Since the series began back in 1987, Final Fantasy has consistently been the most ambitious and innovative franchise in the role-playing genre, with games appearing on multiple platforms, selling millions of copies worldwide and repeatedly resetting the standard of what makes a great RPG.
Now four of the best games in the enormously influential Final Fantasy series are available to own on NVIDIA SHIELD. Here’s what made chapters III to VI such timeless role-playing experiences.
The first two games in the series proved popular enough, but it was Final Fantasy III’s innovative gameplay features that really caught gamers’ imaginations and led to the title becoming an instant classic. One of the major changes in the gameplay was the ability to change jobs (or classes) whenever you like, thus enabling you to take advantage of different skill sets. There are 23 job types in total. The Warrior is adept at using weapons but cannot use magic. Vikings wield powerful axes and hammers but are slow combatants. Sages can use a broad range of magic, but in limited amounts. Given that your party is made up of four characters, there are a variety of job combos you can have fun playing with to find the best balance. The game also introduced the ability to summon creatures to aid you in battle. It’s true to say FFIII was, in many ways, a game-changer. The game received a 3D makeover since its original release and it’s this visually remastered edition that appears on NVIDIA SHIELD.
Never a company to rest on its laurels, Square Enix decided to shake things up again for Final Fantasy IV. The switchable job system from the previous game was dropped as the story this time centered on Cecil, a dark knight, whose task it is to prevent the evil sorcerer Golbez from destroying the world.
This release was notable for the inclusion of an all-new combat system called Active Time Battle. Previous role-playing games relied on a turn-based system, but FFIV introduced the ability for players to enter commands for their characters in real-time during the heat of battle. It was to become the system used in many subsequent Final Fantasy games and inspired other RPG developers to adopt similar combat systems.
The fifth game in the Final Fantasy series is a glorious exercise in finessing many of the previous elements and simply giving gamers a more epic experience. In this chapter a young explorer named Bartz comes across a meteor that has fallen from the skies. As he discusses it with others characters, it is discovered that the world is facing a terrible danger as a sorcerer named Exdeath, who was imprisoned 30 years previously, is on the verge of escaping.
The job system seen in FFIII returns for this chapter albeit in a much expanded form. The player starts with only a freelancer-class character, but by collecting shards he or she can open up new jobs, of which there are more than 20. Ultimately it’s possible for characters to acquire and master all of the jobs giving them access to an unprecedented range of skills and abilities.
Square Enix threw another curveball at fans with FFVI, this time in the form of a dramatically different setting. Gone was the traditional old medieval fantasy tropes of the previous games to be replaced with a steampunk theme. The game’s huge world, spanning three continents, is set in a time roughly equivalent to that of Earth’s industrial revolution so steamships and railways are present, as is technology-based weapons that sit comfortably alongside more familiar weapons and magical abilities. The plot is also more modern and political rather than fantastical as you control a group of young rebels who are battling to defeat an evil dictator. Did existing FF fans accept the new artistic and thematic direction? They loved it as will SHIELD owners today. It has lost none of its magic.
Final Fantasy III, IV, V and VI are now all available to download on NVIDIA SHIELD from Google Play for $15.99 each.