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WiiWare Roundup • Page 2

NyxQuest plus two Final Fantasy spin-offs.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

  • Price: 800 Points
  • In Real Money: £6 / Ä8

Much like Capcomís 8-bit styled MegaMan 9, this direct sequel to the 1991 entry in the series has been designed to look and play like a SNES title. Itís also episodic in nature although as with My Life as a Darklord, the way this has been implemented is rather unappetising.

The game is set 17 years after the original. We find Ceodore, son of Cecil and Rosa, taking his place as our new precocious hero. The moon detached from the Blue Planetís orbit at the end of Final Fantasy IV has returned mysteriously, and those bloominí Crystals start to throb in a ďhere we go againĒ sort of way.

A total of 13 existing characters are reintroduced in older forms while 11 new characters have been added to the pot. In other words, itís every bit as sprawling and busy as youíd expect from the Final Fantasy series. Familiarity with the previous game isnít essential as such, but it certainly helps. Youíll know already if Squareís wordy dialogue and leisurely storytelling is your cup of tea, so thereís little point chalking it up as either pro or con. Suffice to say, it feels every inch the classic Final Fantasy adventure.

2

Continuing the noble tradition of giving Final Fantasy characters really naff names in English translation.

Gameplay is much as it would have been back in 1991, making for a familiar and intuitive experience, but there are some new features of note. The phases of the moon change each time you rest, and this lunar cycle has an immediate effect Ė both positive and negative - on your party and the enemies you fight.

Thereís also the ChronoTrigger-inspired Band System, which allows you to combine attacks from each character to create new, more devastating, offensive moves. With so many characters to choose from, itís no small addition to the tactical meat of the battles.

All of which should, in theory, make The After Years an instant purchase for fans. At 800 Points for an all-new Final Fantasy game in the classic style, itís hard not to recommend this course of action. That is until our old friend DLC drops in for a visit. The initial purchase only gives you the main story. If you want the sidequests, and the character-specific storylines, then youíll need to fork out for an extra 13 chapters, which adds another 3700 points to the asking price.

They are, of course, entirely optional but the sort of people most likely to be attracted to a SNES-styled sequel to a 1991 JRPG are also those most likely to want every last drop of gameplay. Perhaps more than any other genre, this is the one where you know that simply playing the main storyline is less than half the experience. With that in mind, while The After Years is a treat for fans in concept and execution, itís a slap in the face from a commercial standpoint.

7/10

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