The PS one Final Fantasy retro revival continues with two classic Square adventures for the price of one.
If the recent resurrection of Final Fantasy VI didn't sate your appetite for retrograde RPG action, then you'll undoubtedly be ecstatic to learn that two more ancient-yet-epic gems are headed your way in one tantalising package for PS one. The grandly-monikered Final Fantasy Anthology brings together instalments IV and V, with the latter being translated from its native Japanese for the very first time.
If you've been fortunate enough to set eyes on the recently released Final Fantasy VI, then you should know what to expect in the graphics department here: functional, blocky environments and characters that still somehow manage to ooze an undeniable level of charm. As FFVI demonstrated, however, Square has been weaving the same storytelling magic ever since the birth of the series, and these two quests promise a level of depth in both narrative and gameplay that is comparable to their visually superior next-gen brethren.
Final Fantasy IV marks the first European appearance of the 'Hardtype' version of the game, a fact that will mean nothing to 99.9 percent of you, but hardcore 16-bit gamers may recall that the game was originally released outside of Japan as the heavily sanitised Final Fantasy II. This edition became widely known as the 'Easy' version (and was eventually released in Japan as Final Fantasy IV Easytype), as it removed certain items and battle features, as well as a number of humorous elements that were considered too 'adult' at the time. In light of titles such as GTA3, we suspect that these didn't trigger quite the same levels of publisher angst this time round as they did 11 years ago. Yes, you read correctly: 11 years ago.
FFV, on the other hand, represents a short-lived tradition in the early Final Fantasy titles of differentiating between the odd and even numbered instalments of the series by altering the method by which your characters develop. First seen in Final Fantasy III (and later used in European no-show Final Fantasy Tactics), FFV's 'job system' requires you to assign specialist roles such as Ninja, Thief and Hunter to each of your four characters, which will then be developed for the duration of the game. There are over 20 roles to discover, each replete with their own strengths and weaknesses as well as a range of magic spells and special abilities, and the system is recognised by many long-term FF players as one of the best in the series.
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