The missing child hath been found

User Rating: 8.5 | Final Fantasy III DS
Final Fantasy III was originally for the NES, and unless you imported or obtained one of the less-than-legal fansubs, you couldn't play it. But Square-Enix felt the time was right to bring this game to America officially. Let's go through this game component by component.

Graphics: While the CGI characters in FMVs have almost current-gen quality, Like most 3D games on the DS, they seem very reminiscent of the Nintendo 64, with the models and graphics somewhat blocky and flat. Nevertheless, the ingame models do have a charm to them, with their stubby legs and such.

Story: Being a remake of an NES-era game, the plot isn't very substantial. Four elemental crystals have lost their light, and everything's gone to hell in a handbasket, and it's up to the heroes of our tale to make things right. The characters aren't very well-developed, and often come across as cliched or even cookie-cutter.

Sound/Music: The game's music are all remixed from the NES version's music. Most of the tunes are pretty repetitive, though catchy. But there are a few songs that really stand out.

Gameplay (Part 1): This, of course, is the most important aspect of the game, and this game, while a bit formulaic, still works. Rather than using the ATB system that started in Final Fantasy IV, it's purely turn-based. You select actions for your characters, then watch the outcome. But there's far more too to it than that, of course.

Gameplay (Part 2): Over the course of the game, your characters gain access to new classes (called "jobs") that grant them different abilities and stats. Early on, you get access to basic classes like warriors (wears heavy armor and uses swords and axes) monks (unarmed fighters), white mages (casts healing magic and defensive buffs) black mages (casts attack magic and offense-based buffs) and thieves (attacks quickly and can steal things). Later, you'll get cooler jobs like the dragoon (uses spears and can jump up high to deal lots of damage) geomancer (uses the power to the land to attack) and even ninjas (uses katanas and can throw stuff) and summoners (mages that call forth creatures to deal lots of damage to groups). While the NES version essentially forced you to use the Ninja and Sage classes at the end of the game, Square did a much better job at balancing out the classes in this incarnation, allowing for greater capacity to mix and match their favorite jobs in the final areas of the game. Outside of battle, it's just like other Final Fantasy games, you run around through an overworld, towns, dungeons and get into random battles. Sometimes you will have a fifth character following your lead party member, and they can sometimes offer you advice.

Gameplay (Part 3): One of the major differences between the NES and DS versions is the difficulty. Due to the DS' smaller screen size, battles contain no more than three enemies at a time. To balance this out, the individual enemies are more powerful. Also, many bosses now have the ability to take twice or more in one turn, making them far more deadly. Another major difference is that your fifth party member will sometimes help you out in battle by attacking with physical strikes or magic, or give your party some sort of buff. While the buffs are always welcome, sometimes they can end battles before your main characters get a chance to act, which is required to make your characters' skill in jobs grow.

Gameplay (Part 4): The main game is usually enough for most, but those who want the full experience and required to use the Mognet mail system, which requires use of the DS' Wi-Fi. By sending messages to friends and in-game characters, you'll have access to numerous sidequests. I have not personally used this feature, though I may try it sometime.

Overall: Final Fantasy III is a solid remake of the last (and probably best) NES Final Fantasy, and those who want to enjoy an old-school Final Fantasy experience with a increased level of challenge should look no further. Those who are looking for an RPG with an in-depth plot, deep characters and epic scenes should look elsewhere. But if you're just looking for a solid RPG experience and don't care too much about that sort of thing, this is certainly a game to get.