Square Enix have done a good job of resurrecting their Final Fantasy games on the DS. And no wonder, as the machine’s just the right format to re-release the role-playing games that take tens of hours to play. Time being precious, it’s now possible to play them when you’d otherwise be staring at the back of someone’s head on the bus. Final Fantasy IV is the latest to get the touch-screen treatment and this time they’ve pulled out all the stops.
You may know the game as a 2d top-down RPG if you’ve played it on the SNES, GBA or the PSOne, but on the DS they’ve brought the game to life in full 3D and they’ve translated all the text so it all makes perfect sense.
You play as the Dark Knight Cecil. Quite how you’re supposed to scare anyone with that name I’m not sure. Oooh look out, Cecil’s coming – hide! Anyway, you begin the game leading a team called the Red Wings and doing your King’s bidding. Right at the start though, you suspect the king’s motives and go rogue, forming your own party of travellers and misfits as you travel the land, go on quests and explore the many dungeons.
Of course, random battles play a part in the game and when you do get ambushed, the action’s turn-based but also with a time limit so you’d better be quick scrolling through the menus to choose melee attacks, magic or items. You can also augment characters with magic and transfer these abilities between party members; useful if you’ve played the game before and you know one of your characters is about to sod off with all your powerful spells.
I will warn you though – this game is tough and only really for hardcore role-players. You will die frequently if you don’t prepare your team, explore caves thoroughly and equip your characters with the correct armor and weapons. Make sure you save often, especially before going into a cave or dungeon.
If Final Fantasy is your thing and you’d like to play this all over again in full 3D and hear some very good voice acting to boot, it’s an essential purchase. Final Fantasy IV gets an excellent 8 out of 10.