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Capsule Review - Final Fantasy II

Title Final Fantasy II
Developer Square
Year 1988
Platform NES
Capsule Rating
Capsule Review:

Truth be told, I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone in their right mind. The gameplay is just way too tedious and frustrating to be worthwhile. For instance, the game suffers from the same problem as the first Final Fantasy game, where if you order two characters to attack an enemy, and the first character kills the enemy, then the second character misses with his attack. I don't see why it would be so difficult for the designers to add a bit of code that redirects the attack to a random surviving enemy. But the game's problems run deeper than that. See, Final Fantasy II has what is perhaps the most original gameplay system of any Final Fantasy. Unfortunately, it's also the worst. Basically, you gain abilities by doing certain things over and over; swing a sword a bunch of times, and you'll become more skilled in using swords. However, by the same token, you can lose abilities by doing certain things, as well. Consider the following: in the final dungeon, the enemies are incredibly tough, so you have to level up in order to have a chance against them. But then, they will be at lower levels than you. So, if you fight them, you will lose levels instead of gaining them. So your best bet is to run away if you encounter them, except you have only a small chance of successfully running away from them. So the game basically forces you to fight them and lose your levels.

I'm sure you can imagine how insanely frustrating and unnecessary this is. In order to compensate for something like this, the game would have to have the best plot ever. It doesn't. There are a bunch of characters, and they even have distinct faces, but the plot is pretty generic. All in all, this game is only notable as a historical footnote, since this is the point when the Final Fantasy series began to develop some of its iconography, like Cid and Chocobos. Aside from that, move along folks, there's nothing to see here...