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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: Final Fantasy (PSN download for PSP)

Final Fantasy is such a classic, and has been remade and ported to so many different formats over the years that, when Square Enix announced it was making it available on the PSN, I wondered whether anyone would care.

Then I downloaded it and realised why the game keeps showing up on new formats - it's a compelling game, and such a classic adventure that Final Fantasy fans will always find an excuse to come back.

2D doesn't look much better than this

This version of Final Fantasy is the one that Square Enix put on Sony's PSP UMD format a few years back. So first up, if you already have that version of the game, there's not going to be much in this release for you.

But it's just as well the PSN download is that version, because in many ways, this is the definitive version of the game. The 2D visuals are crisp, colourful and detailed. There's a few more dungeons that have been added in since the original NES release, and the quality of music, especially with a good set of earphones, is as good as RPG scores come.

If you've only played the GBA Final Fantasy Dawn of Souls, or the PlayStation One Final Fantasy Origins, the PSN game is a cut above those - not enough to give you a new experience, but a nice upgrade nonetheless.

The faithful will object to the difficulty level of the game, which has dropped away completely in a bid to appeal to the modern gamer sensibilities (the one who doesn't care for random battle grinding for hours at a time). Unfortunately for that modern gamer, the game still doesn't do a great job of pointing you in the direction of the next objective, and lacks the sub quests and side attractions that make the modern RPG they are attracted to.


The game has come a long way since the '80s

So Final Fantasy is going to be a little alienating for just about everyone, but the sheer production values see it through regardless.

Square Enix has wisely priced the game for people on a budget ($Aus15.95). For a quest that runs for around 30 hours if you take it at a leisurely pace, that's good value.

The big question, then, is 'is this game worth buying again?' If you've never played Final Fantasy before (is that even possible?) then sure, assuming you can overlook the archaic conventions to experience where one of the most important series' started out.

If you have the game on some other format, then it really depends on how much of a fan of the game you are. Rest assured that it's a great quality port, and at 117mb, it's not going to take up too much storage to have ready access to on the bus or plane, but there's also the basic problem not a new pixel in the game to contend with.

Next time through, we would like to see Square Enix genuinely remake the game. 3D visuals (even better if it's the 3DS style 3D) would be a good start, but more importantly, Square Enix should spend the time to insert some side quests, mini games, and other divisions to break up the main quest.

Do that, and there's another generation or two of life in this classic before people will really have had enough of buying it again.



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Review: Final Fantasy (PSN download for PSP)
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