Final Fantasy III

Super NES

Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 7

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 10

Some games have "intangibles" that make simple ratings like "sound", "graphics", blah, blah blah just sit there not contributing to the overall experience. Final Fantasy III is the best role-playing game ever made, but there are times when the graphics simply don't impress and the encounters are annoyingly incessant. Despite this, it is good enough to give a TEN, something I only do when I can say a game is in the top 5% of all the games I've ever played. It's a magnificent game. Allow me to elaborate.

I went wild over Square's first SNES effort, Final Fantasy II because it had one of the best storylines I've encountered, and the game never got boring. I'm not the RPG gamer Kevin Oleniacz is. Kevin can play almost any game in this class right to the end and then give a fair assessment. I can only play the really good ones all the way through because I get tired of the level-building, hunting for a hidden door for hours, beating on the same monsters over and again, etc. If I can't be constantly presented with new and interesting challenges, I walk away. Final Fantasy II was the best at keeping me interested, and Final Fantasy III makes II look tiny and one-dimensional by comparison. It's that good.

Besides numerous improvements in inventory management, graphics, and musical scores (all things you EXPECT from an RPG sequel), FF3 also provides some twists never before seen in games of this type. For example, every character now has special techniques that make them unlike others in the team of "good guys". FF2 touched on this a little (like the Dragon Knight JUMP option), but FF3 really impresses. Some characters have special attacks that grow more complex with experience, others can capture abilities from enemies and add them to their own skills, and there are numerous hidden magics that can only be found through extreme perseverence (or extreme luck!).

The storyline here is fantastic. I found myself actually CARING about what was going to happen with these tiny deformed sprites on my TV screen. Nearly every character develops not only in the typical "experience point" sense but also in personality. Characters question morality, death, racism, love, and spirit. Remember I was a Philosophy major. I eat this stuff up. Put it in a video game and now I've got the best of both worlds! You'll uncover plots that you didn't see coming, watch as some characters really "die" and leave the game for good, rise to the occasion when least expected, and fail likewise. You never really know what FF3 is going to throw at you next, and like a great movie, you may even want to experience it twice.

As for the more tangible aspects of the game, well, they're not SO much different from the last one. The music is just incredible. Memorable, CD quality soundtracks fill the game with atmosphere. I often wondered how the designers could squeeze so much into a cartridge and still have room for such a huge game! The graphics, while still on the cartoonish side, sport beautiful backgrounds. I only wish they would improve the characters themselves next time around, because I'm a little tired of the generic anime-style midget-sized good guy. The bad guys look a little better, the effects of magic better still... but there's room for improvement here. You spend so much time on the combat screens, this is where the graphics should really shine.

I can't criticize much. The game is very deep, interesting, and long. It's a TEN, and I don't think many would argue with me, unless their criteria for a TEN (that 5% thing) is different than mine. You don't have to like RPG's, or even video games. If you like a good story, check out Final Fantasy III.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:24 PM