Final Fantasy IV Impressions

I need something to bump that Square Enix blog entry off the top, so it might as well be something related: my initial impressions of the new Final Fantasy IV game for the DS.

Well, it's in 3D. I'm not sure I really like this. As The World Ends With You proved, the DS can do pretty well with a sort of mixed 3D/2D environment. I think I almost would have preferred something like that.

In any case, the game is fairly faithful to the original game, if you ignore the enhancements. The enhancements involve something called "augments" which add new abilities to characters and something called "Whyt" which is this... thing that follows Rydia.

Another new feature is the "Wayfarer's Map" which is essentially an auto-map. As you move about unmapped dungeons, the map fills out. Get an area complete, and you get some items as a reward. G4TV likes this feature: "The game encourages and, more importantly reduces, the tedium of grinding by rewarding exploration..."

Which kind of glosses over the whole grinding thing. And you'll be doing it. More than required to fill out the map. Boss fights can be impossible at level 25, almost doable at 26, and stupidly easy at 30.

The whole concept that the map feature "reduces the tedium of grinding" seems to me like praising harsh weather conditions for "reducing the tedium of driving." Sure, it makes it more exciting, if you ignore the increased chance of death.

But like I said, the DS-chuckingly frustrating game play is true to the original game. I'm not sure I really want them to change that. If you're considering playing this game, remember the original game is from the end of the Nintendo Hard era.

The original game relied on dumb boss fight gimmicks. (Cast a certain spell at a certain time or instant death.) So if you don't feel like GAME OVER (with no continue option, hope you saved) a few times before figuring out the boss fights, you might want to look up a walk-through online before playing it.