02.5 Final Fantasy II, FF3

I may not have met my goal last week, but I still managed to wrap up two games in my first month.

I finished the story of Final Fantasy II on Day 29: January 29, 2015.


I’ll try to keep this short, since I’ve already droned on and complained about this game plenty by now.

Final Fantasy II introduced multiple soon-to-be series constants, including the airship-obsessed Cid, the wonderful chocobo species, and even Phoenix Downs. In these regards I have to appreciate what FFII has brought to the table for future titles to perfect.

However, such a small list of firsts does not redeem this game for all the boredom and mediocrity one is made to endure in order to reach completion. The levelling system is clever but majorly flawed. The main characters are incredibly two-dimensional (no pun intended), with very little development to speak of.

Worst of all is the constantly shuffled fourth character, who is almost guaranteed to be the most frequently killed. Nothing is more frustrating than to grind and grind and grind some more, and finally overcome that crazy obstacle… Only to lose 1/4 of your team temporarily until you find someone new and weak that you must now tediously level up as well.

I had high hopes for Final Fantasy II when I first booted it up. Now my only hope is that I will never have to play it again.

Time to complete: 46 hours, 09 minutes
Modes of transportation: Walking/Running, Canoe, Chocobo, Boat, Airship
Chocobos: Present! One lone chocobo, found in Chocobo Forest
Mogs/Moogles: Not present.
Overworld: Yes.
Summons: Not present.
Cid: Present! An obsessed airship pilot who will fly you around the world, for a price
Biggs & Wedge: Not present.

Notable series firsts:
Introduction of chocobos. First Cid character. First game with Phoenix Downs. First game with named main characters.

Current ranking:
1) Final Fantasy
2) Final Fantasy II

I also spent much of this week getting into Final Fantasy III. See my initial impressions below.

DAY 029 – Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy III

Japan first saw Final Fantasy III on April 27, 1990. Of all the games in the series this one took the longest to reach western shores, not getting a proper translation or release until November 14, 2006, making its debut on the the original Nintendo DS. Except, the game had been remade from the ground up with 3D polygonal characters, a handful of fully rendered cutscenes, updated battle mechanics, and other various upgrades. Oh, and your 4 player characters were given names and separate backstories too.

I own and have played that version through nearly to completion, but never quite made it. Seeing as the original Japanese Famicom release was so different, I decided to download an emulator and play through the old school version. It’s a fan translation, so there may be some minor discrepancies (Desh instead of Desch, Jinn instead of Djinn, etc.), but so far the translation overall has been solid.

As for the game itself, I’m enjoying the hell out of it. I’m not sure yet whether it’s an average game or actually good, but when compared directly to my exasperating time with Final Fantasy II it’s a Godsend.

The introduction of the job system makes your party completely customizable to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in. Case in point, an early segment showed me needing to use the Mini spell on my whole party so I could find a hidden midget village. As a side note, it’s great for magics other than Cure to have practical uses outside of battle. That aside, being Mini’d meant no defense, and no physical attack damage. Only magic would do any damage. What to do?

Oh, no big deal. I just changed my party to three black mages (for offensive spells) and one red mage (for offensive and curing). Made it through the cave just fine, and even stuck around for a while to grind. Then later if I find an area where magic is ineffective, I can change their jobs to Warriors or Monks for primo physical damage. It’s a brilliant system, later mimicked with Final Fantasy X-2‘s Dresspheres, which I absolutely loved (haters gonna hate).

In addition, the story (at least for the introductory chapter) moves SO FAST and I LOVE IT. Contrasting Final Fantasy II’s never-ending caves and towers, wherein grinding at every plot point was necessity, Final Fantasy III gives you smaller, but more frequent challenges. It makes for much more fluid storytelling, and keeps me more interested and less bored. Two hours in FFII got me to the end of my first mission. Two hours in FFIII showed me breaking a curse in one town, outfitting Cid’s airship to clear a blocked path, returning Cid to his hometown and healing his ailing wife, scaling a mountain and encountering Bahamut, saving the lost Desh, making my way though the midget village, and out to help some vikings clear their waters. The difference between the two games is staggering.

I should also mention that the music finally starts getting interesting in FFIII. FFI had one tune for all villages, one for all shops, one for standard battles, etc. I was tired of the “soundtrack” after the first half a dozen hours. FFII improved on that, giving some variety to a few villages and select important scenes throughout the game. Final Fantasy III, however, is the first OST of the series I can actually see myself owning and enjoying, time and time again.

I’m barely 5 hours in, and already have heard close to as many melodies as I heard in all of FFII, and they’re beginning to sound like traditional Final Fantasy fare. An added bonus: the chocobo theme is present in its full glory. Still one of the most basic versions of the iconic tune, but it is much more fleshed out than the repetitive FFII offering.

Really, I have yet to encounter a problem with Final Fantasy III. There’s still plenty of time for it to go downhill, but so far I’m a happy adventurer.

Time for some tweets!

DAY 030 – Final Fantasy III

DAY 031 – Final Fantasy III

DAY 032 – Final Fantasy III

DAY 033 – Final Fantasy III

DAY 034 – Final Fantasy III

DAY 035 – Final Fantasy III

Remember that podcast I recorded with Josh and Travis? We’ll be recording episode 1 real soon, where we reveal our trio’s official name. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for it, and give us a listen!

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