Log in or sign up to comment
26 Comments Refresh
Posted by Video_Game_King

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

( If you're wondering why my blog is so damn late, you have this game to blame.) If you're wondering why I'm playing this particular music, me too. Honestly, I don't want to remember anything about this game, which oddly extends into why I chose that music. That is how bad this game is; that is why you don't make sequels to Final Fantasy games. You end up with Dirge of Cerberus or Final Fantasy XII or worse, this game. So why'd I play it? Well, March is going to be a busy month, so to make room for the large cheese pizza that is Final Fantasy XIII, I had to stuff into my face the moldy breadsticks that were The After Years.
For those of you unaware as to what the hell I'm even talking about, it's a Wiiware port of an episodic cell-phone release of the sequel to Final Fantasy IV. Nobody was asking for a sequel, so I don't understand why they didn't localize some other games or, and I know they'll never do this, port the original Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests to Virtual Console. But I'm stuck with this game, so I might as well make the most of it. It's 18 years after the original: Cecil had a kid, Kain's still about as hard to manipulate as the Fox News demographic, and the world has started to look more like FF6. (That last one's not a joke, that actually happens in the game, with no explanation whatsoever.) Everything's going well until this random girl with less personality than a GameSpot video review decides she wants the crystals of the world. It is up to you to find out why she wants those crystals and stop her from doing so.
 Oh, come on, Square! This is just lazy!
Kind of. None of that really happens until the final mega-chapter; everything up until that point is a 1-2 hour mini-chapter starring one of the characters from the original game. You'd think this would make for an interesting story that makes use of multiple perspectives nicely, but there's barely enough room for anything in each one; you just hack your way to a cliffhanger ending/unskippable credits sequence, leveling up quite quickly along the way. There are only about two times in the entire game where storylines intersect, whereas the rest happens in odd succession. Speaking of which, it may be helpful to know that I bought the entire package at once, completely oblivious to the point of episodic gaming. That would explain most of the quibbles I have with the story, like how it lacks any sense of unity, or how nothing is explained until the end, but it doesn't help explain why I'm bitching about battles a turbo button could win or how leveling in this game gives you no sense of progression or progress.
OK, I guess the episodic thing can explain that; I doubt you could get high levels in the amount of time it takes to watch Avatar. What it can't explain is the repetitive battles. Sure, each character has a special ability and a variety of moves, but you'll never need them for several reasons. First, a lot of the special skills you encounter are stupidly useless, from Ceodore's Awaken (it just makes him glow for an entire turn) to Edward's Salve, which really caught me off-guard. Seriously, it's salve! You'd think that would win every battle ever ever, but no, turns out that belongs to attack. Just mash away at the attack command and watch as everything vanishes into an alternate dimension, fearful of your cunning stratagems. If you're really ballsy, you can spam the Bio spell until the end of battle, but again, all you need is the attack button.
What's that? Something about the moon? Fuck the moon, I can just mash the attack button! And fuck that little down arrow next to the attack command, too! It may say that I shouldn't attack because it's now weaker, but I'm not noticing any changes! Do you see the problem here? Repetitive battles and short stories all point to one conclusion: this was an incredibly lazy game! They just took FF4, changed the story, added some useless new features (like the "reveal this unto me, O great GameFAQs" Band thing), and shoved it out the door as an old school Final Fantasy. How exactly can you fuck that up? Well, this game, for one. But I understand what you're saying, so let me elaborate, pretending that the last few paragraphs were mere warm-up.
 Pictured: Kain, as easily manipulated as ever.
Let's see, what else can I t-oh, graphics! As I've already mentioned, the game steals quite a bit from Final Fantasy VI, barely even bothering to cover up its theft. Terra becomes Rydia (F for "really fucking creative"), Terra puts her hair back up and becomes Porom, and Celes dons her opera outfit and changes absolutely nothing whatsoever. What's worse, when converting FF6 into FF4, they screwed up some of the little details that, when not present, make the game completely unlikable. I'm not saying it's completely lacking in those details; the towering castle spires and...tower prove that. Yet when that same tower looks like a cardboard cutout of an actual tower, the word "lazy" starts echoing in my already cluttered mind. 
As always, this extends both to the story and the gameplay. Since I can't remember why the hell I said the story, I'll just go with the gameplay. Remember how I mentioned the length of each chapter earlier? You know, how the last one is the only one of decent length? Well, I can't give it any points, because most of it is just an area that puts the word "dungeon" to shame, what with it having more floors than pixels, each one housing a boss from ANOTHER Final Fantasy game!? What? Why is Ultros in my FF4? Why is there a fucking train in the middle of the moon? Why does the game sloppily try to retcon all the Final Fantasy games into one universe, missing the appeal of a Final Fantasy game? But most importantly, why are all these bosses so damn easy? You'd think a dragon with two heads would be strong enough to rule the world two times over (once for each head), but apparently, he's weak to the Mother 3 Boss Strategy: up-stat yourselves, down-stat him, beat his ass until you have enough blood and poo to make everybody vomit into what is, in terms of quality, this game.
Yes, I'm calling this game crap, as if that hasn't sunk in yet. I love JRPGs, yet this game's repetitive nature made me realize why so many people smugly hate the genre; I'm an old school guy, yet even this-wait, no, it's not that the game is old school; it's just that Square thought the word "old school" translates to "you don't have to do anything at all." But of course, it didn't. If you're going to go old school, you either provide a clear context (Mega Man 9) or use it as an opportunity clean up some of your past fuck-ups (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon); you, however, couldn't be bothered to fix obvious shit like the character's pockets, given that they lose half their life savings every time they run from battle. Hell, you couldn't even proofread the crap you introduced in this game, like how there's no "just sleep" option for changing the moons, meaning you either need an inn or an oddly easy to set up cottage to achieve a moon change. So what we have here is an extremely flawed game that nobody wanted and that will no doubt garner controversy in the comments. What could possibly fix this game? Hmmmmm........

Review Synopsis

  • I think somebody dropped Final Fantasy IV on the floor, as the story's ridiculously fractured.
  • Christ, even as an old school JRPG gamer, this game forces me to question my love of both.
  • The attention to detail is in such a deficit that I feel I have to point out their fuck ups with the award: Twizzler Punch Award for Not Drawing Individual Punch Sprites for Each Character.
I was going to post a kickass video detailing why I love Final Fantasy so much, but that part of my mind simply isn't functioning after this game. So here's a ridiculously old Flash cartoon:  

Adventure Island

( Wow, that game was awful.) Let's just not talk about it anymore, even though I know that's what will comprise half the posts in this blog. What's that other half gonna consist of? Most of the crap I'm going to say right here, of course. Obviously, many of you are wondering how such an obscure NES game can generate enough random crap for so many posts. First, slightly freaked out that you know that it's an NES game but not much else. Second, remember Cocoron? No? Play it. Now.
Wait, no, not now. Now is the time for Adventure Island, a game starring a fat, shirtless guy with a mustache. I assume that he is Ron Jeremy. The storyline kinda supports it, since the goal of the game is to rescue a princess who looks like a blow-up doll. Wait a minute, I just noticed something: this game's more of a Mario rip-off than the Obscure Giana Sisters! Look at the evidence: fat mustache man, princess desperately in need of a good sexing, 32 levels, the ability to shoot (what I hope were) fireballs, decent ph.....oh, wait, that's kinda where the similarities end. For those of you who can't predict basic anythings, I was going to finish that with "decent physics", something I remembered Adventure Island was severely lacking.
 Way to go, Ron Jeremy!
The biggest problem that I can think of is the drift. Everything about this game feels like Disney on Ice, only with Ron Jeremy: stopping requires about 20 feet ahead of you and jumping onto a moving platform will make the physics implode. It feels somewhat cruel, since a lot of the levels have you hopping between areas less than a pixel wide. You'll trip into an enemy/fire/rock/blade of grass, get angry, and blow up your NES. That, of course, leads to game over, since you can't play Adventure Island on an exploded NES. Fortunately, the game's quite easy (until the end levels), so you'll only get game over about a few times. Which was good for me, since it meant less time making a dirty bomb that plays bitching chiptunes and more time actually noticing that this game does some cool things that make it more than Shirtless Mario Bros.
I don't know where to begin with it, so I'll try to think in terms of Ron Jeremy.....I know, eggs! Like Ron Jeremy, you'll spend most of your time ruining eggs for your own profit. But unlike Ron Jeremy, ruining these eggs results in things that aren't one of his pornos, like skateboards and fairies. All the fairy does is give you invincibility, so let's move onto the skateboard. What does it do? What the hell do you think, idiot, it makes you move forward! The catch? You can't stop. The closest thing possible is holding back, but even then, you're kinda screwed. It makes the jumps harder and some just comedic material for the sadistic programmers. Besides plunging to your helmet-safety-disproving death, it can also lead you to trip over petty things I listed earlier. And into your death.
If this is coming off a bit negative, keep in mind that it's been quite some time since I've played the game, so I may not be in the right mindset. In fact, I'm probably in a horrible mindset, since I actually liked the game. Hell, it has enough quirks and charm to get me to like it. Yes, I love playing as a guy who can be the mascot for egotism, but that's not all I love about the game; I also liked the fruit based gameplay and the fact that I was collecting pots in each level, apparently meaning that I'm playing as Ron Jeremy in his younger years. You know, when he experimented in the gay porn industry. And that's what this game does: it experiments. Not with gay porn, you sick pervert, but with platforming. And it works, so I'll give it the only award I can possibly give it:


Review Synopsis

  • Ron Jeremy at his finest.
  • "Reflex-based" does not even begin to describe this game.
  • Quirky does.
Posted by buzz_killington

Oh, Ron Jeremy.

Posted by SinGulaR

I made it to the moon (hehe) in FFIV and never ever played it since. The moon was to weird for my youthful spirit. Maybe I should try it again someday.
Posted by Video_Game_King

I'm guessing it had something to do with the trumpet farts, right?

Posted by FartyMcNarly

That's a bear, not a seal.

Posted by Video_Game_King
The focus is on the emblem itself, not the animal. Although I must admit, Bushwald Sexyface would love seals, for they are animals all born with mustaches.
Posted by MrKlorox

What's the code to make the mustache appear on Master Higgins? Cause I don't see Ron Jeremy in him whatsoever.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Really? I saw a mustache the entire time. Must've been the Super Sexy Edition.

Posted by auspiciousqueue

I beat FFIV so I figure "why not play After Years?" I'm glad I read this installment of your blog. 
 I'm thinking the only thing that could make that bear more awesome would be a leather jacket. 

Posted by Video_Game_King
Only if the bear killed a cow, skinned it, and then made the jacket from that hide. But how do you put that into an emblem without it being cluttered?
Posted by Hailinel

I'm not sure where you get the sprite art comparison as lazy bit.  Celes (who only appears dressed that way for about ten minutes in Final Fantasy VI) still looks remarkably different from Rosa.

Edited by Spike94

Million bonus points for including that video, bro. Classic...funny stuff...ahhh...memories.... 
But good blog, in addition to the video. 
EDIT: Oh and the Fox News demographic comment was like a knife through my chest. :(  
Good blog, otherwise. :D
Posted by Video_Game_King
She looks exactly the same. Granted, I pulled some of the last few out of the air (A.) rule of three, B.) they're still kinda valid), but that one is spot on. I'd compare them myself, but I'm lazy and am writing another blog.
A knife in your chest? Here's another one. *stabs you* Stop it. Seriously, just stop.
Posted by Hailinel
@Video_Game_King said:
" @Hailinel: 
She looks exactly the same. Granted, I pulled some of the last few out of the air (A.) rule of three, B.) they're still kinda valid), but that one is spot on. I'd compare them myself, but I'm lazy and am writing another blog.
@Spike94:  A knife in your chest? Here's another one. *stabs you* Stop it. Seriously, just stop. "
The details in the hair and dress are completely different.
Posted by Video_Game_King

Hold on, let me check...crap, can't find sprites either. But from the picture I took, the dress is exactly the same and the hair doesn't seem to be a big change. Again, lazy.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

When I hear the term "Old School" as referring to a new product it is implied that the game will be hard, usually artificially so, but also try to evoke older games of the genre.  FFIV TAY (Tay? That's a really dumb acronym) seems like it tries to be "Old School", but whoever actually knew how to do that kind of stuff was to busy working on the unneeded DS remake of the *good* Final Fantasy IV (my issue with that game being more that Square is exploiting FFIV almost as much as VII, which is another reason why I avoid The After Years), and the game is both unevocative (despite all the attempts by the game to the contrary) and easy as a result.

Posted by Video_Game_King
While still pretty easy, I found a few challenging moments in the game. Like trying to beat that girl when she has Bahamut. Or Titan. Or just about any other Eidolon.
Posted by Spike94
Dang, it's called a joke. Ya know. As in...not being serious... Please...
Posted by Video_Game_King
Oh. Should've known that nobody takes them seriously. Then again, you do have Jesus on the electric guitar as your avatar, which is pretty goddamn right wing.
Posted by Spike94
@Video_Game_King said:
" @Spike94:   Oh. Should've known that nobody takes them seriously. Then again, you do have Jesus on the electric guitar as your avatar, which is pretty goddamn right wing. "

Sheesh, a right hater? No disrespect intended, but... 1. I do take them seriously, depending on the person. And 2. Being Christian does not make me "right wing".  
Dang, bro. Sounds like you have an issue with conservatives... I say we leave it here and not get political.
Edited by Video_Game_King
1.) I'll take them seriously on a person-to-person basis.
2.) True, but conservatives really like to play up the Jesus. Also, it was a joke.
3.) I agree, going political is never that good. That reminds me, you probably won't want to read my next blog, since it's heavy on the Bush jokes. Don't worry, they fit in well with what I'm blogging about. I make it work.
Posted by Spike94
@Video_Game_King said:
" @Spike94:   1.) I'll take them seriously on a person-to-person basis. 2.) True, but conservatives really like to play up the Jesus. Also, it was a joke. 3.) I agree, going political is never that good. "

1. Okay, that's cool. I generally trust 'em. Person-to-person basis as well, because I don't listen to/watch everyone, but I certainly consider it my news station. 2. Ah. I'm sorry I missed. x3 My mind is...funny at times... Seriously though, a million apologies for missing that. Bleh. And I loves Jesus. xD Just as long as one's actions show it, I don't see what's wrong. I get where you're comin' from though. 3. Indeed. Have yourself a fine evening, sir. One, perhaps, filled with gaming? Whether it is or isn't, take care and keep writing these intriguing, enjoyable blogs.
Posted by Video_Game_King
1.) Diversify. (I could do that, too, but I'm a hypocrite :P.)
2.) Hold on, what? I have no idea what you're saying.
3.) Perhaps? I spent a lot of time not killing hippies in BioShock 2.
Posted by Spike94
@Video_Game_King said:
" @Spike94:   1.) Diversify. (I could do that, too, but I'm a hypocrite :P.) 2.) Hold on, what? I have no idea what you're saying. 3.) Perhaps? I spent a lot of time not killing hippies in BioShock 2. "

1. Eh. Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe (and I'm glad you can at least admit it xD).  
2. I kinda just went off on a tangent, my apologies. I mainly said "OH A JOKE? DUH, SILLY ME." and stuff. I then went on to make a comment about your statement of conservatives "pushing the Jesus" and such.  I said I've no problem, long as one isn't shoving it down anothers throat.
3. Nice. An evening well spent.
Posted by Video_Game_King
1.) Plus I'm lazy, don't forget lazy.
2.) OK......
Posted by Spike94
@Video_Game_King said:
" @Spike94:   1.) Plus I'm lazy, don't forget lazy. 2.) OK...... 3.) How? I'M NOT PUNCHING HIPPIES!!! "

1. Same here. Yes, you can't forget that. 
2. Yep! 
3. Mmm...true.... I take that back then. You're wasting your time and your existence is useless unless you get on whippin' some hippies, boy!