Initial release date: July 19, 1991
PIXEL Remaster Release: September 8, 2021
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Artist: Yoshitaka Amano
Series: Final Fantasy
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
Designers: Yoshitaka Amano, Nobuo Uematsu, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Takashi Tokita, Hiroyuki Ito, Akihiko Matsui
Developers: Square, Square Enix, Tose, Sting Entertainment
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
So, the way this review is going to go is I’m going to basically talk about everything that the Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy IV offers and not so much a full on review of said game in its original form.
So now that we’ve got that covered how about we dive into this remaster of a 30-year-old masterpiece.
Final Fantasy IV kicks off with the Dark Knight Cecil who is on his airship heading back to he kingdom he serves with his army of men. Everyone has low morale as they had been sent on a mission that had them slaghter innocent mages for the sake of collecting a crystal for the king. After returning to the kingdom, the king strips Cecil of his rank for questioning his motives. Soon after Cecil and his best friend, The Dragoon, Kain are sent off collect another crystal from yet another unassuming peaceful village. Little does Cecil know that this is the start of a grand adventure for him.
The pixel art of this timeless classic has received one of the absolute best upgrades I’ve seen making it almost on the level of Octopath Traveler. The level of details in the character sprites as well as the environments are really stunning to look at giving them a level of life that they never had before. Animations for spells were substantially upgraded over what we have experienced previously including what we saw in the last graphic 2D remake of FFIV.
The weather effects such as rain, fog, sandstorms and more are all easily seeable from in the dungeons which goes on to add a lively level of immersion that help immersion you in your journey.
One controversial thing I’ll point out is the font as that was the trigger of a lot of people and yet for me I don’t mind it. Maybe that’s because I’m so used to staring at different fonts all day when writing but the font is fine with me.
If you loved the soundtrack before in previous releases, then you’ll swoon over it now as the entire 46 tracks have all been reorchestrated and go quite the distance to help narrate this story with just the music alone to set the tone for each scene. A great example of this is “Welcome to Our Town!” which plays when you arrive at a certain village as the flutes and harps showcase the nature of the townsfolk who have no idea that they are going to meet their end by Cecil.
The reorchestration of each of the original 46 tracks goes the distance in giving this remaster more life than you could’ve ever imagined before. There’s a music player that can be accessed in the main menu which allows you to just dive in and enjoy the majesty that is Nobuo Uematsu’s masterpieces.
The gameplay is still as crisp as ever with the Active Time Battle (ATB) system that has gone on to not only define the franchise but also numerous other franchises as well (One could even say it was perfected in Chrono Trigger). The ATB gauge will fill up over time allowing for each of your party members to be able to execute one of several actions from either attacking, spell casting, defending, item usage, or even running away.
The only limitation to this classic is the fact that each of your party members is locked to a particular class and are not able to be changed beyond that of which might irk some modern gamers used to being able to build out their characters they way they want to.
Other areas of improvement are the inclusion of a mini map that will help navigating dungeons a lot easier and thankfully the difficulty of the game isn’t to the high degree that the 3D remake was.
The only downside to this game is the fact that its only on PC and mobile. Why isn’t this on other platforms?
Many newer to this game might be put off by the fact that the game is quite linear and doesn’t have much in the way of side quest or content. IF anything I’d say to keep in mind that this is the first Final Fantasy that has a strong narrative and so there are going to be things that this doesn’t have that were incorporated into later titles.
It’s Final Fantasy IV, what more needs to be said? This is the title that brought character driven plot and strategic gameplay to the franchise that would stick and become a mainstay in the franchise for years to come. If you’re looking for the perfect entry point into classic Final Fantasy then this is the game for you especially if you are looking for the best version of Final Fantasy IV to dive into.