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The Moore Log: Final Fantasy III

18 Nov

Hey y’all! Happy post-Halloween everyone and welcome to the only space I’m provided with to talk about Final Fantasy games and more! Before I continue with the third installment in the series, let’s take a look at something else first. Squeenix was holding a Final Fantasy Super Fan contest. Fans of the series had the chance to prove they are the most determined of their kind by making a video about why they should receive the title and the grand prize of having your name listed in the credit roll of the next Final Fantasy game. Wow! Too bad I misunderstood the purpose and lost by default. I thought we were supposed to decorate a fan with Final Fantasy stuff to make it a ‘super fan’ and film it for a minute or less… Whoooooooops…? Well, you can’t spell Fantasy without ‘fan’, right? Heh, I’m so witty today.

Well, no, of course I didn’t. I wouldn’t be the right person for this title. In fact, I think no one would. In the eyes of Square Enix, the greatest fan is the one with the biggest collection of merchandise and costumes, the person that shove them the most money into their throats, while in my own eyes, it’s the person who spent a lot of time with the series, knows every game inside and outside and loves each installment equally. Let’s be honest: no such a person exists in this dimension. And if a person like that does exist, I envy him he or she probably didn’t even know about this contest in time.

So that’s that! Now let’s take a look at Final Fantasy III. And no, it’s not Final Fantasy VI, you silly old generation people. Here at the Moore Log, we do the counting the japanese way. Well, technically it’s roman numerals BUT I DON’T CARE!!!

So Final Fantasy III is a game. Yup. Definitely a game. I’m not so sure of it sometimes, but yes, according to the Wiki, it is. It’s also very similar to the first Final Fantasy game called Final Fantasy, as it doesn’t have pre-named main characters like Final Fantasy II did. That is, until the DS remake came up.

While Final Fantasy II was nothing like it’s predecessor, Final Fantasy III returned to the roots of the series. Now remember, this was in the Famicom/NES era. Back then, video game sequels were not that usual, and making them too similar to their previous installments was unthinkable. A new game had to be entirely new, without recycling gameplay elements. And this is perfectly logical: If it was the same game, you might as well play the same game. Gameplay was all you had… unless you were creative and provided new challenges with each installment like Mega Man did. People quickly realized this was the right way to do – let the games resemble their predecessors, but add new content that makes the game worth playing. If only game developers made this nowadays… oh wait. The good ones actually do. Rarely, but they still do… I’mnotlosinghopejustyet!

And this is what happened to Final Fantasy III. It took Final Fantasy, made the story bigger, added more character classes, more story-related characters, and… yeah, the very first Job System in the series. Unlike Final Fantasy II you will be able to level your characters by defeating enemies alone again, but now you will also be able to level the jobs your characters currently use. There are a total of twenty-three jobs (since the first remake) that are unlockable by following the story or completing certain sidequests. You can change them whenever you want (unlike the first Final Fantasy, where you chose one for each character) and will be forced to do so to face certain parts of the game more easily. Near the end however, you can of course choose the jobs you feel most secure with in general. Me myself, I ended it with the same group I had on the first Final Fantasy: Knight, Ninja, Magus (the advanced Black Mage in this installment), and… Sage. Alright, maybe not the very same group, I got rid of the White Mage (or Devout) halfway through the game, and I think I used Dragoon more than the Knight. But it really didn’t matter, you can always change back to the other classes. Just be sure to level them up so you can use better spells.

The most notable new jobs are Ranger, Dragoon, Evoker, and Sage. There are others, of course, but I will not cover all of them. Also, all this informatiion relates to the remake version of the game, not the Famicom one, which is completely different.

Normally, any physical attack classes would do less damage if you placed them in the rear line of your formation, which is normally used for mages to take less damage than the front line warriors. The Ranger however deals the same damage, no matter where he is. His only problem is that he needs actual arrows to work. These come in various flavors like Wooden, Fire or Poison, but are limited. He also has a special ability called Barrage, which fires four arrows at once at the enemy. This ability gets stronger the more you level the class.

The Dragoon is probably one of the most if not the most memorable class from the Final Fantasy franchise, thanks to characters like Kain Highwind, Cid Highwind and… Mog? … Forget what I just said. Dragoons come with their signature Jump attack, that does extra damage on flying enemies and enemies weak against Wind-type spells. It also protects them for a while, like the ‘Fly’ command in Pokémon. The damage multiplier attached to this attack rises by leveling the job class.

The Evoker set new standards for Final Fantasy games. You were now able to summon powerful creatures that aided you with one of their special attacks, provided you obtained the required spell by doing certain tasks. These Summons were none other than Chocobo, Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Odin, Titan, Leviathan and Bahamut, names that still resonate in each installment of Final Fantasy – even in Final Fantasy XII, a game that uses a totally different set of summoned monsters. This job class has a stronger version in Final Fantasy, the Summoner.

I talked about the Red Mage in my article about the original Final Fantasy. The Sage is basically the same shit, a stronger version if you will. It still can’t use the ultimate spells that a Magus or Devout can, but they are able to use the same summon magic as an Evoker. While that doesn’t seem like much, it made a huge difference to me. You don’t really need ultimate White Magic or the ultimate summonings. So except wasting a character to have both a Summoner and a Devout, you can have one that does all you need from those classes. That’s why it’s actually somewhat useful in this game.

The old classes have been modified a little to have special abilities. The Knight will now automatically protect allies with low HP, Thieves can now steal items from enemies, and Ninjas can throw items from your inventory, like the otherwise unusable Shuriken. Unfortunately, they lost the ability to use low level Black Magic, while the Knight retains very basic White Magic ones.

There is also the Onion Knight job class, which is the default in the Famicom/NES version, and a secret class in the remakes.  The special things about this class is that… it’s really weak, and barely gives you any good stats. That is, until you hit level 90 on your character. From this point on, stats will increase drastically, making it the strongest job class of the game! Get it now, or… be a normal guy that doesn’t want to put up with leveling your character that much. Your choice.

Ooh… gosh… darn… I almost forgot about the story… how horrible…

No, honestly, this is fucking horrible! I wasted too much time on the job system, while the story is just… well, how should I even explain this?

How could I make the story short and simple… There are four orphans who discover one of four crystals. It grants them special powers and a mission (see, this is the very root of Final Fantasy XIII if you think about it). They then set out to explore the world and it’s wonders, look for their purpose and stuff. A lot of things happen, and they have quite the journey. Out of all the classic Final Fantasy titles, this is probably the biggest and my most favorite story progress in the entire series, and it’s way too much to quickly summarize it here. If you played it, you will probably know what I mean, if you did not, don’t read any further! Only proceed if you don’t care about spoilers! So let’s just settle with this: the story really reaches it’s climax when the group discovers a whole new world after losing a dear friend… learning more about the powers protecting their own world and the evil sorcerer Xande who is only mentioned in the entire game and not encountered once… until the final battle. Being mortal and afraid of dying, Xande decided to disrupt the balance of light and darkness – the world should be flooded in darkness so time would freeze for eternity (XIII-2, anyone?), making him immortal.

He was the one responsible for all the ordeals you went through, and step after step you get closer to him, to finally rid the world of his wicked plans, your rage fueled by the death of your friend. And when he finally ends his last breath – his goal is complete and the balance of light and darkness is destroyed. That’s right, it’s your fault, no matter what anyone else says! How dare you! The Cloud of Darkness is revealed, the real mastermind behind Xande’s actions, an evil being that wants to reduce the whole world to nothingness by destroying it entirely. Can our heroes overcome this enemy? Who knows… Actually, I don’t. I don’t remember the ending at all. Heh, whoops.

The thing is, I LOVE IT!!! But what makes this so great? In retrospect, it sounds pretty cliché, right? Well, what made this game great was not the actual story, but the adventure you had in this game. The people you met, the experience you made, progressing from one place to another, reaching a goal you have absolutely no clue about. I rarely use this word, but Final Fantasy III was epic, and had a huge impact on me. I fell in love with it’s world is what you could say, and thus, it’s one of my most favorite Final Fantasy games. It defines the series like no game before it, and doesn’t fail to give you a true sense of accomplishment. And the remake is just gorgeous. Even though I did not like the DS graphics of Final Fantasy games, it really fit this one. The now named characters give the story even more emotional depth, and the opening movie… beautiful.

And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Until next time, my fellow adventurers. Until next time.

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Posted by on 18/11/2012 in The Moore Log

 

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