Originally launched in 1991, Final Fantasy IV was a game that received stellar reviews at the time for its deep, complex storytelling and intricate gameplay that is often taken for granted today for many role-playing games. Released on the SNES, PSone, WonderSwan Color, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS over the years, Square has once again paid the game tribute with Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection on the PSP.
The story begins with the Red Wings under Cecil, the captain commanded by the king to retrieve the water crystal by attacking the city of Mysidia. After struggling with a guilty conscience, he questions the king’s motive only to be reprimanded and demoted before being sent to the Village of Mist with his loyal comrade, Kain. Along on his journey, Cecil teams up with Rydia, a young summoner, Tellah, a renowned sage, Edward, and the prince of Damcyan to name a few allies.
Random battles occur with FFIV being the first in the series to use the Active Time Battle (ATV) gauge that has become a staple for future Final Fantasy games. When the gauge fills from blue to yellow, you can select a command (Attack, Magic, etc.) and once it reaches green, the character will initiate that action. You are free to select battle formations to put your party members at the front or back for strategic purposes. There is also a Battle Order option, which can be enabled that allows you to delay a character’s turn in place for another team member.
Towns are filled with the usual weapons, equipment and item shops, with inns where your party can have their full health and magic points restored for a fee. Save points in towns and dungeons can be found at various spots during the game. Your mode of transportation includes traversing the world map, airships and the lovable Chocobos. You can ride a Chocobo after catching one in a forest but it will run away and leave you once you dismount the creature.
As for extras, FFIV: The Complete Collection features FFIV: Interlude, a chapter that bridges the events between FFIV and FFIV: The After Years. Both The After Years and the Interlude don’t fare nearly as well as the original FFIV game. It’s still a nice addition regardless for fans picking up this game to get, just as the name suggests, the complete FFIV collection.
Visually, the CGs and cutscenes are gorgeous and compliment the game well. The new opening movie for FFIV: The After Years looks great and the inclusion of a viewing mode for both CG movies and artwork by the legendary Yoshitaka Amano is something fans are sure to enjoy.
Final Fantasy IV was a game I thoroughly enjoyed as it brought back many fond memories I had of playing the game on the PSone and the DS. Not much has changed but for fans who have held out or sat on the fence about giving it a try, this game is the only FFIV game you’ll need for good ol’ Final Fantasy nostalgia.