Final Fantasy III
Reviewed by Minna Kim Mazza
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-02-03 Nintendo DS RPG E10 (Everyone 10+) Square-Enix

The only Final Fantasy that was not originally released in North America is finally available on the Nintendo DS. I can't imagine what the original game looked like on the original NES, because it's so completely different than anything that an NES would be capable of. The trailers you see on TV with the cinematics look surprisingly nice on the DS. Even the in-game graphics are probably more comparable to the graphics of the games on N64 and PS1.

The storyline is pretty simple and as always somewhat familiar. Your four main characters are chosen to save the world from destruction. The world lies in a balance that is teetering due to an earthquake caused by dark forces, and the crystals warn of certain doom unless this balance is restored. The main character, Luneth, starts out underground after the earthquake, battling some monsters and finally encountering one of the crystals who tells him of this prophecy (which as usual, he doesn't quite understand at first). Eventually three more characters join him, who all happen to be orphans of some sort, and at this point is when we see the "beginning" of the game (even though you've probably played about an hour or so to get everyone all together).

Since we've been playing all sorts of Final Fantasy games since this one was originally released, a lot of the themes are very familiar. Each character has a "job" class, which you can change on the fly but all start at level 1. Different job classes use different abilities, armor and weapons, and sometimes have different options in the action menu. Everyone starts out as the "freelancer" class, which can use any gear as well as limited magic spells, but is not strong in any one particular area.

Battle is of the old school turn-based variety, which makes things nice and simple. You can also arrange characters to have more of a defensive stance. I like the added touch of adding animations for magic casting, which makes things feel a bit more modernized.

The DS also adds another dimension to the game with the additional top screen. A nice thing is that as you walk around the world, you can see the world map and notable places marked on the top screen. Not that the world is all that huge at first, but it's a nice thing to have without having to press a key to see the world map all the time. Also, inside towns and dungeons you can zoom in with the camera by tapping the icon or pressing the L button, which sometimes reveals sparkly areas which contain treasure or something to examine by pressing the "A" button. Of course you could just go around pressing the "A" button all the time, like in the old days... but this way you won't get tired!

Shopping for items, gear and spells has a cute touch to it as well - you'll shop on the main screen, but on the top screen you'll see the characters in your party standing in the shop. They'll also wave and smile, which is cute. You can also see when a character can equip an item depending on if they are lit up or not. It took me a little time to see that!

Sometimes additional characters join your party (like our old pal Cid) and as you walk around, you can talk to them by pressing the "Y" button or tapping the icon on the screen. Sometimes they just chat with you, but most times they will tell you useful information about what's going on in your adventure. You can also use the Mognet, which is introduced when you talk to a Moogle in one of the towns, and you can "mail" NPCs once an hour and they will reply to you immediately. With the wireless capability of the DS, you can also use the Mognet to send messages to other friends playing the game.

Overall this game feels more nostalgic than new, like I've played this before. But on the other hand, I know that I haven't played it before, so it's nice to be able to immerse into a story with new characters. I haven't gotten too far into the game, so I don't feel quite as attached to the characters yet. I'm hoping that changes as the game progresses, and you find out more about each character. Hopefully we'll also see some more of the nice cinematics, but I'm not sure if I'll see any more until the end of the game. Either way, it's still definitely worth getting to complete your Final Fantasy collection!