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Third First Impressions: Final Fantasy IV

First things first: I find it ironic - VERY ironic - that I had to pass FOUR Gamestops in Milford to go to Orange and buy this game at Best Buy. That's fucking hilarious. I called EBX first and got some female voice on the other line, and asked her if they had it. "What system?" WARNING! WARNING! MORON ALERT! I said "... DS?", she goes "I don't think it's out yet". "It's out, it came out yesterday, do you have a loose copy?" "... Used?" "No, loose. Will I get the damn thing if I didn't reserve it?" "Oh, no. You have to had reserved it first. I'm 99% sure we don't have anymore" (You didn't even know what system before, you dumb cunt!) "Check" *minute later* "Nope"

Same answer at the other three stores, and one kid had the fucking audacity to remind me that if I had reserved it that I would have a guaranteed copy. Right, like the Wiis and 360s everyone reserved back in the day, you twat.

And this was MY store! In case I didn't mention it, Angel - the manager - quit a couple weeks back to take on another job. Good for him; store management is not lucrative, especially at a dumping ground like Gamestop, and with a wife and kid, you have to take what you can get if it's better. My fear at first was that someone else would get in there, change the staff around and change the way the store was run; I hope it's not coming true, but I'm going to poke my head in tomorrow to see if Mike or Terrance are in. If this is the end of the last cool Gamestop, I'm likely done with brick-and-mortar stores for good. I'll buy at Amazon if I have to. It is unconceivable that I had to pass four stores that SPECIALIZE IN VIDEO GAMES, for which it is their ONLY BUSINESS, to get a game, simply because the other stores refuse to carry spare copies as punishment for those of us that prefer to wait for trustworthy reviews before buying a game. I don't want to hear about profit margins and all this other shit; Gamestop is a glorified pawn shop at this point, and I should never need specific strategies to get new games there, nor should I have to pre-pay part of the cost of a game just to have to go through hoops to get that money back if I change my mind (I still have $5 down on Ninja Gaiden II).

Now, with that out of the way, I've been critical of Squeenix lately, mainly because this is like the 93412321382th time they've done Final Fantasy IV/II/IV Easy/Hard/Omega/Whatever, and I'm getting a little tired of Square making modest improvements to ancient games and then charging balls-to-the-wall full price, knowing that fanbrats are going to suck it up no questions asked. I had serious questions about the quality of this game compared to the quality of other versions of this game, and at first, I thought the title unnecessary. However, everyone recommended it to me, including people I generally trust with their opinions (Celice from FESS was notable in saying just how much better this game was), and most importantly, Aileen is really excited about this one. So therefore, since she'll hump this one, and then hump me, the $40 purchase was easy. However, despite this primarily being for her to play, I'm not going to lie and say I'm not at least curious to see how this turns out.

So far, I have to say that Celice was right.

I got this game on release day mainly so I could take some time, play it, and tell other fanatics on my list, like hezul, about whether it was good or not. Of course, by the time I got the game at Best Buy (sucking up my entire lunch), getting out of work, getting home and finally being able to play it, Samantha had already gotten it, opened it, played it, gotten Rydia and posted about it. :( So I managed to dig in, and was taken aback at the quality of the cutscenes and the quality of the voice acting (of course, being Yuri Lowenthal helps that). It does completely change the way the story is told, especially considering the fact that they did significantly improve the production off of FFIII. The game looks good - especially by DS standards - and the presentation looks solid, but visually and audibly.

Of course, Samantha had another great point about this game: "the graphics came with a slice of MOTHERFUCKING HARDCORE". I have to go vet this personally, but... um, when did inns start costing 50G at the beginning of the game? (EDIT: Turns out that's standard) When did gil become so hard to come by? And when the FUCK did enemies start doing so much motherfucking damage!? I've burned four Phoenix Downs already, I've had to retreat to town twice for an emergency inn revival of Rydia, and I'm still trying to grind outside the cave that leads to Damcyan! Is this Squeenix's way of atoning for FFIV: Easy Edition way back in the day? This game got hard! FAST! I just did a little bit of a test run on three different versions of the game: Final Fantasy II (USA), Final Fantasy IV (translated SNES ROM), and IV Advance. I was taking four shots of damage from imps before. Now? 25! The Mist Dragon killed Kain! And Rydia... man. She comes in at a higher level than she did in at least IV Advance (Lv. 7 now, Lv. 1 before), and I am STILL having problems keeping her alive, even from the back row. This is insane. I think I'm going to be legitimately tested this time around.

Overall, from what I can see so far, I'm eating crow this time; this game is definitely worth the $40, even for anyone that's gone through the game before; just the added difficulty is enough to justify a repeat purchase. As a matter of fact, games like this make me even more angry at the Chrono Trigger re-release that's coming up; we KNOW what Squeenix can do when they're motivated, so for them to just toss us Chrono Trigger with nothing significant added on is inexcusable, considering I'm going to predict, in two or three years time, we're going to get another version of the same game, also at maximum cost.

That said, I have to give credit where it's due, and so far, it's due here.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
aitherion
Jul. 23rd, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
It has voice acting? Sweet.
superbus
Jul. 23rd, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
Not only that, but the voice acting is very, very good. They brought in some top notch talent.
aitherion
Jul. 23rd, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Well hell, Yuri Lowenthal alone gives it some awesome points for VAs.

Should go look into this, I've been meaning to buy it anyway but that just makes it even more awesome.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
It's Berg.

I managed to get a copy from GameStop without having reserved it, but I got it at like 2:30 PM when the rest of the world was at work. I'm impressed so far, though all I've really done is go outside of Baron and fight a bunch of Goblins to try and level up.
superbus
Jul. 23rd, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Check out how much damage those guys do. I was taking 20pts. of damage!
samuraiter
Jul. 23rd, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Speaking as, perhaps, the one person who did not recommend this to you, I present my reservations. Unfortunately, my reservations make me feel my age. 1.) Voice acting? For me, for this particular game, no. I miss imagining how they talked. 2.) Difficulty? Sure, bring it on. If it's harder than the original 'hard type' release, that's fine. I can take it. 3.) I'd still rather have this game redone in PSP 2-D, rather than DS 3-D. Hopefully, the FMVs don't have the 'chibi' people. It'd be nice to see these characters rendered in a non-cartoony way.

Then again, I'm picky. I grew up with this game, and I'd really like it to be as true to the original format as possible. ... I'll probably still buy the release in good time, though. Milady's not played the game in any format, and the GBA screen is too small for her to easily see.
hezul
Jul. 23rd, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
There's an option to turn the voices off, if you're bothered by them.
dmajohnson
Jul. 25th, 2008 09:23 am (UTC)
Even on the PSP, they'd be chibi. Heck, they were all chibis in the original.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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