I hear a lot of Final Fantasy newcomers asking which game in the series they should start with. Well, I’ve heard everything from “start with Final Fantasy 1” to “you need to start with an interesting one like 7 or 9” so I thought I would give a review of some so you guys can decide for yourself which you think would be a good starting point.
There are several different versions of this game. The first being released on the Super Nintendo back in 1991 under the name “Final Fantasy 2.” Now you may be asking why Final Fantasy 2 when it is obviously Final Fnatasy 4? Well, since 2 and 3 were not released in North America until years later, they decided to opt for name continuity and went with Final Fantasy 2.
You begin the game as Cecil, a dark knight who is reluctantly carrying out his king’s orders of stealing the 4 crystals from innocent townspeople. It is clear he has grown more and more unhappy with what is taking place and questions his king, who promptly relieves him of his duties as captain of the RedWings, the airship corps.
He is assigned a quest by the king so he and his best friend Kain, leader of the Dragoons, set off on an adventure. They meet up with a great cast of characters along the way and with all the twists and turns in the storyline you’re sure to enjoy the back-and-forth between all the heroes and villians!
I don’t want to spoil the story for those of you who haven’t played it but, suffice it to say there are plenty of surprises and even a little family that comes into play. White wizard Rosa is Cecil’s love interest and also a formidable archer. What does the king plan to do with the crystals? Why is he collecting them from innocent people? Diabolical plan to enslave or destroy mankind? You’ll have to find out for yourself!
The previous screenshots were from the SNES release. It was later re-released on Nintendo DS as Final Fantasy 4. It got some updated graphics, a new look and a few minigames added in. I’ve heard both positive and negative things about the DS version so if you have a DS give it a shot and let me know what you think! Here are some screen shots from the DS!
It also had a release on PSP as Final Fantasy 4: The Complete Collection which not only included Final Fantasy 4 but also “The After Years” where Cecil and Rosa’s son is the main character. Last, but certainly not least, it had a release on Steam as Final Fantasy 4 HD. Containing updated, High-Definition graphics, this game is amazing. I have the SNES version, PSP version and Steam copy but my favorite has to be the Steam HD version. I keep hoping we will see that version make it to PS Vita but it has yet to be seen.
The controls are basically what you would expect. Nothing spectacular but after about 5 minutes you’ll be well on your way to hitting the correct buttons without thinking.
This Final Fantasy has a decent battle system. The spells learned by your wizards are learned through levelling and don’t require anything spectacular to master. The summons are what you would expect from an early Final Fantasy game. Only Rydia, a Caller of the Mist, referring to her home town in the Mist Valley, can call forth summoned monsters. She is also your black wizard and quite powerful casting her black magic.
Now, if you’re anything like me you are asking “what kind of cheating can I do on these games?” Well, I thought you’d never ask. In the original version for the SNES you have the Game Genie which, given a quick search on Google, yields quite a few cheats from maxing your level out in the first fight to having your spells do maximum damage. You can do pretty much anything you want, but if you’ve never played this game I suggest a first playthrough legitly just so you get the grind and feel of what it was like for guys like me that played it on the SNES when it was released and how much fun we had. As far as cheating on the DS version, you have plenty of options. Assuming you own a cheat device for the DS you can always find codes and hints. Cheating on the Steam version, which if you play any PC games you will know, requires a trainer. They aren’t hard to find and you can do almost anything you like. It’s really quite fun.
So, in the end, I definitely recommend Final Fantasy 4 to the beginning Final Fantasy player. It gives you a great idea where the newer ones like 13, 14 and 15 come from and also, you’ll really enjoy the story of how Cecil must save the world with his amazing group of friends! If you want a rating I would easily give this one a 7/10 as it is one I try my best to play through once a year. I hope it becomes the same for you. Let me know what you think about my review and if there are some other retro games you want to see, feel free to drop me a suggestion. Keep an eye out for more reviews of the classics!