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Final Fantasy IV
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

20-40 Hours


Rating definitions 

   This review is based on the original SNES game released in the USA. Final Fantasy IV appeared after the series' great success on the NES. This time a larger central story and even individual characters with strong personalities made their appearance. The forth game in the popular series follows a Dark Knight as he abandons the corrupt kingdom he once served in hopes of turning to the side of light.

   FFIV features a fairly standard battle system, though there is quite a bit of character individuality in battle. Each character has a specific rigid set of skills. The few skills that exist in the game are generally magic based and consume MP. There are a variety of these such as white, black, and summoning magic. Players need to plan their attacks combining both the offense and defense to fight effectively. Bow and arrow sets can be equipped to cause high damage as well. The battle system is decent, but it could have easily been better.

A Crystal A Crystal

   As most of the game has been severely dumbed down from the original version, most of the enemies are easily defeated. There are only a few places where enemies pose a threat to the party. Bosses are a bit harder than normal enemies, but they too can be easily defeated. Even the final level is easy due to the large number of rare and powerful weapons the game places in easily accessible locations.

   The interface is mostly very good and few errors are noticeable. It isn't anything special either and not really worth mentioning. The localization, on the other hand, is a different story. Not only are there a few noticeable errors and instances of strange language here and there, a good deal of strange changes have been made in localization as well. Most of these changes such as the complete removal of a few skills and items seem completely unnecessary and hurt the game much more than help it. There was no reason to remove these and only further detracts from the localization.

   Final Fantasy IV is one of the first RPGs to feature a strong plot and character individuality. It also features an improved battle system. Sadly, most of the rest of the game is very similar to previous installments of the series. Even many of the character sprites come almost directly from earlier Final Fantasy games. The new skills are interesting, but most of the spells have been seen before too. Not very original overall.

Everyone's favorite quote Everyone's favorite quote

   FFIV features a central story which, though a little lacking, is quite nice overall. There are a large number of poorly executed plot devices, but it's better than having no plot at all. Each character has his or her own personality, backstory, and even some character development. Though characters tend to come and go as they please throughout the course of the game, this is still a nice touch. It could have been a lot better, but the story is still good for its time.

   Despite the large improvements to the storyline, FFIV can still be completed in about twenty hours. There aren't too many extras to keep players busy either unless they want to level up or try to get rare drops from certain enemies. It's unlikely that it will take them over forty hours though.

   FFIV features some pretty good music. Many of the dungeon tracks become repetitive over time, but they are more than made up for by a number of excellent tracks such as the boss themes. The sound effects are good too, though they could've been a little better. They still sound similar to what they're intended to sound like.

   As character sprites are simply borrowed and slightly improved from earlier FF games, they aren't too impressive. Enemy sprites, especially bosses, are very detailed as they are much larger and seem to all be new. The largest improvement, however, seems to be the large addition of beautiful backgrounds and the addition of effects like fog. It could still use some work, but visuals are good for their time overall.

   While it does make a number of improvements, especially to the story, the series doesn't seem to be able to keep up as well with other games that have begun to appear at the same time. Had the real version been released rather than this dumbed-down version, it is likely the game would have been much better, but it wasn't. FFIV is still enjoyable and I recommend it, though try to find the original version if possible.

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