The After Years is a fun nostalgia trip but with alot of problems
Final Fantasy II for the SNES is probably my favorite RPG experience as a kid. It was the first RPG I played with such a massive storyline, full of plot twists, and rememberable characters. So with that bit of history, it's probably my favorite RPG of all time.
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is a fun novelty, but it hardly holds a candle to the original game. I mean, that was what I was expecting, so I guess when it turned out to be 'not that good', it wasn't a harsh realization.
It was still fun for what it was though. I enjoyed the grind, I loved revisiting old towns and dungeons. It was a nostaliga trip, nothing more or less.
Here are my main complaints with this game though. The pricing is very screwed. They should have included a couple more chapters for this. I got 6 hours out of it, but some of that was worthless grinding. The extra chapters is just a really big rip off in the end, atleast it seems like it to me.
There isn't much in the game that's new. There is only a couple new dungeon parts in this game. I would say a good 98% of all the areas found in this game are old and reused. Theres really no new enemies either.
My biggest complaint with this game is how they padded it for time. They new it was going to be short, so they forced you to go through a few dungeons atleast twice. One example of this is when you start off at the top of the mountain (the one where Cecil became a Paladin). You start off at the top, then you have to climb down to the bottom, and then back to the top. You're then warped to a town you already visited. You have to go through a 2 dungeons you already been through. It's stupid things like this that annoy me.
I still enjoyed the battle system but I think the Band attacks was a misfire. It's a good idea, but there was nothing to do with it.
While Final Fantasy IV: the After Years wasn't awful or anthing, it just seemed like it could have been much better.
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years uses the same active-time battle system as it's predecessor, but with a couple twists. There are really 2 big additions to the battle system. The first is the Moon system. Each time you visit an Inn or sleep, the Moon changes it's form (Half Moon, Full Moon, etc). Where the Moon is can change the effects of your attacks and the monsters you fight. So for example, if it's a Full Moon, the monsters will be a bit harder, and your attack power might be lowered to half. It's an ok idea, but easily exploitable if you have the money for tents or Inn's.
The other, and quite frankly, better addition is the "Band" option. This allows you to sync up with different characters and perform team attacks. This is very similar to Suikoden or Chrono Trigger. It's a great idea, and I'm glad someone is ripping it off. My only problem, and it's a big one, is I only learned 1 Band attack through the entire game. Obviously, you will learn more if you buy other chapters, but this is suppose to be the "main game", the rest is completely optional (and expensive as hell if you add it up).
Another big problem I had with this game, and it's related to my previous complaint, was the lack of teammates found in the game. The majority of the game is either fought with 1 or 2 characters on your team. Sometimes a generic white or black mage will join, but that's just for a short period. A main character from FFIV will join, but just as a guest. That's why you just don't learn very many Band attacks.
You gain a TON of experience in this game too. I put 6 hours into it, and I was up to level 35. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same game as Final Fantasy IV. There's no original enemies in the game. You even fight some of the same bosses, while fighting through the same freaking dungeon.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Ceodore, the son of Rosa and Cecil from the original Final Fantasy IV. Ceodore just joined the Red Wings and has to climb through a cave to prove himself. Between his journey in joining the Red Wings, there is a mysterious girl stealing all the Crystals, and attacking various castles. Castle Baron (Cecil's Castle) is under attack, and Ceodore charges back to castle, only to get attacked too. His ship crashes and he has to make it back to Baron on foot.
While the plot wasn't.. bad, it wasn't good either. The dialog on the other hand was just down right insulting at times.
The graphics remind me of those PSP Final Fantasy games. Everything is in widescreen, slightly reworked, but totally faithful to the original game. The backgrounds look nice for the battle system. The enemies don't animate very much. I dig it, very retro.
The music is basically rehashed songs from the original Final Fantasy IV, but remixed and reworked. It's good, as matter of fact, it's freaking excellent, but I don't think there's a single original track on this game.
The world map is a typical top-down view overworld from Final Fantasy IV. The only real main difference is when you get into your flying ship, and it uses a similar 3D effect that Final Fantasy VI introduced.
The game flows extremely linear, not only storyline wise, but even on the map and dungeons. If you try to backtrack or try to go off the path, a character will set you in your place. I'm not to fond of this. There's really nothing to do outside of the storyline.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
Not a bad deal for $8, but I did some grinding (in hind sight, it was not worth it). The game ends abruptly with somewhat of a cliff hanger. So they want you to buy the other chapters obviously. You get to save when you complete the game, which carries over your experience and items. You can re-load your last save but there's really no where to go or nothing to do with it.