Final Fantasy 3, nearly 16 years ago, was hearld the greatest RPG ever constructed at the time. With the first Job class system, tired but true RPG gameplay, and a great storyline, it is no wonder that in the grand scheme of things, FF III is a pinnacle in the entire series.
For the first time we get to play it now, and despite a facelift, the old gameplay is still there, old yes, and that may be it's biggest flaw, but even then, there is little to worry about in this great entry for the Nintendo DS.
The game pushes the envelope a LOT on the DS. It's graphics remind me of an old Playstation 1 game, simplistic yet detailed polygons, lots of movement, lots of effects, and a lot of polish. The framerate surprisingly holds up well on the tiny machine, although load times are frequent and can cause minor furstrations. It also makes things go a bit longer, particularly boss battles, which can be up to 20 minutes if your fast enough. Everything looks so good here, it is hard to complain about the graphics on the handheld system, so Square does great job at making us a visual treat on the DS. That with a few CG sequences thrown in, the game can trump many early day PSone and N64 games, not an easy feat in my book.
Final Score- A-
The gameplay for Final Fantasy has remained unchanged since it's first incarnation here. Instead of seeing your enemies in front of you and avoiding them, random encounters occur every few steps and so. Also, while some areas it doesn't matter where you go, the monsters encountered there are so hard to kill, you better off avoiding them for a while.
While most new, casual gamers will find this fustrating, the old guard will probablly have memories of nostalgia over this. The jaded story, about 4 chosen ones who have to stop the world from falling into darkness, the old school gameplay, of Attack, Magic, Item and Flee, the turn based RPG style, are all here, weather you like it or not.
Unfortanatly, the DS capabilities are not utilized that much it seems like, as the top screen is mainly for Stats and artwork. The stylus is used a lot better for control it seems like, but other than that, it doesn't really have a lot of DS capabilities, which can be forgiven, but shouldn't be.
The other extras seem tacked on too, especially the Moogle mail system. I see no point in that, mainly because it has little to do with the main storyline, but to it's credit, it is a nice extension of the game and makes it last a bit longer. I also think the side quests, while fun and break up gameplay, are kind of pointless in the end.
Finally, the job system returns with 20 classes, and hundreds of combinations. While the system has some of the more rare classes like an Onion Knight and a Geomancer, plus the staples like a Red Mage, Warrior, etc, it feels like they could of added even more to the mix. I guess we are spoiled by the number of classes in games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advances, and Final Fantasy XI, just to name a few. With 20 job classes, it seems feeble, but it is still a deep system.
Final Score- B-
The music is excellent. The orchestra score is extremely well done, and is one of the better tracks out there in recent Final Fantasy history. Probably not enough to surpass VII, VIII or XII, but still great none-the less. Sound effect wise is top notch, if not redundant and similar to the older games.
Final Score- B+
In the end, a lot is done right, but a lot is also to dated. That seems to be the biggest complaint from all the reviewers, the game is just really old by todays standards, but it doesn't stop the game from being fun. For the people who are hardcore, old school RPG fans, or hardcore FF fans, pick this up. For those who are new to the RPG scene, you may want to avoid this. Final Fantasy will always be a pillar in gaming, despite the age of some of their games. While making games like this are out of practice, is it good to see the games as to how far RPGs in general have come, and to experience an old school game in a new format.
Final Score- B-
Overall Score- B