« | Main | »

Everyone still Final Fantasy IV’s bitch

By Heath | April 3, 2011 at 4:59 am

Final Fantasy IV, originally released on the Super Nintendo, then ported with a dash of load times to the PSX, given a fresh translation and slight visual tweak on Game Boy Advance, then treated to a full overhaul with cinemas and voices and crap like that on Nintendo DS.  Later, a sequel called The After Years was released on Japanese cellphones which made its way to worldwide Wiiware (respect the w).   Now, the After Years has been essentially combined with the GBA version of the game (it’s not exactly the same, don’t jump me for not sitting here detailing the small differences.  It’s close), with an extra bit of content linking the two, and released for PSP.  This umpteenth release of the game is also dominating sales charts right now. Released on March 24, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection sits atop the March 21-27 sales rankings with over 104,000 units shifted, beating the fuck out of second-place Dynasty Warriors 7 , which sold 36k that week.  True, DW7 has been out longer, but wait…has it really?  We’re talking about a game whose first critic was like Abraham Lincoln.  And here’s the thing: Final Fantasy IV deserves every single one of those sales.

There will be those that cry “series milking!” and all that good stuff, you bet.  And hey, they’ve got a good point.  Square Enix does focus a little too much on the old and their new stuff doesn’t seem to pack the same spark as their previous material.  There are some great new Square Enix IPs, sure, but the common feeling seems to be that the company is a little lost right now.  The best titles seem to be ports and remakes while the new stuff just fumbles the ball.  A lot of people think most of these remake projects should be dropped in favor of getting the new material back on track.  I count myself among these folks for the most part…with the exception of Final Fantasy IV.

Once called “The birth of the story-driven RPG,” FFIV truly was just that in many ways.  To this day, its story is still interesting despite some plot holes, its characters are still fun, and its dungeons and gameplay still hold up.  My wife holds this as one of her favorite games ever, having cleared it dozens of times.  I can easily understand why; this is Squaresoft at its finest, and truly a textbook example of how to do a traditional JRPG right.

Furthermore, each new edition does add something.  The PSX version, despite its loadishness, brought the game to a new generation of RPG fans, saving them from having to troll eBay.  Years later, the GBA version looked great, made the game portable, and used a new translation that made the story all the better.  The DS version’s updates were pretty obvious, and my old friend Phil even said that the DS version might even be the definitive one.  Now, the PSP version includes The After Years,  something previously unavailable in portable fashion and some extra content.  Good enough for me.

So go ahead, Square Enix, you’ve got the green light.  Keep remaking Final Fantasy IV for every console and handheld generation.  I’ll give you all the milk you want, dumped over piles of money.  Hail IV.

Remake RPG Land on Twitter and Facebook.

Topics: Editorials, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy IV Compilation, Final Fantasy IV: The After