Video Game Review: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

Details: Originally released in 2008 for various mobile systems and was subsequently released for the PC. I played the 3D version. I purchased this game for the PC through Steam in a bundle along with Final Fantasy IV for around $11.50. I spent about fifty-one hours playing through this game.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is a sequel to the beloved Final Fantasy IV (also known as Final Fantasy II in the United States), much like Final Fantasy X-2 was to Final Fantasy X. The version I played was the 3D remake of the original 2D version. While I enjoyed the game, there is no reason to play this game if you haven’t played and loved Final Fantasy IV.

The After Years picks up around seventeen years after the end of the original game. We get to see what happened to the characters as they learn of a new threat to the planet and come together to defeat it.

The most notable difference from the original game is that this game is episodic. There are ten episodes. The last episode combines what was three separate episodes in the 2D version into what is likely the longest episode. The prior nine episode took on average between one to four hours to beat each. The last episode took over ten hours for me to get through as I spent a lot of time just grinding for levels.

While being episodic does add something new to the game, it also adds a lot of negatives. For instance, something I enjoy in role-playing games is grinding level and equipment, then wrecking the subsequent enemies I come across. You can’t do that here because each episode starts fresh and you have to start leveling all over again. You do get to import your progress in each episode into the final episode, but I would rather have had a single tale that took place in a single world, rather than ten separate instances of the world.

The story itself isn’t bad. If you loved Final Fantasy IV, then you’ll probably like this.

Gameplay is the same as in Final Fantasy IV, with the exception of the Moon System. All that means is that sometimes, physical/magic damage is stronger and other times its weaker. It follows an order and changes periodically. The augment system added in the 3D version of Final Fantasy IV isn’t here.

They also removed all the challenge dungeons. Originally, the game was released one episode at a time so to make it easier for gamers to wait for the next episode, they had a challenge dungeon at the end of each episode where you could grind out levels and better equipment. There’s none of that in the 3D remake.

Visuals and audio are almost entirely the same. I can see why sequels to Final Fantasy games are so appealing since all Square Enix would have to do is import all the old assets from the prior game and spend about five minutes making a handful of new ones. There’s almost nothing here to look at or listen to that wasn’t in Final Fantasy IV.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, but I would definitely not recommend it to anyone who hasn’t played Final Fantasy IV and loved that game. If you haven’t just skip this game because you won’t have any idea what’s going on.

Score: 5.8/10

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