Final Fantasy 4 for Android – Full Review (video)

June 14, 2013
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Final Fantasy 4 originally launched in 1991, and thanks to its massive popularity, it was ported to a number of platforms. Fans of the game will be excited to hear that Square Enix has just recently launched Final Fantasy 4 for Android. It has a hefty price tag of $15.99, but whether you’re a fan of the series or a newcomer, you’ll find that there’s enough content in Final Fantasy 4 to get your money’s worth.

If you’re in a rush, jump to the video, otherwise, stick with us as we take a closer look at this iconic title in video game history.

Graphics

Let’s take a look at the most staggering changes first – the graphics. If you were expecting flat world maps and out of focus sprites, you’re in for a surprise. Square Enix has done a huge overhaul on the graphics. Simply put, it’s much, much better than it used to be.

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It’s hard to pinpoint specifics when the graphics as a whole went through a massive overhaul. The graphics are now very similar to the Nintendo DS remake, but they’re just a tad sharper on Android. So if you remember the graphics and animations from the SNES days, you might be interested in playing the game again now that there’s been a huge graphical advancement. However, even we have to admit that the textures aren’t the best.

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An off-screen secret passage.

One thing we’d like to point out that’s changed from the SNES version is that secret tunnels are no longer marked. They’re still there, but it’ll be a tad bit more difficult to find them. So when you’re navigating off screen to find secret passages and hidden treasures, there won’t be any giveaways like we saw in the SNES version.

All in all, the graphical enhancements make Final Fantasy 4 more enjoyable. The graphics in the SNES version aren’t bad for a game that launched in 1991, but with the major graphical progress that has been made since, it’s nice to see classics like Final Fantasy 4 get a makeover.

Gameplay

Speaking of changes from the SNES version, gameplay has also changed a bit, and that’s mostly due to the fact that you’re playing on a touchscreen rather than using a dedicated console controller. Your classic commands are still all there – attack, black magic, white magic, items, and character-specific talents. The only real difference is that you have to scroll and tap to select an option instead of using a D-Pad.

There were also a few changes made to the core experience that appeared in the DS remake, such as the augment system. During your journey throughout the game, you’ll come across augments, which can be equipped for additional command options. For example, you can use an auto-potion augment, which will make your character consume a potion whenever damage is taken in battle.

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Cid, Cecil, Tellah, and Yang fight off enemies without the help of the player.

Furthermore, a few new battle commands have been added to the Final Fantasy 4 Android port. Once Auto-Battle is turned on, all of your characters will automatically attack enemies, and there’s a way of defining commands so everyone performs a different task. It’s a really handy feature for level grinding. Additionally, there are nearby buttons that will let you skip character turns and escape from the battle.

Another new addition is that some playable characters come with skills that aren’t in the SNES version. Yang has the Brace command, Porom has Cry, Palom has Bluff, and Edward has a few new Bard techniques. You will also notice a few name changes in the game.

Square Enix made these name changes to follow naming conventions in the newer Final Fantasy releases. For example, Ice 2 is now Blizzara, Cure 2 is now Cura, and etc. Enemy names weren’t left untouched either. Imps have become goblins, and the Milon boss, the archfiend you fight on Mt. Ordeals, is now called Scarmiglione.

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Fans of the story will be delighted to hear that voice-over cutscenes made it into the Android version as well. The voice-overs are pretty bad, but a welcome addition. In the SNES version, you were reading long dialogues, so it’s a pleasant change of pace, despite the lackluster voice-overs. The cutscenes are fun to watch too.

When it comes down to it, the gameplay, at its core, is the same. Characters essentially know all the same skills, world maps and dungeons are laid out the same way, including hidden areas, and once you get used to the new controls, battles and strategies feel similar as well.

What we liked

There are a lot of things to like about the Final Fantasy 4 Android port, but perhaps the most positive factor about the game is that Square Enix didn’t butcher the Final Fantasy 4 experience. The story and music remain wonderful, unaffected by the additions and graphical enhancements.

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While Square Enix did add a bit of dialogue and a few cutscenes, the rest of the game remains untouched, leaving all the great classic moments for long-time fans to enjoy.

It would have been easy for Square Enix to simply port the pure SNES version to Android, but they went the extra mile and launched something a tad bit more refreshing, which we’re sure all fans of the series can appreciate. The enhanced graphics and added cutscenes are a very nice touch.

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We also loved the new Auto-Battle system. Any long-time Final Fantasy fan knows that level grinding is necessary, and while we wished there was a way to speed things up, such as battles, we’re certainly glad that the new Auto-Battle system makes the grueling, repetitive clicking go away.

What we didn’t like

We’ve talked about a lot of the positives surrounding the game, but Final Fantasy 4 for Android is far from perfect. While the graphical overhaul has certainly made combat scenes feel a lot better, the battle speeds remain slow as ever. Since random encounters happen frequently, most of your time is spent in battles when you really don’t want to be there. Don’t get us wrong, the constant encounters are great for leveling up, but we wish there was a way to speed things up a bit.

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The new dialogue is downright terrible. While the old dialogue wasn’t going to win any awards, some of the new stuff, especially lines spoken by voice actors, is bland and unimaginative. Thankfully, you don’t see new dialogue very often, as most of the old lines remain intact.

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Wrap up

Overall, we were very happy with Square Enix on this one. People who have been playing Final Fantasy 4 on and off for 20 years will get everything they loved about the original plus a little bit of new content. What’s awesome is that new Final Fantasy 4 players will be able to experience everything old school fans loved about the earlier games without the dated graphics.

The game came out 22 years ago, and while we can’t defend the $16 price tag, it’s a small price to pay for this iconic title. Not to mention the fact that there are hours upon hours of content to play through. Still, we understand that most people will find the game to be way too expensive compared to the standard Android app.

So do we recommend the Android remake? Of course! Despite its hefty price tag, it’s hard to not recommend Final Fantasy 4. It’s a classic, and classics are always worth picking up.


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