(WiiWare)

Game Review

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does this title retain the magic of the original 16-bit release?

We've already seen companies like Capcom and Konami resurrect classic franchises on the WiiWare service, many using the classic 8 and 16-bit visuals found in the original titles to give them even more retro appeal. So it should come as no surprise that Square Enix has also seen fit to bring back their classic 16-bit era Final Fantasy world on WiiWare, complete with matching visuals and game play. But does this nostalgic release live up to the high standards of the Final Fantasy name, and will gamers be willing to shell out their hard-earned Nintendo Points for so many add-on packs in order to get the full RPG experience out of this release?

Fans of the original 16-bit Final Fantasy titles will feel right at home with Final Fantasy IV: The After Years as much of the title's game play techniques are taken directly from those two releases. While the majority of the look and feel of the game is taken directly from the original Final Fantasy IV and the Active Time Battle (ATB) system from Final Fantasy VI also makes a return, giving the combat engine a slightly more intricate feel to it. What this means is that you have to wait for your character's ATB gauges to fill up before they will be available to use in battle each turn. You can choose to have the game stop time during battle selections or keep time flowing in real time. As with most early Final Fantasy titles, combat is menu-driven and allows your characters to unleash both physical and magical attacks at enemies. Some enemies are more vulnerable to certain types of attacks and it's up to you to figure out which form of offense works best in any given situation.

You'll move around on the Field Map where you'll encounter random enemy attacks as you travel from place to place. You'll even be able to use vehicles like the Airship or Chocobos to move around the Field Map with a bit more speed and purpose at certain times throughout the game. As you travel from town to town, you'll have to take on various challenges and tackle the game's many dungeons. You'll also have to spend some time leveling your characters up and purchasing better armor and weapons if you're to have any success against some of the game's tougher enemies. As you'll quickly find out, the difficulty level in the game doesn't take long to ramp up.

While Square Enix managed to keep many of the original game play elements from the 16-bit titles intact in this new release, they also included a few new elements to liven things up. One of these is the Moon Phase function. Time is kept throughout the game using various phases of the moon. These phases also affect your physical and magical abilities as well, so you always have to be aware of what moon phase you're currently playing under when you take part in battle. Another new element comes in the form of the Bands attack. These special attacks involve multiple characters and can be particularly effective against large groups of enemies. You'll learn some of your Bands as the game progresses, but you can also try various combination of characters and battle commands to stumble upon new Bands during battle. Once learned, you can then make use of these Bands at will during combat as long as you have enough MP points to execute them. So as effective as the classic game play system is, these new additions do a lot to add a nice layer of freshness to the overall experience. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even get three other players to take control of each one of the other characters in your party during battles and have a little cooperative multiplayer action.

This main game is the meat of the story, but if you want to experience everything the game has to offer, you'll have to purchase the add-on Character Tales in order to experience the storyline in its entirety. While this offers a huge amount of added game play to the main title, it will also cost you an extra 300 Nintendo Points per Character Tale, not to mention another 800 Nintendo Points for the final story add-on. That means if you want to play through every part of the game, it's going to cost you a whopping 3700 Nintendo Points to do so - certainly not cheap considering this is, after all, a WiiWare release.

The visuals in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years look like they were plucked straight out of the 16-bit era, which is a good and bad thing, depending on your viewpoint. For some gamers, the nostalgic look of the game will be more appealing than to those who've become a bit spoiled with the recent updates that have appeared on the DS system. It would be difficult to fault Square Enix for keeping with the classic look considering that's really the main draw of this release in the first place, but a bit more visual flash still might have been nice. There are at least a few interesting special effects strung around various part of the game, so they tend to keep things interesting during those times when certain sections start looking a bit bland.

Final Fantasy titles have long been revered for their amazing musical scores, and while there are plenty of the classic Final Fantasy tunes strung throughout this title, the original compositions lack some of that catchy appeal found in the retro tracks. There's plenty of variety in the musical pieces, with everything from uptempo numbers during battle to some of the more moodier compositions during some of the more dramatic moments of the game, but ultimately they just feel a bit uninspired and generic at times. It's nothing to get overly bent out of shape over, but it's something that seems to stick out when compared to the amazingly high quality soundtracks of past Final Fantasy titles.

Conclusion

Fans of the 16-bit Final Fantasy releases should find plenty to wrap themselves around in this continuation of the Final Fantasy IV storyline. The game offers quite a bit of length and game play for your 800 Wii Points, but having to purchase additional packs in order to enjoy the side stories is obviously going to rub some gamers the wrong way, especially considering that there are eight additional packs to buy in order to wrap up the entire story line. If you appreciate retro visuals and 'traditional' RPG game play then this is obviously a game you'll want to consider, but those of you looking for a more modern Final Fantasy experience might want to spend your hard-earned pennies elsewhere. The classic game play elements on display here might prove to be a bit too simplistic for modern RPG fans, even with the new game play additions.

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User Comments (97)

SKTTR

#1

SKTTR said:

3700 points for the whole game.
And you should have played Final Fantasy IV first.

SwerdMurd

#3

SwerdMurd said:

No hatred towards 7-giving this time, Corbie. As much as I love the game, if I'm honest with myself, it's a 7. If you grew up on old-school FF4, it's a requisite-purchase 7, but it's just not polished enough, different enough from the source material, and a good enough value to score better. Still love the game to death though, and so far the optional dungeons have been devilishly difficult

Kelvin

#4

Kelvin said:

so you always have to be aware of what moon phase your currently playing under when you take part in battle
That should be "you're". Sorry.

Kim_Jong-Il

#6

Kim_Jong-Il said:

I scrolled down to see the score (to check whether it was worth reading the review, given my limited reading ability), then looked at who wrote the article and knew it was an excellent review!!!

Link79

#7

Link79 said:

I haven't played the first FF IV in years and I was still able to jump right in. You don't really have to play the first. It might help but it's not required.
This is a great game so far. I'm sorta tired of the 3-D games. I started losing interest after FF VII. They are getting way too complicated. I'm glad to see a return to the old style.

CorbsAdmin

#8

Corbs said:

It will mainly just help you with certain plot twists in the game as far as when they're connected to moments from FFIV. Other than that, most of the events are still explained a bit here and there so you won't get completely lost. My main gripe is having to shell out for all those parts to get the character development portions of the game. Other than that, it was about what you'd expect from a retro continuation of the original game.

natendo

#9

natendo said:

I’m about three hours into the first quest. The main concern I have is that all the enemy sprites I’ve seen are the same from the original. They are not even graphically updated. Hopefully as I move on, I will see new sprites.

Also this game has a four player option which I find intriguing, but not necessary imo.

Haze4peace

#10

Haze4peace said:

So far each part is about 5-6 hrs in length. Finished first part of main story and rydia's tale, working on yang's tale atm.

Zac429

#13

Zac429 said:

I really like the episodic release pattern with this. I hope S-E does more sequels to classic games in a similar fashion. $37 is perfectly reasonable for this. I paid more for the original when it was released, Now if only there were a way for Sierra to port their old Quest games...

Lotice-Paladin

#16

Lotice-Paladin said:

Considering the rise of cost of Wii Points here. It'll effectively cost £37 to buy the whole game :(.

I'm interested in this too but the packs should be at least half of that. It's a great review anyway :).

Bass_X0

#17

Bass_X0 said:

When playing a great game, I always wish there was more stuff to do beyond the regular game even if I had to download it at a cost. I'll be getting some additional content for this to see what its like but I imagine I will be telling myself after a few that I can live without downloading them all. Or maybe not. We'll see,

Robio

#18

Robio said:

The story is just as good as the original in my opinion. At least in the main story line anyway (still working on Rydia's tale). That took about 5 hours and it had plenty of twists and turns. The last hour of it, in particular, is very gripping. Really comes to a crescendo nicely.

Dawnclaude

#19

Dawnclaude said:

You should not say the game cost so much...37 etc. The Main Game is long enough, all other things are additional content. They can create 100 hours content or they can create 5 hours more content. You can chose what you want and how long you want to play.

Goompapa

#20

Goompapa said:

Hurm. I may have to pick this up then. FF4 is my second favorite FF game, next to FF6, so I will probably love it. I paid more than this for a slightly used copy back in the day, so no biggie. I'll probably buy one part a week or something like that to space it out. To savor it. I hope they do something like this with FF6!

Kawaiipikachu

#21

Kawaiipikachu said:

Well another great review Corbie.
I'm enjoying the game so far & I be getting all the packs when they release.

Golgo

#22

Golgo said:

Square-Enix sure know how to milk a fanbase. 3700 points for game + sidequests is nothing short of a pisstake, I think.

rodoubleb

#23

rodoubleb said:

Well worth it to any old school Final Fantasy fan. The cartridge remakes are set at a similar price, with no real new content.

nintendo87

#24

nintendo87 said:

i love this game but the extra parts you got to pay for sucks but i like the story line and i think it looks a little bit better than the snes a little bit more sharper right now im on rydia story!

Rapadash6

#25

Rapadash6 said:

I would've been all over this had it not been for the fact you have to pay more for the full experience. It's a rip off and I'm not falling for it Square-Enix, sorry.

VALERHU

#26

VALERHU said:

I've played games like this, so I think I'll get it. I enjoyed them, although i got stuck...

morphballer

#27

morphballer said:

If you try to think of it as a series of 300-800 point quests over four months instead of a 3700 point WiiWare game I think it helps.

Bass_X0

#28

Bass_X0 said:

22. You don't have to buy all the sidequests. They're just there if you want them. And you're seriously not expecting Square to give all the content for 800 - 1500 whatever points are you? I've only just started the game but 800 points seems like a reasonable price even if it only takes you eight hours or so to get to the end. So I fail to see how they're "milking" fans.

Slapshot

#29

Slapshot said:

A dollar and hour isnt bad condisering is what five bucks an hour to go to a theatre and watch a movie nowadays. Sounds like a winner to me. Great Reviw Corbie.

WolfRamHeart

#30

WolfRamHeart said:

Nice review Corbie! I was totally against getting this game at first due to the hefty price tag of 3700 points. Well, I bit the bullet and decided to take the plunge for myself and see if it was worth it. In my opinion it is definitely worth it but only if you are already a fan of Final Fantasy IV. Don't get me wrong, this is a great game and I'm sure people can still enjoy it even if they have never played FF IV before but this game just takes on a special meaning when you are already familiar with the characters and the events that took place in the original. If SquareEnix had put this out on DS instead of WiiWare I would have bought it in a heartbeat anyway so I have no regrets of picking up this game!:)

J_K

#31

J_K said:

I can't believe anyone would ever find the price of entry on this reasonable, you(figurative you) are nuts. For $37 you can get a lot of real games on a real piece of media you can keep forever or until it wears out, WiiWare not so much. At the price it should have just been stuffed on a $40 DS card like the also not really upgraded Chrono Trigger was. They're just trying to bleed a stone dry with FF4 as it was as many would say their best title and this adds to that love and sucks you wallet to do so.

I don't get it, can just get Chapter 1 and be done as it does supposedly finish the story right? Are the other 7 chapters just filler to give more plot to the individuals much like all those long many laid out subquests that Chrono Trigger had too you can choose to do or not? If that's the case then perhaps $8 isn't so bad, but if that last $8 chapter is the other 1/2 of the story or the others really are needed it's an insult. That aside though the aesthetics for a WiiWare game and a part 2 to FF4 are perfectly fine as that was the point of it all. I for one at $37 won't buy this, ever, and it steams me because FF4 is a fav of mine and I'm even redoing FF2 SNES cart over right now casually around other crud. If they decide to stop being cheap and pop it on a card I'll be in line then for it.

Bass_X0

#32

Bass_X0 said:

You'd pay $37 for a DS game with all the content on but not the same for on the WiiWare?

Or would you rather only the 800 point game being made available with no optional DLC available for anyone? Nobody is saying you have to download everything but if you just want to play the side chapter for your favorite character you can quite cheaply.

I think the phrase "you get what you pay for" applies here. If you only want to pay for the basic package, you only get the basic package which would not in any way be incomplete - you don't need to download anything to enjoy the game, you just won't be getting the most out of the it.

J_K

#33

J_K said:

That's a fair set of questions so here's a fair set of answers in order.
1) Yes
2) Maybe...depends how it's handled. If the DLC is non-essential to telling the whole story or impacts it so it's diminished then yes. MM9 and FFCCMLAAK both had addon stuff but it wasn't required to get the most out of the game or tell the full story, it just was added coolness.

Basically my reasoning is that if you compare say Chrono Trigger to this it could be easy as it's a Square game and recent release on DS. CT gives you the main story, but after Chrono dies you have a ton of sub-quests you can optionally do (including bringing him back.) You don't have to, but it adds to the story and gives you more stuff too, but it's not required to get all the angles of the characters tied up. FF4AY here though costs basically the same, you to get all the sub-quests that also flesh out all the characters and gives you the good essentials to finish the game require the stuff be bought unless you want to play part of a game and be done. The subquests though unlike in CT that are just nice to be there, the stuff in this downloadable game fleshes out the entire story and all the things going on with the game, they're required kind of.

Also on a side matter, it's $37, CT and other Square games are $40 at launch. I had this same issue with Patapon 2 on the PSP. You can pay full price for a game and get the card to keep it's on, books, box, and so on...except in the USA. In the States it's $20 either way, you can get a download, or you can get all the stuff and a piece of paper with the code, but it's the same so the PSN download is a ripoff as you're still paying in store premium.

FF4AY on WW is kind of like this same trap. You're paying a premium price for the FULL FF4 sequel, but you get nothing but a download waiver and once the Wii is toast or things move on, it's gone.

So I really have two problems. Price in that you really do have to pay to get the full story as it's not like fluff as in Chrono Trigger. And, you're also paying the same premium price of a DS game that went to retail or just code send over your wifi into the Wii.

killer6370

#34

killer6370 said:

Not going to buy this because its too damn expensive,37 € for a mobile phone game+ you have too buy all DLC to get the whole story(in my life as a king you didnt require the dlc but here you must download it to complete the game, so Square enix keep your game for yourself but this ist realy too expensive for a downloadable game

RJay

#35

RJay said:

Back in the day....Final Fantasy games for the SNES were around $60....

But at least back then, as previous posters have mentioned, you got to have a box and cartridge to look pretty on your shelf.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#36

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

RJay: I live in Sweden. We had to buy our imports for over $150. But boy was it worth it! This game is definitly for me. It may have the bitter taste of fanservice, but it´s still a new old-school Final Fantasy.

I´ll get the main game and at least try an expansion. If I don´t like it I´ll get the final chapter anyway... gotta save the world again! And Kain is my favourite.

CanisWolfred

#37

CanisWolfred said:

Pretty much what I expected, and as expected, I won't be getting this. It's too expensive and too similar to the original, and not really worth my time.

EdEN

#38

EdEN said:

FF III (VI) and Chrono Trigger actually sold for $79.99 at launch.

I'll be getting FFIV: TAY in full for the $37 since I'll be getting a sequel to one of my favorite SNES games of all times (Super Mario RPG, Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island, FF III and Secret of Evermore are some of the other). It will just have to wait 3 months since I have to finish Space Invaders Get Even , Onslaught, Breath of Fire II and 10 Wii and DS games that I need to get to ASAP before I dive into a full old-school Wiiware RPG.

Haze4peace

#39

Haze4peace said:

I agree with what most people are saying, $37 is too much. Although you could pay $16 and get the full story without the sidequests, it is still not enough hours to really be worth your $$$. I think a fair price would be $25 for all content. But if you loved FF4, just bite the bullet and buy it. You will love it. If you never played FF4 before, don't buy it.

odd69

#41

odd69 said:

i bought it, it's good. but compare the graphics to other 16-bit rpg's and you'll notice that it looks more like a very nice 8-bit game. i dont think that it's pushing the 16-bit look at all. the sprites are ugly, the backgrounds are bland.seriously just take a look at secret of mana and you'll see how ugly and how much better they could of did with the after years.more polish and this game would be worth the asking price.but im not going to dish out on all the addons. just a few.

Starwolf_UK

#42

Starwolf_UK said:

I think it sets a worrying precident to have content empty WiiWares games that the consumer is forced to pay prices comparable to retail to see the whole thing thruogh. I think there should be upper limits on how much DLC total can cost...or at least a better explaination when you're buying.

A red logo that looks like the Wi-Fi conneciton logo doesn't tell you that "hey you're getting a few parts of the story you'll have to wait 3 months a cough up 800 more points to see the conclusion...in the meantime we'll be putting out side stories for 300 points a pop".

It is going to be a hard one to justify. You can get the full epxeriance a bad looking fangame (complete with inconsistant graphics, modified FFV/VI player sprites) for 3700 points or you could get say, Toki Tori, World of Goo, Bit Trip Beat and an Art Style game for the same price.

I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket. Especially when it is the basket that makes an absolute killing on selling ports. I only have finite Wii Points and if I throw them all into Square-Enix hands that might mean other developers will be unable to continue with WiiWare ultimately harming the service as a whole.

I do want to play FFIV the after years as I can't stand the modern 3D FF games but it is going to be hard to fight off the clear issues it has. I'm going to play a wait and see with this one. If I do buy it I don't expect to spend more than 800 points total (I was willing to spend 2000 for a full experiance so that is 1200 points lost to Square-Enix but they gained in excess of that of people who must have it all...)

Spoony_Bard

#43

Spoony_Bard said:

I seem to notice that the only people complaining about the price are those who aren't that interested in the game anyway. I think it's a fair price (cheaper than buying an emulation of FFIV on the DS with no new content). I've played through the first part of the main quest, and the Rydia quest, and I'm having an old-school blast. Plus the "challenge dungeon" at the end of each chapter is a fun add-on. Also, has anybody else beaten the any of the chapters yet? The credits are like 45min long. Did every single person in Japan help develop this game? :-P

Robio

#44

Robio said:

Let me just take a second and clarify how the chapters and additional content work in this game because I think some people are a little confused on how it works. People keep referring to them as sidequests and that's not what they are.

The main storyline is offered up in two chunks, each at 800 points. The first being the part just released and the conclusion being offered around September.

As you play the main story you'll see brief cameos of the other characters or their names will be brought up in passing. The 300 point addtional content "Tales" are the stories of these characters. They explain what Rydia, Yang, and everyone else was doing while the main crisis was unfolding, how it affected them, and how they dealt with it.

You don't have to play them at all, but it does give you greater insight into characters you liked in the original game, but maybe aren't as important in the new game.

Objection

#45

Objection said:

@Spoony Bard-OBJECTION! I'm interested in the game but the high price of even just the main quest (actually 1600 when you look at it) is making me hesitate and reconsider. I think this is actually more common among the above posts. Btw, nice name. ;)

Spoony_Bard

#46

Spoony_Bard said:

@Robio: After you beat the "Tales" the game says something along the lines that all the items you've found in each chapter, and your character stats will be transferred over to the last chapter. I'm pretty sure that these "tales" are optional, but it sounds like everybody will be together in the final section.

@Objection: Again, it's not that bad of a price for a new game (compared to what is being charged for a re-emulated SNES game on the DS). It's expensive compared to most WiiWare games, but of the WiiWare games I've downloaded so far, none of them have given me 30+ hours of game play either, which it appears is what you'll have if you get the two main games plus all the "tales" (and the bonus dungeon at the end of each tale).

Bass_X0

#47

Bass_X0 said:

""It is going to be a hard one to justify. You can get the full epxeriance a bad looking fangame (complete with inconsistant graphics, modified FFV/VI player sprites) for 3700 points or you could get say, Toki Tori, World of Goo, Bit Trip Beat and an Art Style game for the same price.""

Which have all been out for months now - whoever wanted them would have gotten them already. May I interest you in Penguins or Fishing instead of Final Fantasy IV? And it only costs 3700 if you really want it to. If you don't care much for the story or what a particular character is doing then you can skip chapters if you want. You could consider the final chapter "The After Years 2" After completing the main game, I can say that each chapter lasts about three hours (you get two in the main game) So think of it as each chapter being just over 100 points per hour. And each hour is a full hour - no wasting time here.

""My main gripe is having to shell out for all those parts to get the character development portions of the game. Other than that, it was about what you'd expect from a retro continuation of the original game.""

You don't really expect more than two chapters for 800 points do you? 300 - 400 each is about right.

CorbsAdmin

#48

Corbs said:

I would have rather paid another 800-1000 points and got all 7 Character Tales instead of paying the 2100 for them and then still needing another 800 to close to deal.

YorkshireNed

#50

YorkshireNed said:

I've never played the original, having not come to Nintendo until the 64, but my missus has always talked about the original version with hushed awe so when I told her today this was out she whipped out her debit card right away and bought it.

As a complete newcomer, I'm really enjoying it. Not quite as amazing as my other half makes out but a 7/10 definitely. My Missus really likes it too and feels it has everything that made the original great.

Fulgor_Astral

#51

Fulgor_Astral said:

prrrt... i dunno, buying the chapters is no problem to me, what i find really annoying is the fact that they released just the Rydia chapter with the base game... they should've released all the chapters and each person buy it as they could....

CorbsAdmin

#52

Corbs said:

We considered reviewing the individual Character Tales, but considering most of the game play and other things are the same, we decided against it.

Nathan005

#53

Nathan005 said:

@ Bass XO
I disagree with your opinion that this is what I should expect for $37, here is why.

If S-E were to release FFIV today on the Wii VC the full story would cost $8, no extra chapters.

Yes back in the day the original release cost $50, because it was cutting edge technology and it cost more to develop this type of game then. Today, however, there is much less development cost involved for a game like this. In fact since they are even using old sprites they have much less graphic work to be done, they are reusing the FFIV code to create a new story, so the story is the majority of the work, Much cheaper than developing a new game, much less people need to be involved in creating it.

I would like the savings to be passed on to me.

I just purchased a mobile game (zenonia) for $6 that has 40 hours of gameplay, has multiple story lines based on your choices, the same, if not better, graphics that is made by a smaller company than square. I do not think that $1 per game hour is a good deal, IMO.

ReifuTD

#54

ReifuTD said:

Well I was expecting the game main game to cost 1500 points. I was shocked when I seen it for 800 but consereding they gave us half of the story and all it's still about 1500. But becaus the second part is an adds to the story and not buying the game it's self. I hope part two ends up being longer. Too bad I have to wait three months to play it.

Starwolf_UK

#55

Starwolf_UK said:

cheaper than buying an emulation of FFIV on the DS with no new content
This falacy seems to be the central pillar of your argument. While FFIV on the DS didn't meet initial promises of 75% more script it still offered completely new graphics (no modified sprites), the decant system, heavily modified enemy and boss AI (to trip up veterans) and certainly the best written and presented version of the story. That is a lot more than the mere SNES emulation picture you are trying to paint.

Which have all been out for months now - whoever wanted them would have gotten them already.
I knew I should have bolded say or written for example instead, maybe then you would have gotten my point that 3700 can go towards lots of games (which is good for the service as developers will get paid and thus keep bring out games) or just one.

If you don't care much for the story or what a particular character is doing then you can skip chapters if you want.
What if I care for all the characters but care for my wallet more?

J_K

#56

J_K said:

Wow Nathan awesome points you made there right down to the mobile game that's 40hours long, fun I imagine, not lazy, and is that cheap. Square is taking advantage of Wii owners, just as they did with Crystal Defenders which was less money and in 1 package elsewhere.

This game sets a nasty precedent if it ends up selling well that will open the door to a lot of partial games for a full game price that you then have to pay twice to get the other half, and then like 2-3x more to get all the subquests in the middle. It's a nasty little scam really it is.

I'm like the biggest FF4 fan and love it more than any of the others, and I was so waiting months and months for this game once I heard the rumor then fact. As soon as they explained it was per-chapter I got annoyed, then when I found out it was X dollars per piece and then x2 the initial price just for the main line alone my wallet closed up tighter than bad end of a straight man in a gay bar.

I'm still interested in their other My Life as a King game with the reverse idea and having to fight off the enemies. If that handles the non-needed, non-even subquest type DLC as the original game did I'll buy. If they make me take that in bites for full price, they can go hang themselves columbian necktie style.

Aloth

#57

Aloth said:

Wow, I love square games, I´ll download it, Square Enix games are more expensive than others, I think it´s worth but, like chrono trigger on the DS, it´s expensive, I just bought the world ends with you for $ 20, and it´s a new game, with new technology. But, i do not buy final fantasy games for it´s beautiful image, i buy them for the story, the gameplay, and I do think that FF IV is one of the best rpgs ever.

Bass_X0

#58

Bass_X0 said:

This game sets a nasty precedent if it ends up selling well that will open the door to a lot of partial games for a full game price that you then have to pay twice to get the other half, and then like 2-3x more to get all the subquests in the middle. It's a nasty little scam really it is.

How are you paying twice here? Okay, so I did feel some disappointment at the end of the main game in that the final battle was about to take place but suddenly it was game over. If they had included the final chapter as well, I expect it would have been 1600 points in total.

It may be best to think of The After Years as a videogame comic book series. You've bought two issues of a comic in one go with another issue available to buy. Then like with comic books, more issues get released monthly. And if you're hooked you keep buying them, if not you don't.

There is just no way we would have gotten all the chapters for 800 points and to believe otherwise is just a bad case of self-entitlement and disillusion. And if you still haven't worked it out yet, its 800 points because you get two chapters in one download; Ceodore's and Kain's. Plus, I suspect, the game engine, maps and what not which every chapter runs on or something like that hence the additional 200 points compared to two chapters of DLC.

Although I do have to admit there is no replay value here other than to go back and play it again using a guide so you don't miss any items (its easy to think you have a chance to come back later and do so the first time around since you don't know how the story unfolds), I'd still rather buy Final Fantasy IV: The After Years than almost any of the other WiiWare games that have come out so far this year. In fact, I haven't downloaded anything until this since Christmas Day 2008 (Secret of Mana). I'd rather have companies continue to release content for games I do enjoy than to create crappy shovelware which I have no interest in.

J_K

#59

J_K said:

Sorry I tend to agree with you a lot on stuff, but on this one you really do come off like you're just making excuses to defend a really shady practice on Square's part. They started it with Space Invaders Get Even with the 'comic book' example and this just carried it further and more expensive too. I do totally agree that 800 would be a joke for full price, but I think it would have been very palatable if it were 1500points for the full game (like My Life as a King was) and then have the substories be like 200 or 300 a pop added like that games DLC was too. This would be more along the right thing to do than the proverbial cock tease going to the end and going 'pay $8 more to get the end' and tossing out those other bits at $3 a pop. It's just steep and nasty how they chopped it.

Iggy

#60

Iggy said:

Ill get this eventally but i have to play final fantasy IV first for the ds.

Varoennauraa

#61

Varoennauraa said:

No buy! :( And I'm MAD!!! DANCING MAD!!! Nobody loves FF4 like me, but I cannot justify myself to spend that many Wiipoints! It hurts me plenty, but I'm in boycotting kind of mood right now. Was that Space Invaders also from SE? I WOULD pay anything for a sequel of my favourite FFs(this and especially the 6th), but they have to be good enough! This is a mobile phone game after all. + I'm not sure if I dare to listen the new songs in the sequel.

Objection

#62

Objection said:

@Corbie-I didn't think that there'd be reviews but it'd be nice to see an article recommending the best of the 7 stories and the last chapter for those who are hesitant on the DLC. Obviously, this would have to wait until its all released.

J_K

#63

J_K said:

Varo that's how I'm feeling really. Overpriced, scammy way it was setup cutting the end off and having to pay another $8 to get the ending around the $3 a pop side quests. I still feel it should have just been $40 on a damn ds card and been over with. And yes Space Invaders was Square-Enix too, they own Taito who got their arcade start on Space Invaders. Square-Enix is the only one to date far as I can remember that sells part of a game, then charges a small fee for little bits and a normal fee for the ending of the game...or they just step it out in chunks like space invaders by chapter.

CorbsAdmin

#64

Corbs said:

@ Objection Blaster - We'll likely do a feature when all Character Tales are out, sort of a mini-review feature for them all. Don't worry, we've got it covered. :)

Bass_X0

#65

Bass_X0 said:

Nobody loves FF4 like me, but I cannot justify myself to spend that many Wiipoints!

You're welcome to buy shovelware which makes up most of the WiiWare titles instead.

Tell me, with realistic expectations, what should Square have done here? Bear in mind that giving all the chapters away for the price of two chapters and also just releasing two chapters only would not work.

Metroid_Italia

#66

Metroid_Italia said:

the review is well done and, it seems to me, that the author just calculate the cost for all the sidequest. But in my opinion you have just to pay 800 and then, if the game is chilling as you like, you can carry on. It would be great if every game were so.

J_K

#67

J_K said:

Bass you are really sounding like a Square apologist at this point. You're trying to rationalize selling an RPG in chunks where the main first part has all but the end, then you got to pay twice as much to get the end while the subquests are just filler at a rate. That's really what it comes down to, hosing a consumer by having you buy most the main story, then having to double pay (8 x 2 = 16) to get the closing of it, and then the other filler are a pile of +3s if you want em. That's slimy.

Being 'fair' I think it should have been just 1500 points up front for the story, and then call the subquest optional junk as DLC at $3 a pop for a chapter or two. That would have been fair to their employees and the consumer. By doing as they did, they're dangling the carrot, and let you lick it, nibble, and eat most of it, but before you're full, they charge you the full price of another carrot to eat the end piece. Shenanigans.

Bass_X0

#68

Bass_X0 said:

No.

You're not grasping the full magnitude of just how large this game will be once its complete.

This is not by any means a traditional RPG in the way its laid out. Having actually played and completed the game so far and partly through Rydia's chapter, I understand what Square are doing more so than you do which by the way you're talking about the game, you haven't played and just fearing the worst and then believing yourself to be correct on your misplaced assumptions.

Everything is chapter based. There are no filler sub-quests. Each chapter focuses on an individual character and their particular story during The After Years saga. The 800 point game is just two chapters intertwining with each other (first you play part of Ceodore's chapter then you play part of Kain's then back to Ceodore's and so on). There is no main story, not even in Ceodore's and Kain's chapters; just the events that they take part in.

I can understand why Square split it into chunks like this. Instead of having the story focus on one particular character we get to see everyone's story which while usually seperate does sometimes crossover or hint at other character's stories. Where does Cecil go? Or Edge? How about Edward? Although Ceodore's and Kain's combined chapters show these characters they do not go into detail about their stories.

Seriously, if you're not going to bother with finding out what everyone does then don't bother downloading The After Years. There's just no point. Of course if you do download The After Years and do complete it then you will be wanting to download everything else by the time you do.

If Square released the last chapter along with the first part then it wouldn't work. You will be able to merge all your completed files into the final chapter when it gets released; I don't exactly know how it will work but I imagine the more completed chapters you have to merge into the final chapter the better it is for yourself. And of course they couldn't release all the chapters immediately otherwise people would be quite daunted at the cost. Thats understandable; but 300 points every few weeks isn't really that much at all.

Go download it, complete it, download Rydia's chapter and play that too. Then come back and we'll see if you're still saying the same things.

J_K

#69

J_K said:

I grasp quite well what we're looking at. It's no more massive and all around than really they dug into into effort, distance, and time into some of their late NES and mid-era SNES titles.

And no, I won't be wasting the price of an overpriced DS game on an intangible title I can't keep in my hands for myself over the years. It's Square doing their same ripoff tactic they do with their DS titles, but at least there you get something to keep. Someone wants to send me a pair of $20 point cards, fine, but it's overpriced and outrageous in how it's handled.

I get what you're saying and that's nice that it's different that it's in chapters. Really those chapters much appear to me personally to mirror the old ENIX tactic with the Chapter based but tied together thing that Dragon Quest(Warrior) 4 did. You get your prologue and opening to really set the tone, then various players in the bigger picture do their own quests or subquests if you wish to call it that do theirs, and in time as those chapters play out they get to where they're in proximity to the rest of your party to be. Finally you end up with the closer where the party finally does form up and their differing stories accompany the bigger picture to form up a really good ending with some good emotional gamers bonds to it all. This is how that FF4 spinoff works in a kind of comparative way.

Gizmo

#70

Gizmo said:

@ Bass X0: "Bear in mind that giving all the chapters away for the price of two chapters and also just releasing two chapters only would not work."

Why not?

A_link_to_the_VC

#71

A_link_to_the_VC said:

accurate review, but i have to disagree with the points of comparing it to new rpgs, and how the 16 bit graphics could be good to some and bad for others, the game, much like mega man 9, is a retro game, and if they went in and change a bunch of stuff the game would have totally missed the point, mega man 9 was awesome because they kept it more of the same, and its the same story with this game. The original final fantasy IV on the snes was amazing and ive bought and played through the after years and i have to say its amazing as well, the game gets a 9/10 from me

A_link_to_the_VC

#72

A_link_to_the_VC said:

i dont want to step on anyones toes, but there are alot of people that are missing the boat here, buy the game play through it, then you will understand, for me final fantasy IV the after years is a dream come true, and as far as the money goes, go look up how much the original final fantasy IV costs on ebay, not exactly cheap in its own right, so for me its logical, its a great game, and its a dream for any final fantasy fan, i would pay alot more for the experience we are getting

Bass_X0

#73

Bass_X0 said:

#64: You really owe it to yourself to play this game if you're even only slightly a Final Fantasy IV fan. This is what you've been waiting for since you've first played the original.

#72: Then why are you here then if you don't see the point of downloading WiiWare and Virtual Console titles in the first place?

#73: I've heard very little about the final chapter but I believe all the characters will come together from all the chapters that you have completed using their stats and items so the more chapters you complete, the more fulfilling the final chapter will be for you.

Varoennauraa

#74

Varoennauraa said:

My expectations? Remember that FF-tower defence game? It too was a MOBILE PHONE game. XBox360 got full version for a appropriate price and Wii got the worst but paid the most(around twice! And was it inferior even then? At least one could expect IR-pointer support)! This is a very simple rpg. It wasn't very expensive game for them to make, especially as its ported from a phone game! Why the hell it should be very expensive for US THEN!?!? You got to admit that this is more than a little over priced! S£ is just being cheap on us Wiiners! I hate to see all their quality efforts go to other consoles and keep thinking that theyre funded by these cash-ins!!!!!!!!!!! I'm just expecting something more OR more appropriate prices!

J_K

#75

J_K said:

Don't be an ass bass. I have a good pile of VC, WW, and even DSiware games, so that's why I'm here. You can't win the argument I'm laying out so you're just going to use the classic red herring type crap catch-all dismissal tactic. I see the point in downloading in theory nearly all of the downloadable titles, it's the 5% that gouge and rape the wallet I have an issue with, and that 5% is 100% Square because they're being sheisty.

You know on the whole Square bit, we could give them hell for all the chapters they're doing and at the set price too on the Crystal Defenders titles which you can more or less get at a well lesser flat rate on PSN and XB too. I would care less mind you but you're getting a simpler version of a mobile phone and xbox live game where you get the entire game for $8 vs $8 per chapter (of which there will be 3) on the Wii. Again Square doing their tactics and again another game I really wanted but am sickened by that fact so when it hits the PSN I'll grab it just for $7.99 and be happy not being raped out of an added $16 bucks.

MrPinguy

#76

MrPinguy said:

win the argument?
I will buy the game and i'm actually happy with it.
happyness = Win.

Trisjedi

#78

Trisjedi said:

I almost hate to step into the storm, but does anyone know if there will be a 'complete set' version of this once all of the chapters have been released? I haven't pick this up yet, because I hate waiting for the next part of a story.

Bass_X0

#81

Bass_X0 said:

Yes I played Final Fantasy IV on the GBA and DS. I preferred it on the DS, I found the game quite dated when I went back to compare it with the GBA game. Maybe thats a fault of the GBA port itself rather than the Final Fantasy IV original.

Morkoth

#83

Morkoth said:

Got my 800 point starter.. have got to Baron Castle, 1F, it says. WTF? I'm walking around the keep in circles. Can't find whatever it is I need to get to next level. Help..?

barkie_mailman

#85

barkie_mailman said:

Can someone please break down the 3700 point total? Its 800 for the initial download. 1200 for the 4 extra stories right now (4x300pts each) so thats 2000 so far...what makes up the other 1700?

davegorack

#86

davegorack said:

I like this game.
Love the graphics,music and gameplay.
Ive downloaded Rydea and Edges chapters.

MFGreth

#87

MFGreth said:

3700 points? That's awful. Awful awful. Listen, I love the old Final Fantasy games, and i'm a sucker for DLC (i bought everything for MLaaK), but this all seems like stuff that should've been included! OK, so maybe it would've been acceptable if they released the character stories as 100 points, but three hundred? And another 800 for endgame? C'mon, Square-Enix...

On another note, I am liking the trend of using Downloadable game venues to return to classic series. Here's a push for StarTropics 3!

Bass_X0

#89

Bass_X0 said:

#88: Sounds like you haven't downloaded any of FFIV:TAY at all. As far as WiiWare games go, the main game (i.e. the initial download) is worth 800 points. Yes it would have been nice if they had included more content for no extra cost but then getting things for free is always nice. As far as the DLC goes, each of the chapters are worth 300 points each. Its not like a 100 point additional costume, these are extra levels with each one adding a few hours more gameplay. They are actually worth the cost. And I imagine the endgame stage will be quite epic and lengthy by itself.

If you love the Final Fantasy games then swell - download The After Years and see for yourself whether you need the DLC or not but download at least one extra chapter to see just how much additional content you get.

#89: Its four players because each person can control a seperate character in battle.

Zac429

#90

Zac429 said:

There's nothing requiring anyone to buy this at all. I think it's great the way it is, and I'm thankful that S-E has given me the option of downloading additional content for the game. As many terrible Wiiware games as there are, any rpg fans out there should be super happy with this. Otherwise, go back to your Major League Eating and your Silver Star Reversi.

Zork2

#91

Zork2 said:

I have to admit, I was very skeptical of downloadable content, but now I think it was a good way to go. The game is a full length RPG, and you can't sell a big long expensive game on WiiWare. Breaking it up makes it more accessible. Also the final cost is low - under $1.50/hr for a good game. Fans of old-school RPGs should buy it if they liked FF4.

As for recycled content, it's odd to see many of the same locations and enemies again (secrets and weaknesses intact), but as a fan of FF4 I have to say it's pretty fun. The game has enough new twists to make it feel fresh, and it's definitely Final Fantasy. The phases of the moon add an interesting element of strategy - you can't just plow through every dungeon and expect to live.

It's hard to see who you could recommend this game to though. Fans of FF4 will buy it anyway and they won't be disappointed. Fans of old school RPGs who somehow haven't played FF4 should play that game first, but I think you'd lose the nostalgia factor by playing this game immediately afterwards.

So this game really is just for fans of FF4. And it's good. As good as a sequel could be, anyways. I think it's nice of Square to make this game for us. I'm enjoying it. Highly recommended.

TigerNightmare

#92

TigerNightmare said:

Yeah, I'd say the pricing is just too much for what you get. I mean, sure, $8 isn't so much for the satisfying first chapter, but it feels like you're playing a free demo (that isn't free). You don't get too much freedom, at least in the first chapters I've played, with very linear gameplay and one or two opportunities to stray from your main objective to no more than two optional locations.

The challenge dungeons are just annoying. They're not difficult, they just force you to level grind until you reach a predetermined level cap for the chapter you're playing, which forces the challenge because a lot of the enemies you encounter will always be more powerful than your party. I've been running through the challenge dungeons to get the level grinding over with and to get some decent equipment. It takes hours and your reward chest is often just a tent or a remedy. It's something I do passively while I watch TV and I end up with almost 20 hours per chapter before I get one of all the goodies.

If you're a superfan, buy it. If you're a pirate, pirate it. If you kind of liked Final Fantasy IV but only played through it once, just move on.

EdEN

#93

EdEN said:

I paid $60+Tax for FFIV and $80+Tax for FFVI when they released on the SNES. Getting the full FFIV: The After Years comes to a little over $40. That's great value for all the game time your getting out of it.

Ircha

#94

Ircha said:

A super treat for diehard Original FFIV fans! The music and world is the same!

Bass_X0

#95

Bass_X0 said:

You don't get too much freedom, at least in the first chapters I've played, with very linear gameplay and one or two opportunities to stray from your main objective to no more than two optional locations.

Well, yes but they are only 300 points each. You can't expect too much for 300 points but what we did get per chapter was a good amount for that.

Hokori

#96

Hokori said:

I got this and its good, Im only at the boss in the 1st castle though :(

IAmChristinaAguilera

#97

IAmChristinaAguilera said:

I'm now almost at the very end of the game, and here's what I think:

It really, really feels like a rehash. The themes are the same, plotlines are recycled, everything feels a bit too familiar. There are maybe three new songs to the soundtrack in the entire game, and you almost never hear them. I never had thought that I'd ever be sick of the boss music from FFIV, but I certainly am now. Everything is madly linear except for a period at the beginning of the final chapter, and then your freedom gets taken back away from you again.

Extreme grinding is REQUIRED (like, an hour or more of it, I made a habit of doing something else, and absentmindedly wiggling the D-pad to get into battles and hitting A over and over) if you want to go to the challenge dungeons or if you want to skip straight from the first chapter (past all of the 300 point DLCs) to The Crystals. SPOILER ALERT!!!
!!!
!!!
!!!
Okay, so the worst part for me was how dull the final dungeon was. I was already crawling around in a moon cave for ages, and now the game decides to throw me into "The Depths" with 20+ more floors of moon cave. Over and over across every floor, it decides to basically throw every remaining FFIV boss battle at you that it hasn't already reused yet, and when it's done with that, it throws bosses from FF1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 at you, and per your characters' dialogue, they are every bit as baffled as you as to why this would occur when it's so tediously long and makes no sense plotwise. (That said, the phantom train and Ultros battles from FFVI were pretty entertaining.) The way that the last chapter is set up, it's almost a given that Cecil is going to wind up underleveled by the time that he's available and useful again, so that can kind of throw a cog into your whole (again, necessary) grinding process. The Chrono Trigger-style bands are neat, but for the majority of the game, I forgot that they were there. The moon phases ultimately resulted in me keeping an extra storage of tents along with my cottages just to keep skipping the full moon (and sometimes the waning moon too if I'm facing a lot of enemies with physical attacks). When players are wasting their items to avoid one of the novel new mechanics of the game, that tells me that something is wrong. It's fun (usually), but it's just NOT as satisfying as FFIV, V, and VI themselves.

TL;DR: Some guy just bought Chrono Trigger and realized just how many things CT does right for less money that FFIV:TAY doesn't and suggests that you get CT, Secret of Mana, FFIII (when it's out), or hell, Shining Force instead.

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