Date Completed: January 8th, 2012
I’m a Final Fantasy fan. I’ve played every game including Final Fantasy XIII and (to my eternal shame) Final Fantasy X-2. Like many fans I have long felt that the series has been in a long gradual decline. Unlike most fans I actually went through the exercise of graphing the Metacritic scores over time and proving beyond a doubt that the series is transmuting into absolute crap. Final Fantasy : The 4 Heroes of Light was marketed as a return to the traditional formula that people actually enjoyed playing.
After starting up the game the theme song starts playing. It’s a suitably epic track that I found myself whistling for several days after starting the game. The poor audio synthesizer of the DS can’t properly do it justice but the soundtrack composition of this game is the most memorable since Final Fantasy VII. It may not have quite the variety of tracks that previous titles have had but the quality is a vast improvement.
After the normal start up sequences you take your first steps in the world. The graphics of this game jumped out at me. The way that color and light are used in the different environments in the game is almost impressionistic. Wind blowing over the wheat fields creates a shiny ripple adding movement to usually static backgrounds. This stands out as one of the best looking Final Fantasy titles I’ve seen on the DS.
|Wind in the wheat fields.|
This game wasn’t without it’s irritations. They were mostly minor, but I will list them here:
- You are unable to target specific enemies or allies in combat. You just have to hope you attack (or heal) the target you want.
- For the first half of the game the 4 Heroes split up and you’re following several little sub-plots all over the world.
- Several dungeons must be repeated. They have new enemies but no new treasure.
This game uses a job system called ‘Crowns’. You wear a crown that gives you access to a specific role and role specific abilities. Since you spend the first half of the game with your team scattered to the wind I found that I wasn’t really able to test out the different crowns. I had to choose a crown that gave my character a decent hit point bonus (usually a warrior crown). After I’d unlocked most of the crowns and the heroes had all grouped back together again I picked out a balanced team and never changed crowns again. There are 28 crowns in the game but over the entire course of the game I only used about 8 of them.
There is extra content available in the game but it isn’t fun at all. It takes the form of four separate towers of 100 randomly generated floors. I found these buildings to be extremely frustrating and I didn’t finish any of them. The only benefit to climbing them is to collect some new equipment and get some of the optional crowns. I decided the frustration wasn’t worth the effort.
Overall I enjoyed the game but this is only an echo of once made Final Fantasy great and isn’t a great game in itself. Even so, it’s worth a look if you’re a fan, or new to the series.
- ‘Traditional’ Final Fantasy Experience
- Quality Soundtrack
- Interesting Artistic Style
- Repeating Dungeons