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DescriptionFinal Fantasy IV: The After Years is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy IV. It is a Japanese-style role-playing game released in episodic format. Just like seventeen years ago, a new moon approaches the Blue Planet threatening to destroy all life on it. At the same time a mysterious villain who looks like Rydia from Final Fantasy IV appears around the world single-handedly bringing nations to ruin and subjugating the Eidolons (a mysterious race of creatures who can be summoned in-battle). What is the meaning of this? The world once again needs the combined efforts of the heroes of the past, so the players will see all the familiar characters and many new ones - Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa, Yang's daughter Ursula, Edge's four ninja apprentices and many other characters (over 20 unique playable characters in total).
The game uses mechanics, assets and graphics from various releases of Final Fantasy IV (Wii version features enhanced graphics). The characters travel across the world map (although the whole map only becomes accessible in the final Tale The Crystals) fighting random enemies, enter towns to rest, buy equipment and talk to other characters, go to various dungeons for items and boss fights. The battles use the same Active Time Battle (ATB) system from Final Fantasy IV, but it is improved in several ways. The class system from Final Fantasy IV largely remains the same but it has been tweaked and many new abilities have been added to the characters.
New gameplay features include the change of the moon phase: there are four moon phases that affect the battles: for example, during waning moon phase the characters' melee attacks will deal increased damage but the ranged attacks ability will be decreased. The same is true for the enemies, so it adds a new strategic element to the gameplay. The moon phase may be changed by resting at an inn (or using a tent or a cottage), but it may also change by itself after some time. Another major gameplay update is the inclusion of bands. Bands are combined actions of several characters in battle. The bands are gradually unlocked through experimentation and after certain events. The bands may be offensive or defensive and usually consist of two or more characters combining their powers for one turn to strike an enemy or a group of enemies with a unique special attack or cast some advanced magic spells. Bands consume a certain amount of MP (magic points) from all characters participating in that band. The downside of bands is that they take some time to charge leaving the characters vulnerable to the attacks.
The episodic format means that this basic game includes only Prologue and two first Tales (the Japanese mobile version includes Prologue and one Tale, the other Tale being a separate download), while all other tales are bought separately (for mobile phones) or downloaded as DLCs (for WiiWare).
Tales included in the basic game are:
- Prologue: Return of the Moon (Japanese title - Joshō Tsuki no Kikan). Prologue sees prince Ceodore, an apprentice to the elite air force Red Wings, undergo his trial to obtain the Proof of Knighthood.
- Ceodore's Tale: The Last of the Red Wings (Japanese title - Seodoa Hen Saigo no Akaki Tsubasa). For the most part of the Tale the players will control Ceodore together with the mysterious Hooded Man as they need to escape the land of Baron.
- Kain's Tale: Return of the Dragoon (included in the base game in WiiWare version only, sold separately for mobile phones in Japan, Japanese title - Kain Hen Ryūkishi no Kikan).
The following tales are sold separately or downloaded as DLC:
- Rydia's Tale
- Yang’s Tale
- Palom's Tale
- Edge's Tale
- Porom's Tale
- Edward's Tale
- The Lunarians' Tale
- The Crystals
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- "Final Fantasy IV: The After - Tsuki no Kikan" -- Japanese mobile title
- "FF IV: TAY" -- Common abbreviation
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