Not that final
The Final Fantasy series has been going strong for decades and there’s a reason for this. From the early NES days, Square Enix have built a reputation on their RPGs and fans have followed them through to the epic graphic intensive tales we now associate with the series.
Final Fantasy III, though, is firmly set in those early days of random battles and stat heavy set-ups that will only reward the hardened RPG expert. If that doesn’t sound like you then you may not get a lot of reward from this game. If, however, you’ve grown up with the 8-bit and 16-bit RPGs and have place in your heart for the best of them, Final Fantasy III will be right up your street.
The game plays on generic storylines and situations. After a boy falls into a hole caused by an earthquake and finds a crystal,four orphans are charged with a mission to bring balance to their world via the mysterious light crystal. What follows is a series of revelations told in cut scenes as the game progresses. Although generic, the story is still engrossing and well worth following to the end.
What makes this worthy of the attention of those who may usual pass the aging RPGs of old is the attention that has been paid to the remake. Rather than present the original Japanese game using the old 8-bit graphics and text, a real effort went in to remaking the game on the DS and this version is the one which has found its way to iOS. Cut scenes look good, though not in the same league as Gameloft’s Eternal Legacy or Square’s own Chaos Rings, they’ve really made an impact on the game and players will be able to feel more involved thanks to better looking characters and enemies.
Also improved are the controls; an analogue stick guides the way, while screen presses take care of everything else from intuitive menus. The controls match the iPhone and iPod Touch perfectly and make an impact on the playability of the game.
But new graphics and controls can’t hide the fact that there are a lot of old school RPG elements still going on under the hood. Grinding, the constant battle to increase stats in order to defeat later enemies and gain more power, is a necessity here and the random battles are slow turn based affairs. It’s something long term fans will probably love and new-comers may find annoying, I personally thought it was fairly balanced, considering this is an old game that would lose something if these things were changed.
It’s also a long game. If you’re looking for something to counter-act those quick-play games like Angry Birds and provide a real chunk of long term gameplay then this is it. Working out the job system, the way Final Fantasy III uses skills to improve players stats and encourages players to pick certain jobs and stick with them, is a skill in itself.
The final decision whether Final Fantasy III is right for you will be made at the App Store, though. The game weighs in at a hefty £9.49. Thinking back to the length and depth of the game, this isn’t a bad price, but after being spoilt by similar games costing half as much, it could be a turning point for some.
Despite the cost, though, Final Fantasy III is an impressive journey that successfully mixes old style RPGs with newer design and controls. For long term fans of the series and those who are curious about classic RPGs this is a must.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 7
- Gameplay: 7
- Longevity: 8
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