Final Fantasy I (Square)
System: NES Release Date: Dec 18, 1987
ESRB rating: E – E10(PSP)
Final Fantasy, a name that immediately invokes thoughts of crystals, saving the world, and dashing adventures; but did you know before we began to sail the skies in a airship this little game saved the company that gave it life?
Final Fantasy got its name back in 1987 when the main planner Hironobu Sakaguchi was faced with the then unsuccessful Square going bankrupt. In a last ditch effort he got a team together to make what he believed would be his ‘Final Fantasy’. Little did Mr. Sakaguchi know that the little game he was making would change the face of role-playing games forever.
Final Fantasy focuses on a simple premise. You are one of the four heroes of light and there is a great evil you must help stop. Your characters are as deep as you make them as they don’t have any back stories or even a fixed class taking a note from a certain table top game about dungeoneering, your characters and their actions are all player created. With a vast world map (for the time kupo) and an open ended quest you set off to find your place in this strange new world.
Now on to combat, Final fantasy was unique for its presentation in a side view battle system called ‘Turn Based Combat’ that was largely menu based as opposed to the first person dungeon crawling games that preceded it. Your four heroes each had their own class and perpose in the game and each felt unique and interesting, while your enemies came in all sizes from small gray wolves to massive screen filling dragons. Battles quickly became a game of chess as moves and the order they were preformed decided the fate of your small band of adventurers.
Being such a classic, Square did the right thing and made sure to bring it back again and again fixing graphical issues, and battle imbalances. Some of the most note worthy remakes being the GBA edition “dawn of souls” or the masterful PSP version.
But for all of its classic Nostalgia inducing greatness, Final fantasy was far from a perfect game, little story direction and long hours of grinding mar the magic of being on an epic quest. More often than not you’ll be walking from one village to the next and be attacked by something you are not prepared for, leading you to grind in the same places for much longer than you need to. But these are things that have been fixed and reworked as Square has slowly perfected its formula in making a dynamic and interesting story to tell with each iteration of what some thought would be the last Fantasy from a then dyeing company.
Nostalgic storytelling can sometimes blur the clunky controls and lackluster grindfest; defiantly worth looking at remakes and other games in the series due to their masterful manipulation of the roleplaying genre.
I rate Final Fantasy I 3/5 Kupo!