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Final Fantasy III Review

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The developers have finally got around to creating an English-language 3D remix of their vintage escapade

★★★★★

Now here’s a confusing one. Although Final Fantasy fanboys will have played FFIII on the Super NES in the mid-90s, that was actually the sixth instalment in Square’s evergreen series, and the third game never actually saw the light of day outside Japan. But now the developers have finally got around to creating an English-language 3D remix of their vintage escapade, it feels outdated and clumsy in a genre that’s evolved sharply since the game first appeared in 1990.

Essentially, although this is a Final Fantasy game and as such will charm a dedicated hardcore, FFIII is too fussy for a generation weaned on softer RPGs; the combat is fully turn-based and sure to alienate players who like a spot of action to punctuate their adventuring, and the relentless battles with random monsters quickly become irritating when you simply want to explore the luscious game world. Moreover, while the ‘jobs’ system that allows you to develop your heroes and learn new skills is a great addition for players with too much time on their hands, swapping professions means you have to be patient as your characters gets to grips with their new attributes, tempting casual players to stick in the same position throughout the adventure and master their most devastating attacks.

Also, while the game does a fine job of reworking the chunky 16-bit visuals into three-dimensions, FFIII makes little use of the DS' upper screen - which is inactive for most of the time - and only the most cursory effort has been made to exploit the console’s touch screen capabilities.

Final Fantasy devotees with the dedication to get the most from the deep combat should add an extra star to the score below and get swashbuckling.
But if you want a role-playing quest and your windows of gaming opportunity are restricted to short bursts of action on public transport, FFIII can be a frustrating and painfully slow experience.

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