The Final Fantasy Challenge: Part 3

I am Jordie, Warrior of Light. My friends and I will destroy the evil of this world to create balance once again. Our journey will be long and we will have to build up our strengths, find the best gear and weapons and complete every quest no matter how small… What? You want me to use ‘Mognet’ to send messages to my friends? I can’t complete every quest and get the Ultima Weapon without doing this 7 times? I also have to wait an hour every time I send a message? But the friends who I would send messages to are with me on my quest to defeat evil; who am I meant to send these messages to? I don’t have time for this!

Sorry Jordie, nobody knows the answer to that because nobody plays this game on the Nintendo DS anymore. Your best bet is to beg someone who owns the game to tediously send mail to you. THEN you can return to your quest knowing you have the best possible chance of ridding this world of evil!

…Can someone send me back to Final Fantasy 2? Hitting myself to gain strength & vitality seems somewhat simpler and makes more sense

When Final Fantasy 3 was originally released on the Famicom in Japan it was not translated for US or UK audiences or even brought out for the NES. Apart from fan translations of the original Famicon ROM, this game would not reach Europe until its Nintendo DS debut on May 4, 2007. But instead of going with the same formula of porting and only updating the aesthetics and a few of the mechanics as seen with Final Fantasy 1 & 2, Square Enix made a re-imagined version with full 3D graphics. The developers tried to keep the game as true to the original as possible, but made a couple of additions and changes to modernise the game. A major addition which adds a new and unnecessary system to this game is the Mognet mailing system. On the outside, it’s a nice way to talk to your friends who are also playing this game; something similar to what Dark souls is doing now to help each other defeat the game. But it is actually hell spawn devised by Satan himself; who has personally set out to break the Final Fantasy formula. What the game does not tell you is that you cannot do every single side quest and retrieve the Ultima weapon unless you have sent and received 7 messages with your friends. Square Enix obviously had no future intentions for the DS version of this game because it is literally impossible trying to find someone else who owns another copy this game and who is willing to send messages back and forth with you. I remember playing this game on release and, even when I had friends to send messages to, it still seemed arduous and pointless.

Other additions include an added background story for each of the four main characters, a new ‘Freelancer’ job which resembles the freedom of choice given to you in Final Fantasy 2, touch screen controls (I personally used ordinary controls), fancy duel screen gimmicks & cinematic’s, and a re-balance of all jobs and their abilities. These other changes are nice and it was great to still be able to control with ordinary D-pad and ABXY buttons. However, this is a game which is confused about whether or not it wants to be on the Nintendo DS and definitely doesn’t need to be. Because every DS specific feature obstructs the player and can only be classed as optional extras as it once again creates gimmicks and changes to suit to a wider audience. This seems to be a common problem (Yes, problem) which Square Enix likes to have in all of its remakes I have currently completed. But even though they do suit to a more casual audience, they love to also add small references and hardcore features for the rare fan’s who have played the original. There is once again a dungeon containing a boss harder than the final boss and a Job called ‘Onion Knight’ which is the job you started with in the original. At least the developers can still retrace their steps and keep the content true to its origin.

Final Fantasy 3 features incredible storytelling with great twists & turns, nicely developed characters and moments which made me shout out in anger over an enemy character or cheer out loud for a team member. However, attached to this game is an overused storyline in desperate need of a change *Cough* Super Mario Bros. *Cough* because even though the story is told very well, three games with the same premise and outcome becomes too old too fast. It would be fine if the games in the Final Fantasy franchise were linked, but these are newly made games with a different world and characters each time which are only thematically linked. So, we are once again introduced to 4 new warriors of light ready to restore each of the world’s crystals and re-balance the world to rid it of evil.

When looking back at Final Fantasy 2, the levelling system was deeply flawed and too complex. Since then, the developers have further changed the franchise with a new Job Levelling system; far less complex than Final Fantasy 2, but more complex than Final Fantasy 1. This system gives you a total of 23 jobs with their own weapon & gear type, battle style and special battle command. Whilst you level your character, their job also levels up and becomes more powerful. I loved the idea behind this because it gives you a freedom of choice without having to make your character beat himself up in order to progress. It sets up a whole new realm of strategies depending on the job combination your warriors use. The only gripe I have is that the developers want you to change jobs for certain bosses forcing you to grind job’s you have no intention of using. This ruined my team’s strategy and I found myself relying on a brute force method with a job I didn’t want to use; ultimately regressing to Final Fantasy 1. Apart from that, I actively used other jobs to make my team more powerful and alter parts of my strategy for any battle I come across.

As said throughout this review, this game contains its flaws (whether new or old), but the experience I had playing through this game is the best so far in this retrospective series/ challenge. It pulls you in, makes you work hard to complete your mission, pushes you through a rocky road, plays with your emotions and twists your perception of the characters contained in the game. I was going to say how annoying it is that you can’t save your progress throughout a dungeon, but I actually understand why. It’s because they want you to be empathetic towards these warriors and understand the amount of endurance involved in ‘saving the world’. They want you to feel like you are these four kids forced by fate who struggle to take down evil. You are made to go through everything they go through and understand how hard it really is. Hell, why else are they allowing you to change the main character’s names at the start?

Immersion is a key concept in gaming which I treasure. Like a book or a movie, I feel like I am put into an imagined world and made to be a part of the experience. Final Fantasy 3 does this very well and made me feel like I had accomplished a lot after completing it. There are some flaws you will strain to get past if you want to complete the game, but I urge you to keep moving on and endure them. I thoroughly recommend Final Fantasy 3 for the experience alone.

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