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Final Fantasy IV Turns XV 125

Jeremy Parish, keeper of the retronaut flame, has a nice post on his personal site marking the fifteenth anniversary of FFIV. Released in the states as Final Fantasy II for the SNES, the game chronicles the adventures of dark knight turned paladin Cecil and his wacky band of cohorts. It's still one of my favorite games in the series. From the article: "Tiny sprite theatrics notwithstanding, FFIV had something called moxie. It boldly featured one of those videogame plots where things happen for seemingly arbitrary reasons and there's a lot of traveling back and forth and into dungeons on mini-quests to justify endless killing random monsters and fighting bosses. I guess that's not moxie, really. But whatever it was, it drove dark knight Cecil Harvey across the entire world, into the dwarf-infested depths and eventually to the frickin' moon, so it would be silly to split hairs."
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Final Fantasy IV Turns XV

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  • by sc0ttyb ( 833038 ) * on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @02:47PM (#15745202)
    I declare July 19th National Spoony Bard Day!
  • Slow news day? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @02:48PM (#15745206)
    I'm a huge fan of Square and the Final Fantasy series, but isn't celebrating the 15th anniversary of the 4th game in a series kind of stretching it?
    • Dude, get with the program. I only drink when I'm celebrating something. This is worth at least 4 beers tonight.
      • This is worth at least 4 beers tonight.

        Odds are you'll be enjoying those 4 beers from the comforts of your dorm room, alone, playing final fantasy IV, reminiscing about Star Trek, and setting the kitchen timer so that you remember to call your mom before 9pm and wish her a happy birthday.
    • For any other FF, I'd agree. But FF4 was the pinnacle of the series, and well deserving of celebration.
      • For any other FF, I'd agree. But FF6 was the pinnacle of the series, and well deserving of celebration.

        Sorry, you had a typo there, and I felt compelled to fix it.
        • Re:Slow news day? (Score:1, Redundant)

          by Pluvius ( 734915 )
          But FF8 was the pinnacle of the series

          Fixed again.

          Rob (Would also accept "FF7")
          • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:28PM (#15745535)
            The series turned to crap the day it went 3d and turned into a teen angst soap opera. FF7 was okay but FF8 was the death of the series as far as I'm concerned.
            • When you realize that the main characters are to be completely ignored in FF8, that is when FF8 becomes a good game. Of course I'm sure that is not Square's original intention, but if you just ignore the most whiny and useless batch of heroes ever assembled in a game, you get a rather unique story around Laguna Loire, a man with no special combat powers whatsoever but managed to save the world from destruction.
              • you get a rather unique story around Laguna Loire, a man with no special combat powers whatsoever but managed to save the world from destruction.

                I know what you mean... my favorite part of FF8 was the Laguna "backstory." Once Squall met Laguna in the present I lost interest.

              • Squall is actually the best-written character of any FF game. The problem is that he's also very unsympathetic to most players, especially on the surface, so not many people really pay attention to his development or the motives behind his outward behavior.

                BTW, Squall's friends were totally useless and whined quite a bit, but Squall himself was a very effective leader and kept to himself most of the time. If you want whiny and useless, take a look at Tidus.

                • Squall is almost a victim to the game writer's inability to understand his own characters. Squall is portrayed as the perfect lone warrior/commando. You want to blow up something or do something impossible, he's the man to do it. He also possess great skills working/motivating a very small group of people like his father. But he is not a good leader for a large group of people, nor is he a diplomat/politician like Laguna. Yet the game expects him to have such qualities solely due to the fact that he is
                  • But he is not a good leader for a large group of people

                    He did quite well with the Garden, in fact. Squall doesn't believe that he's a good leader, but that doesn't mean that he isn't. It is possible for someone to have a lone-wolf personality yet at the same time have leadership skills, you know.

                    Indeed, why Squall to lead the Garden when he doesn't even want to? Why does he have to babysit some impossibly stupid comrades from killing themselves?

                    Both good questions, but they aren't really criticisms of the
                    • Re:Slow news day? (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by 7Prime ( 871679 )
                      One of the many reasons that it's actually my favorite game in the series, just ahead of FF9 and FF6. It's a love or hate game, I've found. I know MANY die-hard Final Fantasy fans (and I mean, people who have played over 50% of the series, including at least one pre-FF7 game), who think it's the finest game in the series... I also know many that think it's the worst thing ever made. I tend to find myself liking games/music/movies that are the biggest polarizers. While I was off at college, about 9 out of 10
          • But FF38 will be the pinnacle of the series

            Fixed your typo of a correction of a typo of a correction of a typo. No need to be temporal bigots, after all.
          • FF8 was the pinnacle of the series

            Or, as I like to call it, "Squaresoft Presents: DRAW FOREVER"
          • Actually, I would have to say that FF8 is the 2nd worst FF game (after FF5). The plot is trite and meanders without a lot of purpose, the characters are boring, and the combat system encourages (nay, demands!) that you spend massive amounts of time drawing cards instead of having fun. Also, the characters are interchangeable.

            It's the only FF game that I never got around to beating (after a memory card failure at the end of disc 3). I just didn't find it worth my time.

            FF6 on the other hand had great chara
            • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Pluvius ( 734915 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [3suivulp]> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:29PM (#15746387) Journal
              the combat system encourages (nay, demands!) that you spend massive amounts of time drawing cards instead of having fun.

              Ah, here's another one. You don't "draw cards," BTW.

              Also, the characters are interchangeable.

              If you mean gameplay-wise, they're much like those in most of the other FFs. The characters in FF2, FF3, and FF5 are completely interchangeable (and FF1 as well if you bring the character creation screen into consideration), while those in all of the FFs from FF6 on are nearly completely interchangeable. Except maybe FF9, I don't remember much about that one.

              As for FF8's plot, it was pretty weak. The game didn't really gear up until about Disc 3, and at least one scene that's important to understanding Squall's character development is optional. But the story (which, as you should know, is not the same as the plot) is pretty good, certainly better than FF6's or FF4's. (FF6's plot was worse than FF8's too; it fell totally apart halfway through.)

              The combat system can be horribly abused in the late game to make everyone into hideous nuke characters (if you power-level), but for the majority of the game, there is rich diversity in the characters abilities that most later FF games has not had.

              That diversity ain't that rich. There's very little difference between how Cyan's sword techniques distinguish him and how Squall's Renzokuken distinguishes him, for instance. The only real difference between the two is that you can use Cyan's techniques at any time. (And you can use Squall's limit break at almost any time if you know what you're doing.) The only diversity in FF6 is the sheer number of characters, and that damages other parts of the game far more than it benefits the battle system.

              As for the differences between the Junction system and the Esper system, there aren't that many as far as interchangeability is concerned. Just as it takes a while to hard-level everyone into using the best magic in FF6, it takes a while to build everyone's GFs and magic stocks up in FF8. The difference is that FF8's advancement methods are far more enjoyable--if you know what you're doing, of course.

              • The difference is that FF8's advancement methods are far more enjoyable--if you know what you're doing, of course.

                Well, yeah. I can see you're having a great time being smug at us, Mr. Expert, but you've actually kind of damned the game out of your own mouth there, you know?

                If the opening part of a game teaches players -- in excruciating detail -- how to use a deadly boring technique, then players will tend to use that technique and get bored. Games are meant to be fun, and if the fun stuff is so well hid
                • If the opening part of a game teaches players -- in excruciating detail -- how to use a deadly boring technique, then players will tend to use that technique and get bored. Games are meant to be fun, and if the fun stuff is so well hidden that many players never find it, then the game has failed.

                  Did you perhaps try reading the manual? Also, there were more tutorials in the game than just that one. One of them quite clearly states that the GFs have various abilities that make your life easier. This stuff
            • FF8's draw system is basically a really cool system that failed because it is too complicated/unorthodox. The draw spells are essentially your levels, and the time it takes to stock 100 of all the very best spell is significantly lower than the time it'd normally take you develop a character the good old fashion way. Although there are levels in FF8, those levels are basically meaningless because the boss scale up/down depending on your level (it generally works out higher level still nets you an advantag
        • FF6 is inferior due to materia. Any magic system that lets you make your best attackers awesome nukers and healers is horribly broken. Oh, and it was way to easy to assure your guys hit for max damage each round (especially that guy who did bum rush- make a circle witht he control pad for 9999 damage).
          • FF6 is inferior due to materia.

            You've accidentally pointed out why argument about whether or not FF6's gameplay is better than FF7's is silly. The gameplay of the games is so similar that it's really easy to refer to the widgets in FF6 as "materia" without even realizing that you made a mistake.

          • FF6 did not have materia. It had espers. FF6's characters, like the character classes in FF7, FF8, FF9, and FF10 are defined by character-specific abilities. In this regard, I found FF8 by far the worst, because the characters felt *completely* interchangeable, their differences being mostly cosmetic. To get the same sort of feeling from FF6, I spent 80+ hours leveling up.

            Also, you should try FF5, where your characters *are* completely interchangeable, given time.
            • Also, you should try FF5, where your characters *are* completely interchangeable, given time.

              No, no you shouldn't, unless you like brutal levelling slogs, a villian that is actually a talking tree turned evil, and the final boss's grudge monster's grudge monster. FF5 is an actually un-fun FF game. The dialogue's pretty trite too.
            • It takes about 10 levels using a +2 to magic on level up or +2 to strength on level up Esper to overcome any advantage in stats any characters may have had at the start of the game.
      • Meh. Sadly I think FFV was probably the best (followed by IV, then VI). Sure it ate time, but the story was amusing, and X-Death is probably the coolest Final Fantasy villian after Kefka (who is tied with Sepheroth). I probably got more joy from V than any other FF game.

        Not that I played them all, the ones on PS2 have completely failed to keep me interested, they all seem too much 8 for me, with WAY too much cinamatics. I don't have time to sit though 8 hours of pointless angst.
        • Interesting, I found Kuja to be far and away the most interesting villian in the series... he actually has a believably human motiv, other than "I'M INSANE" or, "I'M EVIL". It's a complex combination of, pride, jellousy, and narsicism that lead him to where he is... he's a tragic character that actually mimics the behavior of the hero, had he been on the other side. Unfortunate that his creator's saught to dress him up in the most unappealing clothes ever, so noone would like to admit to finding him interes

          • More importantly for me was that he was the first videogame villian to actually develop a sense of pathos. I wanted him dead, and not just because it was part of the game, but because it was more personal. And his laugh... Lord.

            Sepheroth was cool, but for different, and more asesthetic, reason. I wanted to BE him, he looked awsome, and he was the ultimate bad-ass. A good foil, though, to the unsure, apathetic Cloud. Cloud would be listening to emo and reading Squall's Myspace account, while Seperoth
    • Not really. Up until this game was released in the US, most US gamers were disinterested in RPG's because they were "slow" and "tedious" and "boring". But then some of us didn't get to the video store quickly enough one weekend, and the only thing left to rent was Final Fantasy II. See, all the RPG players had already rented it, played it, bought it, and loved it, so it was almost always in stock. And on those weekends where all the "good stuff" (I look back and shudder at what was "good stuff" sometimes) w
    • celebrated 1998 Oct. 1, "The END DAY" in the obscure NES game "Crystalis," and remade the whole page for the "Day of Lavos" in 1999. (Which was strange, since I don't think "Chrono Trigger" even gave the day of the year.)
      • (Which was strange, since I don't think "Chrono Trigger" even gave the day of the year.)

        Tell me if this sounds crazy...

        The day of Lavos always begun when you stepped through the portal to 1999 AD. And all the portals moved through time along with what was happening. Going to 600ad at endgame took you to a point where Magus was defeated, not back to he original point where Queen Leene was still kidnapped. Like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, "the clock in Truce Village is always ticking".

      • Crystalis? Obscure?!?! What planet are you from?
  • Final Fantasy IV Turns XV

    In non-mathematics major terms : Final Fantasy 9 Turns 15
  • by Pacifist Brawler ( 987348 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:11PM (#15745408)
    The one thing that I thought was really good in FFIV was that the characters were given reasonable motives and grew in hard to predict but reasonable ways. I don't think you get that in many other FF games -- FFIX and FFX try, but I think that FFIV might have had the best character development.

    Even if you disagree, it certainly had the best ninja-sorceress love affair ;P
    • Rydia was closer to a necromancer than a sorceress (excluding her black magic tree).
    • Second that. Strangely enough, I found myself drawn more to FFIV than FFVI for several reasons.

      FFVI's story might have been more grandiose, but after the first half it just tappered off into individual story lines. There's nothing wrong with gaining insight on your individual character's struggles, but FFIV's story seemed more concise throughout the whole game.

      Also, while FFVI does have possibly the best RPG villian of all time (I will give it that cred), it was easy to see from a mile away that the rest
      • By the time you reach FFVI's conclusion, with enough cactaurs you could Ultima every danged thing into nonexistance.

        I always found it fun turn Mog into a killing machine - between his equipment and stats after killing countless dinosaurs, I was able to get to Kefka and annhiliate him with no help after deliberately murdering the other party members.
    • I prefer the Locke/Celes subplot from FF6.

      Speaking of which, I've always thought that someone should write an opera based on FF6. The libretto practically writes itself and the game's score could be adapted for an opera.
    • FFIV is great, minus Kain, there is no rhyme or reason why he keeps switching sides.
  • FF4 (the real version) is the best in the series, in my opinion.

    It is difficult without being ridiculously so. The boss enemies are tough, and you don't have ridiculous limit breaks or way overpowered summons to do the job for you (FF4 summons are weak compared to those in the later games, IMO).

    It has some of the best characters, remembered by their personalities and character development, not their outlandish character designs like Cloud & Co. It had a reasonable plot that was actually completed and
  • I was waiting for something to happen in Elder Scrolls oblivion due to the day night cycle (somehow that makes the game more fun.....:( and started playing Final Fantasy IV advance. I played IV for an hour and never played oblivion again, Final fantasy IV is such a good game, and the combat system is so much better than any straight up role playing game I have played lately, its worth celebrating as far as I am concerned, run out and buy the new GBA version of this, it has a bunch of new content in it after
    • Yeah, FF4 had a simple combat system that was actually quite nice. I just hated the long cutscenes all the time. Story is fine, but at least let me skip it if I've already seen it. It got to the point where I'd just hit the turbo button to advance the dialog while I went off and did something else.

  • The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @12:28AM (#15747897)
    A lot of people miss the point of why FFIV was so great.

    Complicated situation re: villian? Check.
    Complicated relationships with multiple party members (other than angsty crap)? Check.
    Good balance between different characters (a huge rarity in FF post-IV)? Check.
    Good music? Check.

    There are also a few VERY important things that FFIV did that others mostly do not:

    Tie the characters around the story (class change as plot device, the designers' ability to create dungeons with a set party in mind).
    It was an pretty good bit of technological workmanship, considering it was almost wholely designed for the NES.
    First to do ATB.
    Did I mention Active Time Battle?

    People talk about how "deep" the newer RPGs are compared to the older ones. This is completely untrue. People often confuse "depth" with complexity, and say that either something is deep being it is overly complex, or because the writer hides the ball. One need only look to shakespeare to show that it is quality, not quantity or complexity, of character that makes a good plot. FFIV didn't have overly complex characters, nor massive amounts of dialogue to flesh them out, but the game used every bit that it did to create quality characters that worked well off each other.

    Cheers, FFIV. Still the best.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.