Game Review: Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (DS)

Despite its conclusive-sounding name, Final Fantasy is one of the longest running role-playing game series. With more than 20 years under the belt, the Final Fantasy series has undergone a lot of changes. But what about those of us who miss the more ‘old-school’ FF titles? The 4 Heroes of Light for DS is supposed to fill that void.

Everything about this game screams ‘old-school sensibilities.’ Right off the bat, the simple storyline doesn’t waste any time and puts you right in control. You play as boy who is set to meet the king for his rite of passage into manhood. But when he gets to the castle, the king informs you that the princess has been kidnapped by a witch, and it’s up to you to rescue her. Along the way, you’ll meet three other brave heroes and together you’ll end up saving the world.

Gameplay is standard RPG fare. Gather clues and items in towns and explore a vast overworld map and dungeon mazes to battle monsters and gain experience points to level up. One gameplay aspect is similar to the old FF ‘job’ system. You can equip ‘crowns,’ little hats that give you special abilities like different attack skills or magic spells. The charming 3-D graphics are very cartoony with unique earth tones and a ‘rolling log’ view that reminds me of the Animal Crossing games. My favorite ‘old-school’ feature is the music, a mix of catchy 8-bit melodies mixed with more modern instruments.

Unfortunately, while the game carries all the good aspects of an old- school RPG, it also has the bad aspects, too. Goals can be a little unclear sometimes, and the game is very challenging. You only have a limited number of spaces to hold items like healing potions, spells, and armor, and item management in this game isn’t very fun. Plus, the multiplayer mode only advances the story in one player’s copy of the game. And finally, while this game has the Final Fantasy name, it doesn’t feel much like an FF title at all. They could’ve called it something else entirely and no one would be the wiser.

Even so, if you enjoy old-school RPGs, even their more frustrating aspects, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light can be a very rewarding adventure if you take the time to play it.

Kid Factor:

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is rated E-10 for Everyone 10 and up with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence, and Mild Language. The alcohol references and language are used sparingly in the text only. In battle, you attack monsters with swords and spells, but enemies only disappear when defeated. Reading skill is a must, as everything is text based. Kids will love the cartoony graphics, but the high challenge level may frustrate younger or less experienced gamers. If you have older kids who have mastered Pokemon, they may enjoy this more robust adventure.

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