Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection
Posted 1 year ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Final Fantasy II had a massive impact on me as a gamer. I don’t know if I would attribute it to any one specific aspect, but the combination of the right hardware with the right game at the right time in my life positioned it as a turning point for me. Final Fantasy II opened me up to other facets of gaming beyond my limited desire to see the kill screen or end credits. With this entry in the franchise, which was one of my first games to play on the Super Nintendo, I was made aware of how much of an impact something like sound design has on a game. This one event ushered in an appreciation of other intricacies, such as gameplay diversity, visual and written narrative, character design and development, and pacing. So naturally, having this game return in various forms is always a treat, creating a trip down memory lane. However, given that FFIV (the true title for the game as part II and III never made it to western shores during its initial release) has already seen several re-releases on the DS, the Wii’s Virtual Console, and even the original PlayStation, is yet another package worth the investment?
The answer depends mostly on how big of a fan you are and if you have grabbed one of the other re-releases already. This one, being for Sony’s PlayStation Portable, arrives with not only the original Final Fantasy IV, but the mobile phone sequel The After Years as well as Interlude, a new episode that bridges between both games.
The core story follows the adventures of the dark knight Cecil as he tries to defeat the evil Golbez from destroying the world; and in the process redeem himself for his past crimes. His adventure will span far and wide, so he will come across many characters that will join him in his quest. This is where the game really shined in its day and still holds up now, 20 years later. Not only is the story telling among the best the franchise has ever had, but the character development and diversity put the later entries in the series to shame. From the disingenuous Kain to the comedic Porom and Palom to the tormented Cecil himself, the dialog sits equally alongside the overall narrative to provide one of the most enjoyable JRPGs ever made.
The gameplay is the standard stuff from the era. You’ll control a party of up to five characters and journey around the world, exploring various towns and villages along with the requisite dungeons teaming with dangerous monsters. Plenty of side-quests and random combat round things out, although it is important to point out that the Active-Time battle system that pretty much changed the way JRPGs were played during the 1990’s made its first appearance here.
The sequel picks up 17 years later and is centered on Cecil’s son, Ceodore, who is trying to discover the cause behind the mysterious events surrounding the Blue Planet. As it was released in an episodic format, the presentation forces players to jump into the shoes of many different characters for many different missions. While the Interlude ties both stories together, telling the tale of what happens roughly a year after the events of the first game and leads into the pregnancy of Rosa (Ceodore’s mother). Both games essentially play identical to the original Final Fantasy IV, short of the Band system and and the addition of some lunar effects in The After Years. Note that the Interlude content is incredibly short, amounting to about three or four hours. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things considering the amount of hours you will sink into FFIV and The After Years, but still something to be aware of if the new content is a major selling point for you.
The hardcore JRPG fans will be thrilled to see this compilation ships with the original Japanese text, along with the updated English translation and a French option as well. The visuals are still the same, but given an HD coat of paint so their age doesn’t make your eyes bleed. CGI intros, concept art, and a couple different versions of the soundtrack round out the extras.
Regardless of how may iterations of Final Fantasy IV you have played over the years, this one lives up to its namesake. It is indeed the most complete collection of the Final Fantasy IV experience that has been released yet. Fortunately, both the gameplay and the writing hold up just as well now as it did 20 years ago, so new players have a prime opportunity to get in one one of the definitive examples of what made the RPG such a popular genre. And fans of the series would be remiss if they skipped past this, as no collection will be complete without it.
+ Gameplay and narrative hold up well
+ The most complete packaging yet
- Interlude content is minimal at best
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Release Date : 2011/04/19
System : PSP
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : Square Enix
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
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8.7 / 10