I’ve played most of the Final Fantasy games, but FF IV was one of the few titles that I never got to play. With all the cool new iOS ports of the classic Final Fantasy games getting released, I’m excited that Square finally gave us IV. The iOS game is the port from the DS version, which was the best version of the game.
Final Fantasy IV really stepped the level of storytelling up quite a bit from FF III, the game features a lot of dark and deep tones. It was engaging throughout, the story really stood up to the test of time. It was 20 years ago when the game was first released, and it’s great to see that the story is still interesting. In FF IV, you’ll be controlling Cecil Harvey. He’s a Dark Knight of Baron, who begins to have disapproving thoughts about his king. Your thoughts ultimately become true, as the King orders you to wipe out an entire village filled with vulnerable people. Cecil then intends to right his wrongs as he goes after the King, only to find out that there is a much darker evil behind it all. Along his journey, Cecil will meet a bevy of friends to help him try and stop the destruction of his home. The voice acting is okay, it doesn’t really add anything to the game’s narrative. At some points, it actually hurts it. I could have gone with just text only, but in the end, the story is still just as good with voiceovers.
Since there’s only so much you can do with the DS’s visuals, you won’t be getting in new graphical tricks on the iOS version. The DS version already did so much more than the original game, with a complete 3D overhaul and the added voice work, this is the best the game is going to look. The NPC and player actions are all clear and apparent, you can actually see each character make their subtle movements. The iOS version did add a few minor improvements, blurry textures have been cleared up, and a few of the character models are a lot crisper. The music is great, even though I’ve heard it before. You can never go wrong with Nobuo Uematsu composing a game’s music, he has one of the most treasured track records of any composer.
The gameplay hasn’t changed in the slightest, you still get your random encounters, with the traditional turn based combat system. Its not as watered down as your modern JRPGs, enemies will require a bit of thought to take down. You can’t just simple tap the attack button every time, you’re gonna need to mix up your strategy. The simple augment system returns from the DS version, giving you the ability to add extra enhancements to your characters. If you being to have trouble, the addition of two different difficultly modes will help halt any frustrations you may have. I also really appreciate the less amount of grinding you have to do, I don’t want to have stare at a mobile screen grinding for hours, and the ability to auto-map dungeons is also a welcomed addition.
The iOS version features the same revamped touchscreen menu based system from FF III, making navigating the game’s many menus a snap. If you have a lot of characters that have a lot of spells, the touchscreen doesn’t really help though. It can feel a little overwhelming when you start gaining new abilities. Controls in any iOS game are pivotal in the game’s success, the traditional virtual joypad for controlling your character’s movement is smooth and precise. There aren’t any real problems I found with the game, and none that’ll break the game in any way.
The iOS port of the classic FF game proves to be the best version available. There are a lot of minor improvements that do nothing but improve the game. The biggest draw to the game has to be that this game is easily accessible for newcomers to the storied franchise. It seems that each port of the classic FF titles are only getting better, and I can’t wait to see what Square Enix is going to bring to us next for the iOS.