No. 4 – Final Fantasy IV

I haven’t played Final Fantasy IV for a long time but it was always one of my favourites. I was too young for the original release on the SNES, but I did find it on for the PlayStation as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology containing the fourth and fifth numbered titles.
I remember the game well. Other games at the time, and while you can call the graphics and sprites of FFIVclassic or retro, they weren’t up to par with other games at the time. That has never been a problem for me – if a game looks great, then that’s an added bonus but it’s not the main thing I look for. Despite this, it is recognisably Final Fantasy, and that was enough for me.
The music in FFIV is probably some of my favourite scores from any game in the series. While there isn’t the same clarity as recent releases, it does still draw quite a lot of emotion and it matches up with the story perfectly. The music has been reworked multiple times over the years as new versions of this game are released – and that’s got to give you an indication of the popularity and how good this game actually is.
No? Well, keep reading.
FFIV is not the most popular or well-known game of the series, but for many people, it offered a first in many aspects of what we consider to be a staple or classic feature of RPG’s. It was released in a different order to other games in the series which had an impact on this, but there are a range of characters to choose from with set job classes, and it brought in more tactical thinking.
The story – which I could write over 3000 words on, so I won’t – is also fantastic. I’ll go so far and say it is one of the better narratives of every Final Fantasy title. It brought the characters to life with very complex issues that still hold up today, but were even more relevant at the original time of release. Play the game and do some research; you’ll see what I mean. The depth and character development are brilliant even by today’s standards, and there is excellent replay value in this title.
The only big downside to the game was the length. Give the release date of the title, I’m not surprised and it was actually quite long back then, but there’s more to the story than what we see in the game, I’m sure and I’d love a version that lasts as long as a current title does.

What’s new?

An updated version of FFIV was released for the Nintendo DS and later for mobile platforms that took advantage of more powerful systems and graphics capabilities to bring this game to life. That is the biggest change of all, how it looked, and it was worth it. Again, compare it to nextgen capabilities, or even late PS3 or Xbox 360 titles, and you would never be fooled at all, of course, but it is a massive improvement and brings a lot more charm and life to the game.
With the number of characters that come and go, one update was being able to take the abilities of these characters and give them to permanent ones. While this is more fun, it does make the game easier – and it wasn’t the hardest game to begin with – but you can get some pretty good abilities and become unstoppable although new difficulty settings were included for more of a challenge. Finally, voice acting was included but, much like it is with many English versions of this series, it was disappointing, this time even more so, with the acting detracting from the dialogue and story of the game. Only the music remains the saving grace in these situations.
If you see it for a handheld or mobile device you own, or find it on the PlayStation Network – buy it right there! You won’t want to miss out on this fantastic game, whether it’s the original classic or the updated version. Trust me on this.

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