Monday, March 24, 2008

Final Fantasy III (Remake)

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Nintendo DS
Credits: 2006 Square Enix USA, Screenshots with permission from RPGFan.


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Original Soundtrack Product Description:
The only Final Fantasy that was never localized in the United States, Final Fantasy III has been reborn, incorporating the latest in portable gaming technology. Using the features of the Nintendo DS to their fullest, Final Fantasy III features graphics that have been reworked and remodelled in 3D, while maintaining the mythical Final Fantasy look and feel. This is the fans' chance to complete the circle. The legend of Final Fantasy III is reborn.
  • The missing link in the evolution of FINAL FANTASY is unveiled.
  • A dynamic job-changing system brings a nearly infinite number of party.
  • The touch screen interface takes full advantage of the DS capabilities.

Skysenshi's Description:
The balance between light and darkness begins to shift and it's up to the four Warriors of Light to restore its position. They must set off on a journey to find the crystals of Water, Wind, Fire and Earth in order to succeed in a battle of epic proportions.

It’s surprisingly well-balanced! >>> by skysenshi (03.23.2008)
As my review title suggests, the first thing I noticed upon loading this game is how well-balanced it was. There are equal parts difficult and equal parts easy, with no mind-numbing amounts of level-up grinding to think of. When I'm experiencing a bit of difficulty conquering a dungeon or a boss, I immediately switch jobs and change strategies to make the pain a bit more bearable. What keeps it from being a mass of ennui, as I have observed, is that you have some sort of a transition phase when switching jobs. This simply means that there are a few battles you have to face before you can actually fit your new role like a glove.

I must be confusing you, as I immediately rambled on about job switches and battles. For those who aren't familiar with any of the Final Fantasy classics, "jobs" are basically classifications that your character can fit into. In this installation, there are sword bearers like the Knight, Ninja, Warrior; magic users like the White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage and so on and so forth. Your four characters -- Luneth, Refia, Arc and Ingus -- are pretty basic. They don't really have a field of specialization unless you choose to make them specialize in something. So if you want all four of your characters to be ninjas, by all means, you may do so.

There's not much to be said about its story -- which had been rehashed by a number of other role-playing games over the decade -- but Final Fantasy III is actually the first of the series to introduce the switching job system as well as the lovable Moogles. There are little things I do appreciate. Like how, story-wise, there aren't any clear cut blacks and whites. (You'll see what I mean near the conclusion.) Or how Refia has more HP (life) than everyone else, making it more realistic. (We all know that women live longer than men in real life.) Or how challenging the boss battles are. You don't just fire away with your heaviest spells and punches; you actually have to stop and think.

Minor annoyances include the fact that the only time you can save is when you're in the World Map. This could've been outweighed by the shortness of the regular dungeon maps. The problem is, the last four dungeons are very long and equipped with continuous, arduous boss fights.

Another annoying factor is the WIFI-only weapons that happen to be the most powerful in the game. You get these items through sub quests that are only available online. So if you don't really have access to WIFI, you miss out on a lot of side stories and great gear. It's a good thing that this doesn't have much of an impact on the gameplay balance or I would've been thoroughly disappointed.

All in all, I find Final Fantasy III to be a satisfying way to pass the time. The music is nice, the characters are cute, and everything else -- besides my minor complaints -- seems to be in order. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone addicted to the Final Fantasy series.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate - Difficult
RATINGS: Gameplay 10; Battle 10; Story 8; Visuals 7; Characters 8; Sounds 9; Replay Value 9

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