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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light Impression

Going back to the basics of RPG’s and Final Fantasy

Role-playing games 101 folks. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light for Nintendo DS is the genre at its most simplistic. This is both good and bad but when it’s Square Enix behind the game then all is well … right? The Final Fantasy franchise has received a different type of life on the DS with redesigned characters that look and feel more kid friendly. The remakes for Final Fantasy III and IV, both by the same creators as 4 Heroes of Light, offered classic deep gameplay with new design and of course memorable characters and settings gamers know. The 4 Heroes of Light does a reboot with mixed results as these are all new characters and settings with a now very familiar design. The question is does it deliver? Older games with a new coat of paint have been rock solid for Square Enix so how does the new model in the classic game line holdup, let’s take a look.

Gameplay – As young Brandt turns 14 he must journey to see the King to be recognized as a man but upon arriving he finds a distraught king and missing princess. The journey begins for gamers and Brandt alike in typical RPG fashion. Young boy takes to dungeons and castles to battle monsters, rescue friends, destroy evil and save the land. Hours of dungeon crawling await with turn based battles using magic and melee attacks as well as items and potions. Four friends, party members, allow for gamers to take the class system of leveling up and really customize their battle group. This is RPG 101 with some limited co-op gameplay.

Graphics – Nothing to write home about. Final Fantasy III had a nice new look that has become the norm on DS for all Final Fantasy titles. 4 Heroes continues this look and feel with a mix of nice looking towns and monsters. Gamers expecting a big step up from prior FF entries will be disappointed.

Sound – Besides Cid, what ties all Final Fantasy games together? Music and it does the same with The 4 Heroes of Light. The tunes are classics, some new, some old and it helps bridge the gap for this new entry into the franchise. Beyond the soundtrack the audio sampling is very DS with not too much to compliment in eh way of battle sounds and item interactions.

Design – Being a cookie cutter RPG is not a bad thing but when you don’t allow gamers to target an enemy in a turn based battle, well that’s just odd. The dungeon and level designs and settings are nothing new for an RPG. The class system has been pulled off in a simpler manner with robust yet simple advancement trees to follow. The game is basic, a great entry point for gamers new to the genre.

Miscellaneous – A new chapter for Final Fantasy. While not every game tied to the franchise turns to gold there is hope for The 4 Heroes of Light as a franchise. It offers Square Enix the unique opportunity to not only do updates to older titles but rather revisits the genre, the settings and characters, craft them into a new generation of gamer and experiment with gameplay features. It’s good for gamers and good for Square Enix.

Overall there is nothing new in The 4 Heroes of Light. Gamers get a fairly standard RPG with storybook graphics, great music and so-so gameplay. It’s a great entry point for new and younger RPG gamers but with titles like Final Fantasy III and IV as well as the Dragon Quest titles out already there are other options to pick from with a solid and great track record. A good game yes, a great game not yet.

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