When Final Fantasy IV was released on the Super Nintendo back in 1991, it was known as Final Fantasy II to the US audience. While this wasn’t my very first Final Fantasy (I played FFI on the NES), this was a turning point in gaming for me as I suddenly realized games could be just as engaging as a good book or movie.
I didn’t play it until the summer of 1992, and when I did, it changed my life – I wrote about it here.
Sadly, FFIV is one of those installations in the series that has been ported to death across just about every console ever. Not all of those ports were good.
It also received an absolutely terrible attempt at a sequel called The After Years. Many consider The After Years the worst “game” in the FF series. It was originally released in a way that screamed “milking the fans for cash,” and it was a subpar rehash of everything that made the original good.
FFIV is one of those games that sometimes gets a shrug from oldskool FF players due to the sheer number of remakes and a bad sequel. However, I’m happy to say that the newest remake – the Pixel Remaster – has tasteful updates while remaining true to the original.
FFXIV Players Take Heed!
Why should a game that came out 30 years ago be of interest to folks today?
Are you a FFXIV player who knows nothing about FFIV?
Then you should be interested! Endwalker is FULL of FFIV references – from the minions the SE is giving out, to the Lunar Whale mount, to going to the moon (yes, FFIV did this first, and it blew our mind back then).
For example, the very first dungeon in Endwalker and the bosses within are references to a FFIV dungeon and bosses. I am super, super happy about this because up until now, FFXIV has pulled from a lot of FF games in the series, but only sparingly from FFIV.
And what it did pull from FFIV was… uh…
So… to get back on topic.
While I’m still playing through the Pixel Remaster, my best friend Syn (who is also a long-time FFIV fan) has completed it. She’s given it the overall thumbs up in that the game has been tastefully updated for a newer audience while not deviating in ways that significantly change the story from the original.
Unlike the 3D version (in which there are story parts added that I don’t consider canon) the Pixel Remaster plays very much like the original FFIV Japanese version. Though I have heard some complaints that the game is too easy and doesn’t require the grinding levels that the old versions did – I haven’t run across that issue at all, though, to be honest. Maybe it was a launch bug that got fixed? Who knows.
While the snazzy updated pixel artwork gets the bulk of the attention, there’s actually a lot going for this remake including:
- Recomposed music – not just remastered, but completely updated arrangements. Some took me time to get used to, but most of the tracks are really, really nice!
- Updated translation – this might be the best modern translation I’ve seen so far
- Good controller support – in fact, I suggest you use a controller for the best experience
- Graphics update – not just the pixels, but there’s a lot of nice background environmental effects that I appreciated in this version (mist, wind, ocean water, etc)
All this to say, if you’ve never played FFIV before, and have nothing to do between now and Endwalker, I happily recommend this version of the game to a first time player. We’ve only seen a handful of FFIV references in Endwalker so far, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more! I dearly hope we do as it makes the oldskool fan in me very happy!