[FINAL FANTASY II LOGO]


[OVERWORLD]
Console: Super NES

Company: Squaresoft

Release Date: November 1991

Genre: RPG

Number of Players: 1

Save Feature? Yes



For some reason, I have always been a fan of the underdog. When you place Final Fantasy II next to a video game giant like Final Fantasy III, it looks like a serious mismatch at first. But is it? While Final Fantasy III is a masterpiece and a true Golden Classic in its own right, Final Fantasy II is anything but inferior material. With its beautiful soundtrack and linear gameplay, many people actually choose FF2 over FF3!!

Overview: Final Fantasy II contains elements of your traditional old-school RPG and then some. You'll talk to people and animals (yes, even animals contain valuable information) in the various towns and castles, discover an impressive array of weapons and armor, and fight enemies to gain experience. However, there's so much more to FF2 than basic RPG elements. There's the atmosphere of the game; the personality of the characters that brings the magical world to life. There are over ten characters that join up with Cecil (the hero) and each of them have a distinct personality. Cecil is brave yet shows signs of humility, Rosa is caring but strong-willed, and Edge is cocky. Squaresoft is the king of RPGs because of the atmosphere/personality of its games. FF2 plays like a movie with drama, heroism, and some comic relief thrown in for extra measure. There is a lot of dialouge in FF2 too which is a great thing! You actually begin to feel for the characters in FF2; you want them to succeed.

Graphics: Graphically, Final Fantasy II is superb! You just couldn't ask for much more from a 1991 game pak. Everything throughout the game is so smooth and colorful. Although the towns look a little blah-ish, the various castles look great (3D-ish look) and the detail is extraordinary. There are pots, boxes, lights, and other knick knacks in the inns and homes the make the game seem more realistic. What really impressed me was the silky smooth parallax-scrolling throughout the game. Mount Hobs is a perfect example of this. When you move on the mountain, the land below moves by slowly; it's very impressive! The Cave of the Summoned Monsters was even more stunning! You can actually see what's on the floor below you (treasure chests, homes, etc...). The neat thing is that when you reach the lower floor, it looks just like it did from above. The battle graphics were pretty good for the time too. There are many different battle backgrounds and the monsters were done very well. Some of the monsters that Rydia can call look incredible. The final battle might have the best graphics in the game. The combination of ominous background graphics, superb music, and nifty parallax-scrolling makes for an awesome finale! While the graphics in Final Fantasy II aren't earth-shattering by any means, they can still dazzle.

Music: Final Fantasy II's soundtrack is a beauty that is on the same level as FF3. I don't see how Nobuo Uematsu can create dazzling soundtrack after dazzling soundtrack. He is a gifted composer; that's for sure! The music throughout FF2 sounds like something an orchestra would play and fits the epic mood very well. What really thrills me is that there is a lot of good music in FF2. There aren't many throwaway tracks (if any) in this game! Like all FF soundtracks, the music contains a ton of variety. There are strong, powerful tracks (Cecil's theme), joyful tunes (The Big Whale), heroic melodiess (Tower of Babil), and even some silly songs (the various dances). Cecil's main theme has to be one of my personal favorites with its grandeur and, for lack of a better word, "catchiness." The Battle themes might be the best aspect of FF2's soundtrack. There are four battle themes throughout the game and all of them are upbeat and adrenaline-pumping! I don't know if I like the Culex theme or the Final Battle track more; both are sensational! Some of the soft tracks are brilliant as well. The soft, mysterious song of the Town of Summoned Monsters gives that area a mysterious, almost sorrowful feel. However, the best track in the game has to be the Ending theme. Lasting nearly 12 minutes, the ending symphony is serene and heroic; a perfect mix for the game's final track.

Play Control: The play control in Final Fantasy II is pretty much the same as Final Fantasy III. Moving your characters around in the overworld screen, navigating through item menus, and equipping weapons and armor is a breeze. Talking to people, searching for items, and battling enemies is easy as well. Even RPG novices will find the controls in Final Fantasy II very easy to learn. This is a good thing because speed is the key to success in FF2.

Challenge: For some reason, I really like the challenge level of Final Fantasy II. While there are many tough battles throughout the game, nothing is overwhelming to the point of frustration. Mental toughness is, like usual, absolutely critical to success. While some enemies will fall to strong blows, others are only suspectible to certain kinds of magic (e.g. Ice or Fire). The big battles will require some experimenting. It's important to discover your enemies' weakness early in battle. Besides fighting enemies, I like some of the other challenges found in this epic classic. While the game is much more linear than Final Fantasy III, it's still very important to listen to people. Many times, they will tell you implicitly what you need to do next. While it's not really related to beating the game, I enjoyed finding hidden areas and unlocking secret treasure chests. Sometimes, you can walk right through a wall or some trees to reach secret items. Although the game is linear, there are still many secret areas that you can visit. You don't have to go to these places to beat the game but the rewards are definitely worth the extra effort. Gain Bahamut's powers, whatever you do!!

Storyline: For some reason, I found myself enjoying Final Fantasy II's plot more than the legendary FF3 plot! Perhaps it's because the storyline takes more twists and turns than a giant pretzel. :) There's a little bit of everything in FF2: friendship, betrayal, romance, tragedy, and surprise. I felt that FF2 was as emotional as a good drama. There are high points as well as low points. I was actually caught off guard at first because there are a lot of tragic moments in this game! Still, the ending was exceptional and left you with a good taste in your mouth. To sum up the plot in a nutshell, Cecil and his friends are on a quest to find the eight crystals of the earth (4 in the Overworld and 4 in the Underworld) before the evil Golbez gets his hands on them. There is a lot more to the plot than that but that's the jist of the story. Eventually, the heroes land on the moon of all places where they learn the truth about everything. Like all great RPGs, Final Fantasy II has an engrossing plot that makes you want to beat the game in one sitting!

Funfactor: I've had a blast playing Final Fantasy II. There are so many factors that make FF2 such an enjoyable adventure. There's the beautiful graphics, the powerful soundtrack, the real-time battle system (which was revolutionary back in 1991), and the lifelike characters. The plot is a lot of fun too; a lot of events take place throughout the game. Overall, it's hard to beat a game like FF2.

Negatives: If there's anything wrong with Final Fantasy II, it's the brevity. Compared with the 65 grueling hours that it took me to conquer FF3, I beat FF2 is less than 30. Also, I don't think that FF2 was as challenging as FF3. With the exception of Bahamut and the Final Boss, I didn't have much trouble beating FF2. While the graphics throughout the game are very nice, I wish that some of the towns would have looked better.

[THE FINAL BATTLE]

Ratings: Graphics: 4.2 Music: 4.7 Play Control: 4.3 Challenge: 4.0 Storyline: 4.5 Funfactor: 4.4 Overall Score: 26.1 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Silver Stud!

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Last Updated: May 21, 2006
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