Soooooo this pandemic has been an exercise in trial and error with me creating content in any measure, but what I’ve mostly spent it doing is playing a LOT of video games.
Like. A lot.
Like “my Nintendo wrap-up thingy was mildly alarming when it came around” a lot.
Alas, after some much needed deep cleaning a few months later than it probably should have been done (I can’t keep track of time anymore, okay), I unearthed a small pile of old games I either never played or don’t remember playing. Among those was a few of the Final Fantasy games, a series of which I have never fully played. It’s time to change that. Starting with the first game!
(I know they basically have nothing to do with one another despite being in a title series and are standalones, but I’m doing it anyway. I want to get through them all, if possible.)
The version I have of this game is actually the GBA remake with the second game bundled in, but, from what I understand, it’s the same game as the original, just with enhanced graphics from what it had been for the NES. I only remember playing a little of it back when I first got it (I must have been in my early teens at the very oldest for the GBA version, and if I ever played the older editions, I don’t remember a lick of it), so going through it was basically like playing a new game!
As the first Final Fantasy game is quite old, first releasing for the NES in 1990 (in America; Japanese release was 1987 — I wasn’t alive for either of those!), the gameplay is understandably relatively simple compared to what we get nowadays with newer FF titles. It reminded me a lot of other RPG games, too, specifically of the Tales series (and, more specifically, Tales of Phantasia, which I also own on GBA and may just have played at the same time, resulting in a false memory — need to play that one again, too!), which wasn’t a bad thing to me. Kind of amped up the nostalgia since I couldn’t quite remember where the memory belonged. Or something. I sort of missed the days when there was a blueprint to follow, since there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room when it came to game dynamics, and stories were just applied to what was the basic skeleton of what there was to work with.
Another thing I didn’t realize I missed so much from older RPGs — they don’t explain ANYTHING to you! They shove you in and tell you to swim, and you have to learn how to play as you go in order to survive. Not many games do that anymore!
(Actually, I can’t think of a single game I’ve played recently that hasn’t had a pretty in-depth tutorial attached to it, even if it’s a relatively simple game. Animal Crossing: New Horizons immediately comes to mind. Did the original have any kind of tutorial to it? I can’t remember.)
Gameplay was cool. You get your standard early Final Fantasy classes to play with and four characters (who have no name or personality, tbh, so that part was kind of weird), and you navigate a relatively large map by foot, sea, and then air as the story progresses, with random encounters both outside and inside the dungeons. Pretty usual!
I loved the town designs. Something about the way they’re done, it’s always been one of my favorite styles. Again, throwing back to Tales of Phantasia. Maybe it’s the relief of finally finding a town that makes me so nostalgic for them, but I do love them!
The storyline of this one itself was pretty simple. Find a bunch of crystals, wake up a princess (sound familiar?), save the world. Not the most in-depth story I’ve ever made my way through, nor even remotely my favorite, but it got the job done. The ending was pretty cool, too. I won’t spoil anything on that end, though, in case you haven’t played it yourself and might one day go give it a chance. Just don’t expect any kind of epic! Not horribly unsatisfying, though, in my opinion, especially not for the time.
As for graphics and the like, I don’t think it would be exactly fair of me to judge these considering the version I played was a remaster of a remake (of a remake? can’t remember, but it’s a line! and I think they ended up remaking/remastering it AGAIN when they rereleased it for the PlayStation Portable thing, idk.), but, for GBA graphics, they don’t disappoint! Way better than the original version, I have to give it that.
(Also, I started writing this before the Pixel Remaster was announced, so that was weird! I’ll probably end up playing those versions instead. Sorry GBA! I probably shouldn’t be playing you anyway, you’re really falling apart.)
All in all, a pretty decent start for what eventually evolves into one hell of a series. Not the longest game I’ve ever played, but it probably would have taken me much, much longer if I wasn’t already relatively familiar with RPG settings. Onto the second!
Thanks for reading!