I remember when Final Fantasy 4, used to be called Final Fantasy 2
The title says it all right? Either I’m getting old or Square has finally gotten their act together (probably both). Regardless, this is an entry in rpg history which cannot be passed up, if not for just pure nostalgia alone.
Although it’s kind of sickening how many re-releases this game has!
Ahh Square you just have to make money off of old titles instead of making new ones that your fans would enjoy. I have no problem with re-releasing an old game maybe once….I’ll be lenient and even say twice. This old school classic however has been released in the US up to 4 times now… Lol makes me chuckle a little inside.
Well putting that aside Final Fantasy 2…err Final Fantasy 4 originally came out in the US in July of 1991 under the old name of “Final Fantasy 2″. Reason being is, even though the real versions of Final Fantasy 2 and 3 had already been released in Japan, Square didn’t want to confuse American gamers so they kept with the next number in the series.
The next 3 US remakes however used the correct name of Final Fantasy 4, allowing Square to correct that small mistake which should have never been made in the 1st place. :p So let’s check out a little of this game’s story & gameplay.
Our story begins with a scene of the Red Wings, the air force of the Kingdom of Baron darting across the sky. Headed by Captain Cecil they are on their way back to Baron after completing an interesting mission in Mysidia.
Cecil & his crew reflect back on the events that happened only hours ago in Mysidia. Even though it was the King’s Orders something is very unjust about what was done to the people of Mysidia.
Eventually Cecil and the Red Wings make it back to Baron and land. Then Cecil is taken by the Chancellor to meet with the King and return the captured crystal from his latest mission. However after Cecil decides to question the King about the latest mission and reveal his crew’s feelings, the King reacts with a hasty decision. He sends Cecil and Cecil’s Dragoon friend Kain on a new mission to destroy some monsters in the Mist Valley, and to deliver a package bomb ring to Mist Village. Then our story continues…
This game is one of the original rpg classics, so you can expect all of the rpg cliches that us rpg gamers have grown to know and love. The game has romance in the form of Cecil’s love interest Rosa, betrayal, alot of people kind of die, and you even get to go the fudging moon man! All in all excellently put together on Square’s part. The remakes fixed some story issues or conversations that kind of made no sense in the original so that should help fans get more out of the game as well.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy 4 shouldn’t be anything new to modern rpg gamers, since this is one of the classics. You still will see your top down view of towns and the world. You will need to talk to people in towns to get clues of where to go next, and you might even need to do a little grinding to get that new weapon in the shop.
There are 2 things to note as far as this installation of Final Fantasy is concerned. For one, this is the only Final Fantasy to date in the whole series where you can use up to 5 characters in battle.
And second this is the very first Final Fantasy to use the Active Time Battle system. It paved the way for future installations of Final Fantasy.
The gameplay itself isn’t anything to scream about. This particular game is more about story, even though it is very linear. However depending on what version of this game you obtain, then you’ll have little extras here and there to keep you busy.
~Difference in versions~
The gameplay videos I showed above use scenes from the Super Nintendo, Gameboy Advance, and the Nintendo DS versions. Of course graphically speaking we all know which version wins out. However if you don’t care about graphics then technically you can play any version you want. But the more recent versions are a step above the original.
The first remake of this game came to the US on the Playstation 1 back in 2001. It was coupled as a gamepack with Chrono Trigger in the form of Final Fantasy Chronicles.
As far as graphics are concerned, the only thing that was added was a FMV in the opening and ending of the game.
Gameplay was slightly changed by adding the ability to move faster, Square added bonus art, a bestiary, and you could perform a sort of quicksave anywhere on the world map.
Some of the dialogue was also changed for better english localization. This game was poorly ported though, because it suffered from lag when going into battle and even just accessing the menu.
The second remake of this game as far as the US is concerned came on the Gameboy Advance.
It had improved graphics, a new opening scene (they left the original intro intact), a new dungeon at the Mt of Ordeals which had better armor and unique equipment for some characters, and another bonus dungeon called the Lunar Ruins which was only accessible at the end of the game.
The Gameboy Advance version however suffered from the same problems the Playstation 1 remake had. Serious problems with lag when you had 3+ party members in battle. The original battle glitch where Cecil could sometimes attack twice was still not fixed, and a lot of fans complained of the poor quality of the music on the Gba. Also what the hell did they do to Rosa’s face!!
The Nintendo DS version however…
…is imo the best version of Final Fantasy 4 that has been released to date. The US didn’t get to see this remake till 2008. While Japanese gamers were enjoying it in 2007 (Damn you!)
This game features improved graphics, some very nice cutscenes of key events with voice acting, and a complete reworking of how your characters are portrayed. The dialogue was also changed again to better fit the new character personalities. As far as the overall storyline it has been pretty much kept the same.
Unfortunately you will not see any new dungeons or anything of that sort, however Square-Enix did add a new system called the Augment System. This system basically allows you to add specific unique abilities from one character to another character, and you can also change that character’s battle menu to use those skills. Pretty neat right?
Besides the Augment System Square-Enix also added:
- Mini-games that are playable through the stylus.
- A Video/Music Player
- A New Game + option that allows you to start a new game with rare equipment and items you may have found in your last play-through.
You really came through on this one Square-Enix, but I must say I like a lot of the concept art as well…
Did you know?
There is actually a sequel to this game that takes place 17 years after the events in the original. It was released on Wiiware in the US, and Japanese gamers have it on Wiiware and their mobile phones. Check out the trailer below
Let’s see here…I was able to “procure” some nice map copies of the old Final Fantasy 2 on the Snes:
Both of the above maps were made by Rick Bruns over at snesmaps.com
So when it’s all said and done which version should you play?
Well to be honest if you can get a copy of the Nintendo DS version then I would highly suggest just playing that one. I know Amazon has it.
Amazon also has a copy of the original Final Fantasy 2-Snes, and Final Fantasy IV Advance for the Gba.
So like I said this is definitely a trip down memory lane for me. And of course I hope that people in the future who get into rpg gaming will come here and be able to try this game out was well. So have you played it yet?