Who knew Final Fantasy IV could be so violent?
In just the first couple hours, you rob a village of its crystal, bomb a village, witness the desolation of an entire kingdom, and kill many, many innocent goblins. It's made me feel like an absolute villain in the course of my Final Fantasy IV Let's Play, which I kicked off yesterday as part of my research for an upcoming Retronauts episode. You can watch the first part below.
I wound up picking the original North American SNES release because (1) It's easy to stream and (2) I've never finished it before. I've completed the PSP's Complete Collection and the GBA port, but never the game that we once knew as "Final Fantasy II." The closest I came was a run that ended with the battery backup failing and erasing my save. Sad!
So far my run through Final Fantasy IV has been... illuminating. It's really remarkable, for example, just how bad the localization is. Spells like "Psych" are poorly explained, and it's not entirely clear what the difference between "Heal" and "Cure" is. There's also that infamous quote, "You spoony bard!" which continues to be the butt of RPG jokes to this day.
Beyond that, it's striking what a lean RPG Final Fantasy IV really is. Like Final Fantasy X and XIII, Final Fantasy IV is an intensely linear experience that barely affords you control over your own party, let alone character customization. But in turn, it moves at a breakneck speed as it motors through one plot development after another, lending the story a kind of inertia that you rarely see in RPGs these days. It also benefits from extremely well-balanced encounters, which are possible in part because the design removes so many of the variables associated with customization.
The first part of my Let's Play takes me up through the battle with the Antlion, ending with Rosa rejoining the party. Never week, I'll be trekking up Mt. Ordeals to find my true self, and encountering the first of the Four Fiends along the way. I can't wait!