Released in 1990 in Japan on the Famicom (Japanese NES), and for the longest time was known as the “lost” Final Fantasy, as it was the only game in the series to never get released outside of Japan. Finally in 2006, it was remade for the very first time, and also finally released to the rest of the world. Despite being praised by professional critics, there were many fans that were disappointed in the game. Many had incredibly high expectations and were expecting something akin to the recent Final Fantasy releases, and were heavily disappointed to find basically an NES game with 3D graphics. So for the rest of the review, you must keep in mind that this is a NES game with a few modern updates.
An earthquake opens up a cave, and young Luneth goes and explores the insides of it. He comes across a crystal and he’s instructed to find the other warriors to be granted the crystal’s powers, and thus begin the quest to restore balance to the world. He recruits his friend Arc and they visit the nearby town of Kazus, which has been cursed by the evil Djinn. After a series of events, they are joined by a blacksmith’s daughter Refia, and castle guard Ingus, and then save a Princess kidnapped by Djinn. The crystal sees them as worthy of being the Heroes of Light, and they then begin their journey of restoring balance to the world.
The beginning of the game has been slightly modified for the DS remake, as the original game was similar to the original Final Fantasy of having 4 blank heroes that you could name yourself. It seems that Square was trying to add some personality to the characters. So it only adds to the beginning of the game, and some random scenes here and there, but you almost forget they have anything going for them.
This is a pretty traditional RPG with not much different from the original game. A lot of the mechanics haven’t been really updated that much, except for some minor things, like unlimited inventory space, and auto-targeting monsters. So expect a traditional turn-based RPG with lots of grinding.
One facet of the game that gets attention, is the job system. While the original Final Fantasy had a job system, you were basically stuck in those jobs for the entire game. This game is the first time where you get to change the jobs on the fly. This is partially due to the fact that there are some dungeons and boss fights that are much easier if you have certain job classes in your party.
The game does kind of penalize you when you change your jobs though. First you must accumulate a certain amount of points to change your job. This is only kind of annoying in the very beginning of the game, but as the game goes on, you forget it even exists. Also when you do change your job, if it’s to a job your character never used, your stats go down to the level 1 stats of said job. While this sounds like a massive hit, it’s not really that bad, as all you have to do is grind a little bit to more or less “grow” into your job as you level the job up to not get you killed. Another thing that can get you killed, is running away from battles. When you select run, and you’re at a lower level, your defense is pretty much non-existent, and the enemies do much more damage to you.
The magic system may seem a bit foreign for those who’ve only played the modern FF games, but for those who played the older versions of the original Final Fantasy, it’s nothing new. There isn’t a traditional magic points system, but instead each magic level has it’s own separate “MP” system. In some ways you can cast more spells with this system, as when you cast 3 level 5 magics, you still have a ton of the previous level spells in your arsenal.
Like the original Final Fantasy, this game features a lot of grinding. With how the game can be at times, it’s definitely catered to a more veteran RPG gamer, and can be quite unfriendly to a newbie. It’s not necessarily a crushingly difficult game, but this isn’t really a game you’ll rush into.
While this is advertised as a 3D remake, it’s really a 2D game with 3D styled graphics. So it’s still largely unchanged from the original game. It does definitely breathe a lot more life into what the original NES game looked like, and it’s nice seeing what the monsters actually look like, rather than botched sprites.
One complaint about this game, is that they don’t really utilize both screens. Many times the top screen is not only unused, but it’s also black. It really only comes into play when you’re in the overworld and they show the map. They fixed this problem with FF4 by adding in maps for everywhere, but for FF3, you forget there’s a second screen.
The music in the game is pretty good. While not as amazing or super memorable like the later games, this one doesn’t disappoint in the soundtrack.
Final Fantasy III is definitely a fantastic game to add to one’s collection, especially for an avid fan of retro RPG’s. It’s best to go into this game with an open mind, and not expect a modern experience, but as an updated classic.
Visuals (Or Graphics): 8/10.