Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-08-03 PSP RPG E10 (Everyone 10+) Square Enix

Twenty years ago, a Japanese games developer faced possible bankrupt. In what they thought was their last attempt at creating a game, they create what would become a landmark in the videogames industry: Final Fantasy.

Now, twenty years later, Square is one of the big publishers in the world and Final Fantasy is a franchise that shows no signs of slowing down, and to celebrate their 20th anniversary, they now release the original Final Fantasy for the PSP.

The game is basically a remake of the original NES title that propelled this franchise to stardom, but it's packaged in revamped graphics, improved sound and revised gameplay, making it a lot more than just a simple NES to PSP port.

The story remains untouched, as the player embarks on an adventure where he controls a party of four, fighting to rid the world of Chaos and fulfill a prophecy. Your job is to take the four light crystals to the elemental shrines in order to battle the final boss. That's all for storyline really, and there is no character development like we are used to seeing in later FF games, but this is as it was.

You begin by choosing the classes of your party members: Thief, Black Belt, White Mage, Red Mage, Black Mage and Warrior. Later on, you can promote them, which will change your characters' look and special abilities.

The game relies on a lot of exploration and random battles. To progress to other areas you must first find a vehicle (for example, air ship) or a certain key item. The battles are your traditional turn-based, with your characters in a queue to attack, followed by the monsters' attacks. The "ineffective" attacks are now gone, so if your target is killed before a character's turn, a new target is assigned, removing the wasted attacks completely. Even though there are plenty of them, battles are usually done fairly quick. And now you can run around by pressing down circle, which makes travelling a lot faster.

Questing requires you to pay attention to what you read and remember it later, since there is no way of tracking your progress, no quest log or anything of the sort. That would have actually been a welcome addition for this remake.

Final Fantasy is a great game still, regardless of being two decades old. The whole game looks crisp and clean, and it was pretty interesting looking at a 20-year old Nintendo Power guide my husband has for the original game, and see the differences in the artwork and some of the monster's names. The music has also been completely overhauled and it sounds great. Oh yes, and there are also an extra dungeon that wasn't in the original, plus four others from Dawn of Souls.

Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition for PSP is like a beautiful antique painting restored to its former glory. While any younger gamers may find it too simple and lacking on plot, those who have enjoyed the original and occasionally suffer from old-school RPG nostalgia have their prescription right here. For those who just want to see how it all began, this is worthy of any PSP collection.

Special thanks to Charlie Sinhaseni and Square Enix for providing a copy of this title.