Part 1 of Andy’s ongoing Final Fantasy saga can be found here
Final Fantasy IV was the first iteration to establish the winning Final Fantasy-brand formula. And let me tell you, it works. The RPG-style of FFIV makes the game incredibly fun to play, but I didn’t pick up this game for the fun of it.
I wanted to see if the older Final Fantasy games actually had some story, because after I played through Final Fantasy III for the DS, and I was almost blown away by how non-existent the story was. In FFIII, you traveled from town to town, doing who knows what. Sometimes, we saved some character that may or may not have mattered. Sometimes, we fought a boss that had zero relevance to the plot.
But FFIV actually has a story. Sure, the characters aren’t fully developed, and maybe the story is lacking in a few areas, but compared to FFIII, FFIV is just plain better. The graphics are prettier, the gameplay is smoother, and I actually give a crap about the characters.
Most of all, I love Cecil. A relatable protagonist is extremely important is huge games like FFIV. When the world is expansive and overwhelming, it’s relieving to fall back on a character who makes sense.
Cecil is a Dark Knight. It’s sounds awesome, and trust me, it is awesome. He’s powerful, dependable, everything you’d expect. However, the name Dark Knight is actually true. I mean, while Cecil’s “class” is Dark Knight, he is essentially evil. He is a DARK Knight. And the first half of the game is about Cecil’s path to redemption.
For too long has he been a ruthless weapon of the king, blind to his evil ways. But after an introspective journey and a few boss fights, Cecil redeems himself. He trades the title of Dark Knight for Paladin, and in doing so, he changes. I mean, even his class screams redemption. Rather than inflicting a ton of damage, Cecil would rather heal his allies. He can still dish out a ton of damage, but he’s killed too many already. He’s trying to live a better life, and he shows that transformation through his new playstyle.
That said, now that Cecil has been redeemed, he needs to fix the mess that he created. He had been blindly following the orders of his beloved king, and it turns out that the king is evil or brainwashed or something. Either way, this bad dude, Golbez, is making a mess of things, and now that Cecil can see through new eyes, it’s up to him and his buddies to stop this turdbag Golbez.
I know, I know. Golbez isn’t the scariest name in the world, but apparently Golbez has some serious power. He sends some crazy bosses to kick the crap out of Cecil and his buddies, but the gameplay of FFIV makes battling so fun. Every character has a specific strength. Where someone may be a good healer, another may be a black magic caster. So while taking huge amounts of damage from enemies, you have to keep your team alive while also killing the baddies.
It’s a great juggling act, and once you get it down, the game just falls into place. You’ll get more creative with your tactical approaches and FFIV has enough personality to allow for creativity. I still need to actually BEAT Final Fantasy IV, so I should go do that. But first, I have to grind a little bit.
You can follow Andy on Twitter at @vElectricv.