Final Fantasy 4
Title: Final Fantasy 2/4j
Genre: Traditional RPG
Final Fantasy 4 was the first SNES Final Fantasy, and the second Final Fantasy to be released stateside. It is one of the games that many hardcore gamers cite when referring to the golden age of RPG's, and one of the reasons why they consider Playstation RPG's inferior. Final Fantasy 4 is definately a game worth playing, especially now that the hardtype version is available on Final Fantasy Chronicles for the PSX, and no one can call himself a hardcore console RPG fan without playing it.
Final Fantasy is a series known for its plotlines, and Final Fantasy 4's is pretty good for its time. Although it is the save the world from impending doom scenario, most games before it shared the save the princess plot. Final Fantasy 4 is perhaps best remembered for its crystals, which disappeared after this game. The biggest problem with this game is the death scenes. While Squaresoft death scenes are usually powerful and emotion-infused (think Celes and Aeris, and don't flame me, I know Celes didn't die, but it was a well-done scene), death in Final Fantasy 4 is overdone, fake, and unemotional. Dialogue is also pretty bad, even laughable at times, with winners like "You spoony bard!"
Characters are a fairly strong point for Final Fantasy 4. Cecil is a very complex character who is developed well, with the normal Squaresoft main character quality of being more than meets the eye. Kain is also loveable, though not as complex as Cecil, he is believable and real. Rydia is the last character who stands out, as she develops throughout the game and plays a pivotal role. The rest of the characters are less interesting and not as developed, but each of them still has their moment in the sun. Unfortunately, although Golbez, the secondary villian, is a decent character, the main villian seems to come out of nowhere.
Graphically, Final Fantasy 4 is good, but only for it's time. It lacks the complexity of art of later SNES games like Final Fantasy 3/6j and Bahamut Lagoon, but the backgrounds are well drawn and the enemies are impressive. During battle, different sprites are used than for outside of battle, and the in battle sprites also look very good.
Final Fantasy 4's music is good, with a standout boss theme and a great final battle song to get the gamer's adrenaline pumping. Although there are no standout songs, there's nothing overly terrible either, and most of the music is either decent or good.
Gameplay in Final Fantasy 4 is excellent. Although there's no way to customize your characters like in later Final Fantasies, each character has a certain class and set abilities and magic. The game is pretty difficult, and the gamer will find himself needing to level up a lot. This definately increases the length and difficulty of the game, and while casual gamers will be turned off, hardcore gamers will love every minute of this game. The biggest problem is it's pretty linear. For the most part, the game dictates where you can go and who's in your team. The other problem is the world map. It's often difficult to figure out where you are in comparison to where you need to be, especially once you get the airship. There's not a whole lot of replay value, but there are a few secrets in the game that can be missed the first time, and the final fantasy fanatic will return to try to find them.
Final Fantasy 4 is a must-play for the RPG fan, providing hours and hours of excellent gaming. Most RPG gamers have probably played this one by now, but if you haven't go pick it up, and if you have, maybe it's time to dust it off and give it another run through. You won't regret it.
Replay Value: 7.5
Reviewer's Tilt: 9.5
Dark Mistress' Reviews
Final Fantasy 4 Reviews
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