Final Fantasy III for iPhone Review

By on April 4, 2011

A spectacular achievement by Square Enix.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Who does not know the Final Fantasy series? If you happen to be one, then either you are too young to read, just born or hiding under a rock, and if you apply to none of the above then you can not be a gamer of any kind without knowing its name.

Final Fantasy III happens to be the one title that the world never saw outside of Japan until a few years ago with its official release for the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Falling in line with recent remakes in the Final Fantasy series, with an upgraded engine, newly rendered cutscenes for all titles ranging from Final Fantasy I and II on the PSP, and IV, V and VI on the PlayStation (PSOne).  This is also the first title in the series which introduced the job system, where your characters can switch between different roles for whatever happens to suit the situation at hand.

While some of the previous games have been released on the iPhone, they haven’t quite been upto par in the controls area, this release however brings it all together and provides a complete game that you can definitely call a game. It’s a ridiculously long game though at the same time so it may not be suited to everyone, and could be unappealing for the casual gamer who gets their fix from Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies for example.

Surprisingly this game has perhaps the best control scheme for this genre possible or for any game possible on the platform. We could go as far as to say that classic Final Fantasy, or the entire classic, remake RPG genre was meant to be played with a touch screen interface. You can place your finger anywhere on the screen and drag to bring up a virtual analogue stick, this way you do not have an obstructed view of the game itself since it can be controlled from anywhere. Another added bonus is the pinch to zoom feature can be used to find hidden doors and switches around the world.

Most people are familiar with the battle system of Final Fantasy games, and this is no different, but what is old feels new with this interface. You can touch to select your commands, slide your finger to scroll lists and tap on the enemy when selecting to attack, that in itself makes an old school fan jump with joy at its simplicity.

Now what perhaps stands out the most is the graphical presentation of the game, sure it may not be using the Unreal Engine or look as ridiculous as Dead Space 2, but wow is it great to look at it. It has the textures and models which are almost comparable to being somewhere close to the original PlayStation. Colors are bright and beautiful, battles are more highly detailed than the world being explored, and to put simply in a phrase, this game is just a gamers’ delight.

Sound has been left unaltered since the Nintendo DS version, but it sounds perfectly fine here. Keep in mind it is a remake, so there are enhanced versions of the classic tunes, including the ever-present victory theme.

For what this game is worth, this is a very polished final product for the iPhone and Square-Enix would do well to pay attention to the finer details that make this title stand out. Can we see this going forward for IV, V and VI if they are ever going to be released on the iPhone as well? Will the constantly demanded remake of Final Fantasy VII happen on the iPhone? Only time will tell, until then however, enjoy this rare Final Fantasy title.

The Scorecard
The touch screen interface makes the game feel like its new again, it’s practically perfect for Final Fantasy veterans and newcomers alike.
It’s not Dead Space or Unreal Engine, but it’s really pretty.
It’s a Final Fantasy, it’s guaranteed to have a varied track.
Again, depends upon the person, the game is very long compared to other mobile games, which is both great and daunting for old and newcomers.
This can be a challenge for those not used to Japanese RPG games, but perfect for those familiar to the genre.
The price may scare off most people, but it happens to be one of the better titles on the platform for the gamer.
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