Of course, because this is a remake this game has all of the faults of the original 16-bit release. For example, the story, while interesting, just doesn't grab me in the same way that Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III in the U.S.) does. The story also isn't nearly as diverse as other entries. And while the characters are unique, a lot of them are just annoying secondary players who get in the way. But that's just me nitpicking, because Final Fantasy IV's story is strong enough to warrant playing through, especially when you can see it unfurl in a whole new way.
Those who aren't fans of the classic Final Fantasy turn-based gameplay won't find much in this remake to like. While the graphics may be rendered in 3D, the gameplay is classic 16-bit Final Fantasy. Characters take turn attacking, using potions, casting magic, and summoning creatures while their foes take turns attacking back. The gameplay is intentionally slow-paced, that way you can strategize and come up with a winning plan that will keep everybody in your party alive. When you use it to plan a series of attacks this style of gameplay can be a lot of fun, however often times you'll just have to keep hitting the right button to attack, attack, attack. Thankfully the game gives you enough new enemies to kill to keep the battles from becoming too repetitive.
Outside of the battles you can control your character with both the D-pad and the touch screen. While I appreciate Square Enix trying to find creative uses for the touch screen, I found that using it to control my character was too much of a chore. Thankfully you can play the game entirely with the D-pad, which is how the game was originally intended to be played.
For those keeping score at home, this is not the first time Final Fantasy IV has been remade. Three years ago Square Enix ported this 16-bit masterpiece to the Game Boy Advance. While that version didn't have fancy new graphics, it did feature a new dungeon and a few other brand new additions the story. Sadly none of those additions made it in the move to 3D. Instead we get a straight translation of the original game.
As far as remakes go, Final Fantasy IV is easily one of the best. The brand new graphics are a high water mark for the Nintendo DS, the new music is strong and the cinemas are second to none. Better yet, the game has made enough tweaks and additions to the original game to warrant a second play through. Throw in some phenomenal looking magic attacks and you have one of the best (if not the best) role-playing games on the Nintendo DS. It may be based on a 17 year old game, but Final Fantasy IV is a strong contender for Nintendo DS game of the year.
Not only is Final Fantasy one of the best looking games on the Nintendo DS, but it also features the best story and characters. It's hard not to fall in love with some of the best characters in the Final Fantasy universe. If you love adventure games and you own a Nintendo DS, then there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't pick up Final Fantasy IV!
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