Final Fantasy III Reader Review
FINAL FANTASY III
Being the single game of the hard-hittin' Final Fantasy series that hasn't left the Land of The Rising Sun, Final Fantasy III (FFIII) has been given a second life as an exclusive Nintendo DS remake. Rising from the ashes like a phoenix, Final Fantasy III blessed our Japanese brothers-in-arms in summer 2006, then it visited the U.S. chaps several months later. And having in mind the fact that the Japanese folks diligently buy every single RPG remake, and probably they will do so till the very end of this world, the gai-jins were given a rare chance to hone their RPG mad skillz by playing a game they have never played before (well, in English, that is). As soon as the game hit the US shelves, it was targeted and imported by the most eager European RPG connoisseurs. And their eagerness has been justified by the game itself. Here's why.
FFIII is a cornerstone game for the franchise. While being a typical representative of the Japanese role playing games (featuring funny chibi-characters and NPCs, a milk and water story, repetitive random battles, excellent music and 30+ hours of gameplay) it is the first game in the series armed with the jobs system, cute moogles and the omnipresent Fat Chocobo. Adding value to these gameplay elements and mascots loved by the regular FF fans are the marvellous opening full motion video sequence and the nice 3D graphics which bring fond memories of the beloved Final Fantasy Tactics.
Let me touch upon the basics of the FFIII battle system, because the plain story (a.k.a. 'only YOU can save the world in times of ultimate peril and looming unavoidable doom!') doesn't need any particular explanation. After bringing together four dauntless Freelancers, you move them from one dungeon to another, using villages, towns and kingdoms as a temporary refuge for healing, sleeping, buying weapons and items and for some general relaxation. When your party runs into a crystal (usually after an encounter with a very nasty boss ), your valiant heroes are given some new jobs as a reward for their unimaginable bravery. While the jobs can be divided in two major groups - physical and magical types, actually there's more variety to them than it appears at a first glance. To begin with, the job you choose for your combatants determines the weapons and equipment they can use. Moreover, every job provides the character utilizing it with a specific command which can be exploited at the battlefield for different results. Furthermore, some jobs give your characters unique powers - for example, the ninjas always act first in the beginning of a battle. And last but not least, most of the job costumes look no less than utterly cool.
Now we are moving forward to the other general complaint - the higher than the average level of difficulty of the game. Frankly said, I can't understand the people moaning about a game being too difficult to accomplish. How the heck could anyone be amused by a game in which his character/party never suffers a bitter defeat, not just for once? Well, the saving system could be blamed to some extent for not forgiving the players any critical mistake in a battle (and sometimes even random encounters pose a serious threat to your party). You see, when you are defeated in dungeons you cannot continue from the quick save, your only option is to return to your real saving point which is in the outer world. Anyway, since FFIII is an old old-school RPG, one cannot expect everything to be top-notch, even in a polished remake of the game, such as this one. And I can only admire Square-Enix for not lowering its difficulty level, despite the fact that it gives the crowd something to whine about. My only complaint is the awkward system of counting the damage inflicted by your party. It's really hard for anyone to understand how come the damage of a normal attack can sometimes differ with more than 1000 hit points (9999 being the most damage a single character can inflict) from another normal attack inflicted on the same monster by the same character on the same level of growth armed with the same weapon. The answer? Levelling-up your characters is everything!
To sum it up, FFIII gave me just what I expected and needed: nice graphics, an easygoing plot, feverish gameplay and outstanding music (Nobuo Uematsu, who else?). My final judgment - if you consider yourself a fan of the FF series and/or the old-school RPGs, don't miss this title, it's worth your hard-earned cash.
8 / 10