Final Fantasy IV: The After Years For iOS Hands On – Visual And Aural Nostalgia

By Kris . September 23, 2013 . 2:17am

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As much as I love Final Fantasy IV I never got around to playing The After Years, the cell phone/WiiWare/PSP episodic sequel to Final Fantasy IV released 17 years after the original game. Even so, playing the iOS version felt very familiar.

 

The game starts off like the original Final Fantasy IV did, on an airship with the Red Wings theme playing in the background. Ceodore, our hero, doesn’t have quite as much to cope with in the first few minutes as his father Cecil did. Whereas Cecil was wracked by guilt over the terrible things he’d done in the name of his King before his airship was attacked by monsters, all Ceodore has to do was talk to people. Moving Ceodore in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years for iOS was handled by putting your finger onscreen and moving it in one of eight directions. Sliding it further turned a walk into a run. When you were close enough to talk to someone, one tap anywhere when an exclamation mark was over someone’s head starts a conversation.

 

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Making Ceodore talk to everyone triggered a cutscene that involved him complaining about the test he had to face to join the Red Wings and Wedge, the ship’s Captain, hitting him for his insolence.

 

The cutscene was a bit strange (aside from just having a grown man punch a child across an airship deck) because while it involved both choreography and lip flaps, there was no voice acting. Lines advanced and characters moved automatically, but things were silent aside from music and sound effects. I asked the attendant if the final game would have voice acting, and he said it would not… It still strikes me as strange that they’d add lip flaps for no voice work…

 

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After arriving on Final Fantasy IV‘s Adamant Island, I had to steer Ceodore to the village of Mythril and spend the night at the inn to could enter the nearby cave during the full moon.

 

In the cave, I was introduced to the way moon phases affect combat (during the full moon, physical attacks did less damage and black magic did more), the bond system (which had Biggs and Wedge stand back to back with the camera spinning around them before slicing everything in their path), and the way that combat works with the touch screen (after selecting attack, you can tap on whoever you want to attack or choose them from the onscreen menu. Unfortunately, because my time was limited, I had to leave before finishing the entire cave.

 

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Food for thought:

1. While the game deliberately apes the low-poly style of Final Fantasy IV for DS, it still looked very pretty on the tablet I was playing it on. Everything looks clean and runs smoothly, and that makes the low-poly style much more appealing. It also drove home the fact that Ceodore was significantly smaller and younger than his father was during Final Fantasy IV.

 

2. Every song in the game I heard was from the original Final Fantasy IV, note for note. While I love the music in FFIV, I would have liked to have heard new songs (or even more varied arrangements of the originals).


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  • Randy Marsh

    Sad to see they didn’t remove the moon phase system, which was my biggest problem with the game play. *sigh* Looks like I’ll be doing the usual Waning Moon and Full Moon pattern during the final chapter.

    Still can’t wait for this game to come out for the Android! Yep, I’m actually one of the few who enjoyed the After Years, even though it had a terrible/rehashed story.

    • LanceHeart

      I enjoyed it as well, but was a bit disappointed in the RNG being changed for the PSP version. I liked being able to grab Silver Apples at will within the first hour of the game. :)

      • Randy Marsh

        Indeed the change sucked for PSP version, but I’ll always have the Wii version to enjoy being OP has hell during the beginning of Rydia’s chapter.

  • LanceHeart

    Concerning point #1, it almost seems like this game was planned for late-life DS and abandoned. There’s no real reason to use FF4 DS’ style if you weren’t already aiming to launch on a platform that required it.

    They easily could have used the low-poly style and had uncharacteristically detailed textures since it’s an iOS game, but this seems to only have slightly higher resolution textures with the same DS-like pattern on them.

    Edit: I really hope this game doesn’t have something like the augment system. I really disliked it in FFIV DS and found it a severe step down from the character swapping available in FFIV GBA/PSP. I’d rather have bonus chapters/dungeons instead.

  • Virevolte

    It makes me feel that I didn’t beat the psp version… Hum, I think I would have prefer playing this one.

  • Uso Ewin

    Did Matrix make this game?

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh, so no voice acting then? Guess they didn’t like the After Years enough to give it QUITE the budget FFIV for the DS had then… still, it’s looking pretty decent. Wonder if this is gonna be the whole game, or if they’ll try to make us pay for chapters again.

  • AAa

    Useless REMAKE. Remake FF V or VI on PS4/PS3/PC and then i can call it useful

    • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

      Do you really think Square Enix have the brains to do that.

      • Anthony Hayball

        No they don’t. They’re just stupid.

    • epy

      That would require to invest funds and staff and at SE, ain’t nobody got time for that!

      I don’t agree that it’s useless though, I would be interested in playing this otherwise. I like the style of FFIV DS. They could have just ported the PSP version you know, I’m actually surprised they put some effort into it.

  • 9thsage

    After Years DOES have a few new songs, but yeah…much of the soundtrack is FF IV.

  • CirnoLakes

    I’m perfectly fine with low poly with benefits. In fact one of my favourite ways to play games is PlayStation and Nintendo 64 3D, at 1080p and loads of anti-aliasing.

    It has a very simple aesthetically pleasing factor for me. Sort of like how people lego blocks or cel shading in high definition. No, they aren’t high polygon, but they’re so smooth that things still look extremely beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. High resolution and anti-aliasing really do make everything look better. In Final Fantasy terms, Final Fantasy VII looks like a high quality cartoon outside of the 2D textures, and Final Fantasy X look a lot like PlayStation 3 game, awfully cinematic.

    Of course, I doubt the resolution is exactly high or there is anti-aliasing here. But still, it looks pretty good for a tablet game. And undoubtedly they don’t just look the same for consistence with the old recreation. But to use the same engine.

    Not port begging. But if only they weren’t giving iOS systems priority. If only so many companies weren’t giving iOS systems priority. I don’t like Apple. And I especially don’t like iOS.

    • epy

      Yeah, it’s not like Apple pays for exclusivity or anything (at least it’s very unlikely). I wonder if it’s hard to work with Nintendo to put it on the eShop, I can’t see it not selling. Same with PSN. A lot of developers out there make it a point to put their stuff out on as many platform as possible, so I don’t quite get it.

    • epy

      Yeah, it’s not like Apple pays for exclusivity or anything (at least it’s very unlikely). I wonder if it’s hard to work with Nintendo to put it on the eShop, I can’t see it not selling. Same with PSN. A lot of developers out there make it a point to put their stuff out on as many platform as possible, so I don’t quite get it.

  • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

    Is this another IV remake?

    • Arcana Wiz

      yep, a after years 3d remake only for Ios.

      • Randy Marsh

        And Android!

      • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

        Geezus….
        Will I play FFIV in my toaster in the future?

  • Kilim

    I really enjoyed the ‘choose your story’ mechanic that the game has. Unfortunately I lost the motivation to play towards the end. Don’t know why. also KAIN

  • new_tradition

    Wait, no VA work? Ehhh…Don’t really need this game then. Maybe if it goes on some sale for Android, but TAY in the PSP collection is quite sufficient for me xD

  • Ric Vazquez

    I would have been better on the 3ds or vita methinks

  • Anthony Hayball

    Oh no! They’re bringing this disapointment in 3D. Final Fantasy IV could do better without this. Why is Square Enix destorying the franchise this badly?

  • Samsara09

    I don’t like the smartphone market…neither why they waste time making games for it.Guess the profits must be bigger then with the console…but if that is the case,they must make more investments on the console market,especially the handheld one.This game has all the conditions to come to the 3ds,copypaste it.SE,don’t disappoint me.My money is right here,come and take it.Note:With LR:XIII,FFX/X-2 HD remake,FFXV and KH3,I don’t have much reasons to question their main consoles policies.but…the 3ds only has Bravely default:Where the Fairy flies(for the sequel).

    • School Idol Addict

      I seriously wonder sometime if the mobile market is really that good.
      After all i really rarely heard any mobile developers said they made lot of money with mobiles.
      And most of the developers i heard made a lot of money with mobiles games was with simple and cheap games.

      • Samsara09

        indeed.If at least they were SNES quality,I would be happy.Not just in the tech part,but also in the gameplay part(Many SNES games are so good they can still compete with nowadays games).Most mobile games are just copypastes from other games in the mobile or console market…or enhanced versions from handhelds.that sucks.But it is indeed cheap,and makes a quick profit.Hope they know where to use it.

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