The original Final Fantasy title was a major success for the floundering Squaresoft and went from being one man’s swan-song to the head of a major franchise. Does it hold up today however in a marketplace frequented by ever more inventive and technical entries into the genre? Reviewed under the standards of a modern RPG release for mobile, how does it fair?
The Final Fantasy series has made something of a name for itself in the business of innovation. Each new numbered entry features a new world, characters and systems that differ from the last title in the main-line series. Final Fantasy VII played things a little safe when the series made the leap to three dimensions and FFVIII sought to strike out in a new direction.
Final Fantasy V spent a great deal of time in limbo, unreleased to the west whilst the series leap-frogged over it between FFIV and FFVI (renumbered as 1 and 2). This is a shame because although it doesn’t feature the strongest plot it certainly brought a lot of what we now consider to be classic Final Fantasy tropes to the table.
Final Fantasy VII was a watershed moment for JRPGs in the western world. For a long time they had been considered niche and unpopular as a genre outside of Japan, with SquareEnix choosing to stilt the releases of their flagship series because of it, leading to a renumbering of FF6 to FF3, and FF4 being turned into FF2. Final Fantasy VII would change all of that, and upon its release everybody began to ask where these other titles they’d missed had been hiding.
The debate on best Final Fantasy title rages to this day, but whenever the argument is made there’s always hefty debate over the sixth installment into the blockbuster franchise. Final Fantasy VI is a masterpiece on the SNES and one of the best RPGs ever made.
I spent a lot of time considering how much money is too much money when thinking about buying Final Fantasy Dimensions. This game has a prelude that’s a free demo, and then charges for each Chapter after that until you have the whole game, or you can man up and buy the lot at a reduced sale price. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that if the game were on the Playstation Network I’d happily drop £20 on a new game based on the aesthetic of the classic games in the series (1-5). I wasn’t disappointed.
Riding high off the sales of Final Fantasy VII, its immediate sequel sought to capitalise on the darker more futuristic trend that had started to work its way into the series in Final Fantasy VI. It was a surprise then for gamers in the western world when Final Fantasy IX was announced in all its medieval fantasy glory. Very much a return to the series’ roots, it harkened back to the early days of Final Fantasy.
There probably isn’t a single gamer among our readership who hasn’t played at least one Final Fantasy title (if it was Final Fantasy XIII then I feel so sorry for you and you probably never touched the franchise again, trust me you’re missing out). With that in mind I wanted to space out reviews for role playing’s flagship brand between other less well known or revered titles. Final Fantasy IV is the starting point for all things Final Fantasy on this site because it holds a special connection to both myself and my younger brother and we played it through together, me invested in the story of Cecil the Dark Knight who had to become a Paladin, whilst he was totally behind Kain, the Dragoon who he felt should have got the girl. Neither of us came away disappointed. Today you can purchase Final Fantasy IV on almost any game device in multiple ports and I’m going to briefly touch on the After Years in this review too since I’m going to review it from a modern standpoint.