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marysonnie's Final Fantasy IV Game Review

Final Fantasy IV game Review

Story & Playability

Final Fantasy IV, despite being over fifteen years old, is a very fondly remembered title for a lot of reasons. More of a precursor to the modern Final Fantasy series than even Final Fantasy VII, it introduced a lot of very familiar and precious themes. It centers on Cecil, a Dark Knight of Baron struggling to fulfill the orders of his king, whose former kindness is turning into madness. The unwitting (and unwilling) harbinger to the destruction of a village, Cecil soon finds himself on the run from his own kingdom. His best friend Kain is nowhere to be found in the wake of the destruction and he quickly finds himself facing some pretty steep odds and fantastic situations.

The wide variety of characters are really wonderful, withstanding the test of time and getting lovelier with each incarnation of the game (Super Nintendo, Playstation, Gameboy Advance, and Nintendo DS). There are a total of twelve playable characters, but the game zeroes in on five: Cecil Harvey, Kain Highwind, Rosa Farrell, Rydia of Mist, and Edge (Prince Edward Geraldine).

Cecil makes the journey from Dark Knight to Paladin after facing the trials of Mount Ordeals. Kain is true to his biblical namesake, being tempted by power and tormented by his betrayals. Rosa is a somewhat typical damsel in distress, but makes up for it by being exceptionally sweet (with an irreplaceable skill set!) and forgiving. Rydia of Mist has to cope with Cecil being both the cause of her grief as well as her savior and protector. And Edge, a hotshot ninja is also saddled with the responsibility of his kingdom after his parents' murder boldly seeks revenge even though his death would mean chaos for his people.

While the story isn't necessarily revolutionary, it is still very good. A lot of emotions are packed into its dated graphics, the kind of stuff not often found in some newer titles. While the plot is epic in the typical Final Fantasy manner, it's truly character driven and all are sympathetic. Cecil struggles with his identity, Rosa strives to keep her, Cecil, and Kain the best friends they used to be as children, Kain lusts after Rosa even as he knows she's his best friend's girl, Rydia tries to find her place among humans as the last summoner alive, and Edge can't accept that the fiend who murdered his family is also an honorable warrior.

Rating: 8

Graphics

Over the years, Square has turned out some incredible art for this title. Its latest incarnation, a cellphone-only sequel called Final Fantasy IV: The After, the redone character designs simply defy words. The newest wave of art is clearly for the fans, as the cellphone graphics are unsophisticated.

Rydia and Rosa are very beautiful, the personification of Yoshitaka Amano's whimsical artwork. Long, flowing hair, layers of gauzy fabric and elegantly drapery, they're endlessly indulgent and wonderful to look at. As a Dark Knight Cecil is incredibly imposing; not even his face can be seen through his helmet, while as a Paladin, he's a radiant warrior of light with pale armor and an earnest face. Kain is the consummate Dragoon, his classic helmet very dapper and striking. Edge is designed in the same elaborate vein as Rydia and Rosa, a ninja draped in luxurious printed silks and vibrant colors.

Considering when the game was first made, the location designs are very elaborate. The dungeons are huge (especially that last one) and the challenges have aged well. Some of the character designs are a little redundant, but given the capabilities of the system, they're gorgeously rendered. I've included screens from the DS version because they're the easiest to digest in the small format provided in this review.

Rating: 9

Sound

When it first came out, the sound capabilities for Nintendo were not terribly advanced. The compositions themselves, though, are very memorable, especially the battle music. It's simply excellent and the sound effects are a nice touch. They complement the game's mood and earnestness, which is one of many reasons why this title is so cherished. Care was taken across the board to make this game revolutionary and despite the limitations, Uematsu's efforts were well-received. This game also began the trend of Final Fantasy piano albums.

The Nintendo DS version also includes voice acting as well as a new vocal version of "Theme of Love." Love is a huge motivating factor for Cecil's character (his love for Rosa and hers for him is already established at the beginning of the game) and "Theme of Love" fits their scenes together really well.

Since it's worth mentioning in regards to the script, the infamous phrase "you spoony bard!" is uttered in this game by a character named Tellah, who's more than a little angry at a minstrel for seducing his daughter away from him.

Rating: 7

Fun

Final Fantasy is a truly enjoyable challenge. It's HARD. Random battles happen quite frequently even for Final Fantasy standards and it's not all that easy to win. Rydia starts out with thirty hit points, for crying out loud. Leveling grinding is an absolute must, as the final dungeon is ridiculously challenging. There are also some notoriously rare items in this game that even hours of playing can't get you, something quite frustrating to fanatics such as myself.

While the battle system for Playstation isn't all that deep, you can change equipment during battle (very handy) and even carry more than ninety nine of an item by splitting the columns up into varying amounts. New skills come along with levels and every character has a very important role (no dead weight). Your party can have up to five characters, but your enemies can show up in groups of up to six. By equipping certain items in either the right or left hands, you can either increase or diminish your attack by several points. Some characters can equip more than one weapon, most notably Rydia (whips).

The script presented in the Playstation version restores some of the content edited out of the earlier Nintendo version. There are some very funny moments, such as Tellah's "spoony bard" line and the dancing woman who sheds the majority of her clothes for Cecil and wiggles to a delightfully cheesy tune. There's enough attention to detail throughout to keep up a player's interest.

I think Final Fantasy IV achieved everything it set out to do. By introducing the ATB system it revived the series and rocked the genre. Considered by some to be the first plot-driven RPG, its memorable storyline and cherished characters are still fondly remembered after over half a dozen subsequent Final Fantasy titles. I'd recommend it to any Final Fantasy fan as a history lesson. While it's not an easy play, it's incredibly rewarding and fun, offering the kind of challenge not often found in recent RPGs.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

8.00 (good)

Reviewed by marysonnie, Dec 16, 2008

Comments

  1. BossMac Dec 17, 2008

    Very solid review. Nice work.

    I like the way you presented your remarks towards the game while providing details about the game itself without sounding like a game commercial. :) I think your review achieved everything it set out to do (see what I did there X-P).

  2. davidh01 Dec 18, 2008

    Well done. I like this review. You've given a very balanced and objective report without introducing any spoilers or going into a rant/rave. You have captured my interest in the title, and while it is unlikely that I will actually play it - you've managed to get me to think seriously about what it offers. Keep it up.

  3. Takeru623 Dec 20, 2008

    Nice review.
    This game was difficult, it took me forever to clear the battle where you switch to paladin.

  4. taluwa77 Dec 20, 2008

    pfftt... i like final fantasyxD

  5. ling2010 Banned Member Jan 10, 2009

    Thanks for letting me know, now I just might watch it!

  6. Kryuzei Jan 15, 2009

    I mainly agreed with this review. Indeed, this game is challenging and was a great accomplishment from SE.

  7. yukirina Jan 15, 2009

    thanks soo much!

  8. xx-ataraxia Jan 15, 2009

    Truly a gem to be treasured. <3 That was an excellent review and.. somehow makes me appreciate the game even more. xD

    And yes, I'm soooooo stuck on the last dungeon. >.> 6 mages = instant death for me.

  9. renshou1090 Jan 21, 2009

    This reviews reminds me of the dragoon series somehow. Hmnmnm.

  10. Onikyou Banned Member Feb 08, 2009

    No matter how much I like this game, I always fail at the Dark Imp >.<

    Your review is really well written, thank you :)

  11. kfire Feb 11, 2009

    I remember when i played ff series,
    i began with ffIV =P

  12. tsuyoshi7171 Feb 21, 2009

    es muy bueno

  13. cloudstrifekilledme Feb 23, 2009

    hehe, this game would always be entertaining of any way any time xP!

  14. beryl0402 Mar 17, 2009

    thanks for sharing! i like the graphics

  15. Ishikawa91 Mar 22, 2009

    Wow nicely done. Thanks for this review!

  16. ryanwho Mar 29, 2009

    What is the deal with this thing's sequel? Maybe Im remembering the ending wrong but it didn't scream continuation.

  17. chumbariwap123 Apr 21, 2009

    for gamers that are dedicated patience givers, this game is fit for them

  18. Kaji666 May 03, 2009

    I really liked IV's difficulty level. I am usually able to just breeze by and beat random encounters with ease but for some reason in IV they were a bit harder and it made it a lot more fun.

  19. pappo1 Jun 09, 2009

    great job, is a very good game

  20. pmgbapm Jun 23, 2009

    I play it on my computer(ps2 emulator)

  21. Fanatik007 Jul 11, 2009

    I love this anime, thanks for review

  22. lordryo Jul 21, 2009

    Great review, this was a good game!

  23. Fanatik007 Jul 30, 2009

    awesome review

  24. yukirina Aug 06, 2009

    good job!nice review

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