VG Review: Final Fantasy I for Android
By Stephen Janes (@stephenkjanes)
The original Final Fantasy has been re-released twelve times with various updates to graphics, gameplay and features. This time, it has been released for Android smartphones. This is not an original title by any means, as technically you are playing a port-of a port-of a remake-of a classic.
Dubbed “The Warriors of Light” because of the characters you control, Final Fantasy is an action-RPG that sees the player controlling four prophesized warriors on their quest to activate four crystals of light in order to purge the evil that has overtaken the land.
Final Fantasy was a unique experience because it was one of the first games I can remember where you actually were able to customize your party or team. Aside from giving your main character a name, you could actually choose what classes you wanted your party (of four) to be; warrior, monk, thief, red mage, white mage and black mage. Each class can also be upgraded later on in the game to more advanced classes.
For the record, I am using the myTouch 4G (HTC Glacier) with Android version 2.3.4. Android version 2.1 or higher is required to install and play this game.
The Android port of Final Fantasy features the same graphics and touch-interface as the iOS port released back in 2010, based on the PSP remake of 2007. The graphics are smooth, colorful and beautiful. Just by looking at the graphics it’s easy to forget that this originally started as a bug-filled title back on the NES.
The soundtracks have always been one of the strongest points in the Final Fantasy franchise. Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, the original Final Fantasy would debut several tracks that would become series mainstays in the future, including the “Prelude,” “Opening Theme,” and the “Victory Fanfare.” Even if you don’t know the titles by name, you have no doubt heard all three of these tracks in nearly every Final Fantasy game to date.
The controls function as well as you would hope for being all-touch. As you move about the world, a virtual directional-pad and one button appear on screen to provide you with functionality. If your character is pressed against an item or person that you can interact with, the “Action” button glows red, indicating it’s worth your time to investigate. When you want to access the start menu or your part, you simply tap the HUD that displays your team and their health. It gets confusing from time to time regarding what menu items require a double-tap or just a single selection, but that is a very minor infraction.
When you enter a battle, the bottom of the screen shows different icons representing different tasks or abilities. All that is required is to select what you want to do (attack, defend, item, magic and so on), and then tap on the enemy or ally you want effected. Since melee attacking is the default option, all you have to do is tap on the enemy you want to direct the attack towards, and your party carries on the action, making the grinding process of leveling up less time consuming.
There are a few minor issues that I believe are mostly due to my phone, and not necessarily problems with the game itself. When I played this recent port of Final Fantasy, there were a handful of times where the game experienced a lot of lag and the controls weren’t as responsive as they could be. This was more likely to happen when a random encounter was loading or upon entering a town and there was a lot happening on the screen at once. It was frustrating at times, but never enough to make me stop playing the game. This could be something that is non-existent for those with top of the line smartphones, however.
With that being said, there was one major factor that made me stop playing the game several times; battery life. This game will drain your battery in no time. I have a battery that gives me roughly twenty-five percent additional power for my phone, but playing this game drained my fully charged battery in less than an hour. You can always attempt at playing the game while your phone is plugged in and charging, but I wouldn’t recommend it for safety reasons; my phone battery became so hot I’m convinced I can use it to cook my instant noodles for dinner.
In the end, the Android version of Final Fantasy is just as fun as it has ever been. The Android version of this game also includes two new dungeons that originally were added to the PSP remake/port, but I didn’t have a chance to get to them upon writing this review. Keep in mind; this is not a game that you can just pick up for minutes at a time like Temple Run, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja or Draw Something. If you are looking for a game that will take several hours to complete, you’re in the right spot. As mentioned before, Final Fantasy is as good as it’s ever been, but those looking for a more casual gaming experience might pass it entirely. If you have played any past iteration of Final Fantasy before, you will not be experiencing anything different than before, but this is still a very solid game that provides entertainment.
Final Fantasy for Android is available on the Google Play store for $6.99.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars