While waiting for Square Enix to release their remake of Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS, I’ve been playing their remake of Final Fantasy III. So far, I’ve put in three hours into the game. The gameplay brings back fond memories of playing the first Final Fantasy on the Nintendo without the despair of losing the saved game.
The game begins with an introduction of Luneth as he falls through a hole in a cave. Luneth works his way out of the cave and in the process stumbles upon a floating crystal which sends him on a journey as one of the guardians of the Light.
Within the first few quests, we meet the rest of the party members and a familiar face. Arc joins Luneth to prove to others and himself that he is not a coward. Refia follows in order to get away from her over-protective father. And Ingus rounds out the crew after the others help him rescue Princess Sara.
The combat system is initiated through random monster encounters which are very much needed. The monsters met seem to be much tougher then past Final Fantasy games. A bit of leveling is required before attempting to explore new areas. The battle uses a 3D view with the party on the bottom right facing towards the enemy in the top left. The fight is turn based so there’s not much worry about making a mistake in the heat of the moment.
Unlike the earlier Final Fantasy games, the party members are not stuck with the same class they begin with. In the course of the game, the characters can change Jobs and gain different abilities. The default starting class is the Freelancer which does everything okay. The next grouping of jobs include Warrior, Thief, Monk, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. Coincidentally, these six classes are the choices provided in the first Final Fantasy game.
There are pros and cons to the job system. Sometimes there are situations which require you to tailor the classes to what works, for instance, when you’re forced to be minified in the Sea Dragon scenario. With the mini affliction, fighting with weapons is not possible. So having a party of all magic users is the only way to go. The problem with the Job system is eventually each character will be exactly the same. Players will choose the best class, equip them with the best gear and use the best magic to become a party of uber-characters. Of course, since the Job system for each job has its own leveling system, this would take awhile.
Graphically, the game uses 3D hexagon-style characters in the battle sequences and the 2D overhead view in the outside world. The battle sequences seem a bit slow as if it takes a second for the game to realize an action was selected. The music is very nice. They also included the original melody found in almost every early Final Fantasy game. The story is a bit predictable but like many of Square’s games, it draws you in and makes you care what happens to the characters. Overall, I give this game two thumbs up.