The Final Fantasy series is one of the most legendary game franchises of all time. It’s been around since the very first game graced the NES 25 years ago as a last ditch effort for Square Enix, then Squaresoft, to stay afloat. Hence the name Final Fantasy. Since then, the name has spawned more than 50 total games, two movies, a concert series and one of the most dedicated followings in all of the video game world.
As memorable as Final Fantasy is, none of the games are absolutely perfect. This got me to thinking: what if you took the best aspects of the games in the main numbered series, and made one super, awesome, franken-game with it?
So let’s have a little fun and figure out what really would make the perfect Final Fantasy game.
Here’s what we’re going to break the game down into today: story, characters, villain, environment design, combat/leveling system and music.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the game would be released on current-gen hardware, so graphics wouldn’t be a questionable area.
FAIR WARNING: The following contains spoilers from many of the older games, but will NOT contain spoilers for the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII-2.
STORY: Final Fantasy IV
It’s really tough to nail down the greatest story in a sea of games known for having great stories, but Final Fantasy IV is easily the most memorable. You follow the tale of Cecil, the captain of the Red Wings, an elite military air force for the kingdom of Baron. The game begins with what appears to be business as usual, but Cecil quickly learns that those giving him orders may not be as true as they once were when he’s ordered to attack a defenseless village in order to obtain a crystal. Cecil questions his orders, and is demoted because of his heresy. He and his childhood friend Kain, who is captain of the Dragoons, are tasked with delivering a package to another village. The package turns out to be monsters that destroy the entire village.
Cecil learns he has been replaced by the evil Golbez, a tall man in dark armor with a desire to collect the crystals for ultimate power. The only way for Cecil to defeat Golbez is to perform a trial of sorts – climb Mount Ordeals and denounce his status as a Dark Knight in favor of becoming a Paladin.
What Final Fantasy IV did differently over any of the other games was the oddly dark story it had. During the course of the game, you meet several characters, and many of them befall terribly unfortunate fates. A pair of magical twins turn themselves into statues in order to save the party. Tellah, an old, wise man with a mastery over magic, sacrifices himself in order to cast a dangerous spell over Golbez as payback for killing his daughter. Your childhood friend, Kain, betrays you early on in the game and goes to work for Golbez. Golbez himself turns out to be Cecil’s older brother.
Other moments that are similar include: Aerith’s death in VII, learning of Tidus’ fate in X, being separated from Garnet in IX. However, none of it holds a candle to the entire series of events which leave an impact in Final Fantasy IV.
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