View Full Version : FFI Impressions

02-28-2011, 09:09 PM
I watched this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKh_iR1EE0Q) about the Final Fantasy series and its history so I got curious and started reading up on Square, about its beginnings as a company, and the evolving legacy of Final Fantasy.

Back in the day, circa 1997/1998, I remember Final Fantasy was this huge thing for my friends, but it remained a mystery to me. I didn't have many games when I was a kid. I was playing mostly action adventure games like Link's Awakening for the gameboy or platformers like Banjo Kazooie (hell yeah!). The only console style RPG I ever played growing up was Pokemon - and I played those games to death. So I have lately found myself with an abundance of free time and I decided to throw myself into FF. Man do I feel like I missed out!

I just finished FFI (Origins) (took me 34 hours) and it definitely brings back memories of leveling up and acquiring new skills and weapons. As everyone says, the story and characters of the first game are a little underdeveloped but it was satisfying to put the hurt on Garland at the end. I like a challenge when I play a game. I put myself through a lot of tears and frustration completing StarFox64 (Hard way) and Banjo Kazooie when I was a kid (hey, those games are tough to complete when you're like 8 yrs old!) and I've been playing games like Half Life, Halo, TimeSplitters 2, Resident Evil 4 on the hardest difficulty ever since - suffice it to say I developed some skills :roll:. So I played FFI on Origins normal difficulty and I chose to keep auto target off (it's actually more fun with auto target off because you have to plan your attacks more carefully or they'll go to waste - it makes battles more interesting). I went with the default party (http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/306/d/e/ff1_party_by_blackorb00-d320png.jpg): Fighter, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage. For awhile I had to rely heavily on my Fighter to pull the team through battles. The mages came into their own after awhile and somewhere between level 15-20 my Thief became useful. Of course, upgrading was fantastic. The most difficult parts of the game were the Marsh Cave, Mt. Gulg, and the Temple of Chaos. I often lost more health in random dungeon encounters than many of the actual boss battles. Overall, I really liked it and I hope it will get better with FFII, which I plan to start today.

I'm playing the classics first because I'm sequential like that. I like to know the history behind the series, even if the games aren't related by plot. Here's my plan:

FFII next, then

I'm looking for recommendations about which versions (snes/psx/gameboy/psp) I should play and whether I should bother with FFIII and V. Truth is, I'm most excited to play VI and VII, as it will be my first time and those are the most talked about of the series.

Opinions? Recommendations?

Wolf Kanno
03-01-2011, 12:59 AM
Might need to move this to General FF since it encompasses the whole series but for now whatever. :p

Its pretty awesome playing through the series sequentially. Before the numbers swelled up, I use to play the series in order before the new installment was released.

First, I would recommend FFIII and FFV. FFIII is for all intents and purpose, feels like what they were trying to accomplish with FFI but lacked the skill to do so at the time. It introduces the job class system and it's a just a fun romp. It takes the best elements from I and II and makes a truly well rounded title.

FFV brings back FFIII's job class system but introduces the concept of sub-abilities so you can mix and match the classes strengths to build more powerful classes. While V is certainly not as strong in terms of storytelling as IV and VI are, the game does offer some of the best gameplay of the old school FFs. It's also one of the funniest entry's in the series with the possible exception of FFIX.

As for which versions to play...

FFII - Stick with Origins, granted you can't play the original version til you beat it on Easy Mode but II's leveling system tends to rub people the wrong way so technically this is a good thing for some. Easy mode is still no cakewalk, it just makes leveling easier and gives you higher HP/MP boosts, and makes leveling magic easier.

FFIII - Purist will say you haven't really played III until you've played the original NES/Famicom version. I say screw the purist and play the DS version (soon to be released on iPhone as well :D ) The main cast are no longer faceless Onion Knights but now actually have some names and a bit of a backstory. The game has been rebalanced so you get more out of some of the classes and the game also added special skills for a few of them as well to give more variety in battle. The 3D sprites are adorable and the upgraded soundtrack is pretty snazzy as well (Though I still feel FFII has the better OST)

FFIV - This is a tricky one... Most people will agree that you should avoid the English version on the original SNES. It's a poorly localized and ultimately lobotomized version of the game. It then comes down to the GBA port, the PS1 port, and DS remake, (there's also the PSP remake that's coming out but I'll stick to what I know).

PS1: This is the closest to the original Super Famicom version, same graphics, a much better localization from the SNES version, and it retains all of the skills and some of the sub-plots from the original version. The main thing it keeps is the games original difficulty, and let me be the first to say that FFIV is the last of the "hard" FFs. I like the original difficulty myself but more importantly, I just like playing the game with it's original sprites and music. Though the main problems with the game is that while it's localization is much better than the first foray into the West, it's still the worst localization of the good versions of IV. It also has some loading problems but not nearly as ghastly as CT. It's probably not going to be easy to find either.

GBA: A much better localization from the PS1 version and it also changed to more Amano inspired character portraits. The game also added two new optional dungeons and the ability to switch out your party members at the end of the game. In the original version, the story dictates whose in your party, much like FFII does. The problem is that the game wasn't designed for this so Squenix had to re-balance the last section of the game and makes the final chunks of the game kind of easy. The optional dungeons are fun though.

DS: New graphics and a real customization system. The DS version mainly keeps the original story and cast and updates everything else. It has new character models who are more accurate to the original concept art, voice acting, and a new system which allows you to keep some of the abilities from allies who leave your party. The game has an even better localization than the GBA version, at least imho. It has rebalanced the game and enemy A.I. making the game much more challenging, and closer to the original version. It drops all the extras from the GBA version. It also has new mini-games and sub-quests that weren't in the main game and features a few additional story elements that were left on the cutting room floor of the original game. This is my second recommendation for which version to play.

FFV - Play the GBA version, yes it has some alteration to the music and graphics (though people don't bitch as much as the VI GBA port) but it also has an excellent localization and makes the cast feel much more lively and endearing. It has a snazzy optional dungeon added with a pretty cool final boss, it does add four new job classes though I personally don't like any of them. Still the game retains the sense of the original game and any changes are made for the better. Faris no longer sounds like a stereotypical pirate, Galuf and Bartz are much more funny and the game introduces Gilgamesh which alone should make people give this title the honor of being one of the best in the series.

FFVI - This one gets a bit ugly when asking which version. Some feel the original Woosely version on the SNES is perfectly fine, and it does have some awesome gnarm and charm going for it. The GBA version has a much better localization and updated script. The game feels more like the adult tale it really is but most hate the GBA version cause the graphics color palette has been altered but more importantly, the music was altered to fit the GBA and came off not so great...


Original (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDMWp1oLoA0&feature=related)

GBA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqWq5Uisju4&playnext=1&list=PL2EF4CEFAD9F4DB20)

You can hear the difference. The problem comes with the fact that VI has debatably one of the best OST's in the series, so its a shame to have to listen to a less than stellar version. On the other hand, I still feel that the GBA script is the best version of the script and did a lot to bring out the characters personalities as well as the story itself. So at this point you might need to either make a dire choice of which is more important or just settle for the ROM versions. The fan scripts lack some of the quality of the GBA script but it at least isn't as simple as the Woosely script. If you do end up liking the game, I would suggest playing all the versions at least once.

FFVII - Only two options but I can only recommend the PS1 version. I've never played the PC version but I've heard it's slightly better cause it fixes some glitches and a few grammar points.

The rest of the series don't have much options in terms of version. Hopefully you have a PS3 or PSP so it will be easier to get a hold of VII-IX. X-XIII will also be pretty easy to find. Hope this was helpful. :D

03-01-2011, 01:34 AM
WC gave a very good synopsis, but I'll chime in my two cents.

Don't feel you have to play though every game before you get to the next one. Opinion on each game is quite divisive, they aren't all for everybody. If I had started and played in order I never would have gotten past FF2. If you start to lose interest in a title move on to the next one, it will still be there waiting when you want to come back to it.

My recommendations:
FF3 - DS
I know of exceedingly few people who didn't play the original first that don't prefer this version.

FF4 - DS
Opinion on this somewhat split. For me they improved upon the original in just about every possible way. It is my favorite game on the DS.

FF5 - I highly recommend this, but I don't have much to say on which version.

FF6 - Ditto

FF7 - I am going to recommend the PC version. (I don't know if it works on Win7. You need to get a fan made patch to run it on XP) They changed the dialoge somewhat, but the big sell is that they doubled the resolution from the PS1 version.

03-01-2011, 03:09 AM
Thanks, Kanno, extremely helpful!

I've started II (Origins) and I think I will look into III and V after all. This is going to be an incredible ride if I make it all the way from I to VII - one down, six to go!

Originally I was planning on playing all the PS1 versions 'cause I heard they were closest to the originals and I also like the updated graphics. I kinda just want the best experience - so I'll go with the DS version of III and the GBA version of V. What do you think about the PS1 release of VI?

I'm a bit of a tech junkie, so I do own a PS3, PSP, DS, and GBA. For the PS1 versions I've been using ePSXe, although I have a few friends who could probably loan me the physical discs if I asked. You know, I wonder why there haven't been any remakes for Gamecube or Wii - after all, the series was born on a Nintendo console...

I've noticed the quality of Final Fantasy music just from playing FFI - it's already getting stuck in my head. :D

Don't feel you have to play though every game before you get to the next one. Opinion on each game is quite divisive, they aren't all for everybody. If I had started and played in order I never would have gotten past FF2. If you start to lose interest in a title move on to the next one, it will still be there waiting when you want to come back to it.
This is good advice. Depending on how much free time I have I may end up skipping around.

FF7 - I am going to recommend the PC version. (I don't know if it works on Win7. You need to get a fan made patch to run it on XP) They changed the dialoge somewhat, but the big sell is that they doubled the resolution from the PS1 version.
Excellent, I'll check it out.

Wolf Kanno
03-01-2011, 10:00 AM
The PS1 version of VI is basically the original U.S. SNES version with the Woosely script. It has some nice opening and ending videos and some very slight changes in the item translations and script but overall its the same as the SNES version. It does have some awful loading times, probably the worst of the FF ports to the PS1. I can't really recommend it. Though do watch the opening and ending videos for the PS1 versions of V and VI cause they are quite nice.

Part of the reason why these games haven't been ported to Nintendo consoles is because of Nintendo and Squares rocky relationship after the series was taken to the Sony instead. I've heard a rumor that the GBA ports for IV-VI were delayed because Nintendo refused to let Sakeguchi put them on the GBA. Once Sakeguchi left Square, Nintendo renegotiated, so it may have been a personal grudge between Sakeguchi and some of the Nintendo heads.

08-17-2011, 09:13 AM
Okay! I'm back for the follow-up!

So FFI was good as I already noted in the OP. I give it a 6/10

I started FFII but the keyword feature seemed gimmicky, the story seemed a little uninspired, and I just found myself altogether bored :/ So I quit it after about 4 or so hours of gameplay.

Randomly decided to skip FFIII, probably because I was too excited in anticipation of starting...

FFIV! Loved it. Memorable characters, more complex plot, and excellent music!! 7/10

Does this series continue to get better? I'm in the middle of FFV right now, trying to unlock all 12 legendary weapons in the third world. I LOVE the Job System. And even though a lot of people seem to think V has a weak story, the gameplay makes up for it imo. I'd rate it an 8/10 so far.

Can't wait to start FFVI! And then, hopefully, eventually, FFVII!! God, I'm such a Final Fantasy noob. But I love it.

Also, I decided to go with the ps1 versions. I like the fact that they are probably the truest to the originals yet a tad bit upgraded graphically (esp. regarding FF Origins). I was able to get Origins, Chronicles, and Anthology all for 15$ on Amazon.com.

Since I skipped III, I'll probably go back and play it for the DS, and might end up picking the DS version of IV to replay as well.

Wolf Kanno
08-17-2011, 09:42 AM
I'm glad to hear you are enjoying the series so far. The quality of the game certainly improve but whether they get better comes down to personal preference. Happy you got all those games for cheap, for awhile Anthology and Chronicles were costly.

08-17-2011, 01:09 PM
Final Fantasy 1 (nes) was the first one I played, and, because of nostalgia and bias, is my favorite of the series.

Even still, I think I did the same as you when I first picked up FF2.
However, I later researched the system a little more and, especially on the gba version (which is probably embarrassingly hella easy, from what I hear), came to appreciate the level system a little more. After you dig into it, I would say that some aspects of the plot do get more involved. I cannot say that it's as good as IV though (and I don't even like IV much. Ah, the Power of Cheese, however, is a very worthy remake that hasn't been mentioned yet).

In any event, like Wolf Kanno said, the FF you like best will be a matter of personal choice.
I sometimes refer to FF7 as the beginning of the FF games that fell away from legit plots and only focus on graphics, which bore me, but 7 is poor enough graphically by today's standards that- hahaha.

What I mean is, Final Fantasy (nes) is the best one, but VI is probably the best, even though VII is probably the best, although 2 and 3 capture come of the original beauty of Final Fantasy (the original), which is pretty much the best one, aside from the fine tuned FFIV, which perfectly encompasses both the idea of graphical and plot enhcnacement among the first 6 of the series, making it far superior to them all.

Or something like that.

08-23-2011, 10:30 PM
Always awesome to hear about going through these older games!

Not sure if you started FFVI but I'd reiterate the GBA suggestion - the PSX load times are utterly horrible (be glad FFV didn't suffer from it), sorting your inventory and healing after battles is a big part of FFVI for me and the PS version ruins it. My personal favorite is the RPGOne fan translation. They made it a literal translation of the original Japanese script with some balancing to make it readable. If you read the notes in the Readme that come with the patch, it really was a work of art. Some things are better in the official localizations, for example one character says:

"I am _______. I am your worst nightmare." but literally translated is:

"I am ________, the _________ of __________. If compelled, I will forego my honor and engage you as a normal soldier!!!" Of course, the trade-off is you don't miss out on any of the adult themes, or the foul language that Square developers actually used a lot of...

When you get to the PlayStation generation of games, getting them digitally from the PlayStation Store is a great beat. They don't look all that great on a HDTV, but an SDTV is fine and they actually look pretty gorgeous on the PSP. Plus you can take your saves with you on the go.

Happy playing!

10-10-2011, 01:13 AM
You guys are awesome. Thanks for the replies and suggestions. It has been my own little adventure exploring the FF series for the first time. I finished FFV and I'd say it's on par with IV right now as my favorite. I like the music and characters a bit better in IV, but I love the job system in V. Anyways, I sort of expect VI to knock them both down. I haven't started it yet because of time constraints. When I start a game I like to be super focused and devote a lot of time to it. I don't like to stop and start a game over weeks or even months. I don't have the attention for that :D

Finally, I will probably end up playing FFVII afterwards...just cuz. :)

Wolf Kanno
10-10-2011, 04:35 AM
FFV is an awesome and often times, unappreciated gem of the 16-bit era. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it. I hope you have fun with VI and VII, they tend to be the more divisive entries in the series with die hard fanboys on each side but I hope you can play through them and just enjoy them for what they are and get past some of the hype they both receive. VIII will be a shock and IX might be up your alley since you seem to be enjoying the old school entries. The PS2 era is where the games become much more polarizing.

10-11-2011, 03:19 PM
I'm glad too that you enjoy the series, I started out playing the newer PS1 FFs (VII-IX) and then I moved on to the older ones. Basically Chrono Trigger got me into the older games era. So you should give Chrono Trigger a chance too if you haven't played it yet.