Don’t let this cutesy-tootsey remake mislead you into thinking Final Fantasy III on the DS is easy. The game will kick your ass back into 8-bit land if you’re not paying attention. For anyone who’s tired of brainless, easy turn-based fighting that holds your hand the whole way, Final Fantasy III is your answer. This modern remake of an old school RPG keeps its difficulty intact whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, since it’s an older RPG, the story shows its age: four warriors are chosen by a crystal to save the world from darkness.
A refreshing kick in the face for me was the fact that this game is HARD. We’ve been getting soft-bellied with our forgiving, modern-day RPGs. Getting KO’ed in here means you’d better have a phoenix down handy or you’ll be dragging that useless teammate around until you find one or a spring capable of reviving people. Inns aren’t going to help you there, sister. While this may scare some pansy-ass gamers away, it may also be exactly what some people have been waiting for.
After recovering from the "Wow, I really need to save often because I die a lot" shock, I noticed another thing: the music in this game is remarkable. While all the music has essentially stayed the same, the DS makeover has improved it. There really is no excuse not to play this with headphones on. At times, I can’t believe the sounds are coming out of the DS when I play this. When I was watching the long opening movie, someone from the next room shouted to me, "Are you watching a movie in there or something?" Yes, it’s that good.
One thing a lot of people have been making a fuss over is the fact that this is the first 2D Final Fantasy to make the leap into 3D — and what a fantastic leap it was. The characters with their cherub-like faces are cute to the point where I want to pinch their cheeks and say, "Awwww." Dungeons look a little sparse and drab, but towns are full of details like turned over buckets and items on tables. Using the Mini spell actually shrinks your characters on screen. Using the left trigger to zoom in also reveals switches to hidden passages as well as treasure.
While the graphics have been overhauled, the menu system unfortunately hasn’t been. I wish they had added the "optimize equipment" found in the later games. Load times between walking around and entering houses or battles were a few seconds long, but disguised by the screen fading in and out. A puzzling thing is why the top screen isn’t utilized more. It displays a big world map when wandering around the world, but in towns and dungeons, it’s dark most of the time. A display of character status would have been more useful.
If you’ve always wanted to play one of the older Final Fantasies, but couldn’t get over the antiquated 2D graphics (for shame!), then Final Fantasy III was made for you.
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