An Old Gem That Still Rocks
The in-depth story of this game was unique for its time. There are many turns and a few twists in the story as it advances. Along the way he is joined by many different characters including Rydia, a young summoner, Rosa, a white mage and Cecil?s girlfriend, Palom and Porom, preteen twin mages, and Yang, a tough martial artist. There is a great deal of development into these characters, which obviously has been surpassed by other RPGs since then, but it is still admirable. Each has their own unique personality, creating a great diversity in the different parties throughout the game.
The character personalities are also complex and captivating, as are the relationships. Everyone talks about how in Final Fantasy VII Cloud was a character with much conflict within himself, but Cecil was as well, maybe even more so. The struggle he has with obeying his king and his position as a Dark Knight with what he feels is right and wrong is very powerful, even if it is shown through a little sprite.
The other characters are just as wonderful and are all very developed. The player learns why each of them wants to destroy the evil enemy, and how they feel about the other party members. There is a great sense of comradeship between the characters, which I think is much greater in this game than in more recent Final Fantasies. Also their courage, which I cannot describe in detail because of spoilers, is very admirable, even if they are video game characters.
The story line is fantastic, and is made even better by the wonderful characters. The best part about it is how the story is timeless, a classic battle between good and evil where the fate of the world is hanging in the balance. The use of the elements with the crystals and the Four Fiends is a great theme of the game. It is very linear, but that is characteristic of most RPGs from that time, and even still of the Final Fantasy series today. However there are not many side quests like in more recent Final Fantasies.
Each character has a unique skill and to help contribute to the battle. Some bring special attacks, some bring magic, and some can run away and hide (yes, there is a character that can do that). Of course it follows the old clich? where the girls are weak physically and strong magically, and the men are the opposite, unless they are old or a spoony bard. Nevertheless it works for this game. Learning new skills and spells is very simple since all that needs to be done is to gain levels.
When Final Fantasy IV was released in North America as Final Fantasy II it was actually a translation of the Easy Version of Final Fantasy IV. Things were omitted from the game and the story line, such as the Porn Book that is a secret item, cursing, how Cecil actually kills the Mysidians in the beginning of the game, and the implications that Rosa and Cecil were sleeping together. When it was released as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles set for the Playstation, it was a redone translation of the original game.
One frustrating aspect of this game is the multitude of random enemy encounters. Sometimes they seem to never stop, and there is no magical item to make them go away either. Another thing is only so many items can be stored with the party at one time. Although there is a way to store excess items in another place, it still is a minor annoyance.
The music of this game is definitely some of Nobuo Uematsu?s best. The soundtrack can easily be enjoyed straight from the Original Sound Version, but it truly shines on arranged versions. There is so much variety in the songs, especially when you go to different kingdoms and towns. However some of the melodies on the soundtrack are rather annoying, namely the theme to Mysidia.
As for the graphics, obviously they are dated and cannot be compared to today?s standards. One should not dismiss a game simply because it does not have great graphics, but some people seem to disagree with that. Sure if Final Fantasy IV were given a huge graphical face-lift then it would be more popular today, but it is not completely necessary. Plus, it probably would have ended up costing more money.
Chances are if you enjoy the Final Fantasy series you have played this game, but if you have not, you really need to change that fact. Do not be put off by its out to date graphics, the rest of the game can definitely stand up to any RPG today. It?s story line and characters may not be on the same par as later games in the series in your book, but remember those games had predecessors that made them so great. This is one of them.
Have you ever had a boss whose motives you have questioned because you believed they weren?t right? Were you fired for questioning him? That?s basically how Final Fantasy IV begins. You are Cecil, a Dark Knight from Baron and leader of the Red Wings, Baron?s airship force. After a mission to obtain the Water Crystal from Mysidia by force, Cecil questions the king on why this was necessary, and he was removed from his post. He is then sent to the Village of the Mist with his companion Kain, and the epic story progresses from there.
||"It may not be quite as great and epic as more recent games in the Final Fantasy series, but remember they had predecessors that made them so great. This is a classic not to be missed."
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