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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Final Fantasy IV (3D Remake)

Final Fantasy IV is famously a game that's had numerous updates, revisions, ports and remakes since its initial release in 1991 (the SNES alone having three different versions), but in 2008 Square Enix decided to commission a full-fledged remake of the game for Nintendo DS, which has since been ported to multiple platforms.  Unlike Final Fantasy III's remake, though, this one makes some well-integrated and welcome changes to the original game.  While the overall plot remains unchanged, the game now features 3D graphics and voiceover, FMV sequences for key scenes, as well as a few new scenes expanding on characters' backstories.  The underlying mechanics are significantly changed up, with a lot of formerly useless character abilities (Cry, Pray, Bluff, Bless, etc) becoming more practical and a new "Augment" system allowing characters to add new abilities.  Many of these are borrowed from Final Fantasy V and on, such as Auto Potion, Dualcast and Draw Attacks. Utilizing these add quite a bit of versatility to your cast (who all had very fixed and monotonous roles in the original versions) and a new layer of strategy to the game, so that's a definite plus.  A couple of subtle changes are added as well - filling out the minimaps in a dungeon earns you items, which gives you a bit more incentive to go exploring instead of just sticking to the most efficient route, and there's a New Game Plus option as well, allowing you to restart the game and keep your upgraded characters if you just want to experience the story again (and you even get a special Augment that allows you to break the damage cap, further speeding up the battles).  Final Fantasy IV still isn't among my favorites in the series, but this is the best version of it you can play.

The Nintendo DS version also has a unique summon for Rydia named "Whyt" who can be customized by completing various minigames with the Fat Chocobo; however, this was removed from the mobile and Steam ports of the game, with some content tied to it being moved to a new optional quest instead.

Developer: Matrix Software
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, PC
Released: 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014