The Final Fantasy that spawned the most ports and remakes of any in the series is back once more, this time for the PSP. Is its attractive new face-lift and extra content enough to warrant yet another trek through the realm of Final Fantasy IV? You bet your sweet ass it is.
The Complete Collection is many games in one, all set within the same world and centric to the same story. It’s a highly-polished reimagining of the original Final Fantasy IV, along with the entirety of its episodic sequel The After Years. Also included is Interlude, which is an all-new chapter that attempts to bridge the gap between the two stories.
The main attraction, of course, is Final Fantasy IV itself. Interlude is so brief as to be negligible and while The After Years is an ambitious sequel, it still pales somewhat to the original. Being able to relive Final Fantasy IV in its newest incarnation is a beautiful experience, and one that any fan of old-school Squaresoft should not pass up.
Glorious Visuals: Final Fantasy IV has been redone umpteen times, but it’s never looked like this. The updated sprites look fantastic in high definition, and still manage to retain their nostalgic charm of yesteryear. The character portraits are dramatically enhanced; the monster sprites are the finest 2D graphics the series has ever seen. This new version of Final Fantasy IV is a visual triumph that somehow stays faithful to its original form, taking full advantage of the PSP’s graphical power.
Classic Play Streamlined: You’d be hard pressed to find an RPG with better pacing than The Complete Collection. Final Fantasy IV and its sequels move at a rate that never gets hung up, and with the inclusion of auto-battle and some tightly re-tweaked spell effects, everything from combat to exploration is streamlined so that the game flows even better than it did originally.
So Much To Do: The Complete Collection has a massive cast of playable characters, largely in part to The After Years. There’s plenty of level grinding to do and rare drops to collect. From start to finish, you can expect to dump at least fifty hours into the world of Final Fantasy IV. The Complete Collection is perhaps the best value of any Final Fantasy compilation to date.
Original Soundtrack: While a full-blown orchestrated arrangement would have been super appreciated, we’re still content to listen to Nobuo Uematsu’s original soundtrack; easily one of the strongest compositions since the dawn of gaming. The Complete Collection gives you two soundtrack listening options: The original Famicom soundtrack and the “Arranged” sound version (which is really just the same version from the DS remake). While this particular reviewer favors the original version, the arranged version is still wonderful to listen to.
Needless Interlude: The ugly duckling in this Complete Collection is Interlude, which ultimately feels pointless and uninspired. You could skip over this bit and never miss a beat; the path is ultra-linear and virtually everything you encounter is recycled from the original game. What little it does add to the main story is, sadly, pretty forgettable.
Recycling: Despite having lots of new stuff to discover, many of the things found in Interlude and The After Years can also be found in the original game. Enemies, locales, and even items are shamelessly recycled and redistributed; you’ll spend a lot of time exploring the same dungeons over and over again. In the context of the story at large, this recycling makes sense but a little more variety would have helped to liven up the experience a little.
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection is more than just a pretty compilation, it’s a love letter to those gamers who cut their teeth on RPGs in the 90s. Play it and you will become twelve again, swept up in the epic of Final Fantasy as it once was: Pure, exciting, and exquisitely fun.
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About the Author
|Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone).
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Mark A. Brooks has written 642 posts on Delta Attack.