Final Fantasy, the tried-and-true, quintessential, sure-to-sell series of all role-playing games. As a gamer who has stuck more to the PC and Nintendo side of things (I'm addicted to Metroid and Zelda...sorry), I've missed the Final Fantasy bandwagon.
That is, until now.
Final Fantasy III is the kind of classic game every gamer needs to play - a frustrating but ultimately satisfying game.
Before we dive into the full review, understand something: Final Fantasy III hits a principle I like to refer to as "Less-is-More"; this simply is a way to say that sometimes more options, more graphics, more story, more play-time means a worse game. By simplifying the story, the action, the options a game can actually be more enjoyable. This game is the perfect example of this principle. (NOTE: I'm not saying "less-is-more" applies to everything. It's just applicable in certain situations.)
Story and Delivery:
What's to say that hasn't already been said? It isn't anything new (mostly because it's old - really), but it's still good. It screams "CLASSIC" as it's fairly bare-bones in its nature. Starring four characters sans personalities and a story featuring evil kings, dangerous dragons, and invincible sea-serpents (all early game issues so little is spoiled by the way), it can be a hard contrast to today's RPGs full of emo anti-heroes, anime girls with big boobs, and expectedly unexpected plot twists. Still, the way I see it, that contrast in story and delivery is a major strength. The less-is-more principle kicks in, giving us gamers just enough to involve us without getting in the way of the actual action.
As a randomized battle game, the fighting is the focus. As such, I'm going to mostly ignore the towns and overworld as they're good for what they are and don't need much attention.
The fighting, however, does. Please, reader, do not expect anything revolutionary. There is no fancy real-time turn-based action like in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or weird loading thing off of Final Fantasy 7. Rather, there is simply a menu.
Earth-shattering! No, not really. But functional. Functional, while sounding kind of lame, is actually excellent here. Functional means non-distracting and easy to use -- perfect for this game. The menu allows the job system to really shine.
In reality it is the job system that makes you want to play this game. You start out as a freelancer, but who wants to stay there? You want more! Thus begins the cycle that drives the game forward: pick a job you like, grind and explore to level up the job (jobs level just like the characters do; the higher job level, the more proficient a character is with it), desire more jobs, advance through story, find a crystal, get more jobs, rinse, wash, repeat. On paper it doesn't sound that thrilling, but it is. Playing with a red mage is fun, but after reading through the instruction manual and finding out about the geomancer, the ninja, or the viking you really can't help keep playing just to try that next job out.
The only bad thing I can think to say about the fighting is that sometimes the fights can feel just a tad bit long due to loading.
These are some of the best graphics on the DS. While the in-game graphics don't hold a candle to some of what the PSP can pump out, they are appealing and good. The cut-scenes shine in ways I never thought a DS game could! Find the intro movie on Google! videos or Youtube if you don't believe me. Ultimately, the graphics fit well into this reviews moniker -- "less is more."
I'm not really one to put much into the sound of a handheld game. The music is catchy and classic, the sound effects appropriate, and nothing sticks out as being overly annoying.
I partially put this in Gameplay, but I'll separate it and repeat for convenience: everything is functional and basic. This is a good thing: there is nothing in the way of doing what you want. The only issue I can think of is it took me forever to figure out how to set it so my characters would start in the row I wanted them to.
Final Statement and Grade:
Going back to the basics really is better sometimes - especially when that "basic" you're returning to has updated graphics. Pick up this game if you're looking for a DS RPG to enjoy. It won't bring out an emotional reaction from you, but you will enjoy it simply because the jobs and battling rock. Don't go in if you can't simply enjoy a game for its playable parts versus the dependence on the cutscenes we gamers have these days. Enjoy the fights, kill some zombies, and save a princess or two. Who says cliched stories are dead anyway?
Final Grade - A
Defense of Grade (I know I'll get some hits so here's to silencing them):
An "A" according to GR's Grade System has this description:
"A terrific game. Good graphics, sound, and most of all: fun to play. Also it must do something Revolutionary
; introduces a new gaming aspect that we have not seen before."
Accept two changes for my sake, alright? Here's my explanation: Final Fantasy III is a terrific game. Good graphics, sound, and most of all: fun to play
. Also, it did something Revolutionary
; it now re-introduces a new gaming aspect...etc etc."
Happy? I hope so
Please comment. I like trolls. In fact, I feed them! Who wants some honey?