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This is Jeremy with a review of a WiiWare download game called Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. This review will focus on the base game, but before that I want to talk a little about what this is. FFIV: The After Years is an episodic RPG that takes place 16 years after the events of FFIV and is broken up into 11 “stories” that will be available for download throughout the summer, the final one being released in early September. The graphics and gameplay are virtually untouched. It was originally released in Japan as a cell phone game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. So far there are two parts available for download, the base game (800pts) and Rydia’s Story (300pts). Each story is set to costs between 200-800 wii points, with a combined total of somewhere around 3200 points for the complete game. A full Final Fantasy game for around $32? That’s not too bad in my book.
So on to my review of the base game. This story mainly stars Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa (two of the main characters from the original FFIV), and a “Masked Man”. Ceodore is trying to become a Knight of the Red Wings, who are elite airship fighters under the command of Cecil. Without going into anymore details of the storyline, expect to see a lot of familure faces from FFIV!
As I said, the graphics and gameplay are pretty much identical to it’s original game, although the combat system has evolved slightly. There is now a moon phase system that effects different elements of combat. One phase increases attack power by a good amount, another increases Black Magic. It effects both you and your enemy, so it can really change the outcome! This add’s some challange to the dungeons that you can control. I’ve noticed that when it’s a full moon (attack up) I have to use a lot more Hi-Potions and Cura’s to get through, not to mention a lot more close calls. However, it’s not that important in this first part because you mainly use two fighters, and it seems like enemies with black magic are few and far.
Even as an avid Final Fantasy player, having beat FF1-FF10, this games dificulty is pretty high. Make sure you keep a good stock of Hi-Potions as soon as they are available, along with all the status ailment potions. There’s one cave where you need at least a few Maiden’s Kiss to make it through, for example. Although it seems like loot is plentiful, and it is, it’s a short game and they’ve condenced the level system a lot. 5 hours in and I’m almost level 30! So keep your gear updated at all times!
An average player will probably be able to complete the story within 6 to 7 hours. I have not tried it yet, but there is a challange dungeon at the end that you can get great loot. I’ve heard that you can try this challange dungeon multiple times to try for the special gear that only spawns in the final chest of the cave. There is a level cap of 40 for these characters.
If you plan on seeing it through to the 11th chapter, I suggest maxing out your levels, and try to get the best gear. The good news is that your levels and gear will carry over, the bad news is you won’t be playing these characters again until the 11th story.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this for anyone who’s played FFIV! I also recommend it to anyone who likes these classic RPG’s, reguardless of playing FFIV. The game play is old school, with a newer twist of the moon phases. The music is as great as ever, and the story, although a bit rushed, is promising to be excelent throught all 11 stories.
I give it a 4/5