Final Fantasy IV, known as Final Fantasy II in the US, stands as a timeless classic in the RPG genre. With a captivating storyline, memorable soundtrack, and engaging yet straightforward gameplay, it set new standards for role-playing games by introducing a dynamic, twisting plot.
The game's graphics were not the most advanced, but there's a reason for this. Originally slated for release on the original Nintendo, the decision to launch FF4 on the Super Nintendo instead left the developers at Square scrambling to enhance the graphics within a limited time frame. Although they didn't reach their desired level of improvement, the graphics were still impressive compared to other SNES games of the era. The character sprites could display emotions such as sadness and had basic walking animations. Although the environments weren't teeming with intricate details, they were well-crafted and visually appealing. The enemy designs were sharp and aesthetically pleasing.
The enthralling storyline of FFIV is a major draw for players. The game follows the protagonist, Cecil, an airship commander in the powerful nation of Baron. Tasked by the king to steal the crystal of water from the town of Mysidia, Cecil obeys but becomes uncertain of the king's true motives. Upon questioning the king, Cecil is dismissed from his position. Alongside his friend Kain, Cecil embarks on an extraordinary journey filled with unexpected twists and a diverse cast of characters, making for a truly remarkable narrative.
FFIV's gameplay utilizes the classic Final Fantasy battle system, before significant changes were introduced in later titles. The game features predetermined character classes, each with their unique abilities. For example, a Dragoon has the Jump command at their disposal. Regrettably, some abilities available in the original Japanese version were excluded from the simplified American release. The combat system follows a traditional turn-based approach, where players and enemies take turns attacking each other.
In summary, Final Fantasy IV is a seminal RPG that set the stage for future developments in the genre. Despite some limitations in graphics due to a platform change, the game boasts a rich, immersive storyline, a memorable soundtrack, and an accessible, enjoyable gameplay experience that continues to captivate players even decades after its initial release.