Final Fantasy II: a legendary game in the land of RPGs, especially in the Western world. As I was one of the few kids who started playing RPGs before the PlayStation came around, this game is forever etched in my memory as a brilliant work. Granted, it’s lost a little of its effect over time, but it’s still a classic that’s well worth playing. What made the game so great? Let’s review!
The game was released early on in the life of the Super Nintendo, so we should probably cut its plot some slack. A story about a group of heroes out to save the world by collecting crystals might be cliché now, but, at the time, the only game on the American market that featured a similar story was the original Final Fantasy. Poor translations aside, the plot that drives the actual crystal gathering isn’t really all that bad.
The graphics, at the time, were actually pretty sweet. While the field sprites may not have been much to write home about, the battle graphics definitely impressed my little eyes. Mode 7 while using the airship was cool, as was the flight from the Earth to the Moon and the other little scenes like that. The graphics haven’t held up so well over time, but they were cool back then.
On the other hand, the game’s music rocks to this day. It makes up in composition what it might lack in execution, most problems of which are due to the era in which it was produced. There’s not a bad track in the game, with a fair number of songs and most of them lasting relatively long before looping. Definitely worthy of the three albums based on it.
Now, normally I don’t mention controls unless they’re really bad, but I think that this game kept a very standard button layout. Too many games, today as well as back then, use different buttons for on the field, in a battle, in a menu, or some other situation. They consider “Cancel” to be different from “Exit Menu,” make you press a different button to select an answer than you use to continue the dialog you were in the middle of, or use the button layout to reflect your choice of battle commands. While some may consider these to be “creative” button layouts, I prefer to call them “stupid” button layouts and suggest that the developers take a look at the simple, standardized controls of Final Fantasy II, here.
For all the ripping off of lame things like “Collect the # [Items] to save the [Place] from [Bad Thing]” that other games did, you’d think they wouldn’t try so hard to have their buttons be different.
And, it may just be due to the nostalgia factor, but I’ve played the game from start to finish at least ten times, not counting all of the other times that I started and never completed it. There are very few other games that I’ve enjoyed nearly as much, and I think there’s something to be said for the game in that respect. Most people’s complaints are that the game is too linear, although that never stopped them from enjoying a movie. Others say that it’s too cliché, but, again, that rarely prevents anyone from watching most movies out there.
It’s a simple game to play without becoming boring. It was made before graphics became the huge selling point that it is today, and before games had to have “innovative” systems to keep the player’s attention. I’m looking at you, Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy VIII.
All in all, the game is a classic that, unlike many classics, is still worth playing today. I suppose that it may not have quite the same effect on those who have never played it before, but it’s at least better than Dragon Warrior in that respect. That’s for another review, however.