|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Matrix Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: October 5, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light can best be described as a crossover title. While the bare bones of the game take the shape of a traditional turn-based RPG, the game's feels more sinister, like a dungeon crawler. This genre has terrified many gamers over the years, with its harsh fail stipulations and constant need for incessant grinding. Although the Final Fantasy franchise has dabbled in dungeon crawling before with the grossly underrated Chocobo's Dungeon series, they haven't really had a proper dungeon crawler to their credit. Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light still doesn't quite nail that formula, but it comes darn close.
The game starts off simply, with the titular 4 heroes meeting on a mission to save the princes (who actually IS one of the heroes) from an evil witch. Once this witch is defeated, the plot thickens, and our four heroes must traverse around a fantastical land filled with caves, dungeons, and plenty of mazes filled with enemies and traps. Oh, and stairs that you have to find.
And even if you do find the stairs, you aren't quite safe yet. Although you won't lose all your items and start back at level one, you'll go back to the game's hub if you fall while inside a dungeon area (even if you saved from inside the dungeon) and will have to navigate back to the area where you fell, no matter how far away it is. Of course, this often works in your favor, as grinding is the name of the game in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light. Feeling underpowered is a constant issue, and even beating the first boss will take a small amount of grinding before you can succeed. And if you make the mistake of thinking the first level is just a tutorial (as I did), think again. This game is so hardcore it doesn't even include a tutorial. If you've never played a turn-based RPG before, best leave this one on the shelf, as it doesn't even make an attempt to explain the battle, item, or class system. But don't worry; I'll explain it for you.
The game's battle system uses a turn-based system where you have a certain amount of action points that can be allocated to either standard attacks or to spells/abilities. In this game, every action requires points, so if you are used to RPGs with "free" standard attacks, you'll have to rewire your brain just a little bit to get on board with 4 Heroes of Light. If you run out of attack points, you'll have to use a boost command to focus your energy and get your action points back up. During this boost time, your character can't even defend itself, so I found it easier to keep action point-boosting items equipped at all times.