Twenty years of Final Fantasy and the seventh revision

By Spencer . June 28, 2007 . 12:20am

Since the birth of Final Fantasy, the game that kicked off the series has appeared on seven different platforms starting with the NES. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Final Fantasy, Square-Enix is releasing it again on the PSP. Depending on how many remakes you played and beat Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition already might not appeal to you and like the Dawn of Souls version, the PSP revision is much easier than the original.


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There isn’t much of story to Final Fantasy compared to the later games in the series. You have four light warriors who that carry magic crystals (not orbs like in the NES version) and remain silent throughout the game. Their journey begins by saving Princess Sara of Coneria from Garland, a master swordsman. It’s a cliché start, but Final Fantasy broke the mold of other RPGs during its time because you rescue the princess in the first thirty minutes of the game. The plot unravels into a quest to save the world and battling four elemental fiends to stop a time paradox. The twists in Final Fantasy were remarkable when it first came out, but today they may not impress fans that started out with the emotionally charged stories the Final Fantasy series is known for.


The challenge in Final Fantasy comes from mixing and matching the six character classes to make a party of four at the beginning of the game. Do you pick the monk who is a powerful physical fighter or a black mage who casts elemental spell? Most newcomers opt for the standard warrior, white mage, black mage and thief/monk party. However, if you want a level grinding challenge it’s there. Try beating the game with a party of four white mages or surviving up until the class change with four thieves. Better yet, skip out on the class change entirely. The difficulty in Final Fantasy has been toned down significantly because you can save anywhere and mages have magic points to cast spells instead of the spell-level system. This allows mages can use powerful spells, more often and tilts boss battles in favor of the party. 


Purists may object to the difficulty change, but they will appreciate the fresh coat of paint in Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition. Crisp sprites, rich battle backgrounds, lighting effects in towns and widescreen support make this the best looking Final Fantasy re-release. Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition also uses the translation found on Dawn of Souls, in a larger, easy to read font so you don’t have to strain your eyes looking at what it says on the tombstone in Elfheim. Trivia moment, it says “Here lies link” instead of “Here lies Erdrick”, which was a nod to Dragon Quest 1. The tradeoff for better graphics is minor UMD loading times. It takes a second to switch the game from the field to battle and the transition is masked by an explosion of light. It also takes a second to load the menu, world map and the bonus bestiary.



Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition includes nearly all of the bonuses from every remake. When you begin the game you see the full motion video introduction from the PS1 release and you’re treated to the Soul of Chaos dungeon from the GBA remake when you beat the fiends. The Soul of Chaos dungeon pits you against classic Final Fantasy bosses like the Phantom Train from Final Fantasy VI and Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy V, complete with their theme music. Each time you collect a crystal from a fiend fight, a new dungeon opens up. At the tail end of the game you unlock the brand new Labyrinth of Time dungeon. When you step in the Labyrinth of Time you have to give up commands like using items, casting spells or cutting down your attack power to earn time to explore the dungeon. If the time runs out before you complete a level, prepare to survive a wave of difficult encounters with your handicaps. The appeal of the Labyrinth of Time is really for hardcore fans seeking a challenge and its appeal is limited compared to the nostalgic Soul of Chaos dungeon. The other “bonus” in Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition is it has multiple languages. You can choose to play the game in English, full Japanese with kanji (a bonus in the PS1 remake) and kana.


So should you pick it up? Maybe, if you didn’t purchase Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls. The price for Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition is hard to swallow; $30 and you only get one game, opposed to two for a bargain bin price if you purchase the Game Boy Advance remake. More bells and whistles or an extra game, you decide.

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  • the_importer

    Makes you wonder what the industry would be like without the RPG cash cow? I mean Square would obviously be dead since this was suppose to be their final game, so Enix would still be Enix. The big question is, what would Sony have done? One of the top reason why the PSX sold well was because of the FF games, that’s a fact that can’t be denied.

    Would the Saturn or N64 been the victor of that console war? Makes you wonder. Anyway, back to Square, they got to stop remaking their old games and start making something original for a change. Where’s my next F#$%!&g Chrono game damnit!

  • sweet,neat,awsoooooooommmmmmmmeeeeeeee

  • Aoshi00

    Yeah, that’s the eternal quesiton.. all we have was just the name “Chrono Break”… As much as I’m tired of some of these remakes, I couldn’t help but think how sweet it would be if Chrono Trigger is remade w/ the Blue Dragon graphic engine.

  • Joseph Handibode

    Let me guess. You say Final Fantasy needs to stop making remakes. Hmm sounds like you probably play Mario, Zelda a lot. Since you obviously having play FF if you think they make the same games. They have different story on all FF games, new battle system.

    So they make FFs updates to newer systems, you don’t have to buy them do you?

    I say there should be no more Marios or Zeldas. Its the same damn game people no new storyline.

  • Tony

    If you don’t see a difference between Mario 64, Super Mario World and the original SMB I don’t think there’s much helping you. The story is hardly as important to the series as it is something like FF that’s practically been based upon it since the Final Fantasy II on the Famicom. Remove all the fanciness and basic changes and, really, aside from XI and XII there’s not exactly been anything that revolutionized the series. Pick from menus, turn based combat, etc. It’s all evolution. I don’t think this makes the games bad (although I love RPGs, I’m not really an FF fan I must say).

    Which gets me to the simple fact that there’s a large difference between a sequel and a remake. If you don’t want a sequel then fine, but that’s hardly the case being made here at all. It’s a stretch at best. I don’t think anyone in their right minds would say that the original Final Fantasy hasn’t been re-released and revised way too many times and we all know it’s just going to happen again.

  • Chris

    Square may come up with new battle systems and new plots, but they all pretty much amount to piling on the best spells and hacking away with so little difficulty you could probably win most fights with all characters on berserk. Now that Matsuno’s gone, all the people left are the jokers who take a bunch of oversensitive teenagers, make them the one destined to save the world, give their brothers or fathers or best friends some kind of weird metaphysical power, and watch them cry and whine through it.

    Then again, the Zelda people just sort of decided to stop being clever with dungeon design and just contrive a bunch of situations where you’re forced to use the tool they happen to give you in that dungeon with very linear paths through the dungeons.

    Actually, pretty much none of the franchises that were great ten to fifteen years ago are still making great games.

  • yaw

    yaw but ff games arent just about the gameplay its about the STORY STORY STORY OK GET IT GOT IT OK GOOD

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