Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Developer: Tose
The first game in this (what came to be) ironically titled series is without question the most basic console RPG experience I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I do believe Mystic Quest is more complex than this is, in any of its iterations. Explore, talk to townsfolk, buy items, exchange items, fight baddies, and grind. That’s it. It’s quaint, almost painfully so.
You’re free to make a party of four, from six classes (Warrior, Thief, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage) and name them after you and your friends or other characters (oh hai Vivi~). The grinding could be considered severe depending on your history and personal tolerances, but it is structured to match the regimented story, at the very least. Gain ten levels to be comfortable in the introductory dungeon and ten more for each subsequent. Level 60 is where you’ll want to be for a winnable final encounter that will still elicit slight fears of failure.
In the original NES release, a pointedly dated/annoying mechanic was the system’s inability to automatically switch your aim to another enemy if the one you originally targeted was defeated by another party member. It’s been fixed in every other version, but it’s not a ‘smart’ system and you’ll still want to be careful about your assignments as you’ll often find your warrior suddenly attacking a smaller enemy that your mages could have taken out either alone, or in tandem, to save you a round of combat.
That’s another thinly veiled tip. Bring more than one mage if you aren’t doing a challenge run, of which there are MANY flavors. Of course, I have to admit that outside of those popular challenges and nostalgia for its own sake, there is NO reason to play this game, today. If you want to experience a standard, classic Final Fantasy, play IV or VI.
This version contains all of the bonus dungeons from the GBA version as well as an exclusive that utilizes a mechanic similar to VIII’s endgame. You’ll be repeatedly handicapping yourself in order to progress. For me, getting extra gear and fighting bosses from the later games is silly, but it’s extra content if you want it.
If you have a PSP and are absolutely sure you want to play it, this IS the version I recommend. All PSP owners need more games and it’s bright, crisp, colorful, and in widescreen here. Win.
Buyer’s Guide: Here we go. /takes deep breath: NES, MSX2 (what?), WonderSwan Color, Playstation (as part of FF Origins, in the west), GBA (as part of Dawn of Souls with II—fuck you II, die in a hole), iOS, PSP, Windows Phone, Android, Wii and Wii U Virtual Console, 3DS eshop, and the NES mini.
3 Parts of Neg Still Love To Name Nameless Characters out of 5