Final Fantasy 4: The After Years

Just finished going through FF4:TAY a while ago and felt like posting my thoughts on it here.  It’s my blog, you can’t stop me, try it =P

Anyway, as I said in my post a couple weeks ago about distractions from reading, FF4 is my single favorite game of all time.  The Complete Collection for PSP has the original game as well as the episodic After Years collection.  The original game is amazing and I don’t think it really needed an after story, but I’m still glad that they made it and also glad that I played through it.

I think of all of the Final Fantasy games, 4 probably has the best overall battle system.  In the original you use about 12 different characters, and at the time that you have them each character has their own specialty and reason for being in the party.  As much as I enjoy some of the later FF games, there really isn’t any difference between the characters you choose from and your final party is just a matter of who you like.  The final 5 characters in this game all have their own specialties and the balance between them is fantastic.

The interlude part of this game, which is new to this version and hadn’t been released previously.  I think the only reason this was even in the game is just so they could say there was brand new content in the collection.  It really didn’t add anything to the story, and it was annoying to play through.

The After Years is another issue altogether.  There are a total of 10 different short stories and most of them can be completed in 2-3 hours, although the final one took me about 12 hours to complete.  The difficulty for all of the stories was fairly consistent and they were fun to play through as well as interesting stories for all of the characters.  Essentially every character who had a name in the original game has a part in at least 1 of the stories in TAY.  The first story is that of Ceodore, who is the son of Cecil and Rosa.  After that we have stories focusing on Rydia, Yang, Palom, Edge, Poron, Edward, Kain, the Lunarians, and The Crystals (which is the final one with a compilation of all the other characters).

There were obviously some stories that I liked more than others, and I’m sure that everyone has their own opinions for the best ones.  I think I enjoyed Palom’s story the most.  His was the story of training another mage in the use of black magic and while it might have been irritating at times using just two mages and no fighting characters, it was still fun and Palom is a wonderful character.  Porom’s story was irritating as it was really an extension of both Palom’s and Kain’s stories and less of her own.

I enjoyed The After Years, it was fun to go back through and play through another story with characters that I like.  Rydia is probably my favorite character from any game that I’ve ever played, and I enjoyed the other characters as well.

My only criticism of the game, is that it’s essentially fan-fiction for the characters and the series as a whole.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the characters are fun.  Towards the end of the game, several of the bosses that you fight are notable bosses from other FF games.  While the game introduces several new characters, the main story arc was for Kain from the first game rather than for any new character.  This is again a major point of fan-fic as Kain was a cool character in the original who they decided to give his shining moment in this game.

As much as FF4 is brilliant an didn’t need TAY to make me buy yet another version of the game, it was still fun to see the characters again.  Good game, and now I can get back to focusing on my reading and trying to find a job.

I’m gonna call this a review so that I can put it in a category, so here are the final scores:

FF4 10/10

Brilliant game with wonderful characters that you can play through dozens of times (as I have)

Interlude 2/10

Short, irritating, and irrelevant to the overall story.  You can play it because it won’t take long to get through.  The only reason to go through this is because it apparently unlocks some of the bonus features for the game.

The After Years 7/10

Fan-fic that got released as a game, but it’s still fun and worth playing.

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