Date Completed : 12/25/2012
I’m not sure how many times Final Fantasy IV (FF4) has been released but it’s got to be getting up into the double digits. FF4 : The Complete Collection contains the original game as well as extended content that was added in subsequent releases. It also contains a new ‘mission’ called ‘FF4 : Interlude’ as well as ‘FF4 : The After Years’ (FF4:TAY) which was originally episodic content that was released for Japanese cell phones. I’ll review each of these three games separately.
-Final Fantasy IV-
This game has been released more times than most would have believed possible. If you haven’t played it by now you’re probably not the kind of person who plays RPG’s anyway. The version included in FF4:TCC contains graphical upgrades as well as extra post-game dungeons (Which I skipped since I’d already played through them in the Gameboy Advance release). The game play experience will be familiar for anyone who played the original.
What a snooze fest. This game takes place between FF4 and FF4:TAY and it revisits the most boring dungeons from FF4 for no reason other than to waste an hour or so of your time and then ends. All your experience points and equipment will be lost when you start FF4:TAY so there is no point to excessive leveling. There is no exploration, very little character development ( most of which will be revisited as flashbacks later anyway ) and ultimately this is a completely forgettable experience.
-The After Years-
‘The After Years’ (FF4:TAY) is broken into several episodes that focus on specific characters. Each episode is about 2 hours long, although I found that by using the automatic battle button this time would pass by much more quickly. After all of the episodes have been defeated a final episode becomes available that lets you import all of your save data and choose your team. New characters have been added with a complete cast of 22 playable characters available to select from.
The game plays pretty much identically to FF4 and FF4:I except for the addition of banding. Characters now have the ability to band together to create devastating attacks. To create a band you select a character and a skill to band together with another character and skill. Most bands are between two characters but some can use up to five. Valid bands produce awesome attacks (some of which can break the 9999 damage limit) but invalid bands no nothing. You can waste a lot of time trying out different character/skill combinations OR you can use this handy list.
The episodes visit locations both old and new. Most of the enemies and weapons will be familiar from the previous game and the world as a whole is largely unchanged.
What I was hoping for most from FF4:TAY was for some of the plot lines to be tied up. Unfortunately with a few exceptions the world is completely unchanged. 15 years has passed and Edward is still pining away after Anna. Edge is still cocky and single and Cecil and Rosa only seem to have managed to reproduce once. In fact, I learned from this game that it is only possible for any couple to have EXACTLY ONE child. In 15 years that’s all anyone managed. A bit of a spoiler warning : the ending doesn’t resolve anything either. Overall I was disappointed by the story.
The overarching story – the return of the second moon and the impending end of the world got more ridiculous and nonsensical as it went on. I won’t spoil it here but anyone interested can read the whole plot on the Final Fantasy Wiki.
Just one big complaint about FF:TAY – surprise and back attacks seemed awfully frequent. I would frequently be attacked from behind 3-4 times in a row. I’m not sure if this is on purpose or not but I did not like it!
I’m glad I played the game once but I won’t be playing through game again. I’m actually pretty burned out on RPGs as a genre now and I’m looking forward to some more action oriented gaming.
- Features all FF4 content ever released in one convenient package.
- Random encounter rate seemed unusually high.