Whenever you hear the words Japanese and RPG in the same sentence, one franchise that immediately springs to mind is Final Fantasy. Probably the most well-known example of the console RPG genre, it has celebrated reincarnations on almost all platforms imaginable. On the iPhone however the release of the first 2 parts of the series was met with mixed feelings. While being a classic the original games are over 2 decades old in game design and don’t really pose special interest for the modern gamers, other than the most die-hard FF fans. And the not too well adapted controls didn’t help much either. But there still is hope with the recent launch of Final Fantasy III – a true remake of the game fully adapted to touch controls.
Final Fantasy III is the classic console RPG (aka Japanese RPG or jRPG), originally released in the early nineties. It features the traditional epic storyline for the franchise. While exploring a nearby cave our hero falls down a hole and finds himself in an unfamiliar tunnel surrounded by monsters. Having slain them all, he reaches a mysterious chamber at the end where a crystal bestows a mission upon him to save the world. Now our hero has little choice but to embark on this journey, joined along the way by a trio of strangers forming the Warriors of Light. Epic, epic, epic and worth over 60 hours of gameplay.
Despite the modern look FFIII features the classic gameplay of the series, not really stepping far from the first two episodes. The game can roughly be split into 2 elements – exploring locations and moving across the world map. As with all other titles in the franchise you can be ambushed by enemies at any point, with the monsters not displayed on the map outside of combat. Speaking of which, the combat is round-based, with you queuing the actions for your team and watch them play out along those of the enemies.
Probably the most significant change and a glimpse of what’s in store in future Final Fantasy games on the iOS is the introduction of jobs. Not far into the game, you will have the ability to assign them to your party members and completely modify their abilities. Thankfully, you may switch the job of any member at any point in the game without any ill effects, save for a penalty that will fade after a few battles. And you will certainly do just that to take advantage of new jobs that are unlocked as you progress through the game. Add to this the huge amount of equipment, both class specific and not and see if you are able to not get lost in the variety. But it is both a blessing and a curse, since the game is missing a lot in terms of hints and descriptions of both skills, jobs and equipment. Just as an example – there is no way to know what bonus the bard’s harp has until you actually try it out in battle. And for that to happen, you have to buy it first.
Technically FFIII is almost perfectly adapted to the touch-screen, though it shouldn’t be much of a surprise because it is after all the port of the remake, originally released for the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately that handheld was never known for being particularly powerful, hence the graphics, while rather nice, don’t match up to the recent iOS offerings. Still, Final Fantasy III has full support for the Retina display and you won’t really find yourself dwelling too much on this issue. Probably the most frustrating limitation is the save system, which is inherited from the consoles and it only allows you to save on the world map – with no autosaves whatsoever. Yep, you can loose hours of gameplay if you’re not careful.
Final Fantasy III takes excellent controls, nice visuals and deep gameplay with expansive customization options for your party and wraps them in an epic storyline that will keep you busy for weeks. It’s not without issues though; comprehensive item, skill and job descriptions are lacking and require you to go online in search of FAQs to truly enjoy the game. Regardless, when speaking of console RPGs there really isn’t much to choose from on the iOS and Final Fantasy III is certainly one of best, if not the best jRPG on the App Store at the moment.
With this I declare Final Fantasy III officially touched!
|Title:||Final Fantasy III||Developer:||SQUARE ENIX Co., LTD.|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.0||Min OS Req:||3.0|