Friday, January 12, 2007
Final Fantasy IV Advance review
There is a reason why Final Fantasy IV is on my Top 100 games of all time as of November 2006. It is the story. This arguably was the first 'proper' Final Fantasy game that mixes epic storyline laced with (the then) excellent gameplay. So it is all good and proper for us when Square-Enix decided to port the game over to the GBA, putting an end to the excuse to playing an illegal ROM on a dodgy SNES emulator.
The plot is classic FF. Bad guy plots to take over the world by stealing crystals and the hero saves the day. However FF IV also introduced more than just a great plot (with twists). It introduced developed characters. Looking back, the development between the characters, particularly Cecil Harvey, the dark knight of Baron, and Dragoon Kain Highwind, his childhood friend, was what made me love this game so much.
Then there is the relationship between Cecil and Rosa. The two twin sages Parom and Porom provides slight comic relief, during when the plot may seem to be heating up. Yes, so many interesting characters to write about. There is also Edward, the cowardly prince who hides himself every couple of turns, and Tellah, the 60 year old Sage, hell bent on exacting revenge.
Another great thing about FF IV is the ability for the player to take control a vast number of playable characters, as in by having them in your party. It does make levelling-up a chore, where players need to turn to serious grinding whenever a new character replaces a dismissed one.
The graphics are based on the WonderSwan port. It looks nice - marginally better than the original SNES version, though still seriously outdated (God knows that they should make a FF III DS style remake, or at least something on par with The Minish Cap or Golden Sun). But man am I glad to see those deformed sprites. Lags do happen during battle sequences where 4 or 5 party fights a larger group of enemies. It isn't really a problem, but can get annoying when navigating the 'Active Battle System' menu. I also didn't like the typefaces used. It is annoying having to wear glasses to play this, but there you go.
Best Final Fantasy? Not really (that would go to VI, and maybe XII if the reviews are indicating), but a close one. Definitely better than VII though. If you haven't yet experience the depth which was IV now is your chance.
Buy now from Play-Asia or Amazon UK