Final Fantasy is a series that requires no introduction in the role-playing genre. With all the hype surrounding the upcoming titles in the Final Fantasy series, such as Final Fantasy XIII Versus and Final Fantasy XIII Agito, it has left a lingering thought that Square Enix has moved on from the series’ old school roots of the battle system and gameplay. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light pays homage to the earlier Final Fantasy games that were big during the 8-bit and 16-bit heyday.
The story begins in the kingdom of Horne. You play a young lad who is recognized as an adult on his 14th birthday and must present himself before the king as part of the realm’s custom. With nowhere else to turn, King Horne asks you to rescue his daughter, Princess Carino, who was kidnapped by the evil Witch of the North. On your journey, you’ll team up with Jusqua, a close friend, Yunita, a knight with sworn loyalty to the royal family, and Aire, the sister of the kidnapped princess.
The battle system follows an Action Points system, which is expended whenever actions are chosen in battle like Attack, Item and Abilities. Action Points (AP) can only be replenished by selecting the Boost command, which puts you on the defensive against enemy attacks. Each attack and magical ability displays the AP required to use the command in battle. The Auto Mode can be used for your party members to repeat the same action after the command is selected once. This comes in handy for battles that normally require you to select attack for each party member for a long battle.
There are various shops you can visit that include weapon, equipment, storage and upgrade shops. Buying items, weapons and equipment is straightforward and standard fare while the storage shops allow you to keep important items while clearing up space in your inventory. Inns are also available to restore your health and will clear up negative status affects from previous battles.
Crowns are yoru ticket to the various jobs in this game. Many crowns include, but are not limited to, Freelancer, Wayfarer, White Mage, Black Mage, Bandit, Bard, Merchant, Salve-Maker, Elementalist, Ranger, Fighter and Scholar. Crowns can be enhanced by using gems in the open slots that make them stronger while giving you a boost in battle. Each crown grants you unique abilities that can be assigned to your abilities menu for use in battle. Choose them carefully as you have only six available slots for assigned crown abilities.
Visually, the game is nostalgic of the old school Final Fantasy games, though the character sprites and buildings have very noticeable rough edges. The game is not bad but it won’t amaze or dazzle you with its towns and overworld maps. The music is a nice touch and has its moments, but is forgettable for the most part of the adventure.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light will appeal to fans of the classic, old school RPGs, but is likely to turn off casual or veteran fans of the series. Diehard fans of the old school RPGs will undoubtly enjoy the challenge this game offers. The game has its charming moments, but it does incur much of a déjà vu feeling for players who will experience the “been there, done that” mentality. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light doesn’t hold a candle to the classic Final Fantasy games but it’s a charming game for the short time that it lasts.