Game Review

Final Fantasy IV Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Stuart Reddick

Another great RPG hits the DS in the form of Final Fantasy IV.

When Final Fantasy IV was originally released on the SNES in 1991, it quickly became a hit. Unlike many of the other RPGs at the time, it boasted a large cast of characters that were tied into a deep and intriguing plot, and this helped elevate it above the crowd. In 2005, Final Fantasy IV finally made it to American shores as a GBA remake of the original game (previously known as Final Fantasy II in North America).

Now, three years after the Gameboy Advance remake, comes yet another reimagining of the game. Like Square Enix’s other Final Fantasy revisits, Final Fantasy IV has had its visuals overhauled to the point where it exceeds the standards of most Nintendo DS games. The real question though is whether or not the content stands true to the quality of the original game.

In Final Fantasy IV, players take control of Cecil, leader of the Red Wings. Cecil has lived his entire life watching over a group of elite soldiers in the servitude of the King of Baron. Then one day this mission changes: the government that Cecil has sworn to protect is falling into a dark evil. After yet another mission that leads to the destruction of an entire town, Cecil and his long-time friend Kain, leader of the Dragoons, abandon their pleasurable lives and escape from the Baron’s army. Needless to say, in true Square Enix fashion the story is compelling, gripping, and is the same as was in its original release.

Since Final Fantasy IV is a remake of the SNES version of the game, you’d expect to see some improvements in the game. Thankfully, a lot of changes have been made to the game, but none drastically different or detrimental. Though the story remains the same, practically everything else has been changed or modified. For starters, Square Enix has decided to take the original 2D game and transform it into 3D in order to take advantage of the DS’ power – this also includes some 3D cutscenes. While these in-game graphics look great, the cutscenes simply put them to shame; the only worthy descriptions a ‘beautiful’ for the graphics and 'magnificent' for the cutscenes.

Though the amazing graphics are the most evident upgrade to the DS version, it is by no means the only vastly improved feature. When you first start playing the game, you will be pleasantly shocked by how superb the game’s beautiful CG intro is, from the visual and audio standpoints. The intro lasts for about two and a half minutes and the best part about it is that the entire thing is completely voice-over (VO) supported – a feature present on many other parts of the game.

Besides the changes noted above, Final Fantasy IV has also had its gameplay tweaked a little. The DS version’s battles are slower than they were in the original, yet there is an option to adjust this: to pick up the pace a little bit, the player just cranks up the ‘battle speed’ option to 1, which is the fastest available. Having this feature means the game is suitable to both newcomers and seasoned veteran RPG players. Besides the pace of battles taking a hit, random encounters have also been reduced – enemies will occur less frequently in the DS version, thankfully.

Unlike the original Final Fantasy IV, this version boasts a new feature known as ‘Wayfarers Map’. Any time you’re in an undiscovered area, the map draws itself onto the bottom screen. As you explore the new terrain more of the map will become visible until every corner of it has been explored. Maps not only highlight important facilities such as shops, inns, and equipment stores in villages, but they also reward you for exploring dungeons completely: you’ll be presented with things such as potions, which are essential to your very survival.


Every Final Fantasy remake that has hit the Nintendo DS so far has improved upon its predecessor while at the same time retaining the original fun factor. Since these revisits have done very well in terms of sales, it was no surprise that Square Enix decided to take another stab at Final Fantasy IV. It also comes as no surprise that, like the original, Final Fantasy IV is a very challenging RPG that'll appeal to all fans of the genre: the graphics are superb, the soundtrack is great, and the gameplay is top-notch. When everything is said and done, this is a must-have RPG.

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User Comments (30)



ReZon said:

I haven't completed this yet (working on it now), but I definitely agree - this is an excellent game.



theblackdragon said:

I was impressed by the voice acting... it actually didn't suck. :3 and you can get through the game just fine without messing with Whyt at all if you like. I only hope they can give FFV the same treatment if/when they remake that for the DS.



Corbs said:

I picked this one up the night I went to pick up my DSi system, but I still haven't taken it out of the shrinkwrap yet. Looks good though, can't wait to give it a go. But I have to finish Chrono Trigger first as well.



MrPinguy said:

Putting nostagia aside.
I don't see why

I liked both the GBA Port and this one (the only ones i played)



Adam said:

I agree. The Final Fantasy DS remakes look awful. Normally I would love to take this opportunity to say 2D sprites rule and 3D models drool, but the later FF titles on console (especially the upcoming ones) prove that this isn't necessarily true. I think Square just doesn't know what to do with the DS's limited graphics power after working with the PS2 & 3 so long. Fortunately, this will be out on VC eventually, so I don't feel rushed to get it.

Seriously, take one long look at the first screenshot in the review. The one with the Chocobo... or is that Big Bird?
You can't look at that and say that $35 or $40 for this is a good deal when it's already announced for VC.



Outrunner said:

What are you talking about? This is one of the best looking games on the DS. The 3D models look great!



Adam said:

That is obviously what I was referring to. I shouldn't have to spell that out. DS games don't come out on VC. Come on, work with me here for the sake of Pete. I was saying it's better to wait for the cheaper and better-looking original than to spend so much on this version.

@Outrunner and NESGamepro
I'm not the only one here who said it looks bad. I understand it might look good for DS standards, but it just doesn't look... right. It's really blocky. My standards aren't high. I just don't think these graphics suit the game well at all.

Also, I notice the Chocobo picture I was referring to isn't up now. Do they have dynamic pictures here, or was this deliberately changed to spare us from its terrible visage?



Adam said:

I need an eye exam because my graphical tastes differ from yours? Yea, THAT makes sense...
You keep living with a lighter wallet, buddy. I'll enjoy this excellent and significantly cheaper game.



Adam said:

Well, you don't have to accept it. That is fine. They look pretty darn bad to me and others. Oh well. Obladi oblada.

Unless there are more game play tweaks than the review lets on, it doesn't sound like a $27+ value, so I'll happily wait for the VC release.

And yea, difficulty in an RPG is an interesting issue. Now, I like my games hard. But RPGs are different, and I play more for the story. Perhaps there is some strategy I am just missing, but the challenging ones usually just are challenging because you have to level grind a ton, which is boring. Maybe that doesn't apply to the hard version of FFIV; I just mean old RPGs in general.

Anyway, long story short, yea, maybe they were right about the difficulty, but I speak only for myself. It could be I'm just lazy when it comes to RPGs.



RevolverLink said:

I bought FF4 for the GBA about a year or so ago, and while I really liked it, I don't really feel the need to rush out and buy this one. Especially when there are so many great RPGs on the DS that I haven't gotten a chance to play yet (Suikoden, DQV, TWEWY, etc.).

Now, if they were to remake Final Fantasy VI, on the other hand, I'd totally double dip for that.



Ricardo91 said:

I agree that the DS remakes look like ass. Though for some reason, this looks a bit worse than FFIII. What's the deal with that chocobo?

I bought the GBA FFIV remake just yesterday, so I'm good. I might give this a shot though after I beat it.



Digiki said:

First the graphics are not that nice, FFIII DS actually changed the look and perspective. This one keeps the same perspective, and doesn't change the enemies much, so they look almost the same just 3D.

FFIVA had awesome additional content, being able to use everyone at the end was awesome, as was the added dungeon. Yes there was some glitchiness it was bothersome but nothing major. I don't know about the additional content on this, but as far as I know it isn't near as good.

Finally the added difficulty, I was liking it up until the moon (where I stopped playing) but having 3 mages on the team, and only one of which can consistently survive a physical attack from random eu/prokaryotes.
I'm not a fan of having to heal, after every single battle.



WolfRamHeart said:

This was the first RPG I ever played when it came out on the SNES. This game is great regardless of what version you get. This DS remake is a good one but I still prefer my GBA version. The new graphics, cutscenes, and voicework are really nice but something is lost in translation for me. I can see why some people say the graphics aren't very good. They come off kind of bland unless you are watching one of the awesome cutscenes or fighting a boss. Otherwise regular battles and wandering around towns and the world map doesn't look too hot. This doesn't change the fact that this is one of the best games ever made and everyone should experience it! If you never played Final Fantasy then this is a great place to start! Now if only SquareEnix would hurry up and remake FF VI!



retro_player_22 said:

@ ktrocks89

That's because there aren't any, all the CGIs are mainly used for attract only and was shown only at the opening sequence.



Infernape1000 said:

@ ktrocks89----
You must be an idiot to not see a single cutscene....

@ retro_player_22----
What are you talking about!!!???!!! There are several cutscenes in the game. The sequences with voice acting in them, those are cutscenes....



zezhyrule said:

I just got this game at gamestop for $17, and it is already my favorite Final Fantasy game!

Of course, it is also my first



LuigiSucks said:

i beat this and dragon quest ix. dragon quest was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better.



Nintenzo said:

I might pick this up, but one thing is a deal breaker: Are the enemies invisible on the overworld?

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