Final Fantasy Review

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It's the beginning of the end...


Released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series’ Japanese debut, Final Fantasy is a nostalgic romp for players weaned on the classic franchise and a chance for newbies to see where the magic first began. But even with a shiny facelift and fresh challenges first introduced in the adventure’s Game Boy Advance incarnation, this awkward, antique swashbuckler is beginning to show its age.

Unlike the extravagant FF adventures of recent years, the story in this old-fashioned role-player amounts to little more than a handful of adventurers hunting for crystals, in turn stripping FF of the deep emotional involvement that made its outrageous sequels world famous. Moreover, while a game such as Valkyrie Profile offers PSP players a chance to experience mature RPG action on the move, playing FF feels more like a bunch of random battles strung together, a structure that suits quick bursts of action on the bus to work, but feels empty in comparison to more ambitious contemporary quests.

A classic adventure that helped launch a million imitators, Final Fantasy is an innovative and important piece of gaming history; but while there’s no doubting its influence, even the most sentimental FF nut won’t be able to forgive its faults.