July 21, 2008
Without a doubt, Square Enix knows how to make videogames. Even when looking at some of their worst, the mind-bending storylines and intricate characters are better than what is provided in most video games out there. Fortunately, Final Fantasy IV remake for the Nintendo DS is one of their best.
You follow the storyline of Cecil, commander of the Red Wings, a military sect of the kingdom of Baron. The story picks up after Cecil and his Red Wings have ransacked the town of Mysidia in order to bring their powerful crystal to the king of Baron. Cecil regrets having destroyed the town and is confused at the orders of his king. When he returns to Baron, the king is told of his indecision, and Cecil is stripped of his rank as leader of the Red Wings.
Cecil is then ordered to go to the town of Mist and get their crystal as well. Along with the help of his friendly rival Kain, they go to Mist and end up destroying it as well. They discover that their king has turned completely mad and is, for some unknown reason, trying to collect as many crystals as he can. A young summoner named Rydia is the only survivor of the attack on Mist, and she decides to join the party as well. Kain turns on Cecil and steals Mist’s crystal from him for the king, and Cecil discovers that whatever spell the king of Baron is under, his friend Kain is under it as well.
The story continues on in a tumult of twists and turns until, 30 plus hours later, the game is completed. Like any Final Fantasy game, IV is complete with a party member named Cid, plenty of airships, Chocobos, and summons.
IV is hands down one of the best Final Fantasy games of the bunch. The game plays like a very straightforward RPG, but the rich storyline feels more like you’re reading a Terry Goodkind book, which is definitely a positive aspect. Since IV came out before the renowned Final Fantasy VII, it feels like Square Enix had been more focused on creating the most involving game they could versus trying to be innovative and new and recreate the VII success.
The game looks amazing, showing off just how beautiful the DS graphics can get. Just wait until you’re 20 hours into the game and suddenly you stumble upon the Sylph Cave. Its jungle-like interior is mind-blowing with its constant animation and vibrant color scheme. It is unparalleled to anything this reviewer has ever seen.
Square Enix has recreated the cut sequences in the game so that they are similar in style to the Playstation 2 and other remade GameBoy Advance and DS titles. Take a look at the comparison from the original SNES version of IV to the new DS version below:
The game play is simple and easy; it is just your typical RPG. There are some added features to the gaming experience, however. There is a rabbit that follows you throughout the game who allows you to change the name of your characters (Namingway) or, whenever you complete the map of an area, you get some sort of gift (Mappingway).
The game can be played with or without the stylus; you can either guide your characters around the screen with the DS stylus, or just use the D-pad and A, B, X, and Y buttons to move your characters around the screen.
A new summon has been added to IV by the name of Whyt. Whyt is an interesting new addition because, through a series of mini-games, his attributes can be increased from zero to 99. Scattered throughout the game are nests and, when a gyashi green is used, a giant Chocobo will appear. The Chocobo will allow you to access all the neat features bumping into the rabbit has given you as well as being able to edit Whyt’s face and play the mini-games. The mini-games are the only part of the game that requires the stylus to be used, and they are ruthlessly addicting.
There is nothing bad about the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy IV. If anything, it’s perfect. Completely, beautifully perfect. Now, after having rereleased almost every original Final Fantasy game for a handheld Nintendo system, we anxiously await seeing if Square Enix can come out with just as perfect a portable adaption of Final Fantasy VII. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.