The seminal RPG series’ lost chapter makes its way to Android
Square Enix has taken a long time to bring their wares to Android, but now they’re bringing out the big guns. Final Fantasy III already landed on iOS devices last year, but there’s no better title to flex the legendary RPG publisher’s mobile muscle. Of course, even the iOS game wasn’t exactly new, but rather a slightly polished version of the Nintendo DS game released in 2006, which in turn was an overhaul of the classic 1990 Japanese-exclusive Famicom title (and not to be confused with the American Super NES release of the same name).
To many in the West, Final Fantasy III remained one of the series’ lost chapters, the very last to finally get a release outside of Japan. It’s a purely old-school affair that harkens back to the lighthearted fantasy tone of the series’ debut, and introduces the Job System that would later become a selling point of Final Fantasy V. Alas, poor timing and the looming 16-bit generation kept it from being a viable candidate for a western release.
Square’s remake does its best to modernize the game without straying too far from the source material. The original’s script was woefully thin, with a barely-there plot, and nameless main characters with no individual dialog or back story. Square has rethought this, with four unique characters that are now introduced separately with their own individual episodes to help build characterization. The script has been expanded to provide more detail and character, but it still doesn’t go so far as to introduce new sub-plots, so the story is still pretty simple.
The graphics have been completely overhauled in 3D, and look leagues better than the mobile remakes of FF1 and 2. The Nintendo DS roots are still glaringly apparent, with blocky geometry and unfiltered textures. Those textures are redrawn and higher resolution, and while it looks considerably better than it did on Nintendo’s handheld, it wouldn’t pass for a modern Android game.
All of this is fine, but the $15.99 asking price for the game seems audacious for a game that has already made its money a few times now. The 25-hour quest offers a lot of value, but the high asking price and general lack of new content means this affair is strictly for those who missed their chance to play it on the DS or iPhone.
For those who haven’t yet had the chance to play FF3, it’s arguably the best of the original 8-bit trilogy. Like the original, it’s simple and much of the story involves rounding up crystals, but the Job System, even in its primitive form, adds some interest, giving players the ability to change between dozens of classes, each with unique abilities and perks. There’s no option to bring abilities from one class over to another like in FF5, but it still adds a layer of strategy not present in many other games in the series.
Square is also offering a less impressive 2D remake of the original Final Fantasy at a more modest price of $5.99, which makes for a tempting alternative, but it’s clear why Square felt this was the title that commanded the highest price. Despite that, it is certainly not the best game on the platform, but it does offer up one of the best RPG experiences. Particularly for fans of old-school challenge who have never experienced this chapter in Final Fantasy’s history, this is one that shouldn’t be missed.
Is it Hardcore?
Yes, a six year old port of a 22 year old game can still stand up to the best RPGs the ‘droid has to offer.