Hello everyone, and welcome back to the 4-One Gaming Retro Corner. This week were going to be covering Final Fantasy 2, a game that that followed up on its previous games innovation with some great aspects. It was released across multiple platforms over the years, but it began with the Famicon in Japan, back in 1988, with the most recent release being on Android in 2012. As well, there will be major spoilers, so if you don’t want this game spoiled for you, you’ve been warned.
This game starts with the common aspect of the Final Fantasy franchise, 4 characters facing off in turn based combat. Though in this games case, your lead characters start in a one-sided battle against some of the game’s final enemies, with the only option being to lose. Once your characters awake, you find that the female leads older brother was taken by the empire that attacked your friends and your village. The rest of the game follows a long and story driven plot with your three main characters and an alternating fourth going across the land and combating the empire in the attempts to find your friend taken at the beginning of the game. After several dungeons, lands and amazing cast of characters, you are confronted by the Dark Knight of Palamencia, who is a tough boss fight all on his own. Once you’ve finally defeated this character that’s been dogging you the whole game, it’s revealed that it’s the brainwashed friend that was taken at the beginning of the game. At this point, he then joins your party, and the 4 of you go on to finish off the empire in one of the hardest final dungeons I’d ever experienced in my young life.
As far as innovation goes, this game introduced a new concept for leveling that unfortunately wasn’t a mainstay for the rest of the series. It establishes a usage based leveling system, so your characters upgrades are based on what skills were used in each battle. This system made perfect sense, as the three main characters that you play as aren’t limited to a specific class, so you can choose which one you want to be a mage or fighter, all dependent on which attacks you use with each character. I personally loved this system, as every play through could be different, all dependent on which characters you want as each class.
Whilst this game didn’t get overly stellar reviews, generally scoring a 3 out of 5, give or take .5 in either direction, I personally loved it as a child and still play it every now and again. Even though the game can be incredibly frustrating, due to it not really telling you where to go, I found the combat, leveling and overall reward system to be incredibly gratifying.
With all of this in mind, I hope that at least a few of you out there that find old-style turn based RPGs enjoyable will give this game a chance, as it truly is an enjoyable experience.