Unlike every other game I’ve mentioned in this series, my playthrough of Final Fantasy IV was well underway before I ever considering this task. I have owned the DS remake of the 4th FF game since release and despite enjoying it a lot I had never actually made it to the end. Difficulty spikes and a lack of focus on my part only got me as far as the final ‘new’ world map to explore, so it was bound to be the quickest journey I would take. Quickest definitely doesn’t mean easiest.
The final section of Final Fantasy IV is one of the toughest of any of the main series Final Fantasy games and jumping back in after a good few years away from my party was even tougher. It may have taken me a while to readjust to the ATB system after finishing both FF and FFII, but once I had I was well on my way to beating this game. I’d forgotten just how great everything looks on the DS, a design choice that understandably left some hardcore fans in a tither. I personally like the 3D art style and the new voice acted cutscenes, but I can appreciate why those who loved the original may have some reservations.
The game itself is heralded as one of the best of the early FF games and it’s obvious to see why. These are some of the most dynamic characters in the series, the darker tone overall allowing for some genuine character development, the first in the series to manage this. Even when compared to a later game like Final Fantasy V, I’d say IV has the edge in this department. Despite not having been all of the way through FFVI, I’d look more favourably on the characters in FFIV too, as Cecil, Kain and Rosa are a much more tight nit group than the vast array of main characters in VI. I like how the character development goes on to effect the gameplay too, with Cecil and Rydia’s roles in your party changing drastically from the start to the end.
My characters in the end were pretty beefy, all around level 75, much higher than my team was for any of the previous games I’ve talked about. The final few bosses were incredibly tough, especially with very few save points between them, but somehow I managed it. (I actually forgot to take a picture of my final team, and since FFIV has a New Game + feature I have no way of getting it to post here.)
Given that I’d completed most of Final Fantasy IV long before attempting this series I don’t have much else to say. It remains one of my favourite entries in the series, where games like V have probably fallen in my estimation, FFIV has held on. It’s one of the games I would suggest to newcomers to the series, the battle and levelling systems are simple, the difficulty is tough at times, but deaths rarely feels cheap. Given that FFIX isn’t as easily accessible on current gen it’s the one I’d recommenced as an entry point.
Favourite Music Track: Illusionary World
The music in Final Fantasy IV is great, if not a bit less memorable than the later games in the series, but one track that stood out for me was Illusionary World. With the party exploring the world of Summoners, it’s a mysterious, but nonthreatening piece of music. Much of Final Fantasy IV’s music is very plinky plonky, but this has a lovely breathy lilt to it.
Favourite Boss Fight: Leviathan
It may seem like a strange choice here, but as my first proper fight back after so many years Leviathan brought everything flooding back to me. I always enjoy fighting summon monsters too, as even if they are ‘optional’ you know that you’ll be rewarded with a strong companion should you win.
That leaves just one game, which I have been playing since the moment I finished FFIV (A few weeks ago now, this post is super delayed). Completing Final Fantasy VI before the end of the year is going to be an incredibly tough challenge. I’m already around 15 hours in, way further than I’ve ever been in the game before. I’d say I’m roughly only halfway through so things are looking positive at least. Hopefully I’ll be posting the final entry in this series before December 31st.