: 10/10
Okay, for 1994 these are awesome graphics. There are very intricate details put into the grass and stone walkways. All of the houses are amazingly detailed and very realistic looking, except for the fact that they all look exactly the same with a different shape and furnature arrangement. For once the people are a decent height and you can tell what kind of a person you're talking to just by looking at them. In battles you can see the different weapons that your characters wield as they fly across the stage in a single stroke. Spells like Fire and Ice look very realistic (Ice 2 is even transparent!) There's a location where it rains all of the time and a stage where it's perpetually nighttime and it's shown on screen as you play the game.

Controls: 10/10
It's very hard to have bad controls for an RPG.

Gameplay: 7/10
This game starts off fairy simple with straightforward dungeons and linear gameplay, but once you reach the second half of the game things become more complex. FF3 goes from simple to challenging almost immediately. At first your following the path that the game has laid out for you: doing a mission or two here, going to rest over there, but once you reach a certain point the path becomes intertwined and distorted and there's never a clear destination. You wind up just randomly searching at places that you happen to hear about until you find someone or something. Actually there's a lot of the game that's entirely optional; you could either get the three necessary characters and fight the final boss or you could regroup all of your allies, collect more gear and espers, then fight the final boss; but it's really up to you. This allows very open-ended gameplay at the end leaving multiple endings open to the player.

Fun Factor: 8/10
FF3 is a fun game, even when you're deciding where to go next there's always a surprise waiting for you. FF3 is full of plot twists and powerful monsters that will leave you guessing and clinging onto dear life until the very end. Shopping is less of a hassle because instead of just upgrading equipment constantly the shops offer whole new sleus of equipment every now and then allowing the player to experiment more and more. The battles are relatively complex and challenging, but still entertaining. There are some storyline battles that are fun to participate in or watch. Aside from battles and shopping there's plenty of fun outside of the main story.

Overall Score: 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/16/08

Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 10/20/94)

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