Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 4, or Final Fantasy 2 in Japan, is a traditional turn based role playing game that was originally released for the Super Nintendo.
|Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 1990/2001
Platforms: Snes, PS1
JustRPG Score: 90%
+Simple combat system.
Final Fantasy 4 Overview
Final Fantasy 4 is a turn based role playing game that was originally released for the Super Nintendo. The main story follows the character, Cecil, as he turns from a dark knight into a heroic white knight. Today this game may seem to be a cardboard cut out of every other turn based role playing game, but this was one of the first. The characters are appealing, the combat system is simple, the soundtrack is good, but there is no replayability and today the graphics are pretty dated.
Final Fantasy 4 Screenshots
Final Fantasy 4 Featured Video
Final Fantasy 4 Review
By: Jim Freedan
|Those who have played the SNES version (originally released as Final Fantasy II in the USA) should keep in mind that Final Fantasy IV is NOT the FF4 Easytype version which was originally released in 1990. This game keeps the original Japanese battle engine intact and offers a re-written translation script which does not “simplify” the game for Western audiences.|
For those unaware, when FF4 was originally released on the SNES, Nintendo demanded the game be “dumbed down” for an American audience. Back then, some executive at Nintendo believed Americans were not intelligent enough to handle the “complex” battle engine which the FF games possessed, and Nintendo also had strict content guidelines against certain religious and sexual references. They also barred specific words entirely (such as “blood,” “demon” and all forms of profanity) from ever appearing in their games, which required some major modifications to plot points, the renaming of spells and monsters, even the replacement of the monster sprite for the last boss of the game because it was deemed too scary.
|As a result of Nintendo’s strict guidelines, many spells, items and almost all of the unique character skills were completely removed from the 1990 US release. Key plot elements were either removed or modified in such a way as to make their meaning completely different. In essence, every reference to anything which might upset the parents of a four-year-old was removed from the game.|
|Now, the version of FF4 released in the Final Fantasy Chronicles collection is the “unaltered” version which is significantly closer to the original Japanese script, though some of the previous Easytype translation script dialogue was left intact because it had gained cult status to Western fans of the Final Fantasy series. (For example, Tellah’s expression “You spoony bard!” remains intact, as do some central character names.) Other than that, for the first time, the game is as it was released in Japan.|
|The graphics are extremely dated, even for when it was released in 1990. Most of the earlyFinal Fantasy games recycled a lot of the graphics, so this was to be expected, though for what it is worth the older SNES graphics were polished up for use in PS1 to take full advantage of the new technology. This said, I have seen much worse looking games released on the Gameboy Advance, and the graphics do fulfill what is required by the game’s story. If you’re unable to enjoy playing a game that doesn’t have uber graphics, then you probably won’t likeFF4. Keep in mind, however, that graphics were never the selling point of a FF game until FF7was released.|
As for the bonus FMV movies made for this re-release… I am appalled at what Square allowed to pass for CGI in a Final Fantasy game. Although the background models are acceptable, the character models are horrible. The FMVs are very mediocre, especially when you consider that these movies were created after Final Fantasy 7and 8 had been released. Hell, by the time these scenes were made, Square Films had released the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and we all know THAT movie had excellent CGI. But these FMVs look more like a practice project for a first or second year student studying Digital Multimedia and Animation, and I ought to know. This is not what we have come to expect of Square, and is one of the many examples when a game is better off WITHOUT the CGI FMVs, and that is what really brings down the score.
|The story is the standard non-linear fare found in all of the Final Fantasy games produced in the 90s by Square. However, what was standard for Square in the 90s was extra-ordinary when compared to what most everyone else was doing, so in this case the epic story is quite excellent. The game begins with the player taking the role of the Dark Knight, Cecil, who is the Commander of an airship fleet, as he completes the mission of stealing an Elemental Crystal from the Kingdom of Mysidia. After returning to his home in the Kingdom of Baron, Cecil questions the motives of his King and is forcibly stripped of his rank. He is then sent on a mission to slay a dragon and deliver a “Bomb Ring” to a town of Summoners with his childhood friend, the Dragoon Kain. After arriving at the village, the bomb ring explodes, destroying all of the inhabitants of the peaceful village. After discovering the true intentions of the King, Cecil begins a quest to uncover the true motives of his former master which will take him not only across the world, but even into outer space.|
|Throughout the course of the story, the player watches Cecil transform from a blindly loyal underling into a courageous hero who eventually succeeds in defeating the evil which has attempted to destroy his world. Without trying to give too much of the story away, you should expect many unexpected plot twists. The story has a depth to it which should be expected of aFinal Fantasy game, and a cast of characters who all greatly develop as they rise to meet the expectations of them. Everything that is required of a great story is here: the elements of war, love, betrayal, romance, sacrifice, rebirth and death are all carefully orchestrated throughout the events which unfold before the player.|
|As a Final Fantasy game, all of the series staples are included (character classes, spells, items, summons, monsters, airships, chocobos, etc.) so anyone who is familiar with any of the laterFinal Fantasy games will be able to instantly jump into the game without needing so much as to read the instruction manual.|
There is something I should mention, though. SinceFF4 was the first game to ever utilize the Active Time Battle system, compared to the newer FFs the gameplay may seem very simple, perhaps even mediocre to those who compare it to modern RPG games. Nevertheless, this game revolutionized the way all future console RPG games were made (especially due to the ATB system) and has directly influenced every single console RPG created since that uses any kind of system involving Active Time for character turn speeds. Grandia, Chrono Trigger, Star Ocean III, and every other popular console RPG created after 1991 owes much of their success to FF4, and even despite the advances which have been made, battles in FF4 remain fairly enjoyable.
|Battles rely heavily on the player’s ability to use items, spells and character skills in strategic ways. Although there are points where the player is forced to “level up” through random battles in order to stand a chance to defeat some bosses, there are many battles where if you’re intelligent enough you can barely scrape by without doing much hardcore leveling so the story progress is not interrupted.|
|Like the version of Chrono Trigger released with this version, there are some loading time issues in spots of the game, but I never experienced any moments where the game froze up, so the impact this has on gameplay is minimal.|
|Sound / Music B+|
|Some of the memorable music from the previous Final Fantasy games was recycled here, but that is part of the enjoyable features of any Final Fantasy game. In its day, the music was excellent, and easily stood out from the usual quality of SNES game soundtracks. The proper emotional atmosphere is created in every scene through the use of a synthesized symphony orchestra, and that is what is most important. The battle music is especially noteworthy, and quite catchy. In my opinion it is better than much of what seems to pass for battle BGMs in console RPGs today.|
If you prefer to have solid gameplay and story over impressive graphics, you will enjoy Final Fantasy IV and come to understand why it has attained cult status in the hearts of many old-school console RPG gamers.
Final Fantasy 4 Videos
Final Fantasy 4 Trailer