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Retro Review: Final Fantasy Origins

Two for the price of one!

Published by Squaresoft and developed by the newly merged Square Enix. Released April of 2003 in North America. Final Fantasy Origins combines remastered versions of the classic original Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II, the latter of which is translated for English-speaking gamers for the first time. Two classic 8-bit titles remade to look like 16-bit, all for your enjoyment on a 32-bit system. Final Fantasy Origins!

In Final Fantasy I, the sudden appearance of the 4 Warriors of Light sparks whispers of a prophecy once told hundreds of years prior. Are these warriors the chosen ones to save the world from total darkness? Can they breathe life into the long-dead crystals of legend? The light warriors will travel the lands fighting evil and righting wrongs to prove their valor. Choose your combination of heroes from 6 different classes at the start of the game, The Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, White Mage, Black Mage, and Red Mage. Through your travels and experiences later upgrade your skills to evolve into the Knight, Ninja, Grand Master, White Wizard, Black Wizard, and Red Wizard respectfully.

Final Fantasy II follows a young band of rebels, Firion, Maria, Gus, and Leon, as they fight against the oppressive rule of the Palamecian empire. Along the way, you will gain friends and you will inevitably lose friends as the full might of the Emperor's forces fights against you and your allies. More strategies than ever before will be needed to master the mechanics of this RPG. Gone are the traditional aspects of gaining experience to level up your fighters. Now you must focus your efforts on individual strengths and weaknesses. Want to increase your strength? Then fight with weaker weapons. Does defense seem a bit low? You must wear weaker armor to increase your fortitude. A smaller game in the grand scheme of things but the amount of grinding needed to give yourself a fighting chance makes this a well-rounded gem.

Gus, Firion, Maria, and Leon.

The graphics in both games in Final Fantasy Origins on the Playstation take a jump in these remasters from the wonderful pixel art of the 8-Bit NES era into the equally as wonderful pixel art era of the SNES. These versions of the games are based on the Japanese WonderSwan Color versions so, take that and add CG intro cinematics for both games and the occasional pixel art animated cutscenes with the quality that only the CD capable console can give and you get a pair of charming RPGs upgraded perfectly for the era of the time. The audio has of course been enhanced and remixed. Final Fantasy I was arranged by the master himself, Nobuo Uematsu. The equally great composer, Tsuyoshi Sekito takes on the task of arranging the soundtrack for Final Fantasy II. All the classic tunes, tones, and music that have become Final Fantasy staples are here for your listening pleasure.

Whether you are new to the Final Fantasy franchise or chasing nostalgia from your childhood NES days. Final Fantasy Origins has something to offer for everyone. A classic pair of RPGs and a perfect introduction into the genre. Final Fantasy Origins gets so many things right and very little wrong and when it comes to the world of remakes, that is not an easy task. If you're new to the RPG world, take this compilation for a spin. It’s the perfect entry point for any wannabe adventurer.

The Warriors of Light do battle

Playstation not your favorite console of choice? Well, there is a plethora of options to choose from if you’d like to jump into these great games. The games are available on the NES/Famicom, WonderSwan Color, GBA, MSX2, Wii, Wii U, Steam, Android, and iOS, among others. There’s nothing Final about this Fantasy. Ugh…I can’t believe I just made that joke. I’ll see myself out.

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