Final Fantasy IV Advance review
Child of Hallowed Light

The good:

> The original title has been completely remastered into 3D without anything being lost in transition
> A beautiful musical score to compliment the environments and really set the mood
> A colourful cast of lovable characters that you can connect with
> Added content from the original title that does not detract value at all from the storyline
> A more archaic translation of the game script to set the theme for the period that the game appears to be set in

The bad:

> The difficulty can sometimes change from being easy to really hard from one dungeon to the next


Final Fantasy IV is the story of a dark knight named Cecil who is beginning to question the nature of his actions; the very ones given by his sovereign king. Upon return from a mission to steal a Crystal from the settlement of Mysidia, Cecil questions his sire's motive only to be decommissioned from his post as commander of the Red Wings, the elite airfleet of Baron. Instead he is assigned a task of bearing a gift to the village of Mist, which in turn brings disaster that he had never initially intended to deliver. This in turn brings Cecil to question his purpose even further, and in so doing, sets him on a quest to rid himself of his blood stained past and journey to a new shining future.

Joining Cecil on his journey is his childhood friend, Kain; a Dragoon of Baron. Rosa, another childhood friend will also join the adventure as a White Mage to assist healing the party's wounds. Tellah, a Sage and knowledegable man in search for the lost Meteor spell will devastate the battlefield with his powerful magic. The young girl Rydia, the last remaining Summoner of Mist will lend her aid with a plethora of beasts that will come at her call, and Edward the Bard and Prince of Damcyan will lend his soothing voice to the battle front. Yang, a Monk of Fabul will join the fray with his expertise in fist fighting. Palom and Porom, two child protegees and Black and White Mages respectively will humour you with their antics. Edge of the Kingdom of Eblan will aid with his Ninja skills. Finally, FuSuYa, a Lunarian and expert magic user will assist with his magical prowess. All characters come together to supplement the party in each instance as there is no party selection available in this title.

But do not fret for this, as the new Augment system will allow you to impart abilities that were formerly owned by other party members to those in your active party. Not only are you able to select from abilities owned by party members, but sometimes villagers will impart their own skills, and they can also be found within dungeons in treasure chests.

Battles are conducted using the active time battle (ATB) system whereby a gauge will slowly fill until a character can have a turn. A character, when their gauge is full, is then able to select an action to perform which will either execute straight away, or charge the bar again depending on the associated action. For example, a physical attack will cause a character to act straight away whereby a magical one will cause the ATB bar to fill once more. The battlefield is lay out in an isometric field view where your party is on the right and the enemies are on the left, typical Final Fantasy style. However some boss battles will have the camera looking over the party's shoulders.

To enhance the experience, there has been an addition of cutscenes with voice acting which artfully portray some of the more emotional scenes of the game. A few occasions saw a tear come to my eye. But whether it be from the acting, or the nostalgia, I can not say.

In addition to the revised content, and scripting, there has also been included a new summon for Rydia called Whyt, which is with her from the start by default. This summon is customizable in that his stats are directly affected by the success of a player in various mini-games that are initiated by talking to Fat Chocobo. All these minigames involve using the DS stylus to effectively complete them. With this addition there is also a mini theatre, and Edward cameos as a dukebox where you can listen to most music from the game. Also, Namingway, the Hummingway plays a more integral role to the plot in that he can no longer rename characters but instead travels around the world and forms somewhat of a mini quest, to complete tasks that he assigns for rewards.

Dungeons all now have a little map on the bottom screen of the DS which fills in as you explore. Completing a map 100% will gain a set of items, that are helpful for trudging through the dungeons. None of the content of most of the dungeons has been changed, nor have that of the towns. So for a remake, Square-Enix has really hit the nail on the head with this title (Unlike some others that they have attempted).

All in all, this game is a wonderful experience whether you have played it before in it's 2D form, or are a first time player. It is highly recommended that you play this game as it's one of the better Nintendo DS RPGs out there on the market at this point in time, and with the number of them out there, that has to be saying something.

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