Unlike most some contemporary Final Fantasy games where the hero is a macho fighter type with a giant sword and even bigger hair, in this game the hero is some sort of thieving monkey man. Hot in pursuit of our hero is a bumbling but lovable fighter who eventually joins the team but never really manages to get taken seriously. With a handful of other characters along for the ride including (but not limited to) a hungry marshmallow with a giant tongue, a dragon (literally) knight and an anti-social assassin with a permanent crick in his neck this title aims to tell a traditional story (Save the world!) with a very untraditional cast.
The first thing you’ll notice about this game is that the story is pretty coherent for a Final Fantasy title. When my wife asked me what was going on I was actually able to tell her (That’s not something I’m usually able to do with Final Fantasy games). Towards the end of the game it starts heading towards the deep end but it never straps on cement shoes and drowns itself the way that some of the more recent titles have.
What I enjoyed most about this game was the zany characters, the excellent soundtrack and the return to traditional RPG gameplay and story. Most notably is that all of the standard equipment types are back. Characters can equip an item and several different types of armor. Skills are learned when you equip an item that grants your character specific abilities. The game also features the return of many Final Fantasy staples including moogles, chocobos, mini-games and optional super-bosses. The return to the successful Final Fantasy formula from days of yore has made this one of my favorite Final Fantasy games of all time.
Unfortunately there are issues with this game. Specifically, load times are terrible and inexcusable for a game that was released this late in the original PlayStation’s life cycle. I thought that the digital only version might be faster than the disc version but I was disappointed to find that it is not. When a battle starts you might as well go take a restroom break and grab a cup of coffee – it’s going to be awhile.
* Traditional RPG Gameplay
* Enjoyable Characters
* Great Soundtrack
* Load Times
Is it fun: Yes
Length: 40+ hours
System: PSP (Playstation Network)