Originally Posted by Onegai:
Official Title(s): Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy II(U.S.)
Copyright: © 1991
Company: Squaresoft (Now known as Square Enix)
Original Platform: SNES
Genre(s): RPG, Steampunk, Adventure
Cecil is a Dark Knight and leader of the Red Wings. He is unwaveringly loyal to his kingdom, Baron. He does however; begin to question these loyalties when he is sent on a mission to steal a crystal from a bunch of innocent villagers. The king learns of Cecil’s discontent and removes Cecil’s rank as captain of the Red Wings. Cecil is then sent on a mission with his best friend Kain to deliver a package to the village of Mist in a valley not far from the kingdom. After the package turns out to be quite malevolent, engulfing the village in flames. Cecil soon realises that the king he once swore allegiance to has become corrupt and power hungry. Thus begins his quest to stop the king of Baron, little does he know that there are far more sinister powers at work than he could ever have dreamed of and that his past contains surprises that he could never have imagined.
Storyline: 5/5 – The storyline is extremely complex, filled with mystery, romance, betrayal, humour and all the right ingredients of a good RPG. It’s a little on the dark side and rather dramatic which was a nice breakout from the general standard at that time and actually dared to go where most game producers had never gone before.
Characters: 5/5 –The characters are extremely three-dimensional, each filled with their own unique feelings and personalities. There are a large number of playable characters, all of whom have their own special traits and the character development is first class.
Gameplay: 3/5 –The gameplay is mostly smooth although there are one or two places where the game isn’t too clear on where to go or what to do next, forcing you to guess or go over it with a fine tooth comb for clues. The large array of abilities make for interesting battles, however some abilities tend to fail a lot, leading to a little frustration for the player.
Graphics: 3/5 – Though the graphics by no means use the SNES to its full potential, there are many places that, if this is the first SNES game you’ve played, will impress you. The backgrounds make use of multiple layers at a basic yet effective level and there are a myriad of distinctive environments.
Soundtrack: 4/5 – The soundtrack of Final Fantasy 4 is by far, the best of all the Final Fantasy games released on SNES. This is not necessarily in terms of sound quality but instead, based on the track compatibility with the atmosphere. Although quite simplistic and very audibly synthesized, most of the soundtrack has a very orchestral feel to it.
Replayability: 3/5 – There aren’t very many secrets worth replaying the game for, maybe the odd hidden item here and there and maybe Odin(Although I unlocked this my first time round). Putting that aside the lack of “secrets” content, the game itself is so appealing that any true RPG fan may feel it beckoning them after a while and think “Gee, I’d really like to replay that”. It boils down to personal taste I guess.
Overall Enjoyment: 4.5/5 – I loved this game. I rank this game equal to FF7 and FF8, despite it’s primitive graphics. Though it had some obvious flaws, they barely affected the experience of playing the game. It was a revolution in the FFF (Final Fantasy Franchise), being the first to have an ATB system.
Extra titbits: Final Fantasy 4 was released in America as Final Fantasy 2. This was because the actual FFII along with FFIII, both on the NES, were never released in the United States. One other interesting thing is that there’s a reference made to Dark Knights in the actual NES FF2. Since its original release, FF4 has been re-released on other platforms too like Gameboy Advanced and Nintendo DS with various alterations and “upgrades”, still, I think the original has an unrivalled warmth to it.
Key: 5.Excellent 4.Good 3.So-so 2.Poor 1.Awful 0. Terrifyingly bad