Originally released on NES in 1990, remade on DS in 2006, revisited on iOS in 2011…
Square Enix has little reservation when it comes to re-releasing its classic titles. Fortunately for them, their fans exhibit a similar frivolity when purchasing these remakes and ports. Fortunately for the fans, an absent-minded purchase of Final Fantasy III for the iPhone will not lead to disappointment. This release of FF III is a consistent overhaul of the previously released 3D remake for the Nintendo DS.
If you are familiar with the DS version of Final Fantasy III, you will notice a significant upgrade in the game’s visuals. Everything is being rendered at a much higher resolution; while the DS version of the game approached Playstation One quality visuals, the iPhone version exceeds PS One quality by leaps and bounds. At the time of its release, I thought that the DS version looked fantastic, so the iPhone release made quite an impression on me. Landscapes are beautiful, characters look sharp, and the whole game feels a bit more vibrant.
The superior visuals don’t come at the price of poor controls- which is often a concern with iPhone ports. Controlling your character(s) outside of, and during, the turn-based battles is simple and responsive. Since Final Fantasy titles are turn-based role playing games, they don’t hinge on the accuracy of your movements. This means that the on-screen joystick, which is mapped to wherever you place your finger, is more than sufficient for movement on the over-world. I found that I enjoyed the iPhone’s capacative touch-screen for use during battles, even more so than the DS control equivalent.
That isn’t to say that everyone will love FF III. Players that are scared off by difficult battles and some training tedium should look out; this is certainly a game for RPG veterans. While Final Fantasy III implements a class system for character customization, it is much more static than the system in later FF titles. The net effect is that the game feels even more traditional than the average Japanese role playing game.
I didn’t play all the way through Final Fantasy III my first time around. I later learned that I had given up very close to the ending section. While the difficulty played a role in scaring me off, my primary reason for abandonment was simply that something else more interesting had come along. FF III’s story, while vamped up for the remake, isn’t the stuff of legend. However, I am far more likely to pick up the iPhone version now that it isn’t a matter of carrying a cartridge everywhere I go.
Those of you that loved the DS version of the game will appreciate the improved visuals and portability, especially considering how poorly implemented DS backwards compatibility is on the 3DS. If you haven’t played FF III, but think you would enjoy a challenging game with minimal story, then it is definitely worth trying out. At $15.99 (£9.49), while high for AppStore standards, the game is cheaper than its DS counterpart at retail price, and with the higher-end presentation and visuals, this iOS version is the one to beat.
Final Fantasy III is out now for $15.99. Get it on the