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Capsule Review - Final Fantasy IV

Title Final Fantasy IV
Developer Square
Year 1991
Platform SNES
Capsule Rating
Capsule Review: While not quite as earth-shattering as some of its successors, Final Fantasy IV sure was stunning in its day. The opening sequence was as good a bit of directing as the hardware allowed, and certainly showed us that console RPGs were leaning towards the expansive, cinematic, plot-heavy affairs that they try to be today. Anyone who hasn't played Final Fantasy IV would do well to give the game a try - its twenty hours prevent it from dragging, and completely cliched though the story is, it's delivered well enough. Choosing between the dark and light, finding crystals, talking to dwarves and flying to the moon aren't exactly stunning leaps in storytelling by any stretch of the imagination, but Final Fantasy IV's vigorous directing, good use of cutscenes, short length and uncomplicated gameplay makes them entertaining despite the dated graphics and square sprites, with some characters (Kain, Cecil and Rydia) even managing the "memorable" level. A noteworthy fact is that the original US release was considerably dumbed down from its Japanese counterpart - thus, the PlayStation re-release and the emulated, fan-translated versions are far superior. Increased challenge and a more thorough translation breathed enough life into a game even this dated to warrant at least one more play. It's not quite a timeless classic, but it's a solid enough accomplishment, especially when compared to its decidedly lackluster Japan-exclusive follow-up.

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