|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|
Once you master the basics, the games gets a little complicated with the introduction of a class system that includes 28 "crowns" (one for each job class) that you can outfit your four heroes with. These crowns can be leveled, switched out, and used on the fly, which sounds pretty simple on the surface. But when you consider that you only have four main characters to outfit with your perfect roster of spells, attacks, and abilities, you begin to see the work that is cut out for you. And of course, the crown-leveling system is slow-going, so hopefully you like running back and forth between dungeons, as you'll be doing a lot of that. But hey, it's all in the name of success!
Don't get me wrong. I actually really love Final Fantasy: the 4 Heroes of Light. The difficulty really amped up its charm, and the fact is challenging games rarely leave you bored. Frustrated, sure. But you always come back to them. And that's really where The 4 Heroes of Light really gets its play value. One minute I'm slamming my head against a wall because I died on the 11th floor of a very important area, but an hour or later I'm back and ready for more. The game also benefits from being a lengthy experience, so if you are looking for a handheld game that you can really get some miles out of, 4 Heroes of Light is it.
Technically, this game is passable on the DS. The visuals feature some cutesy characters and simplistic animations, but nothing here is particularly impressive. The game's art direction is also a bit weird, as locations, monsters, and dungeons vary widely from bright to grim. Even though art direction is all over the place, it works in this instance. I always looked forward to exploring a new area, and the constantly-changing visuals kept the game's more repetitive elements at least a bit more fresh. The audio unfortunately isn't as diverse as the visuals, and the game's handful of melodies and tunes can get really repetitive during long play sessions.
If I haven't made it clear already, this is the driving point: 4 Heroes of Light is not a game for the faint of heart. Most of your time will be spend leveling up your characters, and you'll frequently find yourself wasting hours just fighting low-level monsters in the hope of gaining just one more level before attempting to try that dungeon another time. However, after all is said and done, the effort does feel worth it. Though the reward isn't really from the story, the experience is solid and the game truly feels like an accomplishment when all is said and done. If you enjoy nail-biting, difficulty-driven gameplay, then this title will give you plenty of hours of frustrating and exhilarating gameplay. If you are more of a story-driven or action-RPG fan, leave this one on the shelf.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC News Director