Review by shneepshnop

"Good? Yes. Classic? Yes. The best game ever made? Um, no."

Back in the day Final Fantasy III was my second favorite game. Upon playing it again I realized how wrong I was. FF III is by no means a bad game, but I assure you it isn't the pinnacle of RPG bliss. Final Fantasy III gets very tedious during certain stretches and the unorthodoxly high random battle rate makes my stomach uneasy and my counselor says that this is bad for my blood pressure. For those of you who worship this game and praise it as the greatest game ever made, I respect your opinion. I however, just don't happen to agree with it.

Story - 28/30
The story in Final Fantasy III is awesome but unfortunately a little shallow. If they developed the story more than I think it could have been one of the best stories ever in a video game. What I mean by this is that characters just briefly say 1 or 2 sentences about an important fact and that is all that is said about it. I wish they had explained parts of the story more or given me more details. The story is this: 1000 years ago the world was at war in the War of the Magi. This war was fought between humans and Esper's. Esper's are beasts that are capable of using incredible magical powers. Humans wanted to enslave the Esper's so that they could harness the power of the Esper's for themselves. There was so much destruction and death during this war that it technologically set humanity back 100's of years. After such avid prosecution Esper's are believed to be extinct. Since then humans have rediscovered some of their once lost, ancient techniques and machines and technology have resurfaced. One day an Esper is rumored to have been discovered in a remote cave, on the outskirts of Narshe, a coalmining town. An Emperor of the city of Vector sends a convoy of troops to investigate these rumors. Is the War of the Magi on the verge of repeating? You'll have to play to find out.

Without a doubt Final Fantasy III's best part are the characters. In a whole, they are the best group of characters ever in an RPG. There are so many characters in FF III that could be my favorite Final Fantasy characters. Whether its Terra the mysterious magic user, Locke the warmhearted thief, Edgar the Womanizing King of Figaro, Celes the beautiful Magic using knight of Vector who has turned against her masters, or even Shadow the cold blooded mysterious mercenary. I could honestly keep naming characters all night because they are all good. One of the problems is that the game fails to focus on just one of them, leaving an unclear main character. Another is by the end of the game most, if not all of the characters will remain undeveloped. One would think that a life changing event such as witnessing the end of the world would change a few people. Evidently not any of these characters.

All in all there are 16 characters, and not all of them must be recruited to finish the game. One of the best characters in this game is once again the main villain. Kefka is really an insane and evil piece of crap. The actions he does really make you start to hate him. By the end of the game I was finally looking forward to beating the snot out of him. Kefka is probably the 2nd best villain ever in an RPG.

Gameplay – 10/20
This is where Final Fantasy III plummets from its summit. Final Fantasy III's gameplay is awful. First off there are way too many random battles. Honestly every 4 steps you take you will be thrown, unwillingly, into a random battle. Sometimes you will finish a battle, walk 1 step then fight again, finish this fight, take another step, AND FIGHT AGAIN. For example running from the front of Narshe to the back without random encounters takes under 10 seconds. With random encounters it will take 10 minutes. This is so freaking frustrating. Hell I get mad at almost every game but this game pushed me to the limit. Final Fantasy VI has the worst random encounter rate in an RPG that I have ever played. It's worse than the original Breath of Fire, Lufia, and even the insanely frustrating Xenogears. Final Fantasy X had a terrible random encounter rate as well, but the battle system in that game was fun so it didn't matter. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Final Fantasy III.

Final Fantasy III has the most average fighting system ever in an RPG. You characters have HP's and MP's just like almost every other RPG. Final Fantasy III also uses an ATB system. You have 4 guys to fight with. They can attack, use magic, use a skill unique to them, and use items. There are a few extra qualities like defending, switching to the back row, but other than that there is nothing else. Final Fantasy III's battle system brings nothing new into the realm of RPG fighting. It just barely qualifies as an improved version of Final Fantasy II/IV. Also your ATB moves up painstakingly slow, even if you increase the battle speed. Enemies always seem to get 2 turns per turn you take, and seem to all be capable of killing your party in 1 hit. Battles are a chore in Final Fantasy III and after awhile you will have to take a break from playing this game because of this. The battles here take way too long as well.

Making one of their first appearances in Final Fantasy III are Aeons, I mean Summons, I mean GF's, err Esper's. Thankfully since FF III the summoning system and magic system has gotten a lot better with time, because if it hadn't we would all be shooting ourselves in the face. You get to summon the same Esper only once per battle, but it doesn't even really matter because the damage they do is so weak. For example: on a good day the Shiva Esper will do as much damage as a Ice spell that has been targeted on every enemy. Hmm should I use my Shiva Esper, which will do 212 damage to all the bad guys and cost me 28 MP's or will I simply cast an ice spell for 4 MP's and watch it do more damage. This leads me to another poor quality about Final Fantasy III. Each Esper comes with certain spells attached to it. When someone equips an Esper they can learn the spells that are attached to it. Each spell can be learned at a different rate. After every battle you gain AP. You learn a spell when the counter next to a spell reaches 100 AP. You gain 1-5 AP's per battle. Some spells learn AP at a faster rate than others. Unfortunately the elite spells take an eternity to learn. And the best spells in the game attack everyone on the screen including your party. You think, “great I just learned the Quake spell. It should do a lot of damage.” Well it does, but unfortunately it does a lot of damage to everyone on the screen including your party. What good is a spell that wipes out your whole party in addition to wiping out the enemies?

Overall the gameplay here is not so great and it needed to be rethought because its so bad it will turn people away from, an otherwise, awesome game.

Funfactor – 2/15
Honestly this game is not fun to play. The random encounters are at an all time high. They happen about every 2-3 steps. The fights themselves are also a chore. The enemies get more turns than you do and have attacks that will cheaply kill all of your characters. Another crappy quality involves running away from battles. Your characters run away one at a time. This means that when you choose to escape 3 of your 4 characters may run leaving one character behind who frantically tries to run by being bombarded with very damaging spells. This may not seem annoying at first but as the game progresses it really starts to get to you. I don't know how people can sit through this game without being frustrated.

Graphics – 12/15
Overall the graphics are pretty good. Everything is very detailed, whether it's the enemies, the backgrounds during a battle, or the backgrounds of a random town. They are all good, except for the characters. They are small, bunched up and poorly detailed. Plus the graphics on the map are inexcusable. People may disagree with me saying the graphics aren't all that, but I implore you to look at other SNES games like SOM 2, Mega Man X3, Terranigma, or even Chrono Trigger. Compare FF III's graphics with these and you will more than likely agree with me.

Music – 15/15
Final Fantasy III contains the best track of music ever recorded in a video game. This track is Terra's theme, which is played during the world map of the World of Balance. To me this track sums up everything this game is about. It makes you feel sad, cautious, unsure, excited, mysterious, and even leaves you to believe that even despite all these negative characteristics there is still hope for the inhabitants of Final Fantasy III. Yes I feel all those feelings just because of some midi being played during a game that was made a little under 10 years ago. The other tracks in the game are good. They actually have made a battle/boss theme that I enjoy listening too. Plus the main villain has some pretty cool music as well. Not to mention that each character in the game gets their own music. Pretty cool, eh?

Controls – 5/5
I don't really care about the controls in an RPG. As long as up isn't down and right isn't left it is good enough for me.

Replayability/Lastability (Bonus) – 3/5
There are a lot of optional characters and misc. side quests. Plus this game is a classic and you will probably want to play it later down the line.

Overall – 75/80
Final Fantasy III used to be my second favorite game. Now since I have expanded my gaming library to consist of other RPG's other than those in the Final Fantasy series it is not. It is still one of my top 10 favorites and is worth a play through. Especially if you are in the mood for a classic.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/03/04

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