Who the hell designed this game?
I guess this is what happens when some dude gets a stupid idea. It seems that Square, after the success of Final Fantasy, decided to revolutionize RPG's or something. The genre was still young at the time, so I don't see why someone might have thought it was broken, but it seems they did. So they thought "Hey, how about if you can ONLY level up the abilities you actually use!?! After all, a magic user won't get any stronger right by doing magic right? And a fighter won't get better at magic by pumping iron! A realistic concept in a fictional world! Hurray for us! Let's go smoke some ashpipes through our asses!". Now the concept is actually pretty fine on it's own, and Bethesda did it quite correctly with the Elder Scrolls series. But in Final Fantasy II, it just doesn't work.
Wait, let me rephrase that. In the older versions of Final Fantasy II it didn't work. Back then, you didn't have a choice but to fight your own characters to level them up. It was a major pain in the ass and the main reason why I never managed to finish the game even though I own Final Fantasy Origin. Now in the PSP version, everything has been made easier, so the game is actually playable. It seems that your character gets regular HP boosts even if they're not getting hit in combat. Because, in the original, you'd have to get hit, and hit HARD to boot, to get more HP, and that was a shitload of pain.So the best way to up your abilities was to beat the living crap out of yourself. Yes, very retarded. But in this version, you get regular boosts of a lot of stuff all the time. I've never had to hit my own characters ever. So that's a sweet change, and now you can actually play the game without cursing the idiot designer who imagined this game in the first place.
But it still doesn't change the fact that it just doesn't feel right. Leveling up is a major aspect of JRPG's, an aspect of them that I quite like. Now all of a sudden I don't have to level up, ever? Man something was missing. On top of that, I'm a physical attack junkie, which means that I like to hold down the confirm button all the time in fights. The result of that is that all of my characters really sucked at magic by the end of the game, but were all physical powerhouses.
Oh and the character allocation in this game is RIDICULOUS. Now see, you have the same three chracters for the entire game, but the fourth one keeps changing. So far nothing wrong with that. However some major absolute IDIOT thought it was a good idea to change the fourth character RIGHT AT THE END OF THE GAME. Like, you get your final character change right before the last dungeon, and the dude's fucking weak! YOU'RE READY TO FINISH THE GAME AND YOU GET A WEAKLING! Good lord Square must have been smoking some good shit at the time.
All this stuff smells like crap, but this is still the best version of Final Fantasy II so far, and as far as I'm concerned the only version that is playable, but the system just isn't satisfying. You don't get a real sense of progression for your characters, which is a focal point of pretty much all rpg's. It's not totally bereft of enjoyment, they tried hard to tell a good story, and although it sucks, it's a good try for the time. I won't say that the game is boring or that is sucks. It's just hilariously badly made. Still, you can feel the talent peek through some of the seams, so it ain't all bad.
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