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Nintendo DS Game Review

Final Fantasy IV


Format: Nintendo DS
Square Enix
RRP: £29.99
5 060121 822832
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 05 September 2008

When a noble dark knight from the kingdom of Baron is ordered to seize four all-powerful crystals from the peace loving realms bordering his homeland, he must make a terrible choice... Should he betray his conscience or his power-hungry king?...

Final Fantasy IV has been released across numerous platforms and was originally designed for Japan's Super Famicom (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) in the early '90s. Over the years it has been tweaked and has been released on the PlayStation (1997), WonderSwan Color (2002), and Game Boy Advance (2005).

The game has been given a serious overhaul for release on the Nintendo DS, with the whole game being redesigned in 3D. All the characters have been transformed into fluent moving, well-designed 3D models, with each character now possessing a sense of uniqueness and originality to give each one a personal feel and effect to the game.

The graphics really come to life in the cut scenes and give the game a new lease of life that all FFIV fans have been waiting for. Each cut scene feels extremely fluent and entertaining to watch and also gives a more in-depth view on the characters and storyline.

Also new to this edition is the inclusion of voices for the characters, a number of minigames, and changes to the basic gameplay.

So what's the story all about? Well, for those who've never played Final Fantasy IV in its many guises...

Four elemental Crystals, each possessing awesome power, lie scattered throughout the realm. However, men are quick to covet things which offer strength, and easily corrupted by the might which they possess. Seduced by the promised power of the Crystals, the kingdom of Baron begins employing unprovoked force to seize them from peaceful nations. The dark knight Cecil - Lord Captain of Baron’s elite force, the Red Wings - is ordered by his king to obtain the Crystals, but soon begins to question the monarch's motives. Stricken with grief at his own actions, yet burdened by his loyalty to his country and his personal sense of honor, Cecil at last decides to turn from the path of darkness and destruction. Enraged, the king accuses him of disloyalty, strips Cecil of his command, and sends him off to slay a mysterious beast that lurks in the nearby Valley of Mist. Cecil embarks on a fateful journey that will bring trials, betrayals, friendship, loss and self-discovery. Can Cecil open his eyes and become the man of honor that he must be? Well, that's up to you to decide.

Another improvement that has been made in this latest incarnation is to be found in the game battles. First off the look of the battles has changed - as mentioned previously the characters and monsters are no longer 2D and are no rendered in 3D - and the characters also move when they're not engaged in other activities or actions. In addition, all of the animations for magic and skills have been improved, as well as some of the effects have been changed. For example, Cecil’s dark no longer attacks all enemies whilst sacrificing hp. Instead he goes into a trance like status and sacrifices hp every time he attacks to double the damage he can inflict on targets. There’s also a auto battle for the long winded battles that are easy to win without healing.

Another update to the DS version is the summon called Whyt, which can be trained and customised by talking to a fat chocobo. To train the summon you have to do go through series of minigames that include doing math questions. You can also change how Whyt's face looks by drawing it yourself, with the stylus, in any way you want - you also get a wide variety of colours to use. 

The map system on the bottom screen has also been updated. This shows you maps for wherever you are, such as the world map for out in the open, or a map of the town or city which you are in. But the biggest update for the system is the dungeon maps which have a small challenge in them for when you enter - which is a completion minigames that holds reward. To do this minigames all you have to do is walk around the map and view 100% of the dungeon and you unlock a prize for that dungeon.

At the end of the day this release will be welcomed by Final Fantasy fans, and it's certainly the best incarnation of the game to date.


Carl Simpson

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