|Final Fantasy II - Retroview|
This One Can Stay In Japan...
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
When Square released Final Fantasy as a last-ditch effort to save
their company, they got a lot more than they expected; it was such a
huge success that their still going strong with the release of Final
Fantasy X. So, in order to get to ten, there had to be a two. Final
Fantasy II was not released in America, and was still on the Nintendo
(Famicon). Unfortunately, unlike some of the next eight games, this
sequel just wasn't any fun.
The battle system itself is almost identical to its predecessor,
with a few convenient changes. For instance, just about any spell can
be casted on all enemies or allies by going all the way to the group's
far edge and moving the cursor one more time in that direction, as
opposed to the few spells in the first that were stuck as a single- or
multiple-effect spell. Unfortunately, the "ineffective" attack problem
still exists (but is fixed in the next game).
Unfortunately, the game's interface is where it falls flat on its
face. First off, the menu - the characters' portraits are put next to
their faces, a nice added touch, but the item screen is much too small
to be manageable. Also, when equipping you're characters, there are two
slots for items they can carry. A character can only use an item they
are holding in order to use it in battle, which can very often be
|Yeah... what he said|| |
That aside, the biggest detraction this games has in its leveling
system - there are no levels. Instead, you become better at something
by using it a lot. So, if you use a certain type of weapon a lot, you
will become much better at it. If you use a lot of black magic, your
intelligence will increase. If you frequently use the cure spell, it
will go up in level. The highest level a weapon or spell can get is 16.
Each use of a weapon or magic raises it a point, and levels up at one
In addition to that, your HP and MP are raised when they are
depleted. That's right. If you get hurt a lot in battle, or use up
most of your MP, their max will go up. So, just hit yourself a lot, and
cream enemies with magic and you'll be all set.
If you can see just how annoying that can be, there's more - you
can level DOWN. If one of your characters attacks a lot, their magic
power goes down, and vice versa. So, just try and balance your
The quality of the actual sound in FFIIj is almost the same as that
in FF. However, the music itself is far from the quality of its prequel
(and sequel). It seems too, I don't know, wimpy, and while it sometimes
sets the mood, it is often very annoying. There is one attractive
addition, though - boss music. Unlike in FF, bosses have their own
music, and provide a break in the weak battle music.
Now, you ask, with all the bad things put into this game, as I seem
to be saying, why would I give such a high score to originality? Well,
it takes quite a bit of effort to create a system as annoying as they
did, instead of staying with their previous system that worked. I can't
really put the games designers at fault, but, as a friend of mine put
it, while the new systems may have looked good on paper, so did
|Opening to a... well... some kind of game|| |
The plot deserves some mentioning... Four orphans escape from the
Empire of Paramekia, but are taken down by some dark knights. Three of
them find each other in Altea, and the fourth character is filled in by
various people to progress the plot. There are a few good plot twists,
and the characters actually have some personality, albeit a little.
However, it seems to flow very slowly.
This game can be very easy or very hard. The very hard way would
be to just try to go through the game the traditional way, gaining
"levels" along the way. This will get you killed in a hurry. You can
raise your weapons' and spells' levels quickly with a little trick...
The trick is this - get a fourth character right off. The first
three are the ones you are going to keep anyway. Just select a command
for the first three, then cancel. Do this a hundred times for each
weapon and spell, and they all gain a level. Then cream the enemies.
There, got that done? Now do it fifteen more times, as you can only
gain one level per battle. Oh, and did you get a new spell? Go through
those sixteen battles again, and have fun! Right.
Overall, Final Fantasy II didn't look bad. It was a minor
improvement over Final Fantasy, but even that game was great for its
time. However, Maria and Guy look like they're in pajamas when not, how
would you put it, "joined" with Frionel, the main character. Other than
that, the graphics neither contributed toward nor worked against this
|Gee, I wonder how long it took to get that powerful...|| |
With that said, how could you want to replay this game? Either way
you play, or even any middle-ground you travel, becomes torture. That,
and you've gotta keep their power, magic power, HP and MP are kept up to
snuff. Think you can handle it? Do you want to do that all again? I
didn't think so.
Considering all the "leveling" that must be done, this game can
take a long time just to get powerful enough to destroy a party of
ghosts. You CAN make the games faster by using the trick... just don't
fall asleep while doing it. I know, I know, it seems useless, and,
well... it is.
Taking everything into consideration, the small storyline's pluses
and the gameplay's minuses add up to a number well into the negatives.
If you want to say, "I've played every Final Fantasy to date," then...
have fun. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend this game. If you want some
fun, play Final Fantasy IIIj, which is much harder than this anyway, but
a lot more satisfying. So, don't even bother trying to import this and
have somebody translate it for you; wou will get incredibly frustrated,
and the translator will get incredibly bored (ask me how I know).