noiseredux vs.

Posted on Jul 8th 2013 at 08:44:29 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PSP

If you happened to read my recent blog post about my playthrough of the first Final Fantasy on PSP, then you'd probably know that I was extremely excited to continue on with the second game. Strangely, I got all kinds of warnings from folks. "Just skip that one... trust me" kind of stuff. But I shook it off. I'm the type of gamer that tends to look for what's good in any game I play, and often am able to find enjoyment in plenty of games that others would just rather not waste time on. Surely I could find some fun in Final Fantasy II - especially a great looking remake like this one! Right?

Well I was right about one thing... it does look great. Much like the first remake, Final Fantasy II looks amazing on PSP. These new sprites and backgrounds in widescreen are really breath-taking and I think sort of what we all imagined our SNES RPG's looked like back in the day. Likewise, the re-recorded soundtrack is excellent. Unfortunately that's where most of my kind-words for this game stop.

Many of you are probably already versed in Final Fantasy II and its extremely flawed leveling system. And though I had heard about it beforehand, I don't think I was prepared for how tedious this really made the game. Rather than just leveling up your characters through experience, everything has to be individually leveled. Your weapons, your spells, your Hit Points... everything. You want to be tougher? You need to take a bunch of damage. You want to cast an effective spell? You better cast it a lot.

Of course there's 'workarounds' but they suck. Basically you can do things like constantly beat up your own party on purpose or cast spells and then cancel them before your turn is over. I didn't even bother with any of that. Truth be told, breaking the game truly broke the experience for me altogether. Instead, I attempted to play it straight, and ultimately that just broke my spirit to continue.

After two or three hours of my weak party walking between two towns, I was just about ready to throw in the towel. I figured I'd take a look a guide though. This right here shows the difference between Final Fantasy I and II. For the most part, I never really had issues figuring out how to progress my journey in the first game. But here I was, still in the earliest section of II and was baffled. The guide told me how to get Minwu the White Mage to join my party. So I tried that, and he wouldn't join. I back-read the guide to make sure I had done everything I was supposed to and as far as I could tell I had. I checked another guide, same thing. Tried again and Minwu wasn't having it.

So I shut the game off in disgust. Even if I could figure out what I was doing wrong and got Minwu to join my party at this point, I wouldn't want to. Final Fantasy II seems one of the most poorly executed RPG's I've ever attempted. This coming from a guy who could appreciate the limitations of item-usage in Riviera The Promised Land! I think perhaps if Final Fantasy II could have been remade with a completely re-vamped (and more traditional) leveling-up system, it could be a game worth diving back into. But in its original form it will remain just a curio to me. I think it's time I start looking for Final Fantasy III instead.

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The nonsense you have to do to level killed it for me, too.  Too bad, really.  FFII was always kind of the black sheep of the FF family and all because Square wanted to try something different.  Anyways, can you imagine if Square had decided to release the FF games outside of Japan ala, Dragon Quest/Warrior?  After the slog that FFI was moving to FFII would have been murderous.  Pretty much a guarantee that the next few FF games would have been looked at with the harsh judgement of what happened in FFII.

On to three!  Kind of wish you could play the NES version. 
FFII is the only Final Fantasy I've completed.  I played through it on the GBA remake and loved it.  I managed to get to an area with very high level monsters and spent a few hours grinding for "levels".  After this, I was strong enough to beat most enemies and I didn't have to deal with the silly leveling system again.  I have the PSP remake as well, but I have yet to play through it again.
Well, how about an old Why Did I Play This Blast From the Past? I reviewed this as my 3rd post on my blog here. I got much further than you did when I played it when I was a kid, and I recently tried retrying it but quickly gave that up.

However, the restart did refresh my memory about a promising and awesome mechanic. Final Fantasy II has a text adventure and Ultima like keyword system. You learn various key words and phrases and using them at the right time is how you progress the story more often than not.

Anyway, here's where I mostly tore FF2 apart:
Not an easy game to jump into blind, and I found it highly entertaining to see how I could use the advancement system to break the game.  I like this game as an example of how Square weren't afraid to experiment.    As a side-note, the cancelling actions method of levelling up doesn't exist on the PSP version (I tried).

Interesting to see what your reaction to SaGa would be (same director)
@Raidou: SaGa as in the FF Legend games?
My patience lasted up to Mysidian Tower before I turned the game off, and started playing Breath of Fire 3 instead. I want to like the game but the leveling system is off putting.
@noiseredux:  Yup, although only the first two involved Akitoshi Kawazu.

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