PSP Game Reviews: Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection Review

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Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

8.4

Gameplay:

 

9.1

Sound:

 

9.5

Control:

 

8.8

Replay Value:

 

9.2

Overall Rating:       9.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Square-Enix

Developer:

Square-Enix

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

It has been nearly 20 years since Final Fantasy IV captured the hearts of role-playing fans everywhere. At the time, it presented players with an epic, unparalleled adventure, complete with a great story, memorable characters, and that classic turn-based combat that turned us all into tacticians. It was a far cry from all those side-scrolling action games, after all. FFIV first returned in Final Fantasy Chronicles for the original PlayStation, and a sequel – The After Years – came to the Wii back in 2009. It featured a different combat mechanic but it was still fun and now, both titles have come to the PSP in the Complete Collection, which also boasts a brand new episode entitled, Final Fantasy IV: Interlude.

As you might expect, it’s difficult to assign a graphics score to a sprite-based revisiting in 2011, and the slicker visuals found in The After Years don’t make it much easier. We can always consider the new CGI sequences that add a whole lot of next-gen spit and polish to the presentation but for the most part, we’re grading a slightly upgraded version of a two decade-old game. Maybe it’s best to say this- the hardcore fans likely know exactly what to expect, while any newcomers will probably laugh at the antiquity and marvel at how far games have come. For the record, this is definitely the cleanest, most accomplished FFIV you’ve ever seen. No, it doesn’t look like anything today but it’s not supposed to.

The sound is absolutely fantastic, because we get the option of choosing the original soundtrack in all its old-school glory or the fresh arrangement. The latter isn’t a complete departure; it’s actually a beautiful combination of new and old; it somehow retains all the nostalgia of the initial music while still sprucing up the orchestral quality. Obviously, there are no voices but the fans don’t expect them, and the effects are standard traditional FF fare. I think I’m hearing some effects I never heard before, though, and it seems as if the combat audio is crisper and sharper, even in comparison to the Chronicles version. Overall, it’s a really beautiful piece of sound work, all the more so because we’re talking about an older format. This is the type of sound that RPG fans really appreciate!

I really shouldn’t have to explain the gameplay. It should be common knowledge. In fact, I don’t care how old you are or what you prefer; if you’re not familiar with traditional turn-based systems, the GMRTP (Gamers Must Respect The Past) committee will revoke your hardcore gamer membership. Seriously. They’ll show up at your house, take your gamer card, and tie you to a recliner while you are educated in the ways of the golden age. …okay, okay, that’s just too elitist-sounding and I retract it. The point is, as if you didn’t already know, the Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection will really only cater to the original fans. You know, those of us who first played it in the SNES days. Anybody else probably shouldn’t bother, unfortunately.

To be fair and accurate, here’s a brief gameplay synopsis- you control a party of up to five members, and you will explore a world map (yeah, remember that thing?), forests, dungeons, and towns from a top-down perspective. This was before such games included “diagonals;” in other words, you can only move up, down, left and right. Now, this is the lone old-fashioned aspect of this game that may prove irritating; it just doesn’t hold up well over time, and I found myself continually overshooting treasure chests and doors. It just feels a little clunky, even though I know this is exactly the way it always used to be; honestly, I wouldn’t mind if they had implemented the sprite mechanics of Lunar. You know, just for a slightly more accessible feel.

The rest is exactly what you would expect, with the exception of The After Years: this takes place almost twenty years after the events of FFIV and centers on Cecil’s son, Theodore. The offspring of Cecil and Rosa, Theodore isn’t a bad main character, but we’ll use many different characters in this sequel (some you’ll know; others are new) and there’s a gameplay difference. It’s still similar to FFIV, but the system known as “Band,” along with a strength and weakness element, infuses that old-school style with a little something extra. I like it quite a bit, even if I question how much those new features actually change the core gameplay. Basically, this is great for the turn-based lovers, and that’s that.

You’ll also unlock plenty of new stuff as you go along, and if you’ve played FFIV recently for some strange reason, you can either start with The Interlude or The After Years. As for longevity, I always overestimate the length of older FFs in my head; for instance, I always think FFVII is a 40-hour adventure when it really isn’t. Maybe I only thought that because in doing absolutely everything (beating both WEAPONs, getting a Gold Chocobo and all the Materia mastered, etc.), my time came to 50 or 60 hours, and I just assumed the main quest wasn’t much shorter. But you can fly through that game in 20-25 hours without a problem, and FFIV isn’t much different. But with the new additions, this Collection is awesome.

Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection is exactly what the long-time followers desire, even if the control shows its age and The After Years isn’t the timeless classic FFIV will always be. The sound, and especially the new music arrangement, is excellent, the story and characters are just timeless, the old-school palette has been shined and refined to within an inch of its old-fashioned life, and the turn-based, ATB combat never skips a beat. It never did then and it doesn’t now. This is a no-brainer for anyone who claims to be a fan of FFIV and indeed, anyone who has been a Final Fantasy follower for a long time. No, it probably won’t be interesting for anyone who finds such a presentation archaic and boring, but as I said…it isn’t for you.

It’s for us.

The Good: Slick, refined presentation of old-school graphics. Unbelievable sound and music. Longevity (thanks to three separate FFIV stories) is fantastic. Story and characters stand up well over time. Final Fantasy fans well served.

The Bad: Likely won’t appeal to those who “weren’t there” in 1991. Old control unfortunately shows its age. The After Years isn’t as amazing as one might think.

The Ugly: Ugly…? Here? Impossible.

4/23/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (48 posts)

firstc624
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 9:38:41 PM
Reply

Picked it up yesterday...how I remember playing this thing on the SNES...still own the cartridge, just not the system.

Loving the game, Just used the stone to make a descent :-)

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inVersion
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 10:04:28 PM
Reply

"'Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection' will really only cater to the original fans. You know, those of us who first played it in the SNES days. Anybody else probably shouldn’t bother"

So anyone who wasn't playing hardcore JRPGs in 1991 can't appreciate this game? So does that mean I'm just ahead of the curve?

"Anybody else probably shouldn’t bother"

Really man? Really...?

Last edited by inVersion on 4/23/2011 10:09:15 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 10:52:46 PM

Yes, really. There may be a few people out there like you, but the vast majority really don't care.

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inVersion
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:13:35 PM

I would have thought more encouraging words would better suit possible newcomers.

Not, "it isn't 'for' you."

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 7:46:38 AM

Don't forget, the point of a review isn't to convince everyone to play the games the reviewer likes the best. Everyone knows this is a game Ben would appreciate.

The job of the reviewer is, not just to give it a good score, but accurately describe what the gamer can expect when playing. It's also the job of a -good- reviewer to outline who the game suits best.

It is an archaic adventure that old-school fans will absolutely adore. But I guarantee you most younger gamers or gamers that were never into jRPG's of old, will not enjoy playing it. They might like the story, but they won't like the gameplay. I think it's a fair analysis.

3Ddot Game Heroes was the same way.

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inVersion
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:10:08 AM

I guess I'll simply have to disagree.

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:59:48 AM

I guess so.

But it's a disagreement based on nothing. It's just sort of the way it is.

The fact that jRPG's are few and far between... the fact that they are no longer loved by the majority and are now loved by a minority indicates the decline of jRPG love, at least in terms of percentile if not numbers... the fact that a shooter not only outsold all jRPG's this generation, but sold more than any multimedia title in history... indicates a stark and very real movement away from jRPG's.

Developers and publishers aren't stupid. They aren't bringing their turn-based rpg's to consoles for a reason. True turn-based jRPG's like WKC, for example (and even that's a turn-based stretch), sold poorly in comparison to like... every other title, almost. If it had sold even 2 million, I might agree with you.

Like I said, it's like disagreeing about whether or not the sky is blue.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/24/2011 12:06:51 PM

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inVersion
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 12:15:18 PM

Agree with me about what? You're talking about a whole nother subject(subjects?), of which I also disagree. lol

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:01:26 PM

So, 2 things have happened here.

1) You didn't read what I wrote,

2) You proved my point boldly. Thank you. You clearly don't have a clear understanding of what types of video games are actually the most popular.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/24/2011 3:02:39 PM

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inVersion
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 4:14:10 PM

I read it a couple of times. Maybe my comprehension skills aren't so good, I don’t know. What I do know is that my initial post had everything to do with hoping "new-ish" gamers, perhaps those not in their late 20’s or imbedded within the PSXextreme community, yet interested all the same, aren't turned off by a few of the lines in this review, and nothing to do with the state of JRPGs on a massive scale.

When it comes to White Knight Chronicles, it probably didn't sell too well because it’s merely "ok" in the eyes of most everyone, including critics. You forget though that JRPGs can still bring in the big numbers when it comes to high profile releases; Final Fantasy XIII has surpassed 5 million (and also wasn’t as much of a critical success as past FFs).

The idea that a shooter outsold “all JRPGs” this generation shouldn’t be surprising in the least. New gamers have to play in the shallow end (shallow end being FPSs) before they can swim; you can’t just dive headfirst into JRPGs typically if you’ve never played a game before in your life, and there aren’t exactly a lot of “great” ones this gen to dive into either.

And my theory is that if you don’t “encourage” new players who are interested, what makes you think there will be much more of a future in the genre beyond its already slow decline? Why make it a private party that only the few can get into?

You’re right about one thing: I am bold... ;)

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 @ 3:44:38 PM

I could write an essay in all bold font, but it won't be what gets me an 'A'. You still have to be correct about something.

You can't preach about the exception. You need to present the rule.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/27/2011 3:45:32 PM

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inVersion
Thursday, April 28, 2011 @ 12:28:39 PM

There's simply some folks, that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

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inVersion
Thursday, April 28, 2011 @ 12:30:34 PM

There's simply some folks, that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

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Jawknee
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 10:13:08 PM
Reply

Awesome. I have the DS version which has overhauled graphics but I will definitely pick this up now.

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Lenoxseer
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:04:57 PM

You will love it. I didnt like the DS version as much because the 3D look just wasnt the same. It didnt have the same feel. But I imported this when it came out in Japan (it has an english language option) and it is amazing.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:09:29 PM
Reply

A true classic if ever there was one. Where have those days gone?

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Lenoxseer
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:10:21 PM
Reply

FFIV is my second favorite Final Fantasy. FFVI is my favorite. Now, I have always said I wouldnt like it too much if Square ever touched FFVI in fear of them ruining it, but I will not mind it at all if they gave it the same treatment they did here with FFIV.

Just imagine the spiffed up visuals for FFVI. Oh man, and an arranged soundtrack would put it over the top! Am I right people?
All I gotta say is, "Square Enix, hop to it".

Ben, you gotta agree with this.

Last edited by Lenoxseer on 4/23/2011 11:12:20 PM

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Geobaldi
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:54:32 PM

If FFVI gets an overhaul and comes to PSP instead of PSN or some other source, then I might actually breakdown and buy a PSP just for that game. FFVI has always been my favorite of the series without a doubt.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:55:13 PM

I do, but I still want a FFVII remake more. :)

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:51:44 AM

Bah FFVII doesn't need a remake, neither does FFVI really though I would certainly appreciate a release to this quality. Its possible they might be planning a 3DS remake of 5 and 6, as they said previously the DS is not strong enough for a remake of 6. If that happens, I am getting a 3DS.

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Clamedeus
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:27:18 AM

I'm with you on that Ben.

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Victor321
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 12:30:06 AM
Reply

Boy, you can't just lump everyone under 20 as ignorant of the "Golden Age", that speaks ignorance on your part =P

I must be one of the very few to accept and love both Turn-Based and Real-Time RPGs :(

Onto the subject at hand though, I'm definitely picking this one up sometime soon.

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 7:48:51 AM

Yes, but in a review, do you expect him to inundate us with constant if-then statements to get everyone covered, or should he merely speak to the majority of people?

A majority of the under 20 crowd will not appreciate this. Plain and simple.

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aaronisbla
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 4:29:50 PM

I'm not sure why those who are 20 and under are somewhat offended by what Ben wrote, especially when its the truth. Fine, ur 20 and under and you love and appreciate turn based rpgs? Awesome, but his point still stands that the game is really geared towards those who were 'there'. Its not an insult towards the younger crowd, it just is

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 12:45:13 AM
Reply

For the record, I have to recommend games to certain groups.

If I recommended this to everyone as a 9+ game, a whole lot of people would really hate their purchase.

There's nothing I want more than to have everyone love collections of 20-year-old games. But the bottom line is that the vast majority of those who weren't around then just don't care. That's not a knock, mind you; it's just the way things are.

P.S. When it comes to straight fanservice like this, you're either in the group or you aren't. I'm in it, so I have a certain tone; when I'm out of it, I make sure to mention that. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/24/2011 12:48:05 AM

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inVersion
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 1:30:40 AM

I would like to think younger gamers who dig RPGs and are interested in the genre's roots would be accepted with open arms, not shunned because they "weren't there." Not that you are "shunning" per se, but I hope those interested who read this now, or in two years, aren't dissuaded. I could see myself possibly having been. But I'm making too much of this, rambling and complaining-my bad.

Last edited by inVersion on 4/24/2011 1:32:06 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 5:37:05 AM

No, Ben is absolutely right in what he did here. This *is* for those "who was there". It's madness to rate a game like this at 9 when it looks worse than something you get for free with your mobile phone today.
However, by so clearly stating the intended audience it puts the rating in the correct perspective.

It mess up the listings at gamerankings&co though, if you sort on RPGs. :)

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 7:50:43 AM

@Beamboom
To be fair, the graphics score wasn't a 9. And if the gameplay works... the gameplay works! Right?

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:40:50 AM

Hehe, no the graphics are 8.4, that should be around the level of most good modern games today...!
A game like this is not possible to place on the normal rating scale unless you start introducing negative numbers.

And gameplay: Dude, you can't even move diagonally. This is *ancient gaming history*, a time travel, and must be treated as such. The ratings, as far as I understand, must be read from that perspective (I'm sure Ben will correct me if I am wrong in these assumptions).

Since the ps3 is my first console my gaming roots are found elsewhere, in the home computer sphere back in the 80s and early 90s. Hearing names like "Oric-1" and "Amiga 500" makes my heart beat an extra beat every time. If some of those games were re-released, I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same kind of excitement as Ben&co do for these titles. It's only natural.

But believe you me, there is not a single title on these machines that has even a remote chance against the games today. Even the idea itself is ridiculous.
The RPGs were text based, and you had to learn something like a simple script-language to get anywhere, with commands like "go n use ball on window". It should not be hard to agree that the idea of rating such a game by todays standards is totally without meaning.

Last edited by Beamboom on 4/24/2011 11:44:13 AM

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Underdog15
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 12:09:56 PM

eh, I think we're sort of meaning the same things here. For what the game is meant to be, the turn-based gameplay works great. And for what it is meant to be, it's a 9-er. So yeah, we agree, I think.

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kraygen
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 1:15:26 AM
Reply

I was late to the old school rpg party, but I'm one of those who love it. Turn based and strategy based will always hold more sway over me than an action based title.

I understand what Ben is saying though. Those of you who are younger and appreciate the games shouldn't take Ben's comment as an insult, but as a compliment. You have risen above the rest of your generation and sought after something more than button mashing.

You see most people under the age of 20, that's "most", won't appreciate a game such as this, because all they know is the twitch fest that has befallen us as of late. If you are under 20 though and still enjoy this type of game, that just means you have a broader palette when it comes to gaming.

I have FFIV from the ps1 collection, but I'll probably still get this eventually, even if the extra content isn't that fabulous, it's still more of FFIV to enjoy.

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VIVIsectVI
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 1:33:11 AM
Reply

This is somewhat unrelated, but my OCD doesn't like Final Fantasy 1, 2, and 4 being released for PSP. Where's 3?

I picked this up as well though. I'd like to redeem the code for the character in Dissidia :(

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:59:08 AM

I'm the same, The DS version was recently released on the iPhone/Ipod store to download... I don't have that either...

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Alienange
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 1:41:53 AM
Reply

Nice review and impressive work from SE. Why they don't still make epic rpgs like this anymore is completely beyond me.

How long does it really take to put out these kind of graphics? You just have to spend your time coming up with a good plot and some half decent character design and you're good to go.

They should be releasing greatness like this on a yearly basis. Not this drought we have now.

Last edited by Alienange on 4/24/2011 1:42:45 AM

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 2:51:30 AM
Reply

Damn... the original game is almost as old as I am? That's madness. However, I'm interested solely in quality. I have my genre preferences, but as long as a product, whether game, novel, song or film, has that particular sheen that somehow decrees it as being fantastic, I want it. I want to experience the best that humanity has to offer, and if that means having to deal with archaic gameplay systems and graphics, then I'll deal with it.

I'm not going to bash you for your suggestion that it wouldn't appeal to most people under twenty-ish, as I fully understand that it's a part of the territory when it comes to your job. That's fine. Many thanks for this review, and this just elevated itself to next on my PSP hitlist. I want to experience Final Fantasy!
Peace.

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___________
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:10:31 AM
Reply

pass!
last time i spent money on a $E game i spent the next 2 months in the corner sulking stroking my ps1 and screaming why $E why???????????????????????
i dont think my voice can take that again.

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:48:57 AM

Was it XII?

I think S-E are coming back to form, The 3rd Birthday was very fun to play, despite the whiplash script. And having played the FFI and FFII remakes on the PSP I know that they play superbly on the PSP so i'm quite excited for it.

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___________
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 9:11:56 AM

there doing fantastic PSP games, but they could not do a decent ps3 game if there life depended on them!
i really enjoyed the new dissidia game, and KH BBS.
3rd birthday i have not had a chance to play, definitely on my list down the track.
looks really good, and everyone i talk to says its the reincarnation of parasite eve, so that makes me even more excited for it!

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aaronisbla
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 4:31:20 PM

blank, you just said their doing fine on the psp, its for the psp, so give it a try. if you like old school ff games, this one shouldnt be missed

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:47:13 AM
Reply

the GMRTP committee, Haha.

Great review,I have to own up hear Final Fantasy IV is one of the FF's I have not properly played through. Though I am ready to make amends with this delighful package. I'm hoping it will arrive in the post tomorrrow.

In the review You did not mention much about the interlude, probaly due to spoilers, I was just wondering does it play similar to the other 2 parts of IV. As that is the new content of this edition. I heard it was a nice length I was also wondering if this was true. Nevertheless I shall find out soon when I play though it right :D

Any news of FFVI being released to Euro/US PSN yet?

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Beamboom
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 6:04:13 AM
Reply

I hope this is not taken as disrespectful or anything, it's not the intention: You old-school folks may like "Dragon Age Legends" as it has this classic top-down "move X fields" style rpg, with icons indicating location of battle, chests, etc.
It's on Facebook, and it's free! :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/24/2011 6:05:21 AM

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firehahahahaha
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 6:32:32 AM
Reply

Next should be Chrono Trigger + Chrono Cross. And maybe throw in Radical Dreamers...

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Clamedeus
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 1:15:35 PM

I liked Chrono Trigger, I haven't played Chrono Cross yet though, I will have to try it out.

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Temjin001
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:57:27 AM
Reply

This one will be played some day. Many, many years ago I played about 15 hours of the SNES version but somehow got side tracked. Anyhow, I look forward to playing this one.

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BigBoss4ever
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 3:36:31 PM
Reply

i am playing it one more time and still love the beautiful music which disappeared in this gen's RPG, Nier has some good ones.

Sometimes, I just stop progressing the game and listen to the main tune, the Rosa tune, the Baron Castle tune, and the town tune. I personally think FF4 has the greatest and most complete story of all FF games, and one of the best and most memorable music in all FF games. To this day, when I play it, I still love the minimalist game mechanism yet it is still so addictive and fascinating. This is a timeless piece of gem. this is just amazing that even after 20 years, even with all the PS3 great titles on hand, I am still willing to put all these down and first pick up FF4 and start playing it.

I am 20 hours into it, just around the Summoner's cave to do some grinding before heading to the Sealed Cave and the final moon and lunar palace area... I can't wait to beat it one more time :D



Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 4/24/2011 3:39:57 PM

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BikerSaint
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 4:02:00 PM
Reply

Hmmm, I'm thinking of selling off all the RPG's in my Playstation 1 collection since I could never get into them anyway, even though I tried to. I guess I'm just truly not a RPG guy.


FYI, I have perfectly mint, complete, "BLACK LABEL" FF7 & FF Tactics in my collection, and as a collector, they're two of my biggest prized possessions in that collection.

But I'm broke for the next couple months & desperately need a new PS3 slim, another 60GB Ps3, plus a new computer since this one's either keeps freezing, throwing me off sites, and/or popping up error codes like crazy. It think it's about to copy my beloved PS3 down the valley of the "Red Light of Death" very soon too.

So, I'm thinking of testing the waters & trying to sell them both for at least the price of a new slim & tax.

Now, I know FF7 has always sold at a very high prices & I've checked eBay, Amazon & 1/2 price dot com & their prices are all over the place, so here's the question.

They should be worth at least a PS3 slim to a serious collector, especially seeing how they're black labeled, mint, and complete without single scratch.

But before I do anything, I'd like to hear what you all think?

And if anyone here at PSXE who would want "first dibs" on them, seeing how I'd rather see them go to a much more RPG avid PSXE member who I know would truly appreciate them a hell of a lot more than if I sold them to a complete stranger.

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Teddie9
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 4:19:11 PM
Reply

ughh..I am in need of a PSP asap. Since the preview I was hoping I could forget about this since I didn't want to spend money on one. I knew the review was coming just...I don't have the will power I thought I had.

I'm a huge fan of FFIV, but as one of those kids under 20 I've never played the SNES version. Nope got my hands on the advanced version on GBA when I was 10 or 11 ;^).

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Qubex
Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 7:37:52 AM

They are pretty cheap these days... :)

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Our Poll

What do you think of the Destiny beta?
It's awesome! Can't wait for September!
It's only good, but I'm having fun.
Eh, it's okay, but I expected more.
It sucks, period.

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