Old-school RPGs show their age more than most game genres, even when they’re re-released with a facelift. Final Fantasy III is a prime example of this, as it truly does feel like an RPG of yore with a complete visual overhaul. However, this doesn’t mean that Final Fantasy fanatics won’t love it any less.
For starters, we should explain that this is the Japanese Final Fantasy III, not the Final Fantasy III released in the U.S. in 1994, which was actually Final Fantasy VI in Japan. This Final Fantasy III was first released in the U.S. in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. Because of this, there’s a high likelihood that you haven’t played this game, although that doesn’t mean it won’t feel like just about every other RPG of its day.
Final Fantasy III is just about what you’d expect from a Final Fantasy released in the early ’90s. The storyline is the generic ‘four young heroes are chosen to save the world’ thing we’re all familiar with, random battles are plentiful, and the streamlining of progression and stats isn’t perfect. You’ll often find yourself in areas with monsters way above your level before figuring out where you need to go. This makes it hard for newcomers to jump into the fray.
Shh, I think it’s about to say some stuff.
Saving your game is a bit of a pain in Final Fantasy III, as you can only do so on the world map. This means that if you die during a boss fight you’ll need to replay everything leading up to it. Newcomers won’t find Square Enix welcoming them with cuddles and kisses. On the plus side, the game has an autosave feature and fast-app switching so you can pick up right where you left off if you need to take a call.
What sets Final Fantasy III apart from its predecessors is its class system. This allows you to specialize characters in certain aspects of war, such as black and white magic, thievery, and swordsmanship, just to name a few. As you progress through the game, new classes open up that become more specialized and more deadly when used correctly.
Chupathingy… it’s got a ring to it.
Square Enix did a great job with the updated visual style. While most of the things you’ll find in the game are fantasy tropes, there’s enough personality to keep it appealing. It is worth noting that some odds and ends haven’t been visually enhanced from the DS version, making them look a little out of place. They aren’t too bothersome, though.
Even with a fresh coat of paint there is no hiding that Final Fantasy III is a very cut-and-dry RPG experience that doesn’t stand up to the cinematic epics of today. You’ll spend a lot of time level grinding against enemies, and this is made all the more aggravating by the fact that you can’t skip battle animations.
Final Fantasy III is a very long game, offering dozens of hours of gameplay. However, it’s also one of the most expensive games on the App Store at the time of this writing. Final Fantasy nuts have probably already picked this one up, but others should wait until the inevitable price drop.