|By Sherv||Monday, 11 Aug 2008|
Note: If you have never play Final Fantasy IV be forewarned that the following contains spoilers.
Dear reader, are you still debating whether to snag the latest Squeenix remake? Are you doubting whether it’s worth plunging into the world of Final Fantasy IV yet again? Wasn’t the GBA release with its additional material enough already? Well, if you aren’t completely fed up with remakes and rehashes, read on for a look at Final Fantasy IV DS.
I’m not going to break this article down into a typical review , but rather highlight the new features of the game:
3D design – Immediately apparent from the FMV and gameplay pics, the graphical overhaul of FFIV is extremely well done for what it is. I should note that although I miss the sprites (an aspect of the game which captured my interest and imagination when I first saw screens of it in Nintendo Power way back when) I find the new models nicely detailed and emphatic. The voice acting which accompanies the characters is also on par, nothing amazing but it has some great moments, such as Rydia’s shriek after seeing her mother’s body.
Augment system – I’m not a fan of this at all but the good news is that you can play the game perfectly fine without it, unless you plan on assaulting the two mega impossible super donkey buster mighty bosses during your third playthrough. Augments are abilities which can be found like treasure or received when a party member permanently leaves your party. There’s an entire strategy of which augments to give to which member as giving more than one augment can provide you with more than one augment in return when, say, the Twins turn to stone and are “dead”. I don’t have the patience for shit that I would otherwise never know about unless I consult a FAQ.
Auto-battle – This is a nice neat inclusion which allows one to press a button and have the party carry out a set command list per turn (e.g. Cecil will attack, Rydia will use her Fire Rod, Kain will Jump, etc) and this helps reduce the monotony of levelling up or treasure hunting, which brings me to…
New items – Remember how there were the pink puffs on the moon with the incredibly rare tail drop? No? Me neither, but it exists in the earlier incarnations of FFIV and getting this profoundly rare item allows one to get the best armor in the game. Well, in FFIV DS there are multiple types of tails, all with absurdly low drop rates, and the requisite uber equipment to be obtained from said tails. I don’t know why I’m including the following in this paragraph but there’s also a bonus to be earned with the complete mapping of any unmapped dungeon (always displayed on one of the DS screens). From rewards of 5 potions to remedies to the unknown, completely mapping EVERY floor of EVERY dungeon earns you an augment which makes hunting for tails a wee bit easier.
Difficulty – Man, this game comes at you swinging. Bosses have new techniques, enemies seem to hit harder, gil is far more scarce…but don’t mistake this for bitching, it’s certainly a welcome modification!
One noticable low point is the music. It’s sad to hear the amazing soundtrack of FFIV sound like it’s being played on comb-kazoos and toilet paper tubes. The arrangements of a few songs are excellent but, as a counterexample, Fight 2 (boss fight) sounds wanky and juvenile. But this is a relatively minor gripe for a game which, for me, never gets old.
That being said, this is another solid port of one of my favorite games. While the new features aren’t exactly essential and the music isn’t up to par, the 3D graphics and voices breathe some new life into the game. I think the original sprite-based versions will always be my favorites, but the DS remake is also well done. While it’s easy to question the necessity of another remake of FFIV so soon after the Advance version, it’s worth giving this version a shot for all the changes and little touches, especially if you haven’t played it in quite a while (or never played it at all).