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Topic: Are the Final Fantasy GBA remakes worth buying?

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InvisiBulbasaur

I've never played a Final Fantasy game in my life, though I've long been curious, and now seems like a good time to finally take the plunge.
I've been reading that FFVI is the best game in the main series for beginners, being the easiest to get into and one of the most timeless entries in the series, as well as having a great soundtrack, story, and characters.
Now, most of the reviews I've read state that FFVI Advance is the definitive version of the game on Nintendo platforms, outshining the original in nearly every way (save for the inferior sound quality), with a better translation, a more coherent story, and more content. One of the biggest draws for me, however, is the portability, as I am preparing to move across the country and as such my handhelds will be the only gaming systems I'll be playing for a couple of weeks.
That said, it looks like the GBA version had a limited run and, if you want it in good condition, a used copy can end up costing just as much as it did when it was released, if not more. And I'm not sure how much I want to invest in the series at this point.

So for those of you who have played the GBA version, is it really worth the trouble of hunting down a reasonably priced copy, or would I as a beginner do better simply buying the SNES version for Wii VC? Or am I better off looking for a different FF title entirely? I'm open to suggestions and opinions- which one did you start with and why?

My experience with RPGs released prior to the advent of Pokemon is severely limited, but I did pick up Chrono Trigger DS a few years back and I really enjoyed it.
I've also played and enjoyed Golden Sun, EarthBound (both of which I've beaten), Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Fire Emblem Awakening (all of which I'm still working on), and would likely enjoy Final Fantasy games similar to any of those.

Edit: Changed title to a slightly broader subject.

Edited on by InvisiBulbasaur

InvisiBulbasaur

kkslider5552000

tbh, I'm not sure if its cheaper but Final Fantasy IV Advance is a great introduction to the series (and I personally prefer it, even if VI has better high points in the story department).

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CaviarMeths

The systems in FFVI are actually a little complicated for first timers and I'm not sure I would recommend it as your first. I'll second what kkslider said and say that FFIV is the better option for new players. It was my first and it's still one of my favorites. The relatively simple story and systems (compared to later games) make it a great entry point to the series.

Both are really good though. I'd also say that FFVA is worth it. The GBA versions of V and VI are, IMO, the definitive versions of the games without question. IV maybe not, as the PSP version is more modern, but it's still a high quality port.

The SNES version of FFVI on Wii VC still holds up though, if you can't find a reasonably priced GBA cart.

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StableInvadeel

To add to that, the Dawn of Souls cartridge (FF 1+2) was my introduction to the series.

I recommend that one too, the games may not be as good or deep as iv or vi, but they're really good nonetheless and come with a lot of content.

That version of FFI is also very new-user friendly.

Edited on by StableInvadeel

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InvisiBulbasaur

FFIV is a bit cheaper on average, you can get it on eBay for $15-$25, and that's complete in box. It looks like the last several auctions for FFVI have ranged from $10-$40 cart only, and if you want a complete copy you're lucky to find one for under $30. Granted, that's not bad for GBA, it just means the games have mostly held their value.

The problem is I'm rather poor at present, though I do have $50 in store credit at a local used games shop, and I plan to spend it all before I move, so I'm hoping I'll luck out and find a good FF game or two there. Then again, I also have 2500 Wii Shop Points if I decide to go the VC route.

I've actually been drawn to FFIV for the longest, partly because it was ported to GBA and then remade on DS, so I read about it in Nintendo Power quite a bit. What's always turned me off is that I've heard it's one of those RPGs where you encounter random enemies every few feet, and I kind of hate random encounters and grinding.
That said, the DS remake is the best version of the game from what I hear, and I can get that for $22 brand new on Amazon with free two day shipping. Seems like the best deal to me. I was thinking of picking it up there after deciding whether I like the easier FF games enough to try the harder ones.

As for the mobile versions, I've heard those are wonky in some ways and that the touchscreen controls are a poor substitute for buttons. Plus they seem a bit overpriced for what seem to be lazy mobile ports of decades old games.

Edited on by InvisiBulbasaur

InvisiBulbasaur

CaviarMeths

FF I-X all have random encounters.

So Anakin kneels before Monster Mash and pledges his loyalty to the graveyard smash.

StableInvadeel

Yeah, all of these games use random encounters.

Stay away from FFIV DS, it's harder than it needs to be, specially compared with every other version of the game. If you want to play that one, get the GBA or PSP version (and the PSP one comes with the not-that-good sequel included).

About the mobile ports... VI is probably the very best of the bunch. It's a complete remake with new graphics and not a lazy port at all. The touch controls are not optimal for most games, but these are turn based RPGs so you don't lose much.

I played it from start to finish and enjoyed it just as much as the GBA one.

Edited on by StableInvadeel

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InvisiBulbasaur

You know, perhaps I haven't given Dawn of Souls proper consideration.
It's two games in one, and I'd be starting from the beginning of the series, and I could see how it progresses from there. That way I wouldn't feel like I was losing features by going backwards through the series.

Morpheel wrote:

Yeah, all of these games use random encounters.

Stay away from FFIV DS, it's harder than it needs to be, specially compared with every other version of the game. If you want to play that one, get the GBA or PSP version (and the PSP one comes with the not-that-good sequel included).

About the mobile ports... VI is probably the very best of the bunch. It's a complete remake with new graphics and not a lazy port at all. The touch controls are not optimal for most games, but these are turn based RPGs so you don't lose much.

I played it from start to finish and enjoyed it just as much as the GBA one.

I have read that FFIVDS is very difficult, so I agree it's probably not the best introduction to the series or possibly even the game.

In regard to random encounters, it's the frequency that annoys me more than the battles themselves. If a game is compelling I'm willing to slog through a few high encounter rate areas, so long as the whole game isn't Zubats-in-Dark-Cave levels of annoying.

Oh, and just a note, I don't have a PS1, PS2 or PSP, so I won't be playing games on any of those.

I'll have to look into the mobile version of FFVI. I prefer not to use my phone for gaming but I might end up liking it.

Edited on by InvisiBulbasaur

InvisiBulbasaur

SuperWiiU

InvisiBulbasaur wrote:

I'll have to look into the mobile version of FFVI. I prefer not to use my phone for gaming but I might end up liking it.

Don't get the mobile version. They completely scewed up the user interface and graphics of that game and made it look like a cheap flash game instead of a Final Fantasy.

Edited on by SuperWiiU

StarBoy91

The only ideal reason anyone would buy the downsized GBA Final Fantasy ports is if they do not own an SFC/SNES console; if they do, then no, they're not worth buying (unless you like to look at a bestiary and read a new translation at the expense of a cropped aspect ratio and weak sound samples)

To each their own

Edited on by StarBoy91

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DarthNocturnal

I'd advise AGAINST FFIV on GBA. It has a few minor-but-annoying bugs. But I don't remember FF IV DS being excessively difficult. Augments are fun.

That said, the PSP collection is good too.

If you have iOS or Android, I'd look into getting 3, 4, 5, and 6 there. People are overeacting about the new sprites of the latter two (in my opinion). And they have all the content from their newer versions.

If I had to suggest a good starting point game.... probably V. III can be a bit grindy, and cheap deaths of at least one party member in later boss fights aren't unheard of. I is too easy, and II has a broken leveling system.

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StableInvadeel

Yeah, if you ask me, the only one that looks cheap on mobile is V (and that's because of the generic uninspired character sprites). The other ones are pretty good looking.

I guess it's just that some people need to dislike mobile games.

Edited on by StableInvadeel

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KingMike

The GBA version of FF6 added an extra challenge dungeon as well as four more Espers (or whatever they called them in that version) that weren't in the SNES version. (I only actually got around to two of them when I played the game but I assume they all must be fought first in challenging battles.)
Do note that the GBA version of FF6 is more difficult, in part because it fixes a few major bugs that contributed to the "easy" difficulty of the original version.

KingMike

InvisiBulbasaur

Thanks a lot for all the feedback thus far, everyone.

Tsurii wrote:

Not 100% sure about the other SNES games/I - VI, but I played IV a while ago (doing that pretty frequently, and on PSP in case that makes any difference) and I think the encounter rates aren't that bad. They're frequent, but not to a point where it's frustrating/tedious. I and II are a lot worse in that regard, if you ask me.

Noted. But the PSP version may have improved on the SNES original in that regard. Is it 2D or 3D like the DS/Mobile versions?

StarBoy91 wrote:

The only ideal reason anyone would buy the downsized GBA Final Fantasy ports is if they do not own an SFC/SNES console; if they do, then no, they're not worth buying (unless you like to look at a bestiary and read a new translation at the expense of a cropped aspect ratio and weak sound samples)

Judging by your signature, you may be a tad biased, haha.
I do actually own a SNES that I've modded so that it can play SFC games, but it's boxed up and I don't intend to unbox it until I have the proper space to set it up (and possibly a CRT). I only have room for one console in my TV room, and that honor goes to my Wii U.
That said, the SNES VC versions of these games do look to be my most affordable (legal) options.
I am willing to sacrifice a bit of sound quality for portability.

BinaryFragger wrote:

I've played all of the GBA Final Fantasy remakes and I personally enjoyed them (I played them on a DS Lite), especially VI. The PSP remakes of I, II and IV are also good. Starting with VI, as you suggested, would be a good idea.

As @Morpheel mentioned, the DS version of IV is excessively difficult.

That's what I'm thinking. It'll sort of depend on whether I can find these games at the aforementioned shop.
If I'm going portable, I would ideally like to play them on my DS Lite, rather than having to buy a PSP.

Out of curiosity, what makes the DS version of IV the hardest?

DarthNocturnal wrote:

I'd advise AGAINST FFIV on GBA. It has a few minor-but-annoying bugs. But I don't remember FF IV DS being excessively difficult. Augments are fun.

If you have iOS or Android, I'd look into getting 3, 4, 5, and 6 there. People are overeacting about the new sprites of the latter two (in my opinion). And they have all the content from their newer versions.

If I had to suggest a good starting point game.... probably V. III can be a bit grindy, and cheap deaths of at least one party member in later boss fights aren't unheard of. I is too easy, and II has a broken leveling system.

Bugs are something I would prefer to avoid. Though you seem to be in the minority in regards to FFIV DS.

I do have an Android phone. It's a Motorola Droid with a decent size screen and good battery life, it's just that much of my memory dedicated to music and I'm not sure I can fit many games on here, since it has no SD card slot. I guess I could use my old Samsung Galaxy for that, though.

I think you're the first person I've seen anywhere recommending V as the starting point. Interesting.
I'm really not all that interested in II and III, to be honest. They seem more like the kind of games you go back to after you know you enjoy the series and are willing to put up with their flaws.

Morpheel wrote:

Yeah, if you ask me, the only one that looks cheap on mobile is V (and that's because of the generic uninspired character sprites). The other ones are pretty good looking.

I guess it's just that some people need to dislike mobile games.

I just looked at some screens and videos on Google Play, and I agree.
I was previously under the impression they were all direct ports of the 16 and or 32 bit versions.
But they actually look pretty nice, and 3 and 4 (sorry, getting tired of using the Roman numerals all the time) actually look like the DS versions.

I think there's a bias against mobile ports, probably due to the perception that games are best played on whatever type of platform they were originally designed for.

InvisiBulbasaur

StableInvadeel

The PSP version of IV is a remake of the GBA game. It's the exact same thing, but with better graphics (it also comes with the original soundtrack and the remade soundtrack from the ds, you can choose which to use).

The game on the DS is hard because... Well, I think they made the monsters stronger. Like, noticeably stronger and with different AI and higher HP.

I think the difficulty on the mobile port was toned down.

Edited on by StableInvadeel

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DarthNocturnal

@Morpheel

Er, those sprites are more detailed then the original sprites, but retain the same character design. So I don't see how they're generic or uninspiring. And VI uses the same style.

@InvisiBulbasaur

The PSP version of IV is 2D. It's similar to the original Japanese SNES release in terms of art style (although everything is better quality, visuals-wise) and difficulty, although it does contain the GBA bonus dungeons. Not to mention After Years, it's direct sequel.

FF IV DS (which is also on mobile) did some rebalancing of abilities, and also changed up some boss strategies. It also added augments, which were abilities you could give to those in your party. Some were abilities from the temporary party members, others were brand new. They added some neat twists in my opinion, although you may want to consult a guide on them, since they are limited, in a sense (and you have to give up some to gain others).

V has a job system which allows for some neat combinations. And the difficulty is pretty fair all throughout. The story is the most "complex" of any FF game with "Warriors of Light", but it's pretty straightforward overall (not a bad thing). It's also my personal favorite of ALL the Final Fantasy games.

Edited on by DarthNocturnal

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StableInvadeel

@DarthNocturnal: I think my main complaint with them is that in that game every single adult male and female (including the main characters) share the exact same pose and porportions (males are all "come at me bro", females are all extremely thin, etc). And your characters look nothing like their portraits.

The VI remake certainly uses the same style, but with a lot more variation, and the portraits do look like their characters.

Edited on by StableInvadeel

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DarthNocturnal

@Morpheel

Well, they used their Amano artwork for the conversation portraits in V. And his artwork NEVER fully resembles the character in question. I've never really cared for the style either.

Edited on by DarthNocturnal

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