philosoma's Final Fantasy IV (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) review

Final Fantasy IV SNES

Pros - The original version and slightly easier than JP version so it's approachable by new rpgamers.
Cons - Has noticeable lag in menus and spell casts and music cuts to play sound effects.

Imagine, if you will, that is the year 2032 and Final Fantasy 20 has just been released. It is an instant success and for many, it becomes the one and only true Final Fantasy game. Keep in mind that most of these people have never played another Final Fantasy game in their lives. Would you, as a fan of the series, feel obligated to share the greatness of the series' predecessors? Would you say, "Hey dude, you should play FF18, FF15, FF13, FF12, FF10, FF7, FF6, FF4, FF3, FF2, FF1, and FF Tactics."

Well, you may have encountered a similar situation. Simply put, just because it's old, doesn't mean it isn't good... well, in Final Fantasy games to say the least. You play as the game's leading man, Cecil, a Dark Knight of high rank in the Baron Kingdom. Cecil is a loyal servant to Baron, but lately he's been thinking about the horrible task he commits in the name of the king; murder and theft of the Crystal. From here, as you can imagine, the game unfolds in an epic tale of friendship, betrayal, redemption, world-saving and all of that good stuff. The game is full of plot twists and mature moments that really make the game's characters and atmosphere interesting. The music is beautiful and the graphics, spell animations, and enemies are good looking. Fans of the series will be pleased to see many familiar job classes appear in the game; Dragoon, Summoner, Bard, Monk, Ninja, etc. The game is also full of secret dungeons, towns, summons, equipment, and side quests that make the game feel expansive. The newer Gameboy Advance version of the game has even more extra content. The newest DS version lacks the extra content of the Gameboy Advance version but makes up for it with unique abilities, replay value, and mini-games.

Since this game has been remade so many times, it has seen changes in the difficulty setting. The Playstation port of the game is possibly the most challenging, since it was based on the Japanese "hard type" of the original Super Famicon cartridge. However, the newer GBA version of the game seems to be "just right". The ports are a little slower than the original SNES versions, but many fans agree that the dialogue is much better. The US version of Final Fantasy IV was actually named Final Fantasy II and was based on the Japanese "easy type" and has some of the worst translation work in the history of gaming. It is almost worth playing on emulator just to laugh at how silly some of the mis-translation is. On top of this, the US version was censored in some areas which is equally undesirable. Sure the sprites walk in place and there aren't any cool limit breaks or CGI cutscenes throughtout the game, but Final Fantasy IV is definitely worth your time. Final Fantasy IV's memorable characters, epic story, and production values exemplified the capabilities of Square and although seemingly dated, Final Fantasy IV is an excellent game that Final Fantasy and RPG fans alike should play.

-Philosoma-

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