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|Subject: Final Fantasy III Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:36 pm|| |
No, not Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy III was originally an NES game that was released in 1990, but wasn't released over seas with a DS remake in 2006. Better late than never I guess, but god damn. For the longest time, I remember enjoying the NES version, but despising the remakes. For the past few days, I've been playing both to compare, and I can see why I hated the remake in comparison now, but I've come to enjoy the remake.
The plot of Final Fantasy III follows 4 kids who are chosen to find the 4 treasures of the Elements and use their power to stop a mysterious darkness threatening to destroy the world. Where have I seen that before? Oh right, it's the plot of the original Final Fantasy. To be fair, there's a little more meat to this plot. Some wizard named Xande is pissed that he was given the power of mortality by his master before his passing. So Xande decided to fuck everything up by summoning some giant monster to return everything to nothing. What the hell even is the power of mortality? Whatever it is, it sounds stupid. Even though Chaos and the Four Fiends from the original didn't have anything special about them, this guy is just dull. Like I said though, it's essential the original game's plot, but with a SLIGHT amount of character for the main antagonist. I guess they decided to go back to keeping it simple after the train wreck that was Final Fantasy II.
Speaking of going back to the original, Final Fantasy III brings back the job class system from the first game. There are differences of course. In the original, you only had 6 classes that you'd pick from at the start, and play with them for the entire game. Fantasy III increased it to a whopping 24 classes, and you can change classes on the fly whenever. Of course, you don't start with these classes from the start. As you obtain more Elemental Crystals, you unlock more classes. And to make them different from the first game, most classes have a unique ability to make them stand out from the rest.
Here's where I'm going to compare the remake to the original with this system. In the original game, you'd start with the full party and could change classes as soon as you beat the first dungeon. The remakes has you start with 1 person, and you get the other 3 within 15 minutes. Not only that, but you have to wait until after the second dungeon to swap classes. So it takes a little longer for the fun to start with the remake, but not to long. Now for job switching. In the original, you'd obtained Capture Points, or CP for short when you defeat monsters, and you paid these to change your class. You have to remove a person's equipment before you can change. The remake removes the CP completely and doesn't require you to strip your characters. Instead, while you can swap on the fly, your character goes through a transition phase after swapping where they have their stats lowered to horrid levels for a few battles. While it's faster to change in the remake, this transition phase sucks, and will be the death of you late game.
Now, here's where this differs from the original. In the original, as stated, you stuck with what classes you chose from the start, and this determined your character's growth. In III, every class benefits in specific stats, and as long as you remain in this class, those stats will get a boost as you level up. As for levels, you now have 2 levels to keep in mind. You have your normal levels which is really for HP only, and job levels which affects how good your character is with that class as well as the extra boost in the stats that class affects. So lets take a White Mage for example. A job level of 1 will make it where this person barely has any MP, and their healing support will be horrid no matter what the spell. However, the more the class levels up, the more MP and stronger the spells become Not only that, but it buffs magic attack and defense. So the longer this class is equipped, the higher these stats become. A Fighter on the other hand will barely do any damage regardless of weapons early on, but the more it levels up, the stronger the damage it can inflict. It also buffs physical attack and defense, so these stats increase more whenever you level up.
Now, for a comparison between the original and remakes. In the original, jobs would only level up if you used the special ability of the class over and over. So a white mage would have to spam white magic even if nobody needed it to level up. In the remakes, they changed it to where as long as the character attacks, defends, uses an item, or their special ability, they will get job experience. This really sucked for mages in the original since it uses the MP system from the first game. To put it short, you didn't have the traditional MP system you see in most RPGs. Instead, every spell had a certain level, and you could only use a certain level a certain number of times before you couldn't use that level anymore. When a mage's job level is low, they will only be able to use very low level spells about three times before they are SOL. Why the remake uses this MP system still is beyond me.
As stated earlier, the remake makes it easier to raise job levels by doing pretty much anything, but the game still has one major problem. For the first third of the game or so, magic is everything. Almost every boss is strong to physical attacks so you have to wack them with the strongest magic you have. So having 2 Red Mages, 1 White Mage, and 1 Black Mage until you get the second crystal is pretty much the way to go. However, this requires a lot of job grinding. Thankfully, there's a way to manipulate this. When a job level is from level 1-13, it takes 5 actions total to level up. 14+ on the other hand requires ten actions for a job level up. Your best bet until you get the second crystal is to spend every battle just defending for five rounds, and then ten rounds at level 14 so you get that job level up. This gets very boring though, so up to the second crystal is the most boring part of the game for this reason, but it's worth it in the end. Thank you PSP version for having an auto function that allows you to set your commands and then speed the battles up.
When it comes to battling, as stated, III decided to spice things up by giving most classes a unique ability. The Fighter's for example has him use a powerful attack, but it lowers his defense for one round. Then there's the Dark Knight who can pay 10% of his current HP to perform an extremely powerful attack that hits every enemy. To add more spice, you will occasionally get a 5th party member who will randomly appear in battles to attack enemies or give your party some kind of buff. This is nice and all, but it's annoying when trying to job grind for the first half of the game.
Now lets talk difficulty. This is probably one of the harder games for all of the wrong reasons. The first two dungeons are piss easy, but then the game gets an absurd difficulty spike. This game pretty much tells you that magic is the only way to go for a while since with the third dungeon, you have to go through the entire thing in a Mini state. In this state, your physical attack and defense fall greatly so you always do 1 point of damage, and enemies hit like a truck. So I hope you did all that job grinding early on otherwise you're screwed. After this point, the difficulty goes all over the place. The next hour or so can be a cake walk, but then everything starts kicking your ass due to hitting like a truck. Doesn't help that the remake gives bosses a huge buff in stats and multiple attacks a turn. The worst part though is end game. You have to go through THREE dungeons in a row, and you don't get ANY healing or save points in between. You can go back and save after the second one, but it's still annoying. Technically it's four dungeons since there's a hidden dungeon with some of the best stuff in the game hidden in the second one.
Overall though, I thought III was pretty decent. It's the best game in the NES trio easily, but it has one major flaw that kills it for us outside Japan, and that flaw is how long it took to come out. It's a more fleshed out Final Fantasy I, and it's kinda pointless to go back to the original because III exists. The problem is that we already had TWO different versions of Final Fantasy V out, and that's a more fleshed out version of III. So because we have V, there is NO reason to ever go back to III. If you're interested though, it's a decent RPG, but it's nothing special. Yes, what it does to flesh out the original is great, but again, there's no reason to go back to it since V is a thing.