A pair of games that have held up surprisingly well to the test of time.

User Rating: 7 | Final Fantasy Anthology: European Edition PS
Final Fantasy Anthology (PAL) contains Playstation ports of 2 classic SNES games from the Final Fantasy RPG series. Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V. The history of console RPGs and Square's role within it is the crux of why FF Anthology is such an important collection to be re-released on Playstation.

Final Fantasy IV
This game was the first in the series to my knowledge to actually hold a coherent plot. However by todays standards the dialogue is childishly simple and full of over used cliches.
In the game you take control of Cecil, a Dark Knight in charge of a group of airships known as the Red Wings. After carrying out some dastardly deads for the king, Cecil begins to question the morals of his orders. The king then sends Cecil and his best friend Kain, a Dragoon on a quest to test their loyalty, and the game really starts from there.

The battle system used throughout Cecil's adventure is basic to say the least. Each character has the standard commands of attack and item. Then depending on their class (which is pre determined) get a special skill only they can use. Like Rydia can use black (attacking) magic, Kain can use the jump skill etc. These evolve as the characters level. Meaning little customization, and alot of level grinding to progress through the dungeuns.

Equipping items in FF IV, the mainstay of any rpg is made frustrating by your inability to compare before and after stats. So you can’t tell if a weapon will improve on what you have until you equip it. Which sadly means alot of menu time.

Despite these minor critisicms though, once I got over the fact that it's a very old school game, FFIV is actually very enjoyable. The dungeun designs are actually quite good, the bosses are varied and quite challenging, and the characters and story do hold it all together surprisingly well.

Final Fantasy V
This time, you play as Bartz, a random traveler with his chocobo. He sees a meteor crash to the ground not too far away from him and decides to investigate. Upon arriving near there he meets an old man Galuf, and a young lady named Reina. From here Bartz is dragger into another find the elemental crystals and save the world quest.

Through Bartz travels he will pick up different skills, which is where the much loved job system comes in. These vary from Knight, Thief, White Mage, Blue Mage, Black Mage and Monk. With much more found later. Each Class has its own special skill: for example, Monks deal massive damage with the use of their fists and a Thief can find hidden rooms in dungeons. With each job class you have, there are abilites to learn to increase the skills your characters can unleash in the heat of battle. These are gained by selecting the skill you wish the character to aquire then collecting the needed amount of AP from the end of fights, much like exp. This system gives the player completely free reign with how they want their characters to be. Not only that, but you can carry certain skills from one class that has been mastered, onto another only just being started, so the customisation options are much improved from FFIV.

The graphics for both of these games are far from immpressive. Which is to be expected considering they are Snes ports. Full of blocky pixels and basic colours. They are tolerable thanks to the gameplay and nostagic reasons, just don't expect to be wowed.
Square did however produce some new FMV's to these games. But really, i wish they hadn't bothered as they bring nothing to the games and are of surpisingly low quality.

Sound is much the same, low 16bit quality. Some of the tunes are still quite catchy and serve the game well, but by todays standards once again i doubt they will stir your emotions. Both of these games have plenty of replay value, to get full leveled partys, master the Job classes etc takes about 70 hours per game. Not to mention the optional bosses and side quests.

Overall Final Fantasy Anthology is a blast to the past, but a surprisingly joy ridden one. If you are an RPG fan looking to play a bit of history, then you can't go wrong here.