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Nintendo DS Game Review

Final Fantasy
The 4 Heroes of Light


Format: Nintendo DS
Square Enix
RRP: £24.99
5 021290 041622
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 08 October 2010

In the small kingdom of Horne, fourteen year old Brandt awakes on his birthday ready to take on the mantle of a man. To complete the ceremony he travels to the king's castle only to discover the king in distress and the princess missing. Accepting the quest to free the princess from the witch of the north, Brandt sets off with minimum equipment, however along the way he discovers new friends and companions until the party number four. Returning from the caves the group discover that everyone in their town has been turned to stone. Now these four - Brandt, Jusqua, Yunita and Princess Aire - must learn to work as a team if they are to save their friends and families...

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is a new game in the Final Fantasy range for Nintendo’s DS, though this time the game has only been published by Square Enix, having been developed by Matrix Software. This is the second Final Fantasy (FF) ‘Gaiden’ subtitle; all the games are stand alone spin-offs which do not connect to any particular FF title or even to each other.

If you have played a Final Fantasy game then much of what is here is familiar territory. Combat has reverted to a turn based system, with random encounters, always good for a bit of running around and levelling up, except unlike most FF games you can’t choose which target to attack, you just let your party know what you want them to do in a general way. There is an option to place the combat into an auto mode, but I found that this generally gave worse results than manual combat.

Each of your characters has the options to either use physical attacks or magic, which can also be used to heal and enhance your party. What is new is the crowns system. Each of the characters has a hat, the ‘crown’, which hold particular attributes and four skills each. By swapping hats your characters can change their job role.

The game has a muted medieval look, full of castles, hamlets and mystical creatures. The need to talk to just about everybody will either strike you as immersive game play or just a little too irritating. This is also a problem with the clarity of the town’s signs. The inn is pretty easy to find, where you can rest and recharge your party, but a lot of the other places have to be committed to memory in order to find them again.

The game is a tough RGP and you roll around the game's world map which has a ball shape, very similar to Animal Crossing. The enemies you fight will gain you experience and often drop gem stone which can be sold in order to buy better equipment.

Whilst I’m all for games having a retro feel, I’m not sure that a slavish love of the past should make a negative impact on modern game play. With the option of only saving at particular point this is not a pick up and play game. There is also something wrong with the number of items which you can carry which is limited to fifteen. Okay with four members of your team this seems like a lot of items, sixty in all, but you lose twelve of these to your equipment, plus any spell books you may be carrying. In the end you spend too much time in shifting resources between the team, which detracts from the fun. To counterbalance this there is a shop in town that will look after your excess items.

In the end the game can claim to be a worthy addition to the franchise, but it’s not a classic.


Charles Packer

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