Hello everyone, and welcome back!
I hope you are as excited as I am to be playing through what is considered a very strong entry in the Final Fantasy franchise,
Final Fantasy 4!
So, some of you may know about how this game was originally called Final Fantasy 2 for SNES, but it is actually the fourth in the series. FF2 and FF3 didn’t get ported over here to the US for a while.
So, the game was named FF2, since the original FF2 and FF3 were Japan only at the time.
Later remakes of this game have changed the title to reflect the actual number, however.
Let me start by saying that FF4 is one of the only FF games I have never actually played. I know about it, read about it, watched it, but never actually played through it myself, so I am quite excited.
I will be playing the PC Steam version of the game. I believe this version is based on the DS remake of the game.
FF4 did a few things different with the formula compared to the first three games.
In FF4, you have set characters, almost like FF2, except unlike FF2, those characters come with their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, classes/jobs and the like.
This is the style that a lot of the future FF games would take, like FF6 and beyond.
This is also the first inclusion of the Active Time Battle, or ATB system. Instead of turns, where monsters and the player each put in their action for the turn and watch it unfold, with the ATB system, the action is constantly going.
A bar will fill up for each character. When the bar is full, it is their turn to take an action, but be quick! Monsters and enemies also have an ATB bar which fills, and they can do actions when it fills as well, even if you don’t do anything!
This system would go on to be a staple for the FF series.
This game also got a spin-off sequel of sorts, called the After Years. I won’t be playing it right now, since I am just going to be playing the “main” FF titles, but it takes place after the events in this game, I believe. I played a little of that one when it was on the Wii.
But other than that, let’s jump in and start Final Fantasy 4!
That intro sequence got me hyped to play this game!
New game please!
We get a choice between Normal or Hard mode. I choose Normal, of course.
We are then presented with our first character of the game, Cecil.
Apparently, he was tasked to steal a crystal from the Mysidians. Chopping them down, it appears he and his men have some remorse about the senseless slaughter of the civilians.
Oh, also, this game features voiced dialogue! I had no idea!
Just a side note, this game moves fast, so I might not be able to grab screens of everything, but I will do what I can.
Anyway, some monsters attack and we are treated to the battle screen!
Darkness I guess works differently than in FF3. In FF3, it was an attack that would just deal a ton of damage to all enemies, at the cost of some health. In this game, it appears to cause Cecil to glow with a dark aura, powering up each of his physical attacks at the cost of his health.
He actually got pretty low because I didn’t know what I was doing! Ha!
Anyway, the men say we are nearing the castle, and Cecil orders us to land.
When we arrive, we get an audience with the king. We give him the water crystal that we took from Mysidia (sound familiar? It is from FF2!).
Cecil, unable to bite his tongue any longer, speaks up to the king, asking him why he has changed, and what he plans to do.
The king, obviously gets upset with Cecil, who then removes him as commander of the Red Wings!
Cecil tries to interject, but the king says he has another job for him, to go to a place and take care of an Eidolon of Mist and hand off a ring to a village.
Just then, we meet another character, Kain, who tries to come to the aid of Cecil and convince the king to reverse his decision.
But the king is adamant, so much so that he orders Kain to go with us on this mission.
As Cecil and Kain are basically thrown out from the castle, Cecil apologizes to Kain.
Kain tells him they will do this royal mission and the king will forgive Cecil and give his position back. He also tells him that he will take care of preparations for the journey.
We are now given control of Cecil! Time to check some settings and menus!
Cecil is already level 10. Awesome.
We also see that Cecil has some dark armor equipped. I check out Darkness, which makes Cecil deal double damage on his attacks for some health each time he attacks.
I go through the Help menus as well, to learn some of the things of the game.
The menu was a shock at first, but I like it.
Wondering about, we find Kain. Cecil once again apologizes, but Kain disapproves. There is a flashback of a sparring session between Cecil and Kain.
We continue to explore Baron Castle and find some money, an Ether and a Tent. Ethers heal MP while Tents restore HP and MP when used on the world map.
Eventually, we come across Rosa, our next character. She is a White Mage of Baron Castle. It appears her and Cecil are close.
She says she will meet Cecil later in the castle tower… Dang, Rosa wants Cecil bad!
We meet up with Cid. Cecil tells him about what just happened and he tells us he is worried about the king as well. He wishes us well and heads home.
It appears Cecil’s men have taken the last mission pretty hard.
We find a cute little rabbit friend, who introduces himself to be Namingway, the name-changer extraordinaire! He lets us change our name, but apparently he can’t do it? He runs off to try to find his calling again.
We go up and talk to a woman who tells us our room is ready.
When we try to sleep, Rosa appears and asks us what is wrong. She knows something is up, but Cecil is afraid to tell her.
He eventually breaks down and tells her what happened in Mysidia.
She tells him he is a good man, and that she loves him. She also tells him to be careful in Mist.
Then, in the morning, Cecil and Kain set out to find Mist and take of the Eidolon!
We take a look at Kain’s stats when we gain control again. Typical Dragoon, Jump, heavy armor and a Spear. He also starts at level 10 like Cecil. Awesome.
Then, we set off.
I do a couple of battles, just to get the hang of things.
Also, when you target an enemy, you can see various stats. They are blank right now, but I wonder how you fill them in?
Also, Cecil gets his first level up!
Moving on, we fight a few more battles and Kain levels up as well.
We enter the town of Baron and explore, but this place doesn’t have much to it. The weapon and armor shop is closed, but we do find some hidden items, a Potion and some Eye Drops.
Leaving Baron and heading Northwest, we find a cave with Namingway. He says he has taken up another profession, cartography, so he is now Mappingway. He gives us an enchanted map that will auto-map dungeons for us, and if we complete it, we get a reward! Sounds great!
Exploring the cave, we get into a fight with some Larva. These guys are easy, but they can cast Slow.
Unlike other games, Slow in this game actually has a powerful effect. Because of the ATB system, Slow makes a character’s ATB bar go up really slowly. This is a severe detriment, and worth casting on your foes. In FF1 and FF2, it wasn’t worth it at all, really.
Haste does the opposite, it makes the bar fill much faster, making it a top-tier spell to cast.
Anyway, we continue on through the cave.
We come across some chests with some Potions in them, when a voice tells us to leave. Cecil and Kain get their weapons ready, but nothing attacks.
The group continues despite the warning when another voice haunts us, telling us to leave now.
We are given a choice to turn back, to which Cecil replies no, and the Mist Dragon attacks us!
So the Mist Dragon was pretty easy, and serves as the first tutorial fight. It has a gimmick, where, after a while, it can shift it’s form into mist. If you attack it during this time, it counters with an attack that deals almost 100 damage to Cecil and Kain.
Once it reforms, you can go back to attacking it again.
It goes down quickly, especially considering it’s weakness to dark attacks, which Cecil is a master of.
We also complete the Mist Cave map, and get five potions from it. You can also bring up the map as an overlay while you traversing the dungeon. This is amazing. I love having a map I can quickly look at during dungeons.
The fact that we get a bonus if we complete a map, that is just icing on the cake!
Anyway, we exit the cave.
We see the outside and go the village of Mist, where the king instructed us to drop off the ring when all of a sudden the ring lets off a light…?
It releases fire and bombs which destroy the village!?
Cecil and Kain are taken back by this. Why would the king order Cecil and Kain to destroy a village like this?
As the fires blaze, we spot a young girl weeping over her dead mother. Kain mentions that the woman is a Summoner, those who can bring Eidolons into being. Cecil and Kain put two and two together and realize the Mist Dragon was the Eidolon this woman had summoned. By killing it, it apparently killed the summoner as well.
The little girl is fraught with despair and rage over hearing this.
At first, Kain says to finish her off, but Cecil demands he stop.
Kain asks him if he would betray the king. Cecil says any king that would order this is no king of his… To which Kain agrees.
Kain says to defy the king would defy the most powerful military in the world. They need allies and other powerful nations.
They try to get the girl to go with them, but she refuses. She runs and they chase after her, but with her rage, she summons an Eidolon that causes a massive earthquake!
As Cecil comes to, he realizes Kain is missing, but the girl is still alive. He takes the girl with him as he figures out what to do next.
The girl isn’t in our party right now, so Cecil is going solo for a bit.
There is also a custom Auto-Battle option. I believe you can set a single command for each of your characters to use, and you can press a button and just the let the game go. That is going to be really handy for leveling!
We come across a desert which we explore.
The fact that Cecil is going solo right now really stinks, since he takes all the attacks, putting a pressure on my dwindling Potion supply.
Anyway we come to the desert town of Kaipo.
Cecil immediately finds the inn to let the girl rest.
Later in the night, some Baron soldiers find us and demand we hand over the girl, and the king will pardon all that Cecil has done.
Cecil, of course, refuses and they attack us!
We kill off the General’s men and he retreats.
The girl finally introduces herself after Cecil proves to be an ally.
Rydia also joins the party.
Rydia is the ultimate mage. She has White, Black and Summon magic at her disposal!
Exploring the town of Kaipo, we hear talk of a fair maiden that was found collapsed outside of the village.
While we are here, we pick up a few curatives.
We find Namingway, who has apparently lost all of his maps and pens when Rydia summoned the earthquake, so he now becomes Livingway the vagrant for the time being.
He does let us view a bestiary, however.
We further explore the home to find Rosa!
It appears she has been stricken with something called Desert Fever, and it can only be cured with a pearl found in the dangerous caves near here. I suppose we now have our next quest.
As well, Rosa gives us an Augment.
These are unique to the DS remake of the game. I believe you can equip these on characters to permanently give them bonus abilities. In this case, Auto-Potion.
Be warned however, they are indeed permanent! Once a character gets one, they are stuck with it for the rest of the game!
Naming- I mean, Livingway gives us a very brief tutorial on Auto-Potion, but doesn’t mention the important detail, like it being permanent!
We leave and continue to look around Kaipo.
We come across the Fat Chocobo, but it appears we don’t have full access to whatever it is he does in this game.
We leave Kaipo and try to find those caves the pearl is in.
Poor Rydia hits for nil right now, but her magic is really good.
We find and enter the cave, which actually has quite a bit tougher monsters than in the desert.
Tiny Mages cast Black magic spells which hurt pretty bad.
With Rydia’s Cure keeping us healthy, though they go down.
I do some leveling in here to get Rydia up to speed. She learns Sleep and Confuse in the process.
That is another change from the past FF titles. Other than Augments, characters learn abilities as they level up, instead of having to buy/find spells, most characters just learn them as their level increases.
We also try out her Summon ability on the way back to Kaipo to rest.
She summons Chocobo… Which has less than stellar results.
It basically does the same damage as her Blizzard and Thunder spells, at double the cost. Well, every summoner has to start somewhere!
She also levels up and gains Esuna and Poison. Esuna removes status ailments, so that will be very handy to have.
After resting up in Kaipo, we head back to the cave to look for the pearl.
Also, side note, those Tiny Mages pack a pretty big punch with those spells if they all target one person. I got incredibly lucky and Rydia barely lived. I had to furiously spam Cure to keep her alive.
Further in the cave, we meet up with a man who says he is looking for his daughter Anna. We remember talk of her and her father from the villagers in Kaipo.
It appears she has ran off with a bard to Damcyan castle.
He says he cannot get through due to a powerful beast that lurks ahead. He asks for our aid.
Cecil agrees and Tellah, the sage joins!
Tellah is a lot like Rydia, except he can only use White and Black magic, so no summons for him. But, he comes with a plethora of great spells, like Raise (revives someone), Blink (increases evasion), Cura (heals more than Cure) and Osmose (absorbs MP from enemies) to use.
In addition, he has an ability called Recall, which lets him try to remember forgotten spells? Not sure what this does, I think it causes him to use random spells or something? We will have to find out and see.
Yeah, that is what it appears to be, he just remembers a spell and casts it on enemies.
But that spell can include very powerful spells that he doesn’t know yet, so it could help in a pinch, I suppose, if you are lucky, anyway.
Rydia levels up and learns Cura and Warp.
After going through the cave, we come to a magic sigil on the ground that Tellah explains.
We can use the circle to use Tents and the like as well as save our game. Yes! Save points mid-dungeon, thank you so much FF4!
We pick up an Ice Rod in a chest, which Rydia gets.
It was also at this point that we face our first enemy that can turn us into Toads. Here is Rydia as a cute little toad. When a character is a Toad, they can’t really do anything, so it is best to cure it right away. Esuna or a Maiden’s Kiss cures Toad.
Note to self, don’t use Recall a lot. Tellah recalled a spell called Faith, which emptied out his MP. No idea what it did, but it caused me to have to run out and rest.
Rydia learned Raise and Toad on the way out. Now Rydia can get her revenge!
After re-stocking up on supplies and staying at the inn, we make our way back to the cave.
As we traverse the cavern, we find a weapon upgrade for Cecil in the form of the Shadowblade, which doubles his attack!
Eventually, we come to the outside, where Tellah tells us we might want to use a Tent and rest.
He also informs us that the we will have to enter another cave and descend a waterfall to find the lair of this beast that stalks these caves.
It went down without much of a fight. I had Tellah cast Blink on Rydia and himself while Cecil used Darkness and attacked. Rydia Defended and was on stand-by for healing.
I then had Tellah use Thunder until he was out of MP. Thankfully, he just ran out as the boss died, so it was perfect timing.
Another thing, Blink seems to work differently in this version. In other versions, it merely increased your evasion by a certain amount. This game seems to always make enemies miss their attack, then the spell ends on that character. Cool.
After the fight, we exit the cave. Tellah tells us the castle should be nearby.
But when we get close to the castle, Baron airships appear and bomb the place! The group rushes to investigate, but we will save that for next time!