Final Fantasy III review
Enjoyable remake

The good:

Job system
Lots to discover

The bad:

Very weak story and characters
Overly difficult at times
Lack of Phoenix downs


Ladies and Gentleman! Final Fantasy 3 has returned! Or you could say it’s finally arrived if you speak English and don’t live in Japan. The original was released on the NES in 1990 and up until now was the only game in the series that never left Japan. This DS exclusive remake takes advantage of the DS’s capabilities while offering more or less the same experience as the original. Even if you are a hardcore FF fan, you probably haven’t played the original but you’ll probably be able to guess what the game is like; 4 heroes, an expansive world map, levelling up, monsters, items, magic, etc. There’s certainly nothing revolutionary, but easily enough to keep you interested during those long car trips, flights or boring math classes. If you don’t mind spending hours slaying monsters a dungeon, then check it out!

We’ve all heard this story before. You are the heroes of light and your task is to collect the crystals and save the world! Sound exciting? It’s not. Don’t expect a story that will keep you up all night wondering which way the plot will go. It’s incredibly simple and straight forward, driven by a bunch of main characters that have few lines of dialogue, ones who you will never form any sort of connection with. Non Playable characters come and go, and the bad guys pop up as fast as they disappear. So, the story and characters are weak and so far you’re probably thinking that this will be a horrible game, but these two elements are not what FF3 is all about. The game-play is where the addiction will kick in.

To be honest, the battle system is also quite simple. It is the Job system that keeps things interesting (which I’ll talk about later). Each battle sees your four characters up against a series of enemies. Apart from the typical attacking, row changing and item usage, each job opens up one or two unique battle commands. This adds a lot of strategic value to the fights as it presents so many ways to do things, which is needed considering some of the battles are very difficult. At times you’ll have to spend hours levelling up your characters in order to defeat a boss, who at first may seem close to impossible (such as the final boss....). I found the challenge quite enjoyable, as it encouraged me to explore the world inside out to make my characters as strong as possible.

If you were hanging out in a cave with your homies, picking fights with demons for moolah, and one of them just happens to bust a cap in yo’ ass, knocking you out instantly, what would you do? Use a phoenix down of course! There’s a big problem with that. Phoenix downs (the traditional Final Fantasy item used to revive fallen party members) do not grow on trees. In fact, they aren’t even sold in shops. The only way to obtain them is to find them in chests, or to steal them off a certain enemy. Chances are you will deplete your Phoenix down stock pretty quickly, which makes dungeon exploration a chore considering you have to exit and visit a town every time a character is knocked out. Why oh why couldn’t they just sell these damn things at a store. They would make a mint!

The job system is definitely the games strongest point. Just like your characters, their jobs can also level up, but instead of using experience points, the job grows stronger by using its actions in battle. You start off with only 6 classes but as you progress through the game, others are unlocked which opens up many more ways to fight your battles. There’s even a secret jobs that is unlocked by completing extra tasks or communicating with other gamers through the DS Wi-Fi. Combing these jobs based on the abilities they possess and equipment they can use is a lot of fun, and should easily hold your interest throughout multiple play throughs. Below are some of the jobs that you will discover in FF3.

While the job system as a whole is awesome, changing jobs can be a bit of a pain. Every time you wish to change jobs, there is an adjustment phase which usually ranges from 2-10 battles. Until you have fully adjusted, your stats will be lowered. I can’t see any purpose for this apart from annoying the hell out of the gamer. Perhaps they just wanted to limit the use of the best element of the game.

Final Fantasy games are known for the massive amounts of optional content that you can take on. FF3 is no exception. The entire world (floating continent, surface level and underwater) has plenty of secret dungeons, hidden rooms, super-bosses and other secrets to discover. Chances are that you won’t find them all on one play through so a couple of runs may be needed to get everything out of the game.

While by no means a revolutionary RPG, FF3 on the Nintendo DS manages to recreate everything that made it so popular in Japan all those years ago. If you’re a long time FF fan like me, then FF3 will no doubt provide you with hours of fun so long as you don’t play it expecting an Oscar winning plot and deep, developed characters. FF3 was the only main FF title that I hadn’t played, and now I’m very happy to say I have.

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