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LightFykki's Final Fantasy Game Review

Final Fantasy game Review

Final Fantasy Franchise.

Story & Playability

“It all began here… Meant to be the last game by company Square Soft, they put all their efforts in their last attack and name this game ‘Final Fantasy’. And it truly is, but what didn’t they know is that this game will rise in becoming one of the most popular and the biggest video game series to date!”

Year: 1987

Company: Square Soft

Game genre: RPG

Platform: NES, famicom, Super famicom, Wonderswan, PSX, GBA, PSP


This is how the story has started. It all began with crystals and with crystals it will end. Few of you actually do remember it, more of you probably don’t even know what it was all about. One thing remains though and that is that even today this is a true classic.

Since this game came out on different systems and had different remakes and ports, I will mostly talk about the original one but also mention the changes with the other ones. The story of course stays true and the same with each remake.

Plot and the world:

The story actually follows four light warriors hunting their dreams. They emerged completely alone in one kingdom, with no future or past, seeing what they have found in their present. And what that is, is what you will soon find out. You begin with exploring one kingdom and town there finding out that the princess was kidnapped and that is up to you four warriors to free her from the rouge knight. Sounds familiar? Well of course, this is the most used plot in any video game and especially older ones. Nothing new or fascinating here, but there are some differences. And they do come real soon, because for it’s time this game had twists. Yes, after freeing the princess from the first dungeon.
Later you find out that the knight is actually alive and that he has returned by using his power to keep the four fiends in control the world and time. And your journey will continue by exploring many lands, gaining access to many places and even different ways of traveling, like with ships, airships and so on.
At the end there is a surprise which will come familiar to everyone who has watched Laputa Castle in the sky. That Easter egg is for you to find out.

For the year that this game came out, it was the first and only game that had feature something like this. Sure it is still nothing fancy today and to tell you the truth you might not even be surprised by the story. But just try to get back to that time, try to feel the same way like you are from that year of when the game has come out. You will soon notice what kind of feeling is that.
And yes, it is old, but classic as well. This is an example on how the games evolved from that time and what made RPG games look unique to all others.

Characters:
Now here is an interesting thing, so let me explain. Since this is an old game, back then it was not really important on who your main characters are and what is their back story. This game takes it a step forward by adding their connection to the light warriors and legends. Although you won’t actually know anything else and slowly through the game you will find out who the light warriors actually are, it still is a good effect and lives up to its name. They are light and warriors… What do you expect? The next game will change this though and will add more to personas of the characters, not only the main ones but other story characters as well.

Speaking about warriors, here comes an interesting part. The game lets you choose different classes and jobs for your party. This tradition is changed and carried on by some other Final Fantasy games and this was the first one that has carried on with it.
They are: warrior, thief, white mage, black mage, red mage, monk
Later on through the game you can the option to upgrade your classes which adds to more abilities and powers.

From the main characters, all the others play simple NPC. Nothing too special, but you will find some characters to have some aspect to the story and really each town or place in this game holds something more to that. Even the villains and bosses have something, but for when this game came out, it is on the minimal level, so don’t expect too much.

Overall, the story is nice and classic, but already seen. Characters don’t have back or side stories, NPCs never make second appearances and villains are just cheesy in their own way. Still they play out well and great for this and they are some characters and some parts of the story that will make you on keeping playing this just to see what will happen next and how everything is connected.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in this one game is out of every league. First you have to know this. Every Final Fantasy is similar, but still every is different in terms of the gameplay battle mechanics.
And this was the game that set up the rules for most Japanese RPGs. Although Dragon Quest did it one year before, this was the game that upgraded it.

Battles are turn based, meaning that you have to carefully plan your every strategy before you advance. That also means that you have to build up levels by gaining exp. and also to gain gold by defeating enemies. Enemies come randomly as you walk by, tradition that has been hold for many games up to the modern era.
That can be annoying, especially over the time, but if nothing this game at least keeps some sense in the number of steps you have to take. Still don’t say that I have not warn you if you get crazy by trying to heal up and advanced somewhere in dungeon where like one million enemies are bullying you and driving you to the ledge. It is hard…. Oh yes, believe me, this game is hard, especially the bosses and the original NES or famicom version where it had this tricky magical system. There you don’t have MP to spend on your magic, but instead you gain classes and number of tries you can use certain type of magic. Later, thankfully, in the GBA version of the game that was changed to standard MP, but still the original mechanics were kept in all other ports.

Traveling is mostly done on a big map, but you won’t only travel by foot, but also by air and sea.
Aside from battles you will visit many towns, castles, talk to people, some might be more annoying than useful, others might actually say something smart. There you will also find many secrets and interesting things, so it is always nice to just go inside a town and relax. On your way out, better to stop at a shop and get several potions or some nice armor.

You will enjoy in this type of gameplay, but only for certain number of hours. Later all that gridding might become too much for some, but if nothing, at least the combination of the story and advancement will keep you on playing and the wish to see new spells and abilities in which you will triumph over the hordes of enemies.

Many new sequels of Final Fantasy have better and more interesting systems, but if you want to see where it all began and if you have patience to play through it, then go and try it out.

Pros: classic story, some nice twists and different choices by your characters, different and advanced gameplay for its time
Cons: might be already seen and boring to some, characters with no back story and feelings

Rating: 7

Graphics

Aside from the story, the next step is the graphics. And wow, are they something… Now this is where it becomes interesting, because there are several ports and I am going to talk about three of them, including the main one of course and explain all the differences there. Ready? Then let us being!

NES or famicom version:

This version is the original one. Being original you probably do expect that it is bad, right? Well I hate to disappoint you, but yes, you are right. For today’s standards, I think that no one could look at this anymore, it is just above any kind of level…
But that’s for today’s hardcore gamers. As for the time this came out, it was something that the world has not seen in the gaming industry. I will be honest, even today it is possible to play the original version. Sure, the battles don’t have the true background, everything looks like it is placed on a chess system and the world is moody and unmotivated. But aside from that, it still keeps with its charm.
The characters do make some nice animations while attacking and while some other ones (like using Fire1 and Fire3) may seem not so different, at least you will see the main difference in the number of damage that they are dealing and with a little bit of imagination, you will get to maybe even enjoy it.
It is classic, but outdated. Only play if you are interesting to see how the original version looked.

MSX:

An almost impossible version to find these days on original copy and it is considered the holy grail of Final Fantasy collection, so I won’t talk much about this one. This one has a little bit upgraded graphics over the original famicom version and also a little bit smoother and more colored textures. Overall it is pretty much the same.

Play station, wonderswan and GBA:

This is the version that I am talking about! If you want to go and play first Final Fantasy, then this is the one that you should go for. It has much more improved graphics ranging in all terms, from resolution, to textures, refreshing and animations (especially the battle ones), while still keeping the same classic 2D strife. It is very nicely done and the play station version even includes a CG opening just for kicks. To some it still may look outdated, but if you want to play it, this is the version in terms of graphics that I recommend.
Also not to be confused, these three versions (PS, WS and GBA) were pretty much more or less the same looking, just with some small minor changes.

PSP:
The latest version and the best of them all. Nothing more needed to say here than it still keeps its style, by increasing textures, resolution and smoothness over the last versions before that. In terms of graphics, the most advanced out that has yet come out, but we still wait for 3D remake of this game, although in my opinion, maybe this game was meant to remain 2D and just keep on upgrading it in that way.

Pros: classic and interesting graphics, later versions actually can impress sometimes
Cons: outdated and boring for the eyes, especially the first versions

Rating: 7

Sound

The soundtrack is where this game really kicks out of the classics and can that even live up to today’s standards. Okay, maybe it can’t, but it still is something that you will enjoy while playing this game.

There are two main versions that I will talk about, the original one and the play station one.

Original OST version:

This version is a lot more lower and the sound effects are all done in MIDI format, meaning that you will hear a lot of old classic gaming style music. But not to be confused, for its time, games almost haven’t even paid the attention towards the soundtrack, but this game, it definitely has.
There are many variations and many famous ones, including the all time classic Final Fantasy theme song that was even used in all other games of this series (of course with better and more advanced version of it). Other than those include the very famous Matoya’s cave theme and Chaos theme (the one that plays during the last dungeon).

When this game came out voice acting didn’t exist, so nothing to say about that. Sound effects did however and this one made them pretty good, though they can get pretty repetitive listening over and over again.

Buzzing sound and annoying music that leaps over and over is, even though still classic and good, outdated and can get boring after a while. That’s why…..

Play station version:

That’s why they had to make a new one and they included it in this version of the game. Composed by the most famous Nobuo Uematsu, this is the strongest improvement that this game has gone through.
Everything is done and mixed in a new style, by even adding some new and altered songs. To new gamers this means a huge plus and it offers a huge collection of music, from just fast paced to really relaxing ones.

Pros: huge improvements in the later version
Cons: degraded and annoying style in the original version

Rating: 7

Fun

By all means, this is a really fun and entertaining game. No matter what I said and even all those bad things, it still contains the classic style that games had back then.
It will not be fun and interesting game to play, but it will also bring back many memories from your childhood. Nostalgia… This game is full of it. From all that music, to many references, it will keep you in staying in front of it and enjoying every moment that it has to offer.

To some others, it might be just a cold and bad looking game that they will leave after ten minutes of playing. Don’t misjudge this game. That is the main rule. This game can become quite addicting if played under the certain rules and situation.
If you are willing to try that, then by all means go for the play station version, cuddle yourself in a nice sofa and dive into the land of crystals and fantasy. Or maybe you can just clear the dust out from your old NES system, be lucky enough to find a cheap copy and enjoy this game in its original style, if you are a hardcore RPG gamer like that.
Whatever you pick, you will not be too disappointed. You might be, but it all depends on how you take. And as I said, if you are willing to dive into this fantasy, then the same game will backfire at you and give you the moments of joy.

The world, characters, enemies and story, everything is set like an old fable and it should be respected in that way. The roots of Final Fantasy started here… Are you ready to actually dive in them and try to uncover the true secrets?
If you are willingly enough and even playing the handheld versions, then expect to move a step forward and uncover even more of this world and the truth that it holds with many added side quests and more thrilling main story. All I can say is, enjoy~!

Pros: you will either really like it…
Cons: or because of the classic and old school style, quickly grow tired of it

(NOTE: the final ratings are based by combining the impressions of all ports)

Final verdict:
Graphics: 7/10 – outdated, but still classic in their own way
Sound and effects: 7/10 – one of the poorest made, but most memorable Final Fantasy OSTs
Gameplay: 7/10 – old school RPG game that will only be liked by the most hardcore gamers
Story and presentation: 8/10 – story is already seen, but it makes up for its presentation
Overall: 7.5/10 – a game for old school and classic gamers. If you are one of those, definitely add up one of two marks up.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.33 (above average)

Reviewed by LightFykki, Oct 10, 2011

Comments

  1. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Oct 10, 2011

    I have to say you've significantly grown in terms of review writing! Not only is this well done, but it's incredibly well structured too. You did a great job of presenting a detailed amount of information, as well as providing a bit of pros and cons for each section for those that look at reviews as TL;DR.

    Honestly speaking, you've really come a long way with review writing in such a short time, it's absolutely fantastic! By far your best review yet!

  2. angelxxuan Elite Member Oct 11, 2011

    I'm so with cb on this one. outstanding review this go around, I have seen you grow/mature with each review you write, nicely done. some of the FF games were fun but to break it down this far back very well done. I also liked how you gave a quick/brief history at the beginning of the review to catch people up to speed. I've been able to encounter all of the FF games, when they started/allowed talking was quite radical :D can't wait to encounter you next review !

  3. z827 Oct 11, 2011

    Now THIS is a top-notch review.

    Seriously though , this review is extremely detailed and the graphics sector had been quite a surprise and the review as a whole is extremely organized and clean.
    The review as a whole was quite a read and bears great resemblance to gaming site's official reviews and blog reviews.
    The structure and flow of the review is easy to follow and honestly put - this review had given me one of the strongest impressions - even more so than the reviews in official gaming sites.

    Thus , I'd say this - your far better than me D:

  4. JCzala Oct 13, 2011

    A very well-written game review. You've explored each pros and cons and explained them diligently. This is almost like reading one of those official game reviews in a magazine. The review gives the reader a good impression, and it's obvious that you know what you're talking about. You've played the game, gave us a full insight about it, and you told us how you felt throughout the entirety. I felt the connection you have for this FF classic. I applaud you for your writing skills here.

    Final Fantasy I is truly a classic and best not to be forgotten. It's what jumpstarted the whole FF series. Yes, it does pale in comparison to the newer and flashier games of today, but the first one holds a special place in gamers' hearts.

    I've actually played FFI a bunch of time in the GBA version. I've also recently started on the PSP version as well.

  5. SnickerdoodleNinja Moderator Oct 17, 2011

    Whew, awesome job! I've never played the original FF (earliest I've played is 4) but this review makes me want to play the copy I have for the PSP sometime. As for the review, you did a very impressive job of covering the game's strong points as a classic while also looking at it's modern appeal in a very balanced and fair way. It was also very helpful to have the breakdown of systems to know about each version. Again, great job and I can't wait to see what you write next! :)

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