Jenkins’ Final Fantasy IV Review
Before Final Fantasy IV, the series followed a fairly linear route. The four warriors of light are chosen to go off and protect the crystals, fail, and kill whatever comes out afterwards. It came as a great surprise to everyone to see that the fourth installment had a legitimate story line filled with “love” and betrayal, lots and lots of betrayal. It was an exciting change of pace.
In this adventure you follow Cecil, the captain of the Red Wings, Baron’s best and brightest airship fleet. That is for about the first 5 minutes of the game. You quickly get demoted, stripped of all rank and sent away for “no reason”. It’s definitely not because your king is being controlled. You’ll see that being controlled is a popular theme. There’s a decent set of twelve playable characters, most of which who sacrifice themselves for the greater good at some point but “miraculously” don’t die. The problem with this wide cast is that you can only use five at a time. And the storyline is set up so conveniently that only five characters are available at any given time (hence all the sacrifices). That is until the very last dungeon, when the huge sappy reunion takes place, but even then, the best two mages, the ones that actually know every spell, are left out of your party forever. You watch one of them get killed but he’s still there at the end.
This one was a fairly short adventure, it took only about 25-30 hours to finish, which isn’t that much in the final fantasy world, since most are at least forty. The gameplay was like its predecessors . Your party in a vertical line on one side, and much much larger beasts, humanoids, robots, dragons, giant floating heads, books, and tiny frogs in cloaks, on the other side. The tiny cloaked frog, also known as a Tonberry, has appeared in every Final Fantasy game, they’re pretty special. One thing that really bugs me about this game is the fact that you can breathe on the moon. That and you get there in about 5 seconds while riding the lunar whale. I liked the fiery dwarf kingdom under the surface of the earth much better. Speaking of the fiery underworld, there’s already a giant tower that stretches from the underground to the sky, with a giant ring of black around it that clearly would lead you to the underworld, but no they couldn’t think of that and had to drill down through the mountains. WHY THE MOUNTAINS? THAT’S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM YOUR DESTINATION. Also, the game was pretty good at telling you where to go next. There are only maybe a couple instances where you were required to actually look around the world map for towns. One stupid time in the underground world will leave you scratching your head and swearing loudly as you walk back and forth checking every little square of pixels if you’re not around a computer and really bored on the bus one day. One important new feature to mention about this one is the addition of legendary weapons. Each character has, for the first time, a custom weapon, obtainable by defeating a nasty ass foe. Funny how they get less complicated to obtain over the course of the games…
Final Fantasy IV may defy physics on several occasions, but since when are video games about physics, or logic for that manner. Anything out of Japan defies physics because Japan defies physics. They’re fucking crazy over there. This Final Fantasy was definitely more entertaining than the last because every half an hour or so, something painfully predicable or completely ridiculous would happen. And you would never know which of the two it would be next. And the fact that they incorporated a legit storyline showed some good advancement for the series. I give Final Fantasy IV four shattered crystals out of five, because let’s face it, the enemy always get the crystals, how else could you fight the last boss? Recommended for anyone wanting a good dose of nostalgia or pixels.
Final Score: 4/5