| Storyline |
Cecil, a dark knight of the Kingdom of Baron and leader of the airship squadron known as the Red Wings, returns from an attack on the mage country of Mysidia. Bearing one of the four crystals of the world, he returns to present the crystal to his leige, the King of Baron. Cecil questions why the King is attacking the other countries in order to gain their crystals, and the King dismisses Cecil of his control of the Red Wings. He is told to deliver a package to the village of Myst, the village of summoners, the next morning. Kain, life-long friend of Cecil and a powerful Dragoon to boot, accompanies Cecil. Upon reaching the village, the package bursts open and burns all the summoner people alive. One girl, named Rydia summons Titan, and Cecil and Kain are seperated. Waking after the incident, Cecil finds himself with Rydia, lost. The storyline is one of the best things in this game, I found it very interesting and original, for the most part. There are quite a few twists and turns that are unexpected.
| Characters |
There are quite a large number of playable characters in this game; 11. Not all are permanently avaliable though, and the characters leave and join quite a lot. You are able to use a total of 5 characters in battle, and these five characters cannot be changed, you have to use those five. The characters are interesting, though not all of them get that much development, which is a shame. I would have liked to have seen more of Cid, as an example. Those that do get development, for example Cecil, are very interesting. All the characters have unique abilities in battle (though, admittedly, some abilities such as "white magic" can be used by more than one character). Overall, no real complaints.
| Graphics |
Graphics are really were I feel this game let itself down. Despite it being a SNES game, and granted, the graphics aren't going to be spectacular, I really do not like them that much. They do their job, but sometimes they really irk me. Like the character sprites outside of battle. I can live with them, and the annoyance for me isn't to the point where I grab the acid and try to burn my eyes out, but I just don't think they're that good. I'm sure a lot of people disagree with me on this point, so each to their own. The graphics were very good and colourful for their time. Maybe I'm being a little harsh with this score, but again, each to their own.
| Music |
Music is done quite well. Not the most amazing OST in the world, but there are quite a few notable pieces that stand out. "Fight 2" for example, and "Gobleza's Theme" are both excellent pieces of music, that set the scene well. The normal town music is fair enough, and I really can't think of any music that was nails on the chalkboard standard. The final battle music, like in all the FF's I've played (IV-X), is very well done and memorable.
| Gameplay |
The gameplay of FFIV is generally fun. The battle-system is a good one, in particular from the large amount of characters you can use in battle (5) which makes it more fun especially in boss battles. The game runs smooth enough and I can't think of a single complaint, overall, with one exception. In FFIV, you are given a limited inventory. Now, while this might seem "more realistic" and "more strategic, because you have to plan what items you take", there's not one thing more annoying in FFIV than picking up a good item, and having to drop another one, just to make room for that one. You can store your items, via the Fat Chocobo, but I'd prefer an unlimited inventory, like in FFVII, for example. It's not really that strategic either, not like Seiken Densetsu 3's, where you can only have a certain number of items you can use in the field (weapons, armour, etc aren't included) and all others have to be reached via the menus, but these are still stored on you. A minor flaw though, in an otherwise fun game.
| Overall |
This is one of the Final Fantasy games that I enjoyed the most. Personally, I feel that VII, IX and V outrank it, but that's by no means a bad thing, because those are all excellent games. It's hardly on the level of Chrono Trigger, but considering the time difference between these games (4 years!), it's certainly close to the standard of CT. I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to see one of the earlier Final Fantasy games, and this is certainly a great example of how the earlier games are as fun as the newer. Despite some minor flaws, still a great game to play.