Final Fantasy 3 cover

Nintendo DS
Everyone 10+
Square Co., Ltd.
DEVELOPER: Square Co., Ltd.

I guess its necessary
to point out that the Final Fantasy series is by far my favorite franchise.
Once introduced to the Light Warriors, I was hooked. I remember the hours spent
saving for the Silver Sword, running into Trap Doors in the Sealed Cave, answering
Gestahl’s questions and even wondering what made Tidus such a bitch.

What does this have to
do with anything other than my jerking-off a video game series? Not much other
than to say that nostalgia plays a huge role in any review of a Final Fantasy
game; just look at the Final Fantasy X-2

The Pitch

Because of issues with
translation and localization, the development of the SNES, and the eventual
breakdown of Square and Nintendo’s relationship, only half of the first six
editions of the Final Fantasy series
(I, IV and VI) were released in the
prior to consumer hit Final Fantasy VII.
With critical acclaim in
the popularity of grey market emulations, and the ability to easily port older
titles onto a disc, Final Fantasy’s II
and V eventually made it to the

For some reason,
however, Final Fantasy III never made
the journey onto the Playstation. With Nintendo rebuilding its bridges with
Square and the opportunity of a nice cash grab on portable games, many of the
earlier Final Fantasy editions made appearances on the GBA Advance. These
versions were updated with minor changes to improve gameplay, like adding a
bonus dungeon here and there, but offering nothing too major.

But for the only unreleased Final Fantasy title, the designers gave Final Fantasy III a TLC-style makeover. How did that metaphor sneak
in here?

The result is a remake
of a classic Final Fantasy title, never released in the

The Play

One thing most people
forget about early console RPGs is that they were tough. Very tough. In terms
of most modern RPGs, the pull is completing the 500 side-quests and finding
every upgradeable item in the game’s universe. For the most part though, the
player is never in any danger of “dying.” With that said, its jarring to be
placed back into a straight forward adventure that will kick your ass if you
don’t pay attention.

Just like early
editions, the game raises its stakes by having no indoor save points. This means,
you die in dungeon, you lose 45 minutes of your actual bio-chemical human life.
The first time it happened to me, the DS almost went through the window. After
calming down, I realized that I sort of missed that feeling of suspense and
urgency. It’s a difficult balance, nonetheless, to reach to make the game
challenging, but not force the player to spend hours upon hours raising levels.
Anyone who played the original Dragon
can attest to the amount of their life they wasted battling slimes.
Here the game here eventually finds that balance.

As something that Final
Fantasy games have struggled to find a balance with, the game employs a job
system that works for the most part. Some games force the player to shift jobs
a 150 times during the course of the game just to show that the game is “full”
(see Final Fantasy X-2). Here,
however, the game lets you pick your classes and while the party acquires more
job options as the game continues, the player gets to basically pick a class
and stick with it for the duration.

In terms of storylines,
forget it. While I see the characters talking to people, the storyline goes
like this “blah blah blah, go to this cave and kill the evil blah.” “Now this bad
guy has noticed you, go and fight blah.” Its funny to see the evolution from a
game like this without any storyline to the epic storyline of Final Fantasy IV.

As for the general
quality of the remake, the changes have morphed the game into something that
wasn’t originally intended. With the overhaul to the graphics and visual
presentation, the game moves slower. Its fun to see the party pose after a
battle or two, but to go through the whole song and dance after every fucking
battle just is annoying. Also from what I read, in the original version the
NPCs (there are seven that join the party in this version) were controllable by
the player, but here due to the graphics added, the designers were forced to
take the NPCs out of the player’s hands, which ranges from annoying to
downright retarded. Also the monsters had to be adjusted because they could
only fit three on the new screen layout.

In short, the entire
gameplay is altered for graphics.

The Presentation

The Good:

The opening sequence is
majestic. Some of the best work on the DS. The inclusion of the credits after
the first two hours of gameplay are also a welcome throwback. It was one of the
signature aspects of Final Fantasy I
and I’m glad it popped up here. The dungeon level designs are pretty nice and
there is the basic Final Fantasy soundtrack, which mostly delivers the goods.

The Bad:

Call this a matter of
preference, but I kind of hate the character design. I thought the “Light
Warriors” looked like a bunch of overweight kids playing dress up before going
to some FinalFanCon.

Also the stunning
graphics are mainly reserved for the opening sequence. And frankly who gives a
shit about a wonderful opening if you are left with the same old shit
afterwards. After the beginning, its pretty much basic graphics from there on
out, which as mentioned above, took away from the original vision of the game.
Change the game if you want, but if it’s going to result in worse gameplay,
then it’s a huge step down.

Finally, the designers completely wasted the option of the
dual-screen. For all the possible uses I could think of, this game pissed away
a valuable resource.

The Replay

Because of the 23
different job classes the game offers a good amount in terms of replay value.
Final Fantasy nuts love seeing different ways of going through the game.
Because there is no real storyline, the game is basically about getting through
with different types of job classes.

The Verdict

Honestly, I would have
liked to have seen the game on GBA, because the upgrades the DS offered only
took away from the game. What should have been a DS masterpiece is a Final
Fantasy game that ranks in the middle of the pack. A wasted effort.

7.0 out of 10