It took quite awhile for Final Fantasy III to be published here in the states. What you may know as FF3 (snes) was actually Final Fantasy VI. Squaresoft (before they merged with Enix…try to keep up!) thought us feeble-minded Americans were too stupid to complete some of the earlier FF games, so they simply did not release them here. To be fair, Square wasn’t half the publishing behemoth then that they are now, so I guess we can cut them some slack.
The game saw first light here with the Nintendo DS remake in 2006. The DS version was a complete overhaul with 3D graphics and character personalities abound. You see, in the original version of the game, the four ‘warriors of light’ were just generic, lifeless placeholders. Square went the extra mile with the remake, which achieved critical and commercial success. Fast-forward to 2011 and now we have this wonderufl DS game staring back at us through the iPad!
The iPad version features a higher resolution (1024 x 768) and crisper graphics. Thankfully, they also got rid of that janky font.You also have native touchsreen controls that have been adapted to the interface. When you drag your thumb (anywhere) on the screen, a little joystick appears and you can move your character. RPGs are rife with menus, so they just went ahead and made the options buttons that you can touch. I was suprised how well the game plays in this format.
The game also features an emulation-esque quick save feature. You can quicksave at any point in the game. You are warned that the quicksave will be erased when you select “new game” or “load game.” I learned that your quicksave is erased when you fall in battle or return to the title screen. If you kill the game (literally: open the iOS task manager and close it) before the title screen loads, the save will still be there when you restart. I also learned that the game quicksaves before every random (or not so random) battle.
The wifi connectivity is completely gone, but that’s not such a big deal. The only thing of grave importance that was tied to the Mognet system (wifi powered) was the unlocking of a secret job class. The job quest has been changed to work around this limitation (to my delight). Unlocking the Onion Knight class on the DS was a headache!
Changes aside, this is still the same solid FF game that it was 5 years ago. I can’t really say that the random encounters have grown on me though. They are just as annoying and necessary to the challenging old-school gameplay as they ever were.
FF3 is solid, polished, and challenging. The job system shines just as brightly as it did way back when and this is one ride that is definitely worth the trouble. Square Enix is planning to release Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for the iOS platform very soon. Move over PSP, I think I have found a new portable JRPG platform of choice! Here’s to hoping they keep ‘em coming.