Tag Archives: Final Fantasy

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.

Bravely Default – First Impressions

Bravely Default was a game I was hyping for myself for a few years. I was a big fan of Final Fantasy 4 Heroes of Light on the original DS, and when I discovered that they were making a spiritual sequel, I went apeshit. The hype blew up even more for myself when I saw the initial trailers and it looked and sounded amazing. They took the artstyle I loved from the first game and expanded on it, and even the music I loved was even better than before. With all this, how could Square fuck this up?

Years later, the game finally came out and got rave reviews in Japan, which excited me even more, as I usually tend to lean towards their opinion on JRPG’s. Then it finally came out in the West and continued to get rave reviews. Thank God.

This was definitely the first game I bought for the console, and luckily for myself, the game pretty much delivered. It was definitely I enjoyed from 4 Heroes of Light, and it fixed some of my problems from the first game. I can select the enemy I want to damage, and I can select which team member I wanted to heal. 4 Heroes of Light has a pretty bland story, and was all about the adventure, but Bravely Default not only had a good quest, it even has a pretty decent story so far.

This game is pretty much what I wanted from Square, a throwback to the NES Final Fantasies, but with a modern twist. 4 Heroes of Light fulfilled that, but I feel that was a prototype for Bravely Default where they mastered the game. This game definitely is more targeted at RPG fanatics, as it’s definitely grind heavy, which is the main complaint I see from fans of modern RPG’s.

So far I’m definitely enjoying the game, and can’t think of many ways on how the game could end up being fucked up by the end.

Final Fantasy VI Mobile – First Impressions

There recently was a sale on FFVI on the iOS market, so as a big fan of the game, I figured why the fuck not? While I’m not a fan of playing mobile games on my phone or iPad, I enjoyed the game to try out the remaster, and honestly how can you fuck up one of the greatest RPG’s of all time?

Like most mobile RPG ports, it’s a tad bit awkward to control in the game, but because it’s a top-down 2D game, it’s not too bad, it just takes a bit of getting used to. My main gripe with the controls is when you try to interact with anything with a exclamation point, say a character or opening a chest, the virtual d-pad will appear, so I have to fiddle around to get around the D-pad and activate the event. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s quite irritating.

Navigating around the menus are pretty simple, though that’s also a thing that you have to try to actually fuck up, but you’d be surprised. They did get rid of the option to have your character walk or run, and you have to equip a relic to allow to run, just like the SNES version. It was a nice feature in the PS1 and GBA ports, so it makes you wonder of all things, why this was a feature that was removed. Also the boots make you run ridiculously fast, it was like in the PS1 game when you were running along with the relic. I wish there was an in-between speed.

Battling is a hit or miss so far. The interface is mostly fine for the battles, the sub menu for selecting an enemy takes a bit getting used to, but it’s largely fine. For some odd reason, they got rid of the familiar ATB bar from the series, but it’s not entirely gone. Instead of the bar, they have your characters’ menu pop up when it’s their turn. It’s sort of like Chrono Trigger, but without the ATB bar. One great feature is the auto-battle, which is great when you’re grinding. Battles go by so much quicker, and you can multitask and do other things while you’re grinding your ass off, especially for the end game.

Now for the biggest gripe about the remaster, the graphics. Let’s start with the positives first. The towns and dungeons look fine, and I will go and say that I think they look a lot nicer than the original. This is what I think a higher resolution remaster of an SNES game should look like. They did the same with the monsters, the normal enemies and bosses look very good, and take advantage of the large resolution and add a lot of extra detail to them.

Where the graphics fall short is with the character sprites and in the overworld. Character sprites look very amateurish, and like many have claimed, look like they were made with the program RPG Maker. If this was a fan remake made with RPG Maker, I’d be impressed, but seeing as this is from the actual company, it’s kind of disappointing, and even a tad bit sad. They look mismatched from the rest of the backgrounds, making the whole experience really awkward. I thought I was in the “it’s different so it sucks” camp when I saw screenshots and my opinion would change when I play the game, but even after playing the game, it’s just not working out.

The overworld is a bit odd looking too. While I was never a fan of mode-7 overworlds in SNES games, I was initially glad to see it gone, but they had to mess it up by making these odd polygonal towns and castles that look really out of place in the sprite based nature of the rest of the game. Even more out of place than the cartoony sprites. To quote the AVGN “What were they thinking?”

FF6 mobile isn’t terrible by any means, it just takes a lot of getting used to. It’s not unplayable, and while the odd sprites and overworld aren’t necessarily visually appealing, it doesn’t ruin the overall gameplay which is what really matters. As a long-time Square Enix fan, it’s just a bit sad to see a lack of quality in the remaster.

Final Fantasy VI – Review

Ah, one of the big guns. Final Fantasy VI was released on the SNES in 1994, and was released in the US as Final Fantasy III to prevent confusion for American gamers as they were missing a few entrees. This is not only one of the most critically games in the series, but in the entire genre.

As with several Nintendo era Final Fantasies, this was re-released on the Playstation. This was packaged with Final Fantasy V as Final Fantasy Anthology, and the games were basically direct ports, though with added CGI cutscenes for the opening and ending. FF6 got a bit more treatment, as there’s slightly less censorship, and bonus galleries, many of which have to be unlocked by beating the game. This review is based on the PS1 version.

Story:

You play as Terra Branford, who is an imperial soldier who is sent to investigate the mines of the village of Narshe. They come across a frozen esper who kills the two other soldiers and makes Terra unconscious. She wakes up and finds out that her headband has been removed, and she is no longer under the control of the Empire. Imperial soldiers appear and her protector Locke Cole, a “treasure hunter”, takes her away and the two run off to the nearby kingdom of Figaro. They talk to the king Edgar Roni Figaro, and reveal that they are part of a rebel group called the Returners who are against the Empire. Thus your adventure begins.

Gameplay:

As a contrast to FF5 with its massive job classes, FF6 has no class system. Many of the characters are based off of existing classes, and their abilities reflect them. To compensate, there are espers to equip. When you equip an esper, you gain magic points from battle, and if you gain enough magic points, you learn the magic the esper knows. The best part, is that the magic you learn is permanent, so when you unequip an esper, you keep the magic and you can equip another esper to increase your magic pool. So if you have the patience, you can have every character have every spell in the game.

Visuals:

Final Fantasy VI is one of the best looking SNES rpg’s. The sprites are incredibly detailed, and the world looks fantastic. They utilize Mode 7 for the entire overworld instead of just having it for airships. Personally not a fan of Mode 7, but it does make the world seem a bit more expansive and three dimensional. This is the first game where the sprites look the same in and out of battle, also with the larger and more detailed sprites, it makes the little movements and reactions one step closer to being more realistic like later games..

The overall shade of the game is pretty dark, and it does fit with the nature of the second half of the game. Also as a contrast to the medievial nature of the previous games, this game has a steampunk theme.

Music:

Final Fantasy VI has one of the best soundtracks on the system, with many memorable tunes and including the infamous 3 part Dancing Mad, the final boss tune.

Verdict:

Final Fantasy VI is a classic that lives on and raised the bar for future RPG’s, and took a niche genre even farther into the mainstream light. The PS1 version is probably the easiest version to get ahold of (aside from the mobile version which kind of looks like ass and costs more). The PS1 version does suffer minor loading times, but it’s very minor, and more people make up a fuss over something that’s not very noticeable. So definitely snag a copy of this game and enjoy it.

Music: 8/10.

Visuals (Or Graphics): 9/10.

Story: 8/10.

Content: 9/10.

Conclusion: 9/10

Final Fantasy V – Review

Released in 1992, Final Fantasy V rocked Japan. Sadly this was yet another Final Fantasy game to not be released outside of Japan. Originally planned to be released as Final Fantasy III in the US, Square decided to pass up on it, as it was considered too difficult for the American gamer. Luckily thanks to the massive popularity of Final Fantasy VII, Square decided to re-release most of their back catalog on the Playstation, and Final Fantasy V was ported alongside Final Fantasy VI as Final Fantasy Anthology. This collection is pretty much a direct port with added FMV cutscenes for the opening and ending of the games. This review is based on the Anthology version.

Story
You play as Bartz Klauser, an adventurer who sees a meteor crash near him. At the crash site, he discovers an unconscious girl. The girl awakens and says her name is Reina (Lenna in later versions of the game), and she says she was on her way to the Wind Shrine, as her father has taken off to it, and hasn’t returned. They run across an old man named Galuf, who has amnesia thanks to the crash. All he knows is that he too has to visit the Wind Shrine. The three take off and explore a nearby cave. They run into a gang of pirates, and the captain Faris. Faris offers to lend them the pirate ship, and accompany them to the Wind Shrine. After reaching the top of the Wind Shrine, they come across the Wind Crystal, and Reina’s father tells them to save the other crystals, or else the seal on the evil Exdeath is going to be broken. They set off on their adventure.

Compared to the other SNES Final Fantasies, FF5 is a bit lacking in the story department. It’s reminiscent of the FF1 and FF3 where your goal is to protect the crystals and the story isn’t much deeper than that.

Gameplay

In the gameplay department, FF5 hasn’t necessarily progressed much from FF4. Battles are basically the same, except the ATB has a bar to see when it’s your turn. This will be a standard for future installments. What this game is famous for, is its class system. In some ways, it’s similar to FF3, but with a much larger roster. Also you can equip two abilities, so when you level up your job class to a specific level, you can equip that ability when you change classes. So you can start off leveling up a black mage, and then change to a white mage, and have a white mage who knows level 3 black magic.

Visuals
For an early SNES game, it’s pretty decent. While not a drastic difference in FF4, there’s still improvements. When you’re walking through the trees, you can at least see your character’s feet behind it. In FF4, your body was just cut in half.

Music
FF5 has a pretty good soundtrack, and has some of the best songs for towns. The more relaxed pieces are probably the highlights of the OST.

Verdict:
While FF5 is weak in the story department compared to FF4 and FF6, it makes up for in gameplay. If one enjoys a game that focuses on adventure, then this is definitely one for you. Also it’s a great addition to anyone who loves 16 bit RPG’s.

Music: 7/10.

Visuals (Or Graphics): 8/10.

Story: 6/10.

Content: 9/10.

Conclusion: 8/10

Final Fantasy III – Review

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.

Story:

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.

Gameplay:

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.

Visuals:

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.

Music:
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.

Verdict:

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.

Music: 7/10.

Visuals (Or Graphics): 8/10.

Story: 6/10.

Content: 9/10.

Conclusion: 8/10

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