Tag Archives: final fantasy 2

Final Fantasy II – Re-Review

I know guys, I know. I’ve already reviewed Final Fantasy II, which I’ve already stated was a mediocre game. Though that was one of my first reviews written, so it was half-assed. Honestly more could be said about the game. So this is going to do justice to my original review.

Let’s go.

Released in 1988, Square decided that based on the popularity of Final Fantasy, they were going to make a sequel. This time, the development team decided to craft a story first, and then work on the gameplay.  This actually wasn’t a bad idea, and was kind of groundbreaking for the time. They also decided to be ambitious on the leveling up mechanics, while also groundbreaking, it didn’t work so well. More on that later.

Story:

You play as four young characters: Firion, Maria, Guy and Leon, their town was attacked by the soldiers from the evil Palamecia Empire. You barely escape with your necks attached, and you wake up in the town of Altair, home of the resistance fighters. Led by Princess Hilda of Flynn, she wants to restore the former glory of her kingdom, and also stop the evil Emperor of Palamecia. You want to join the resistance, but Hilda says you’re too young and inexperienced. So you go off to find your friend Leon, who went missing in the attack. You then meet Prince Scott of Kashuan, who informs that a rogue soldier from Flynn betrayed them and has joined the Empire, he then dies. You go back to Hilda and give her the news, she decides to have a change of heart, and you are now resistance members. Thus your quest begins!

While the plot has more going on than the original game, and other RPG’s at the time, it’s still a bit archaic. The game mostly consists of reporting back to Hilda several times, and her sending you on a giant scavenger hunt. Go here and find this item, cool, now go here and do this. Oh okay, now to this place and, yeah you get it by now. I get that you’re supposed to be helping out the resistance fighters, but holy hell is this tedious and mostly pointless.

Gameplay:

This is where the game royally fucks up. Gone are the traditional leveling up mechanics of turn based RPG’s, and now there’s a progression system. It makes sense on paper, and a lot of modern games still use it, to a significantly better degree. To increase your attack, you hit things more, to increase magic, you use more magic. So on and so forth.

The problem here, is that the execution of this mechanic just doesn’t work in an old school RPG. It also makes it tedious as all hell. The game wants you to grind like other RPG’s at the time, so you have to sit there and grind EVERYTHING.

Going through all the random encounters in the overworld, your attack will be the first thing to go up. This initially seems fine, as you can start one-shotting all of the enemies on the field, that is, until you get to a dungeon. Well these enemies are much stronger and take several more hits. Well since you’ve been one-shotting enemies until now, your defense is shit, as is the amount of HP you have. Well now you’re royally fucked.

Well how do you level up your defense and HP without going to an inn after every battle? Easy, by beating the shit out of yourselves. One of the most infamous mechanics in this game, is that the fastest way to level up your HP and defense, is by attacking your own party members. The developers put this mechanic in to wake up sleeping party members, but players soon realized that this is the fastest way to level up those stats. So now instead of actually fighting the enemies in the overworld, you spend your time beating the shit out of yourselves, and healing.

Now is a good time to talk about magic in this game, and it sucks. Just like your levels, you level up your spells. Well this game decided that it wanted to be even more tedious, by having each spell have its own separate levels. All your spells start at level 1, and if you want them to not be shit, you have to grind them to at least level 5. Even then, the spells do shit damage. Your regular attacks will do hundreds of damage, but spells, even at level 5 do about 30-50 at most. I just got tired of leveling up my spells because of how much time you spend grinding each spell.

To level up a spell, you have to cast it a bunch. How much you ask? 100 times. So when you get a spell like Ultima and Flare near the end of the game, you have to cast both about 500 times each, and they still only do about 100 damage at most. Luckily like your HP and defense, this is easily exploitable. Due to a glitch in the game, all you have to do is select a spell, then a target, then cancel it. This counts as casting the spell, so if you want to waste time, you can do this about 100 times in a single battle, and your spell will level up. Hurray!

So now your spells are leveled up, but now that they’re leveled up, they take more MP, so now your MP levels are shit. Well with luck doing the exploit, your MP will increase, so after leveling up multiple spells, just cross your fingers that you now have enough MP to cast heal enough times.

One thing you should keep in mind, is that you can never escape a battle. To escape a battle, you luck and evade stats need to level up. Though don’t expect this to level up at all, as this is all based on luck, and it randomly appears. So even by the end of the game, your evade and luck will be obnoxiously low, so you will have to fight every single battle.

This wouldn’t be too bad, if this game didn’t have a ridiculous random encounter rate. I’m not sure if this was fixed in later versions of the game, but in the NES and PS1 version, you can get an encounter with only about 2-10 steps. This is exacerbated when many dungeons have multiple doors that lead you to an empty room. Thanks for wasting my time. It doesn’t help when you enter these empty rooms, you’re teleported to the middle, and you’re guaranteed a battle before you get to the door to leave. I’d recommend using a map to not waste your time.

Then there’s the final fight with the Emperor. Your attacks and defense are high enough to one-shot every enemy in the final dungeon, but once you face the Emperor, you only do 50-100 damage, because his defense is incredibly high. If you have the blood sword, it drains 1/16th of his health, and does a lot better than your other weapons. Just hope you didn’t get rid of it based on your limited inventory space, and it being weaker than the other weapons you’ve obtained. Luckily your defenses are really high, so he also does pretty piss poor damage to you. For me it was just an endurance run, that lasted an entire hour, and after all of my MP was finally drained, he died. Holy fuck was that a schlog.

One feature of the game that’s added, is that you have a rotating fourth member in your party. This isn’t exactly unusual in Final Fantasy games, but I really wished that most of your extra party members weren’t useless. Outside of Minwu, they’re all weak. So now you’re stuck leveling up those characters that are rotated in and out of your party. How much does this game want you to grind?

Music and visuals:

Not much needs to be restated, as nothing has really changed since the old review.

Verdict:

This game is more of a chore than an actual game. Unless you really really really love grinding. Trying to play this game legitimately is not recommended in the slightest. It’s not good game design where you’re pretty much required to abuse exploits in the game. Playing this legitimately would have all your characters incredibly lopsided. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to have you cast spells multiple times in a legitimate fashion to have it level up to a normal level? Are the spells that significantly weak to compensate for how many times it has to be casted to level up? Why Square why?

This game really only exists for curiosity’s sake, so only play it if you want to see where many of the Final Fantasy tropes got started.

Final Fantasy Origins – Review:

Final Fantasy Origins is a compilation of the first two games in the highly popular and influential RPG series released by Square in 2002 in Japan, and 2003 in the West. Not only were people drawn to the fact that both FF1 and FF2 had the graphics completely overhauled, it was also the first time that FF2 was seen outside of Japan. While it has been 10 years since this release and both games have been ported and further enhanced multiple times, what still draws people to this compilation is that these are the versions closest to the originals in terms of gameplay. They are also the only version you can play on your TV.  What about the PSP enhanced ports you can connect to your TV? The games also feature a retranslated script, and also allows creatures and spells to be fully spelled out, as the text limit is much larger. Also mythological based items and monsters were correctly named as well.

Since this contains two games, both of them will be reviewed separately.

Originally released in 1987 in Japan and in 1990 in the US, it’s one of the earliest console RPG’s, and also one of the most influential in the beginnings of console RPG’s.

Story:
You play as the Heroes of Light, a group of 4 warriors, whose name and class you pick yourself, arrives at Castle Cornelia and the king tests your worth as the legendary heroes by rescuing Princess Sara who has just been kidnapped by the evil knight Garland. After saving her, the king repairs the bridge to allow your heroes access to the rest of the continent, and later the rest of the world.

Each warrior carries a darkened crystal, and your goal is to defeat the 4 evil fiends that hinder the power of the crystals, and banish darkness from the world.

While pretty generic and very thin compared to today’s standards, this was considered an epic in storytelling for video games in 1987. So while not as heavily story driven as later games, the adventuring aspects of the game was what gives it the appeal. So while the game won’t impress you much with its outdated nature, it’s fun to experience something that was considered revolutionary for its time.

Gameplay:
A very textbook example of a traditional console RPG (well it did help write it) there isn’t really anything to explain that nobody already knows about. Though this does feature updates from the original game. One of the biggest updates that we take for granted today is auto-retargeting. In the original, when one character kills a monster and someone was already targeting it, your character will miss. So with auto-retarget, when the monster is killed before your turn, it will automatically attack different monster.

Also the mechanics were fixed so some of the spells actually work, and weapons and armor with special effects also actually work. They also added in a standard inventory menu instead of having each character hold the items. There’s even two difficulty modes: easy and normal. normal mode is the gameplay of the original, and easy mode gives you more experience, increased stats after level up, and lower prices at the stores. So if you’re looking for a challenge, then normal is for you, but easy is recommended if you want to spend less time grinding, and have a less headache.

One of the biggest downsides to this game is the random encounter rate, which is extremely high, regardless of which difficulty level you chose. On average, it takes about 3-5 steps (usually less) to get attacked, and it gets really irritating after awhile. This slows down trekking through every dungeon very heavily, and at times discouraging to find all the treasure in them when you’re getting attacked every 3 seconds. It feels really silly when you’re in a medium sized room with a bunch of treasure chests and you get attacked about 5 times just to open up 5 treasure chests in the same room. Dashing does not affect the random encounter rate, so if you’re using the dash option, then attacks will happen much more frequently as those 3-5 steps now take less time.

Another silly feature is how the spells don’t have much consistency. The spells give you a number range, and the spells will randomly work within that range, and they do not get stronger when you level up. So Ice 2 says “40-160 damange”, so in your first turn, it will inflict 150 damage, but it’s highly possible that in your next turn, it will cast 45 damage. This gets irritating in battle when you’re attacking a group of enemies and multi-target spells do various damage where one monster gets max damage, and the one next to it gets minimum damage. It can also get aggravating in boss battles as well, especially when you’re casting a level 3 spell and it did less damage than the level 2 spell.

Visuals:
Even though Origins was a very late PS1 game, and released after the PS2 had already been out, they intentionally made the game’s graphics look similar to the SNES. Probably to keep it similar in visuals to the SNES remakes of 4-6. So while not visually as impressive as FF8 or FF9, they’re still not an eyesore, and do look incredible compared to its NES counterpart. Dungeons and towns are much more detailed, and even the character and monster sprites look nicer. Also even the fiends look more terrifying as the NES versions looked kind of derpy.

Music:
The music has some very classic tunes, as it’s where the recognizable Final Fantasy Prelude and the victory theme got their starts:

Verdict:
Final Fantasy is a classic game for anyone who is a fan of retro RPG’s, especially with one of the earliest in the genre. Though definitely not groundbreaking for today’s standards, it’s a nice game to play for those who are either interested in playing a piece of history, or are just big Final Fantasy fans and want to play every game. Though while its random encounter rate is unnecessarily high, it’s still a nice experience.

Music: 7/10.
Visuals (Or Graphics): 7/10.
Story: 5/10.
Content: 7/10.

Conclusion: 7/10

Originally released in 1988, Final Fantasy II features a handful of differences compared to the previous game, and are also the first appearances of Cid and Chocobos, with both appearing in every Final Fantasy game onward.

Story:
You play as four youths: Firion, Maria, Guy and Leon, whose town has just been attacked by the empire of Palamecia and the game begins with the four of you being attacked. Three out of the four escape and join a resistance group, and you then embark on a quest to receive new equipment and rescue other members of the resistance to stand up to the empire.

While definitely a step up compared to the previous game, it’s still a bit archaic for modern standards. It does seem more fleshed out than the previous games, and even some of the characters have more prominent roles in the game, unlike in the previous game where you meet them once and that is the end of the story.

Gameplay:
It features many standard RPG gameplay and mechanics, but the unique feature of this game is that it ditches the experience points system. So to increase any kind of stat or skill, one must repeatedly use it to more or less “level” up. So if you want stronger magic, keep casting that spell over and over, and to increase your health and defense, let your character take a lot of damage. At times this can be a clusterfuck, and at times can be more time consuming than with the traditional leveling up system. It’s also ridiculously easy to abuse, as you can easily increase your character’s HP by making your own characters attack each other. While your characters can equip any weapon in the game, you have to repeatedly use certain weapons until they can actually inflict damage with it. Your characters do come with default weapons, so sometimes it’s easier to just stick to those.

The random encounter rate is a bit high, but definitely a step up from FF1, and the game does feature a more balanced battle system.

Another unique feature of this game is the “learn” system. Throughout the course of the game, you will learn a secret phrase or password, and using this will progress the game, as using the phrase will allow access to things like an airship, or someone will give you a special item.

Visuals:
Not much else to say that hasn’t been said with FF1 as it features many of the same updates.

Music:
Like the previous game, it features a rearranged soundtrack, though the soundtrack isn’t considered a classic like the original, largely due to the original game not being released, but does feature some solid tracks:

Verdict:
While personally my least favorite in the series, and I don’t really like this game that much, that’s not to say it’s a bad game. Like the original game, this is definitely a game for retro RPG fans, and someone who wants to play all the FF games. The appeal of this version is that fans get to play the first release of the game to the West, and a version that one can enjoy on their TV as opposed to a handheld.

Music: 6/10.
Visuals (Or Graphics): 7/10.
Story: 6/10.
Content: 6/10.

Conclusion: 6/10