Old RPG review #2: Final Fantasy

NuMetalManiak
The next RPG on my list is Final Fantasy. Yes that's right, the first one, on the NES. This popular Square title practically saved the game company from bankruptcy. In fact, it was named Final Fantasy because it would seem that it was the company's last game to be made. But in the end, it became very successful and kept the company alive.

Trivia: This is the only Final Fantasy game to not have a character named Cid.

Gameplay: This is a traditional RPG, where you walk around and battles occur at random. The battles are turn-based, with characters attacking enemies and vice versa, one at a time. Attacking is simply done with the fight command, and early on, most of your attacks will miss, which sucks. Magic can be used by characters and enemies if they have it. Experience is gained by winning a battle, and it's quite important to get a lot of experience (not to forget money so you can buy those expensive weapons and armor). I found the game rather difficult (hey, it's the NES, and you know what they say about NES games right?), so experience was definitely necessary. It helps every stat, and I really hate missing attacks in this game, so with experience, my characters could score more than one hit at a time. Grade: B-

Magic: As far as magic goes, it's complicated. You have three slots for magic, and you have to buy it at a shop (see Shops and $$$). There are different magic classes, up to 8, which become accessible with the right class and level up. Plus, you have spell points instead of MP like in other RPGs. Spell points go up with each level gain, and it usually depends on the class of character. It's quite limited, and I didn't really like it as much. The defensive white magic is for healing and defense, while the more offensive black magic is more adept at elemental damage. For the most part, white magic ends up being one to heal my party members, although the harm spells do work on undead enemies and the FADE spell is an attack spell. For my black magic, I just go with the elemental damaging spells, as well as NUKE near the end game, as most of the other black magic is gimmicky at best. Spells like BANE, RUB, BRAK, and ZAP! don't always work as intended, even though their supposed to be insta-kill spells. FAST is a good support spell though. With black magic, I would exploit elemental weaknesses against certain enemies (like water enemies are weak to thunder magic and undead enemies are weak to fire and harm magic). Grade: C

Characters: The four characters you play as are the touted Light Warriors. Who they are, that's for the player to decide. At the beginning of the game you can select your characters' classes as well as their names. The classes that can be picked allow for a diverse party, however, you cannot change a class once you stick to it. Like you cannot go from Fighter to Red Mage or something. Later on in the game, your characters get a class change which makes everyone stronger. My chosen team for the beginning was Fighter, Thief, White Mage, and Black Mage. A balanced team in my opinion. The fighter class is the most offensive with the highest amount of HP, but with little magic. His class change makes him stronger of course, plus he has a limited magic use. The thief, to be honest, sucks. But his class changes to ninja and he can equip any weapon with MUCH better attack power. The white mage is my defensive magician and the black mage is my offensive one. Their upgrades allow them to use the strongest spells possible. I have not touched on the black belt or the red mage, mainly because I don't like the black belt and although the red mage is balanced, he won't be able to use the best spells in the game. Nevertheless, the possibilities for the chosen Light Warriors is really cool and I give the character selection an A.

Shops and $$$: In addition to your weapon, item, and armor shops, you also have your inn, and your church. The inn is a place to rest and save, while the church is where you go to revive dead party members. Not only that, but you also have magic shops. One of the biggest caveats with magic in this game, you have to purchase it. And there's two types of magic shops, black and white. Everything to buy is very expensive usually and I had to do a lot of grinding to get what I want. At least it helps to gain levels while getting money. Grade: C+

Plot: The story starts off after you finish customizing your characters, and apparently, they are the four chosen Light Warriors. How they managed to be the chosen ones, the answer isn't given, yet. But they somehow are the chosen and will be there to do the good deeds for the people worldwide. The game starts you off near a town called Coneria (not to be confused with Star Fox's Corneria) and you will start by rescuing a princess (how original) from an evil knight. The heroes start off by rescuing Princess Sara from Garland, the evil knight, who is more or less a pushover of a boss, and bring the girl back where she belongs. The game kinda goes like this, do good deeds as you journey to restore four elemental orbs. You fight a total of four fiends, which are bosses with some painful spells, to restore the power of the orbs. *spoilers* After that happens, they are taken back to meet the fiends that they had already beaten, plus...Garland? He is now Chaos and is the final boss. Being the final boss, he is obviously the hardest, and has all sorts of bad spells, stuff that heals him and hurts your party pretty badly. But beating him ends the game. The ending isn't much to look at, being NES and all, but it's nice. So overall, the plot is pretty cliche at first, and stays on doing good things, without many crazy turning points (except maybe one or two). It is quite nice though, to take on the first boss that you fought all the way back in the past. Grade: C

Music: Nobuo Uematsu composed the music here, and what you will hear in this game is nothing but nice chiptunes. I wish there was more to battle themes though, as every enemy you fight including the bosses end up having the same battle theme. Towns, shops, and the overworld all seem to have static tunes as well. Since it's an NES game, I'll give it the benefit of a doubt that these are nice chiptunes to hear. Grade: B

Overall grade: C+

Although it was a success for Square to avoid bankruptcy, it suffers like most NES games for a limited plot as well as very hard gameplay. The plot isn't much to note about, do good deeds, rescue a girl, and restore power and glory while killing fiends. The magic is kinda complicated too. I'm more used to Magic Points in the later games plus other RPGs. The character customization and party are a plus to the game. Get this game for the nostalgia, but be expected to grind for cash and experience if you decide to play it.

Comments

Good review, I don't like it, it aged very poorly in many ways including graphics, combat, and story. I'm not motivated enough to get to the 25% point. - Skullkid755

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