Final Fantasy IV
Content at a glance:
Mild Violence: Mild violence against human-like and non-human enemies with swords, other weapons, and arrows, impact is only shown with arrows. Enemies vanish upon defeat, cutscene shows death of a character.
Spiritual Content: Fantasy creatures, game features “white” and “black” magic as classifications, one character can summon large monsters to fight some with pagan names or a demonic appearance, plot revolves around magic crystals, major enemies embody the elements, Death is seen personified.
Sexual Content: Some female characters show cleavage, some enemies are topless, players can watch a scantily-clad dancer, one boss wears a bikini, optional location appears to sell ladies, some suggestive dialogue from NPC's.
Mild Language: The words d**n and h**l are spoken in cutscenes and seen in a text box.
The best stories often are told over and over again which is why newer generations remember them. Well, the same must apply to video games because it was the case with the fourth title in the Final Fantasy series.
This particular tale was first played back in 1991 for the Super NES. It later saw a GBA release in 2005. Three years later, the game was released again for the Nintendo DS, and it brought along some new material such as full motion video sequences and a full voice cast, allowing players to experience the adventure of the Dark Knight, Cecil in an all new way.
Is this tale worth playing through or is it one that should be put on a lonely shelf somewhere? That choice is up to you.
Final Fantasy IV takes place in a world that combines both magic and machinery. The game tells the story of a Dark Knight named Cecil, who serves the Kingdom of Baron. Baron has recently become far more aggressive, and its elite air squadron, the Red Wings, which Cecil commands, has just returned from battle in the city of Mysidia. Cecil is unsure of the rightness of his actions as such aggression is not what Baron was once known for and the people of Mysidia were very peaceful. All of this causes the knight to voice his doubts to his king. In response, Cecil’s rank is removed, and he is sent to deliver a strange package to the nearby village of Mist, along with his childhood friend Kain. This journey sets Cecil on a road that will eventually lead him to protect the world and a set of magic crystals from a sinister plot and a road to his own redemption.
Final Fantasy IV is very much a typical RPG with an overworld and dungeons to explore. Every so often, you will be forced into a battle. Enemies are unseen, so there’s no way to avoid fights by avoiding enemies. In battle, instead of each side taking turns, meters will fill up under each character, except the enemy. When a meter fills under a character, that character can perform an action. The action isn’t instantaneous either, so you will have a lot of tense moments, especially in a boss fight.
In battle, you’ll also have to decide on formation, which is how close to or how far away from each character is to the enemy. The closer the character, the more damage they do and take. You can also do this from the pause menu, and it’s better to set your formation before you get in an actual fight.
You’ll have a lot of characters come and go many times over the story as well, each with their own set of skills. The key is to use each one effectively.
For those of you who remember this game from the old days, things have changed a bit. You can gain augments first off, which grant special skills to characters. The story is also expanded slightly, and the difficulty is a lot harder too. The biggest changes are the voice acting and occasionally some very well animated GCI cutscenes.
You will face off against very un-human looking enemies and some that do look human along this very long journey. In battle, you attack with swords, fists, spears, other assorted weapons, and arrows. Impact is never seen, except in the case of the arrows. The attacking character will only move or step forward and swing the weapon, and the struck character will sometimes re-coil. Defeated enemies will vanish, and defeated characters will collapse until revived. There is no blood to be seen, so once again, violence is minimal.
The worst violence is shown in the cutscenes. Once, we see a bombing raid and another time, we see a playable character die, and there is talk of the results of battles. None of these are really graphic, but we do see a lifeless body in the case of the above mentioned character.
The Final Fantasy series always had some magic in it, and this one is no exception. Magic is divided into “white” and “black” magic, which are pulled from the real world, and are grouped according to their function: “white” is healing and “black” is attacking. In the game, however, a lot of it seems to be fantasy-style magic, such as fireballs, shards of ice, and lightning bolts. None of it seems to be based around actual magic or the occult, with the exception of a spell called “Death” which makes a Grim Reaper appear to instantly “kill” an enemy. Early on, Cecil also uses what’s called a “dark sword” and has a skill called “Darkness” which drains his health to attack enemies.
One playable character is a summoner who can call a number of large creatures to attack all enemies. A couple of these of these creatures are named after pagan gods. One of them resembles a demon and attacks with a move called “Hellfire.” You’ll also encounter a number of supernatural enemies such as walking skeletons, ghosts, goblins, zombies, and witches. You’ll also fight four bosses who seem to embody or at the very least control the elements and each of them get their names from demons. The plot deals with finding magic crystals and other gods are mentioned at some points. Some of the usable items also have some pagan names as well.
One area is also called the “Underworld” but it only refers to its location, under the ground. It has no spiritual overtones except in name.
A couple of playable female characters, Rydia and Rosa, do wear slightly suggestive clothing. We see the cleavage of both of them either in cutscenes or when the view focuses on them in battle. In a lot of towns, you can watch a brief scene where a female dancer performs wearing nothing but a bikini. This can be avoided if you avoid talking to certain NPC’s in the towns. One boss is a woman wearing nothing but a very brief bikini. A few female-looking enemies and one creature Rydia can summon are entirely topless, but either have a flat chest, have their hands over their breasts, or lack any real detail whatsoever. Even so, it is immodest to say the least.
One town features a pub where you can watch a show with several of the scantily-clad dancers. They sit your character on a throne and dance really close and blow kisses at you. In this same town at the same pub, some NPC’s say pretty suggestive things. One suggests that you, “spend a few hours with me” and promises a “good time.” Others comment on the ladies in the pub. One such comment involves a woman who may not be a woman. From the way the pub is set up, it’s implied that the ladies are part of its services.
One item you can find in a secret place is called the “Lustful Lali-Ho.” We don’t see what this item looks like, but one NPC refers to it as “she.”
In a couple of cutscenes, the word d**n or a variation of it is spoken, and a defeated enemy threatens to drag, “all of you to h**l.” On another occasion, one character says d**n which is displayed in a text box.
A lot of towns have pubs in them. In one, NPC’s are seen drunk. They slur their speech and act crazy. Your characters can’t drink or get drunk anywhere though. One item is called “Bacchus’s Wine.”
The lines between good and evil are clearly drawn in this game; so much so that Cecil must put aside his dark sword and become a Paladin, which is a knight associated with light to be successful in his quest. It shows that you can’t fight the darkness with darkness. Characters are willing to put their lives on the line for others, and some go all the way and sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Themes of courage and forgiveness are also shown at certain points, as is the idea that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean following orders. Revenge is also shown to be a negative and destructive thing.
Final Fantasy IV was my first look into the acclaimed series. I honestly didn’t know what to think going into it. I’d read a review on it that prompted me to give it a try. Before that, I had very dim views on the series in general. I’m glad I decided to give it a shot.
I’ve never played a game quite like Final Fantasy IV. Its story is very well-done and even saying that doesn’t do it justice in my book. I’d never played a game quite like it before, and I found myself sometimes moved by its interesting plot and messages. But that doesn’t mean this tale is in any way flawless. Fantasy magic is one thing, but I really thought the language and barely clad girls could have easily been left out of an otherwise excellent game. If the spirituality had been a little less muddled as well, it would’ve been even better. Even so, I think this game’s good points outweigh a lot of its flaws.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
About this game
- ERSB Rating:
- Square Enix
- July, 2008
- Review Published:
- March 18, 2010 / 8:56 am
- Nintendo DS
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