Considering that it had a record development period of five years and the budget of a small Hollywood picture ($48,000,000 if reports are accurate), the first word that comes to mind when I consider Final Fantasy XII is…disappointment. It reviewed very highly upon its release, but after a recent playthrough I simply couldn’t understand the hype. No doubt it is a finely produced game, one of the best that you can find on the PS2; but for sheer gameplay it falls well short of the lofty heights reached by its predecessors. Continue reading The Gambit That Got Away – Final Fantasy XII Review→
Given the huge success of Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 on the Playstation, you could have forgiven Squaresoft for continuing along a futuristic line for the next game in the franchise. However, it was clear from the start of its life that Final Fantasy 9 was going to be a combo breaker for the futuristic formula. Development for the game started before Final Fantasy 8 had even been released, and Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted to make a game that he felt was as close as possible to his original views for what Final Fantasy should be. This meant a return to more medieval settings and a more European flavour than its forbearers. Question is, did this gamble pay off in the end? Continue reading Bringing Classic Fantasy Back In Style – Final Fantasy 9 Review→
It is natural with a series that goes on for so long like Final Fantasy that some games will get unfairly overlooked, and for me Final Fantasy 5 is the forgotten child of the series. It didn’t help that it was a Japan-only release on the SNES, meaning that the West never got a chance to get hands on with the game until it was ported first of all to the Playstation in Final Fantasy Anthology, and then to the Game Boy Advance five years later. Happily I played the Advance version, and can shed some light on why this is a game worthy of your time.
Unfortunately, we start with the worst element of the game; the plot. I may not have personally enjoyed it, but I can at least appreciate that in Final Fantasy 4, Square tried to do something different with the plot and focused on character relations. Final Fantasy 5 on the other hand goes back to the horribly clichéd ‘four crystals and four Warriors Of Light’ story. At the start of the story, a young man named Bartz investigates a meteorite that has crashed nearby his resting place, finding a woman there named Lenna who is travelling to the Wind Shrine, which holds the Wind crystal. Bartz soon learns that an evil force called Exdeath has been sealed away for 30 years by the crystals, and that if the crystals are shattered then he will break free and attempt to destroy the world using the power of the Void, an alter dimension. The rest of the game then focuses on Bartz travelling the world to save the crystals with Lenna (who is revealed to be the princess of Tycoon), Galuf (a warrior who played his part in sealing away Exdeath originally) and Faris (a female pirate commander). Continue reading Fly A Dragon, Get A Job & Save The World – Final Fantasy 5 Advance Review→
Of all the games in the Final Fantasy series, the fourth instalment is the one that causes me the most headaches when evaluating it. On the one hand it’s pretty much everything that you could ask for from a classic RPG, and on the other it’s a frustrating and basic experience. Held in high regard by many, it just doesn’t appeal to me like it should do.
It should be noted as this point that I never did get my hands on the original copy released for the SNES (known confusingly as Final Fantasy II in North America), but instead played the port released on the Game Boy Advance, and that is the version that this review concerns.
So where should we start when looking at this game? Much of the praise that it has received comes from its character driven plot, so it would be wise to start there (it remains unchanged from the SNES version on the Game Boy). At the start of Final Fantasy 4 we are introduced to Cecil, a Dark Knight (no Batman references here) who commands the Red Wings, the elite airship force of the kingdom of Baron. Cecil finds himself increasingly unable to accept the strange requests of the King Of Baron who is looking to take various elemental crystals from across the world by force, and is demoted from his command. After being split from his comrades Kain (a Dragoon Lancer) and Rosa (a white mage) on an early mission, Cecil begins a journey to stop his replacement as the commander of the Red Barons, the sorcerer Golbez, from taking the crystals, picking up a motley crew of allies along the way to help him in his cause. Continue reading Spoony Bards On The Move – Final Fantasy 4 Advance Review→