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Final Fantasy III

Platform:
nds
Developer:
Square Enix
Genre:
Traditional RPG
Series:
Final Fantasy
  • November 14, 2006
  • August 24, 2006
  • Spring 2007
A- 12 total ratings
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A Final Fantasy III review Author: Jeriaska Published: December 10, 2006
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As appreciative as I am of the long-delayed arrival of Final Fantasy III to North America, the game is clearly quite a few years late. Square Enix has done an admirable job of revivifying the old classic with updated graphics, sound, and character designs. The functionality of the stylus also reduces D-pad fatigue and the dual screen is used to good effect. At the same time, the title remains a tastefully glorified relic of a prior time. The story’s handful of additional flourishes only modestly atone for the fact that the original was created before Square had given themselves permission to tell a story and the turn-based battle system is rather outdated. For traditionalists, this is the Final Fantasy III port par excellence, but nostalgia aside the title falls short of inspiring.
Don't get too excited. The game looks nothing like the box art


The most successful elements of the DS role playing game are undoubtedly the high-caliber retouch job incorporated into the 8-bit dinosaur. Originally the story followed four identical knights whose identities were individuated only insofar as different jobs were allocated to each member. This time around, Akihiko Yoshida of Vagrant Sotry and Final Fantasy XII fame has been employed to good effect, though only minimally, in giving each character the veneer of an identity. The player now starts off only with Luneth, the silver-haired hero, and recruits the others along the way. Luneth’s friend Arc is a quiet and reclusive lad abused by the town bullies. Refia is the daughter of a blacksmith who desires her independence. Ingus is a palace guard, concerned with honor and loyal to the princess. Both the character designs and nod to character development are successfully integrated into the original game, but little use is made of them. After the introductory passages in the story, the protagonists return to their undifferentiated states as far as the story is concerned. Furthermore, Yoshida’s talent could have been extended to the non-playable characters, but instead is relegated mainly to the sole CG cut-scene at the game’s introduction. The game designers clearly could have followed through with these needed embellishments.
Yoshida's excellent artwork is mostly relegated to the CG intro


A problem one notices with the game early on is the discrepancy between the difficulty of the gameplay and the immaturity of the story. Unlike the job system of PSP-bound Final Fantasy Tactics, abilities cannot be learned from raising job levels. Whatever headway one character makes in one of the various classes, it is lost if they choose to switch out, making the bland choice of sticking to one job as long as possible the winning strategy. Like the cutesified remake Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls for the Game Boy Advance, much of the storytelling seems catered toward younger players. For instance, to progress early in the game you overcome the obstacle of a mountain blocking your path by borrowing an airship from Cid and crashing it into the offending obstruction, while you pilot it! Why kamikazeying your airship should not kill your party outright, while wandering through the marshes without the proper footwear later in the game should mean instant doom to your party, is just one of several stymieing plot devices. Late in the game, two of your powerful non-playable allies attack you without warning, saying that destroying them will give your party a leg up in defeating the forces of darkness consuming the world. Nevertheless, if you lose this battle it means game over for you and the world. Furthermore, if you win, your allies inform you that though their bodies have been decimated, you can now absorb their undying “souls.” By that logic, perhaps the young heroes should go around town asking villagers, “Mind if we eat your souls? It would be good for the universe.” The senseless muddling of the Japanese original’s Shinto-esque nature worship and the knee-jerk Judeo-Christian rhetoric on the part of the English translators amounts to a truly incomprehensible experience.
A good game in several respects but, ten years too late


On the whole, the updated Final Fantasy III seems to belong to a prior era. Had the title been released for the Playtation around the time of Xenogears it might have compared favorably to most other Square titles. The graphics tastefully adapt the original Famicom cart to the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo DS and the remixes of Nobuo Uematsu’s memorable soundtrack are both faithful to the original songs while an overall improvement in quality. Again, long neglected North American fans of Final Fantasy will be happy to finally receive an updated version of the third titles. Unfortunately, they are now no longer young enough to forgive its noticeably flawed story and gameplay.
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Editor's Grade
B
dotted line "For traditionalists, this is the Final Fantasy III port par excellence, but nostalgia aside the title falls short of inspiring."
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Author
Jeriaska
Endoplasmic Reticulum
Square Haven Editor
Member since October 03, 2003
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