A few months ago, I decided to pick up Final Fantasy XV, and I was absolutely blown away. The game had a lot of problems, to be sure, but its fascinating, if not a little confusing, world- building, cast of characters, and battle mechanics made me fall in love with this game. Final Fantasy XV is now tied with The legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as being my favorite video game of all time. And just like the way I was moved to play every other Zelda game after Skyward Sword, I am now compelled to see what the other 14 Final Fantasies are all about. Quite a while back, I actually asked GameXplain on their Real Talk podcast what the best Final Fantasy for a beginner to the series would be, and they agreed that IV, VI, and VII would be good choices. While I obviously jumped the gun all the way over to XV because I was impatient, I now want to try an earlier game in the series to see more or less where it got its roots. I will be playing the DS version as I hear that one’s the best. Keep in mind that I’m writing from memory so forgive me if anything is factually incorrect.

The first thing I saw when I booted up the game was the three-minute CGI intro. While I had no idea what was going on, it did introduce me to what the characters would look like if they weren’t all chibi and was very beautiful nonetheless. It then introduces me to Cecil, who has just stolen a crystal from some people who did nothing wrong by the king’s order. Cecil seems really down on himself for doing this. After a very brief “tutorial” on combat where I mashed random buttons not knowing what to do until I eventually won, Cecil is taken to see the king where he is stripped of his position for simply asking why he had to attack innocent people. Talk about harsh! This is also where we are introduced to Kain, our buddy with a deep voice. That’s really all I can say about him for the time being; he’s kind of a blank slate. Then, both are tasked with bringing a package to a town or something, yadda yadda yadda, magic quest.

I personally really like this type of beginning, where it starts with an established conflict but right before things really ramp up, so right off the bat, Final Fantasy IV is doing things right for me. The voice acting is a little cheesy but they kind of fit with the chibi art style, and I find them a little endearing.

My first task is to find my bed, a more difficult task that I’d expected. This castle really does appear to be huge, but I loved talking to every character to see what they had to say, so it didn’t seem like a slog. I also got introduced to a few new characters in the game, and so far I like them all. One favorite of mine is Rosa. I feel like it’s not often in video games where characters are already in an open romantic relationship, which seems to be what Cecil and Rosa are in unless I’m really misinterpreting it. Regardless, Cecil talks with Rosa about whether what he did was right and exposits some more about the king and how he suddenly became all “evil.” Yeah, he’s possessed. The story line isn’t anything particularly new, but this game isn’t anything particularly new either, so for all I know, this game started the trend of the possessed king and the crystal etc.

Anyway, the premise is intriguing and it’s surprising how much the story gripped me from the start. I’m already becoming invested in these characters that I’ve only met a few minutes ago, which is a good sign. We’ll see next time if the gameplay is gripping enough to keep me invested.

I didn’t plan to have this be so short but stuff happens and I didn’t have much time to write today. I’ll probably write more about Final Fantasy IV tomorrow, so stay tuned!