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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Final Fantasy III (ファイナルファンタジーIII)

Every new Final Fantasy game I buy seems to require several hours of research to determine which version is best. I really only want to buy one copy of each game, as strange as that may sound to the "pro" game hoarders... err I mean collectors. I usually just go for the latest version that uses real buttons and not on a goddamn phone. With Final Fantasy III, given my unabashed bias and love for the PSP aka the best console of all time, it seemed natural to give my yen offerings to the Amazon Japan Gods and get me some of that UMD love.

This filtered washed out mobile shitfest graphics is not exactly the same as the PSP version (impartial opinion)
Now, I'm sure you 2D purists are already scoffing at me for going for the 3D remake but if anybody can explain why the original version is better in terms of gameplay, please do let me know what I'm supposedly missing out on. As for personal preference, I really don't care about 2D or 3D as long as the game plays fine. I will say that zooming in to find hidden items was kinda annoying and pointless. I'm not sure how that mechanic worked if at all in the original Famicon version. In addition, the load times was just a few seconds too long. Even using an ISO without all the UMD grinding, the load time was juuuust long enough to be annoying but the 2x speed in auto battle mode made up for it a bit.

3D? Pffft, you must be one of those people that liked FF13 *scoff*
Besides the 3D changes, I found FF3 interesting because you get an airship within the first hour of the game. Of course, this airship doesn't go over mountains so you can't go much farther than what you could easily walk anyway but I still thought it was a nice twist. What's even more interesting is less than 10 hours into the game, an NPC gave me an item for going around the world map on a Chocobo and it didn't take more than a couple minutes, the world map was so small, I assumed there was more to explore than just this tiny world (you'll need to play the game to find out).

Don't get too excited, you ain't gonna get too far with that.
This is the first FF game that uses the job system like Bravely Default (comparison for the new kids). I'm not going to guess at who or how the job system was invented but after playing FF2, it feels like a natural progression from the crazy everything has a level chaos. If you consolidate the disjointed parts of FF2 and wrap it in a neat logical package called a job... voila! Job system!

Out of the first 3 games, the combat in this one is definitely the best so far. While FF1 was 99% holding down circle and FF2 a crazy albeit unique mess, FF3 is the first game in the franchise that has any sense of strategy. Though when you open up 4 chests with equipment for the scholar, you can tell the game is trying to tell you something. You need to play around with the jobs somewhat to see what works at different parts of the game. However, the system definitely did have some flaws including the fact that you'll never have the time to really level up and try out all the various jobs. The game balance near the end seemed to kind of break down as well as bosses took only about 6-10 hits of 6000-9999 damage to defeat.

Character designs were kinda meh but Refia twin tails with glasses was a winner
I liked the fact that you need to actually buy and use items in the beginning as Esuna is a 7(!) level spell. Phoenix downs are also not sold in stores so you need to use what you can find until you unlock Revive much later in the game (though earlier than Esuna). It was really annoying to have to find a spring to revive party members as sleeping at an inn doesn't work so I usually just reset instead.

The setting of the story is very similar to FF1 with the 4 warriors of light again, which feels like a step backward from FF2 in terms of character development. This time, you're trying to restore balance with light or something via talking crystals. I was never a big fan of the crystal stuff in Final Fantasy but I guess this is where it kinda starts to become an FF theme. You know what kind of game would be really cool? What if, in a unique twist, you are actually warriors of dark fighting against light?! That would be pretty darn cool!!!

GOD DAMMIT SQUARE!!! You made the boring part of the story! (DS version)
As I mentioned, I'm not sure why they went back to the generic FF1 character style (is this an early example of FF9 retro throwback??) They tried to give the characters some back stories in the 3D remake but even so the character development is non-existent and they end up feeling almost as generic as the FF1 warriors of light anyway. You can see snippets of personality and interaction in short bits of story and by talking to the 5th character that joins your party now and then. But at the end of the day, you can change all the characters to cross-dressing harpies and the main plot of restoring light to the balance or whatever would work exactly the same. At least this time, the 5th character isn't actually in your party as an under-powered, dragging wet towel that you are constantly switching like in FF2.

It's too bad the characters are so boring because the world setting and story events are arguably the most interesting in the series so far. However, it all falls flat as the events unfold around the generic characters that you're not really invested in and the final villian was too abstract to really interest me. I guess we'll have to wait for FF4 for the Parom/Palom level feels. Well, at least we can enjoy the fancy new intro vid.

Character interactions not as rich as intro suggests

Score: 3 "I may be cute but I'm fucking warning you, this book is pretty darn heavy!" out of 5 (31 hours to beat)


I thought the game was just average on all counts. Oh well, at least FF3 brought us Moogles... and it has twin tails... and a cat suit so... mission accomplished! Now I hear the final dungeon in the original version is hella difficult but it was pretty tame in the remake and thank goodness for that cause I was ready to be done with this game.

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

2 comments:

  1. Nice read as always! I can't say I *love* the 3D visuals created for this version of the game (and the DS version as well, of course), but I also don't hate them. I do prefer the pixels of the original Famicom release, though ;) As for the gameplay and story, I thought both were at least "fine" in both versions I've played so far (Famicom and DS). Like you suggested, neither aspect are up to par with what's offered in FF IV, V and VI, for instance, but they're definitely far beyond what's found in the first two Final Fantasy games.

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I thought the story in ff2 was actually more interesting. It's actually similar in a lot of ways to 4 just not nearly as good. Let me know your thoughts whenever you get a chance to play it!

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