This is the first time American Gamers got to experience Final Fantasy III, the real one back in the days of the NES. This is where the "Job system" came from, and it came from an era where RPGs didn't really hold your hands as much as they do today.
Granted, I still found this game to be rather easy, but I remember several occasions in which I wandered around aimlessly because I didn't know what to do. Not to mention, in order to get to the final boss, you have to go through the final dungeon, kill one boss, sit through a cutscene, then sit through about another 45-minutes of boss fights and cutscenes, and then you get the boss. I've heard on a FAQ that there was a save-point in the final part in the beta version, but it was removed because they thought it would be too easy.
Now, one issue that was covered in the NES-DS transition was class balance. I'm sure all of you who've emulated the game remember how Sages, once you get them, made all the other magic-using classes worthless and how Ninjas would make almost all melees look like they're using a wet noodle to fight. Granted, Ninjas are still pretty much the ultimate melee, but they're now a "Glass cannon". They're likely to be the first ones to hit for 9999, but they're balanced out by how if an enemy hits them, they're certainly gonna feel it.
Believe it or not, the first character who hit for damage in the Vegeta level was...a Geomancer. Yes, a Geomancer. That class was absolutely worthless and a waste of space back in Final Fantasy 5 and Final Fantasy Tactics, but they were probably the class that was buffed the most out of any. I at first thought I'd try it out, but even during the adjustment phase, my Geomancer actually dealt some decent physical damage, so I thought they wouldn't be so worthless, but once I got my job level up, my jaw dropped at how useful the Geomancers are now...Their abilities deal physical damage, so against one boss who is immune to magic, they certainly help. Plus...I like the Ice Climber-design.
I was most impressed with how Square-Enix buffed the Geomancers... They've gone from being worthless to being one of the best classes to have in your party in the mid-game. They do have a few flaws though...They're somewhat of the "Glass Cannon" class before you get Ninjas or Summoners, getting outclassed in health and defense even by a white mage, and they can be somewhat unpredictable. You might get Whirlpool, which doesn't always work.
But with the amount of buffs to one class comes a nerf to the others...Sages. The sages still seem like the ultimate mage, being able to use all magic, but they share the same weakness of the hybrid...not being able to use as much magic as a Devout, Summoner, or Magus. They also are very sloooow. I use a sage in my party, and even the final boss gets all her moves out before my Sage gets to act. Well, you could use your sage as a secondary healer.
Now the graphics are very remniscent of the theoretical offspring of Final Fantasy IX and Tactics...though it takes a little more after Final Fantasy IX. You still do have pallette-swaps, but just playing it will remind you a lot of Final Fantasy IX. The character design is rather nice. Okay...so the hero has granny-hair, but he actually looks better than Vaan and Tidus. When looking at him in the CGI-intro, he actually LOOKS like he could be male, if not a really young one. The backgrounds are alright, they're nice to look at for awhile but they get repetetive after awhile. However, the one exception is in The Forbidden Land Eureka...it is probably the most impressive place in the game, graphically.
The CGI-intro for the game is amazing. Especially if you watch it on a DS-lite. I am VERY impressed with that scene. It looks almost as good as Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children. The characters actually look like real children (Save for the hero's gray hair), and you can still tell that this game takes place in a fantasy world.
It's rather disappointing that the Top screen isn't really used for much...You have a map on the Overworld, but when you're in dungeons, it's just blank. That was one of the drawbacks.
Now, earlier I said that this game doesn't hold your hand as much as modern RPGs do. You don't get your MP back unless you use a trick, you don't automatically adjust to a new class, you aren't always told exactly where you need to go, and most notably; you only have a finite number of Phoenix Downs. You cannot buy Phoenix Downs in this game. Sure, at first I thought that was very annoying, since I really really needed that spell-cast to keep my party alive, but later on, I got used to it. In fact, I even had those spell-casts to spare. The boss battles are also notable in that they get to attack twice per round...hax. But even with that advantage over you, most bosses in this game are still pretty easy. The only bosses who gave me any trouble were the Garuda (Laugh at me...) and Doga & Unei.
I have very little to say about the sound, so I'll just say this last before the conclusion...It's rather good, but after awhile it gets rather annoying. It sounds kind of like it was demi-orchestrated, but you can definitely tell that it was made with computers simulating the orchestra sound. It's alright. It's not annoying, but it's not as good as Golden Sun's soundtrack was. (Yeah...Golden Sun was probably the best use of GBA sound technology)
Overall, this is a rather good game. It may not feature a "Ground-breaking plot", but you gotta keep in mind that Square-Enix actually remade the games and didn't add as much story for a reason...The first three final fantasy games were made in a time way before J-RPGs were known for being like "interactive movies/Anime", more when RPGs in general would make you try to find some stuff out on your own. But sometimes...you may actually need the hint on which direction you need to go...Otherwise you'll find yourself wandering around for hours and get forced to look on GameFAQs. If you don't like RPGs, don't get this game, but if you like the oldschool Final Fantasy games and want to experience an RPG from times gone-by, go for it.
76% - Good
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