Final Fantasy III Preview

We spend several hours with an English-language version of Square Enix's handheld remake of Final Fantasy III.

by

Now just a couple of weeks away from its North American release, Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS is a 3D remake of a role-playing game that was originally released in 1990. Unlike other games in the popular series, the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Final Fantasy III was never released outside of Japan. So although the storyline is more than 15 years old, the experience will no doubt be all new for many of you. We recently had an opportunity to spend several hours with a near-finished version of the game, and we're pleased to report that it appears to have been well worth the wait.

At the start of a new game, Final Fantasy III throws you in the deep end when you assume control of the protagonist, Luneth. There's no intro movie to sit through, and your adventure won't be getting underway in some quaint little town. Instead, you'll find yourself in a network of underground tunnels where random battles with goblins are commonplace, and exploration is rewarded with treasure chests that contain potions, weapons, armor, and the like. In the absence of a tutorial, this starting area serves to familiarize you with the controls, the turn-based combat system, and the menus that are used for managing your items and equipment. It's all pretty straightforward stuff, particularly if you're familiar with other games in the series. And it's possible for you to use the stylus exclusively or not at all to play the game. We've been using the stylus to do just about everything with no problems whatsoever, though we've been using the left shoulder button to zoom the camera in and out rather than the icon on the touch screen that performs the same function.

The reason we're using the camera's zoom option is that exploration in Final Fantasy III involves a little more than just walking around. You'll find plenty of invisible (black-on-a-black background) corridors if you keep an eye out for rooms that do not have obvious entrances and other visual cues. But some of the most lucrative areas and most powerful hidden items can only be found by zooming the camera in and looking for environmental objects that you can interact with. Said objects, which include containers with items inside and hidden levers to open up secret passageways, sparkle when viewed up close. But they do not look any different from anything else in the environment when you use the default camera setting. Thus far, this mechanic is used quite liberally in many of the areas that we've visited. And as a result, it's certainly more interesting to spend time in the towns and villages where random battles don't occur.

Shortly after you visit the first town in Final Fantasy III, you'll be joined by the second member of your party. And within an hour or two of starting a new game, you can expect to have a full party of four characters under your control. Although all of the members of your party have quite different back stories, each one is essentially a blank canvas, and you get to choose a profession for each character. When characters join your party, they're classified as freelancers, who are jack-of-all-trades with no obvious strengths or weaknesses. But when the game's professions system comes into play, you'll have the option to start them on much more specialized career paths and, in the process, outfit them in profession-specific clothing. Initially, the only professions available to you are warrior, monk, white mage, red mage, black mage, and thief. But more professions become available as you progress through the game.

Your characters' outfits are determined by their profession.

As your characters level up, so do their professions. And certain portions of the game can certainly become more or less challenging as a result of your profession choices. For example, in one of the boss fights, melee attacks were completely ineffective, so our thief and warrior characters weren't much help. We spent the entire fight telling our black mage to launch blizzard and fire attacks while our white mage used healing spells to keep him alive. However, our thief proved to be a very useful character in other situations because in addition to stealing items (potions mostly) from enemies and being very good at fleeing from combat when necessary, he's able to pick locks. This afforded us access to rooms that contained treasure chests and other goodies on a few occasions already.

Like other games in the series, Final Fantasy III starts out as a relatively linear experience. However, as the world map opens up from the access you gain to airships and the like, it becomes much less so. Right now, for example, we have a ship that we can sail across the random-battle-laden seas to reach new lands and previously unexplored towns and castles. There also appear to be plenty of side quests to get involved in alongside the main storyline. And there's certainly no shortage of large, good-looking monsters to do battle with along the way. We'll be spending a lot more time with Final Fantasy III as its release date gets closer, and we look forward to bringing you a full review soon.

Discussion

113 comments
pdo4545
pdo4545

Tis is a great game, i have it, i recomend it.

darthballs31
darthballs31

does anyone know how to use an evoker or summoner? like, how and what do they summon.

pimp321
pimp321

game rocks but they dont have a review for it ??? it has been out for some time

sonicare
sonicare

The review is a little late, but I attribute that to the holiday week/weekend. Gamespot employees also deserve some time off. I'm sure they will be posting it soon - likely tonight or tomorrow.

inguz-oisin
inguz-oisin

Eh the game is out for a couple of weeks...

DiscoBurn
DiscoBurn

Yeah, althought im a little ashamed, I got a ROM of the old version, but! it was a wicked game, and one of my favourites. Ill be buying a DS real soon so i can play this. and whats the big deal? reviews usually dont come out until around the time the game does, or not long before. didnt they say the game wasnt even quite finished..? suck it up and wait a while.

Kbs64
Kbs64

OK so when are they going to do a reveiw? Its like way past due, man

sonicare
sonicare

So far this game has been very good. I've only played it for about 3 hours, but it has been solid so far. Nothing that new, if you are a fan of the old ones, but still fun.

dingodile
dingodile

wat is gamespot doin, the wait for this review is enormous, i'm waitin to watch the video review, but the seem to be holdin somethin... ^.-

Wezker619
Wezker619

Im glad i just romed this game!

inguz-oisin
inguz-oisin

Taking so long to review such a big game is a disgrace >.>

Sam_Lowery
Sam_Lowery

I think with the PS3 and Wii coming out they forgot to review this game :) It's good but kinda hard. you can stumble onto monsters that wipe you out with one or two hits.

EurekaZerO
EurekaZerO

i just got a white skin ds light today and the game, its pretty sweet. Like that review says up there, its nothing like the FF3 on the SNES ( i still have that game for the SNES T.T)

RoughryderGT
RoughryderGT

wow its been one week exactly since the release of FF III. and no review. dont get me wrong i dont mind the wait. but this is the longest they've taken on a high profile game like this.

jedimastr
jedimastr

i just got htis game a couple hours and it's friggen awsome im sort of stuck on getting the mithral rig though? but so far it's very good. great graphics looks great and i like the begging little movie thing.

darthmatius
darthmatius

WEN THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO RATE FINAL FANTASY 3 FOR DS MAN ITS TAKING FOR EVER !!!!

jedimastr
jedimastr

Why does every one feel the need to buy a ds light when they already have a ds, theirs no difference exept in a little apperense and to be truthfull with you i think that ds light is realy that good, i meen it's rediculous to think that we should spend 150 dollars for something we allready have and we dont need. i dont like the fact that they changed the ds because now i cant get skins and gear for it anywere!

kairoyurei
kairoyurei

DS, light or the original is simply worth buying! So as this game. Well, at least those are my opinion. =)

one_of_panda
one_of_panda

Yeah crazyhulk FFIII is really worth it. And you might as well get the DS light i mean there the same price as the other DS's.

crazyhulk
crazyhulk

should this be a wise reason to buy a ds lite and ff III??? I havent really played a good portable game besides psp but only the first games i bought near lauch.. now I dont play games on my psp.. Im asking the DS veterans and first timers if this portable device is really worth getting especially FF III? I guess the only fallback were the graphics on the ds which for me arent impressive but after playiin ff12 im sorta feeling good vibes with FF III. So can anyone here help me out.. post here or if u want message me.. thanmks so much...

dingodile
dingodile

man, eryone here's gettin there copy in a couple days or already has it, i gotsta wait till christmas... this sucks.

Ace-Maverick
Ace-Maverick

Got the game yesterday afternoon. It is amazing! Already logged over 7 hours.

grave_rob
grave_rob

wish it didn't hafta be sooo cartoonish. i realize it's FF but...

one_of_panda
one_of_panda

Oh Yeah i Have FFIII. All i have to say is Kick @$$ game.

one_of_panda
one_of_panda

Sadness consumes me! I am gonna have to wait for one more day till i can play this wonderful game...tear...tear.

Nintendus
Nintendus

I'll get it along to start my DS collection.

one_of_panda
one_of_panda

Love em hate em either the DS or the PSP. Why not have the best of both worlds. But in my eyes i think the games on the DS are better. And i am really looking forward to this one. Hopefully at EB Games tomorrow they will have it. But shipping does take some time out of everthing so i am probably looking at playing FFIII on the 15th. But hell i might get lucky.

X-7
X-7

Ok ijunc... loser! I can't wait I love FF!

ijunc
ijunc

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

jon2286
jon2286

I pre-ordered mine from amazon for $5 less than in stores. The only problem is that it ships later, so I won't mine until the 20th. By then I'm sure most of you will have beaten it from playing it non-stop 14th-20th.

Ra-Devil
Ra-Devil

you know, I bought a DS Lite, Onyx, last week off a guy in a Gamestop who was trying to sell it to them. They offered him $30, he said no, I offered $50, he said yes, so more or less, I got a brand spankin' new Onyx DS Lite with the game Megaman ZX, and now, just a week later, this comes out. Sometimes I think it's unfair just how lucky I am.

Sacif
Sacif

lol @ Creamcloud, the name says it all man :D and I am about as excited as you are.

creamcloud
creamcloud

2 MORE DAYS! 2 MORE DAYS! I can almost feel it in my hands. I can almost smell the packaging.... MMMMmmm and it sm-sm-smeelll-lalalalass GGuuuddd Baby. Can you smell it too? Smells like hella fun to me. hehe

mohammed888
mohammed888

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL Thank god my pay chek is next week and I can get it with a DS lite (onyx)lol all my 2 week paychek gone in a flash...........................

Newraven01
Newraven01

I can't wait for this to release!!!!

Rico_06
Rico_06

OMG THAT SOUNDS SO GOOD I CAN'T WAIT!!!! (EVEN THOUGH IN AUSTRALIA IT"LL COME OUT MUCH LATER!!!)

Sacif
Sacif

Just a few more days and its here...zomg

havoc__8
havoc__8

in this ff game will there be any multiplayer aspects like battles or trades ??

xboat
xboat

FF3 is my first rpg game i played This bring a lot of memory ^ ^ finally it comes in the remake and thank God in english can't wait to play this

tallsmartman
tallsmartman

This will be the crowned jewel of my DS collection for sure. I just pre-ordered it today. It's gonna ROCK! -MW

myrllellei
myrllellei

Gonna have to dust of the DS for this. Maybe even buy a new one so I can really enjoy the graphics on a brighter screen. Hopefully Squeenix gives some of the other Pre-FFVII games this treatment. I'm not bothering with any of the GBA ports.

mikesea
mikesea

i'm buying a ds just for this!!

GoodFig
GoodFig

Judging by the Japanese version, this game is SUPER well done. I can't wait for a version I can actually read.... :D

michelle_moraes
michelle_moraes

I can't wait for this one to come out, it is about time for us to have a chance to enjoy the third FF! I hope I'm done with the main quest in FFXII by then... XD

nateistoraw
nateistoraw

stop no no no I want this game sooo much im gonna explode!!!!