Square-Enix Returns to the Past (Again) – But Do Fans Need Another Remaster?
One of the most iconic and celebrated franchises in video game history is Final Fantasy. When it comes to innovation in the RPG genre you likely saw one of two franchises attached to it – Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. In the western hemisphere the game that became the staple was Final Fantasy – and in 2021 Square-Enix decided to release the game again but this time true to its original form but with updated graphics.
The result is a game with updated sprite graphics (a huge HUGE improvement over the iOS/Android remake attempts of previous years) but the true magic isn’t in the looks – but the sounds. The game features an entire newly arranged musical score, with every track receiving an upgrade.
But let’s talk the main menu and the extra features.
The Main Menu & Extras
The extra “stuff” is thrown at you right from the start. You have the “Music Player” which features all the tracks in the game. You also have the “Bestiary” which updates as you fight enemies through the game. One of my personal favorites is the “Gallery”, which showcases early and promotional artwork for the game in high quality images (well, as high quality as you can get on these early 80’s stuff). The artwork is, obviously, beautiful.
The extras are great – but are they worth $17.99 on Steam? Let’s keep going.
The game starts as you remember from the original – you pick four different classes, name them, and off you go! You can play as:
- Black Belt
- Red Mage
- Black Mage
- White Mage
Each class has advantages and disadvantages to them and in the 80’s when you originally played this game it may have been the difference between a fun game and one you quit. But in 2021 (and now 2022) it shouldn’t matter to most fans as you can easily crush the game by simply leveling up your characters.
The gameplay is near-identical to the original. Random battles, turn-based combat, only so many times where you can cast a spell per “level of magic” before needing an Ether or an Inn are all present. Thankfully, the “swinging at dead enemies” from the original game is gone.
The changes? The graphics (obviously) and the music. Where previous remakes of this game have “SNES-ified” the graphics, this one simply took the original sprites and remastered them, keeping them mostly the same but more modern. New backgrounds in battles too.
Shops are still heavily text-based but work with just enough improvements on quality of life to keep you sane without guessing if an item is an upgrade or not to the previously equipped item.
The best quality of life feature is the fast-forward/auto battle feature. Clicking it forces the battle to move at 5x-ish speed with your characters performing the last input you gave them over and over. It makes “the grind” anything but, saving us casual players hours and hours of time.
One feature that is kind of pointless but made me laugh was a feature to change your screen to the “classic” view which simply recreates the old TV screen “lines”. Now, if they included a way to revert to the original game with the old music, I would be floored.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is a great way to start your Final Fantasy adventure if you’ve never been a part of the brand before. But it is not worth the nearly $20 price tag. Ask yourself – would you pay $17.99 for this game or a renowned classic like Final Fantasy VI? Right now – you would have to.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster (1 through 5) is available on iOS, Android and Steam. Hopefully one day, on consoles too. Stay tuned for our review of the other 4 games and eventually Final Fantasy VI when it releases February 2022.
- The music is completely redone
- Fast Battle button
- Sprite graphics redone
- The price
- Reminder that some quality of life changes were a good thing
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is both a remaster and a true port of the original game - meaning the quality of life improvements from previous remasters are gone. But the best part of this - the music. But the music alone isn't enough to justify the large price tag associated with it. Wait for a sale unless you're a diehard Final Fantasy fan.
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