|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||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: June 26, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Anniversaries are a rough business to handle. You never know what to get someone when it comes time to celebrate an anniversary. Yeah, you can go by the suggested list of what to get, but where is the fun in that? More importantly, how do you celebrate the anniversary for a game series that is near and dear to the hearts of many RPG fans? Well, how about a remade release of the title that started it all? This would be a great thing, just like it was recently for a certain archeologist, however, this is not the first time that we have retread the classic tale of Coneria and, unfortunately, this is a bad thing instead of something that should have been beautiful.
For those that may have never heard of Final Fantasy, nor played one of the versions of the title, either on the Nintendo, PlayStation, or the Game Boy Advance, the story is a solid example of where the RPGs today derive from. The game begins with the appearance of the four light warriors who each carry one of the darkened orbs. They arrive in the town of Coneria shortly after the kingdom has witnessed the kidnapping of its Princess Sara by a knight named Garland. From here, your game begins as the four light warriors set out to save Princess Sara from Garland. As their quest begins, we also soon discover the reasoning for their adventure in the first place. The darkened orbs they carry are from their worlds. and dark fiends have removed the light from them. Now they travel to find and defeat these fiends to restore the light to their orbs, thus saving the world in the process.
The combat, as you might imagine, is the same as it has always been. A nice turn based game that helps remind the gaming world of why we fell in love with RPGs in the first place. However, now 20 years older, Final Fantasy almost suffers from the painful realization of the ever-changing ever-growing genre. After all, recent Final Fantasy titles themselves have tried to shed the turn based combat structure that shaped and made them famous. Therefore, for the new fans of the series I would say this, if you desire to know how it all began, this is the best way to experience it. The main reason for this are quite simple. One is the update to the graphics. I know that the GBA had a few tweaks here and there, but nothing compared to the PSP version of the game. This quickly becomes apparent when the game starts. As the CG opening rolls along, you can see the smallest tweaks to the game - it looks sharper and is presented at a smoother rate as well. To further praise the graphics of the game, the monsters are at a much higher level of detail and look more intimidating than in previous versions. This is, of course, aided even further by the crystal screen of the PSP and the widescreen ratio the game is presented in.
Then we have the music of the game, which was both intoxicating and irritating to some in the original versions of the game. This addition to the increasing library of the title is pleasant and catchy all in one. Thematic and dramatic best describe the soundtrack of the game. It's not perfect, but enough to make you smile while playing the game. The complimenting soundtrack of the game has only one other equal as far as aiding the player into complete immersion of the game, and that is the controls. Granted, the game is a turn base RPG, so there is not much to discuss about the controls of the game, however, Final Fantasy on the PSP is a great game for those looking for that pick up and go control experience.
There is also a new dungeon with this edition of the game. This is a great add-on to the game, but the problem with this is that it feels like we are supposed to view the new dungeon as a replacement to Final Fantasy II. Where the inclusion of the sequel has been pretty common on other remakes of the game, this time around we will have to wait until a little later to pick the epic sequel. This was a bad move I believe, mainly because it has become almost a staple for the title to be included. At least we will be able to play the title on our PSP shortly, but by that point, will the newcomers want to move past the first?
That seems to be the problem with the title this time around. It is something that is focused on the newcomers to the genre, but neglecting the old veterans of the series. Not saying that veterans can't pick this title up and enjoy it, rather, they will most likely have one of the incarnations of the title previously released. In short, veterans stay clear, unless you are a completionist, and newcomers should be leery because it is not the Final Fantasy you may have fallen in love with first. If you are looking for a title to suck up about 15-20 hours of your gaming life, then where better to look than the title that really sparked the life sucking genre of RPGs.
CCC Project Coordinator