Final Fantasy III was an enjoyable and most welcome entry on my journey through the series. You begin the game again as four orphaned children restoring balance to the world after your initial party member Luneth falls into a hole in the ground and a crystal of light bestows it’s power upon the party. You’ll journey across the floating continent and the underworld beneath it after the game thrusts you out from the beginning city of Ur and sets you out on your path.
So lets get into a little bit of the game’s content. The setting should feel similar if you’re familiar with the series, and the story for FFIII is relatively average whether i’m rating it against other RPG’s within or outside of the franchise. Nothing spectacular is going to jump out of this story and surprise you. Everyone in your home town understands you’re but four children about to leave forever on a grand quest and save the world. You know the scenario, they know the scenario, we all know. None of the characters are going to be compelling to you, and if the character isn’t one of your main party, you aren’t going to be sad when they leave or die for the plot. In my opinion the story serves as a wrapper, used mostly to frame a game that is more focused on the combat strategy and party management skills that you’ll need to become familiar with as you work your way towards becoming a formidable warrior. It kind of felt as though Square was putting feelers out to see if this new style of job system was something people would enjoy.
The job system brings me to the next point, but I don’t want to get there before saying that I don’t intend on giving anyone the wrong impression about the story. The story isn’t bad at all, but that’s not what makes FFIII shine. My favorite aspect of FFIII is the job system! You actually get rewarded very well for taking the time to level up different jobs on your characters, and you’re doubly rewarded for switching them out for the newer advanced classes that are unlock along the way. It may feel difficult to switch out a level 99 Thief that you’re used to for an unfamiliar level 1 Assassin, but by the time you get your Assassin up to the higher levels you forget all about those old jobs. This is the first FF i’ve played with some serious replayability. There were a handful of classes in FFI that you could play around with and give yourself a bit of a different run than the first time, but that doesn’t come close to the 23 jobs available in FFIII. I can’t get into the specifics of each job because I didn’t even get a chance to try them all out before I reached the end of the game. While I battled through random encounters I found myself brainstorming what kind of party combination and job sets i’d like to try out the next time I played through the story. It was a really smart choice to throw in more options than you could possibly use, as I type this now, I don’t even know what it is I missed out on and i’m excited to find out the next time I play the game.
The combat in FFIII is your good ole run of the mill turn-based system, with most jobs having a unique ability or availability of magic spells depending on the equipped occupation of the character. It’s a great system and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s been my favorite experience with combat in the FF series so far. Straight forward and no gimmicks from out of left field to screw with you.
The difficultly overall was normal, not being too hard and not being too difficult. What was a bit frustrating was that it wasn’t consistent. I played a care free story with no indication that grinding was necessary, getting through battle after battle not unscathed, but not overwhelmed either. Then it hits you like a truck the moment you get to a boss battle. “You didn’t grind for two hours before getting here? You thought those easy enemies weren’t a good opportunity to grind? Whelp, better start heading back out of this dungeon because the upcoming boss is impossible.” Sometimes it felt like I could feel the developer scolding me, but if it weren’t for these difficult road bumps I encountered along the way I may have criticized the game for being too easy.
Despite the game’s shortcomings I did enjoy the game to a great degree. The refreshing battle system and wide variety of enemy types make FFIII for the Nintendo DS a solid game that everyone should take the time to play.
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