Final Fantasy 2 (Nintendo SNES, 1991)
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|Delve far back in video game history and see where the roleplaying genre began. Originally released in Japan as Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was a landmark release, introducing complex characters, narratives, and game mechanics, revolutionizing gamers' ideas of what games could be. Play as the dark knight Cecil as he comes to question his allegiances to a destructive path and dubious master. Complete with a celebrated musical score, enhanced sound quality, and cinematic movies, the infamously rare Final Fantasy II is a treasure for fans of role playing and vintage gaming systems alike.
In Final Fantasy IV, the player controls a large cast of characters and completes quests to advance the story. Characters move and interact with people and enemies on a field map, which may represent a variety of settings, such as towers, caves, and forests. Travel between areas occurs on a world map. The player can use towns to replenish strength, buy equipment, and discover clues about their next destination. Conversely, the player fights monsters at random intervals on the world map and in dungeons. In battle, the player has the option to fight, use magic or an item, retreat, change character positions, parry, or pause. Certain characters have special abilities. The game was the first in the series to allow the player to control up to five characters in their party; previous games had limited the party to four.
Player characters and monsters have hit points (HP), with the characters' HP captioned below the main battle screen. Attacks reduce remaining HP until none are left, at which point the character faints or the monster dies. If all characters are defeated, the game must be restored from a saved game file. The player can restore the characters' hit points by having them sleep in an inn or use items in the party's inventory, such as potions, as well as using healing magic spells. Equipment (such as swords and armor) bought in towns or found in dungeons can be used to increase damage inflicted on monsters or minimize damage received. The player can choose whether characters appear on the front line of a battle or in the back. A character's placement impacts damage received and inflicted depending on the type of attack.
Final Fantasy IV introduced Square's Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which differed from the turn-based designs of previous RPGs. The ATB system centers on the player inputting orders for the characters in real time during battles. The system was used in many subsequent Square games.
Each character has certain strengths and weaknesses; for instance, a strong magic user may have low defense, while a physical fighter may have low agility. Like other Final Fantasy games, characters gain new, more powerful abilities with battle experience. Magic is classified as either "White" for healing and support; "Black" for offense; or "Summon" (or "call") for summoning monsters to attack or carry out specialized tasks. A fourth type, "Ninjutsu," consists of support and offensive magic and is available to only one character. Magic users, who account for eight of the twelve playable characters, gain magic spells at preprogrammed experience levels or fixed story events. The game includes balanced point gains, items, and rewards to eliminate long sessions of grinding. Due to the Super NES' greater processing power, Final Fantasy IV contains improved graphics when compared to previous Final Fantasy titles, all of which were released on the NES. The game employs the Super NES' Mode 7 technology to give enhanced magic spell visuals and to make airship travel more dramatic by scaling and tilting the ground for a bird's eye view.
The game was critically acclaimed upon release. Famitsu's panel of four reviewers gave it ratings of 9, 9, 10, and 8, adding up to an overall score of 36 out of 40, one of the highest scores it awarded to any game in 1991, second only The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In its November 1991 issue, Nintendo Power proclaimed it set a "new standard of excellence" for role-playing games. They praised the battles as being "more interesting than in previous RPGs" because the player "must make snap decisions" and the "enemies don't wait for you to make up your mind," and concluded that the "story, graphics, play and sound will keep fans riveted." Electronic Gaming Monthly' panel of four reviewers gave it ratings of 8, 9, 7, and 8, out of 10, adding up to 32 out of 40 overall. In its December 1991 issue, Ed Semrad, who gave it a 9, stated that "Square has just redefined what the ultimate RPG should be like," noting the "spectacular Mode 7 effects, outstanding graphics and a quest unequalled in a video game," concluding that it "makes use of all the Super NES has to offer" and is "the best made to date!" Ken Williams (as Sushi-X), who gave it an 8, stated that it is "a totally awesome RPG," the "storyline is actually coherent and the plot moves along with a combination of speaking sequences and battles." On the other hand, Martin Alessi, who disliked role-playing games, gave it a 7. They gave the game an award for 1991's Best RPG Video Game, stating that the "Mode 7 is great here and Square does a spectacular job in using it to zoom in and away from the planet" and that the "quest is huge and also one of the most difficult ever attempted in a video game."
|Game||Final Fantasy II|
|Platform||Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Genre||Role Playing Game|
|Number of Players||1|
|Game Series||Final Fantasy Series|
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