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Final Fantasy III Package Art

Final Fantasy III

Through countless FF sequels, spin-offs, re-releases and re-imaginings, FF3 has never been made available in the US. Despite fan translations on emulation software, an official version of FF3 has never graced the slot of an American console. Sixteen years after its release, Square-Enix hopes to set things straight with its updated release of this missing link.

After the modest re-releases of Final Fantasy I and II along with IV, V and VI, Square-Enix decided to spare no expense on this one. FF3 sports revamped graphics, a fresh soundtrack and Wi-Fi support. Despite these improvements, by todayís standards the gameplay leaves much to be desired.


The most obvious update is the visuals. Completely scrapping the sprite-based engine, FF3 features rich and colorful polygons. Due to DSís graphical limitations, these characters and backgrounds look more 1998 than 2007. Still, this is a refreshing attempt, considering the effortless rehashes Square-Enix has pumped out recently.

Kudos to Square-Enix for a phenomenal presentation. While the gameís re-done dialogue is still simplistic and typical of the proto-RPG era, personality is added visually. During the usual Final Fantasy victory/fanfare moments at the end of every battle, characters are whisked up onto the upper screen while statistics are displayed below. When one of the characters gains a level, they either give a curt nod or a triumphant fist in the air to celebrate their progress. As Job Classes make for a large part of the game, FF3 offers a great variety of different appearances for the characters, each with distinctive attire.

Another major point of interest is the gameís new opening cinematic, which is up to snuff with todayís newer RPGs. Unfortunately, while the CGI is technically impressive, it comes off as a bit inappropriate, considering that the cinema's characters bear little resemblance to the squat, super-deformed characters in the game itself. Itís not a bad scene per se, but one out of place.


Final Fantasy III has one of the strongest soundtracks in the series to date. With much lighter tones than usual, including a world map theme that sounds like synthesized steel drums, the soundtrack for FF3 never takes itself seriously-- a rarity for a company that has turned a story about Mickey Mouse and the Little Mermaid into a tedious, nonsensical meditation on metaphysics and inter-dimensional spiritual projection.

Sound effects are classic FF, which is never a bad thing. Those who have grown accustomed to the menu blips will feel at home here. The other sound effects are also right where they should be with exaggerated slashes and searing magic spells.


Once its newly added layers have been stripped away, FF3's gameplay sadly falters. FF3 is noted mostly for its job system. While FF1 features a similar system, it lacks the complexity of FF3. Flash forward to the 21st century, and this system is a dinosaur.

As players progress through the game, more job classes are unlocked, along with new abilities. Different job classes are suited towards different fighting styles, making each one useful in its own way. The problem with this comes in the gameís simplistic take on jobs. This game was made during a time when spells could only be cast so many times a day and mana items were non-existent. With FF3ís gigantic dungeons, this approach makes for a tedious experience, lacking the excitement and pacing found in later installments in the series.

Another problem comes in the form of obtuse gameplay. Instead of barring off areas until characters are at a high enough level to face the challenges, players are forced to feel out the world map, resulting in untimely deaths when characters venture out too far. Awkward variables are also thrown into the gameplay way too early. For example, several early stages require the characters to cast a Mini spell on themselves, reducing them to the size of ants. The characters are absolutely useless unless changed into magic users, a solution that will work well for about five fights, until the magic runs low. Itís not very heroic and a real let down at such an early stage in the game.

But FF3 does have its merits. Itís a true, classic installment in the series, complete with all the Chocobos and Moogles. This may sound trivial to some, but given the dramatic turn the last few installments of the game have taken, it's nice to see these Square-Enix return to the things that FF fans hold so dear. FF3 is a long quest with a good amount of things to do. Tack on some fun Wi-Fi features, like the newly implemented Mognet, and FF3 is one bulky RPG experience.




Final Fantasy III is a definite weak link in the series. The gameplay, while not bad, is primitive and a bit awkward. Gamers on the go may do well to look into Final Fantasy IV-VI for Game Boy Advance before scoping out this one. The typical Final Fantasy charm is there, but Square-Enix had good reason to keep this one out of the states for so long.

final score 6.5/10

Staff Avatar Brendan Kerr
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"Give me a game, give me a juice-box, and leave me alone!"

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