Friday, March 5, 2010

COUNTDOWN: Final Fantasy XIII, Day Four


Two games? Again? Wrong! Just like with Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy IV was released in America with the wrong title. Why? Because the world used to be a stupid place... it actually still is. Anyways, to avoid confusion among my readers: Final Fantasy IV was released as Final Fantasy II in America since Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III weren't released in America... yet.

So, before I begin talking about Final Fantasy IV/II let me give you people a quick update on my ailment. I am very sick with a sinus infection from hell. I went and saw a doctor today and she said that I'm damned... Just kidding... I probably shouldn't joke about that. So yeah, hopefully I'll be feeling better by Monday, but I really don't know. Whether I'm sick or not I'm still going to camp out for XIII. Because I'm that dedicated! (Go nerds.) Anyways, enough about my pathetic life, let's get into our nerd discussion.

Released in Japan and North America in 1991, Final Fantasy IV was a game that changed video games forever. I say that a lot, but I think that Final Fantasy IV is probably the most revolutionary game in the entire series. Before Final Fantasy IV, games were just sort of there to play. But Final Fantasy IV changed everything by a landmark.

Before, Final Fantasy IV, video games consisted of three different elements that made up the gaming formula; gameplay, gameplay and gameplay. But Final Fantasy IV brought in a few new ingredients. Games now consisted of a real story, character development, and of course, gameplay. This may sound silly, but this completely changed the formula of game making. Games before had somewhat of a story, but not that much. Most of this was due to limits in technology. There were a few games that had tried telling a story before, (Final Fantasy I, Metal Gear, etc.) but Final Fantasy IV, in my opinion, was the first game to truly succeed.

The story to Final Fantasy IV is still unlike any other game out there. Most RPG's (Role Playing Games) start you out as a regular person. In fact, EVERY game starts out that way. Every game EXCEPT Final Fantasy IV. Unlike previous games, Final Fantasy IV had you play as Cecil, the Dark Knight to the Red Wings of the kingdom of Baron. This was different than other games because Cecil was not an ordinary person; he was the general of the army. He was the big burrito, the nacho on the cheese, the avocado that makes the guacamole. No one messed with Cecil.

Cecil as the Dark Knight. Model from Dissidia.

In the beginning of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil was ordered by the King to massacre the peaceful people of Mysidia, and steal the Water Crystal from them. After following orders, Cecil begins to question the motives of the King. Never before had he been ordered to do such horrendous acts of violence. When the King learns of what Cecil has been thinking, he accuses Cecil of treason and strips Cecil of his rank and abilities. He then orders him to deliver a mysterious package to the village of Mist. Accompanying Cecil is his best friend Kain.

The original model of the Dragoon Kain.

Together Cecil and Kain watch in horror as the package contained a death trap, completely annihilating the village of Mist, and its inhabitants. A little girl named Rydia is the sole survivor of the slaughter. When the King learns of Rydia's survival he sends soldiers to kill her, however Cecil defends Rydia, and runs away with her.

Eventually the party ran into an old wizard by the name of Tellah. Tellah leads the party to Damcyan Castle, where they witness the new leader of the Red Wings obliterate the Kingdom of Damcyan, stealing the Fire Crystal in the process. Inside the Castle was the daughter of Tellah. Swearing vengeance against the King on the death of his daughter, Tellah runs away.

If you can't tell yet, the story of Final Fantasy IV was essentially about Cecil trying to stop a corrupt Kingdom from destroying the planet Earth. The story to Final Fantasy IV was deeper than any other story that gamers had ever seen. Cecil was a deep character that had thoughts and feelings, he regretted his actions and sought to atone for his sins that he had made when he was a Dark Knight. After finding forgiveness Cecil transformed into a White Knight, where he gained supreme powers.

Cecil after he atones, and becomes a White Paladin. Model from Dissidia.

The story to Final Fantasy IV was incredibly dark for its time. It included strong themes of violence, possession and more. Gamers didn't complain though. Final Fantasy IV was among the first games that was successfully used to tell a deep story. It was also one of the first video games to feature a real love story. Cecil and his girlfriend Rosa were deeply in love, and at the end of the game married. But there was also Prince Edward who eloped with Tellah's daughter.

Games had never contained so many elements before, and that's why Final Fantasy IV is so revolutionary. The modern -day RPG formula was created by Final Fantasy IV. It's still being used, almost twenty years later.

Final Fantasy IV was the first Final Fantasy that really felt like a Final Fantasy game. It was also the first game in the series that my brother and I ever played. For that reason, my family is especially fond of Final Fantasy IV. It is my older brother Chris' favorite game in the series. It is also one of my favorites. The story is among the best of the best, and it has a strong message of forgiveness and hope that I've always appreciated.

Final Fantasy IV has been called one of the greatest games of all time. In 2006, Famitsu Magazine ranked Final Fantasy IV as the sixth best game ever created. Some people have gone far enough to call Final Fantasy IV the greatest RPG ever made. Although, I disagree, it's not hard to see why people say this. Final Fantasy IV was an incredible piece of technology. It was the first game in the series to be released on the Super Nintendo, and it proved to the world what the series was capable of creating. It is among the finest games ever created, and will always have a special place for my family.

We have only four more days until the release of Final Fantasy XIII! (Counting today.) I really can't believe that it's so close. Tomorrow we'll talk about the only Final Fantasy to have never received an official release in America. That's right, Final Fantasy III still hasn't been released in America. (The original version at least.)

Among the various innovations that Final Fantasy IV brought to the series was its music. The music from IV is incredibly popular in Asia. In Japan, students are required to learn how to play the "Love Theme" in elementary school. Orchestra's around the globe pay tribute to the music of Final Fantasy IV by playing it in their concerts, and some bands have gone so far as to cover songs from the series in their concerts.

This guitarist is absolutely amazing. He is my hero. Not only is he fantastic at guitar, but he plays songs from Final Fantasy! This is an amazing cover of Theme of Love. I want to learn this version.

1 comment:

  1. Dude I absolutely LOVE this game. I was flat out shocked at how deep the characters were and also at the amazing score. The DS edition was actually pretty good. At least, I enjoyed it. Im soooo excited for XIII!!!
    Reviews from critics are out and they are looking pretty good.