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However, despite my critiques, Final Fantasy II still stands solid. Especially when considering the rarity of finding this title before now and its flow in the overall series, this second game in Square Enix's venerable role-playing franchise has an elevated niche value that a similar new title simply wouldn't have. Even as a standalone, Final Fantasy II has enough value to warrant playing by Final Fantasy virgins.
For anyone who loves great music, older RPG battle systems, and a good story that’s told solely through text messages, Final Fantasy II is a must-own.
Gamers' Temple, The
You're given tasks to complete in a very linear fashion. I admit that I have gotten spoiled with the more freeform style of play that most modern RPGs offer so it was a tad irritating to feel this restriction. Since there is no in game journal keeping track of what I need to do or where I need to go I keep forgetting, especially if I hadn't played in a few days. But this is just the way games where back in the pre-iPod days. You roam around talking to people and some times someone will say a word or two that's so interesting that you'll want to “learn” it , don't worry you'll know which word since it's always highlighted, so later you can “ask” others about it. Eh, that's cool I suppose. But it's odd that when you “ask” a person about a term one time they will give a great answer and the next time they have no idea what you're talking about.
Cheat Code Central
In conclusion, this is a wonderful little game that is a must buy for any Final Fantasy fanatic. The revamped graphics, sounds, story, and additional content make the game a valuable addition to your PSP. If you're not a fan however, you may find the battles to be dull and tedious. This is not a game I would recommend to everyone. However, the production values and quality of the title have proven to last the test of time. If you're looking to pick up a classic game that helped revolutionize a genre, give this version a look-see, as it performs admirably. Despite its antiquated gameplay, this game is better than at least 75% of the PSP software out there. Well done Square, even your old games still rock!
Final Fantasy II does well in delivering the essential upgrades expected of every Square collection, but does little in producing any more than that. The game has the FMV cutscenes pulled from Final Fantasy Origins serving as decorative bookends, as well as the requisite art gallery and bestiary functions. The mysterious absence of anything else to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary, however, seems like a hefty oversight.
The most outspoken criticism of FF2 centers on the battle and leveling systems. One of the first uses of skill-based leveling of weapon and magic classes occurred in FF2. The skill-based leveling system allows improvements to both weapons and spells based on their recurring usage, but unfortunately, this system is a bit mediocre in design and can be exploited fairly easily. The original Final Fantasy had players choosing classes at the beginning of the game, but FF2 lets your use of the skill-based leveling system shape your class for you. This creates a fairly substantial level of disparity between characters, especially when combined with the awkward character leveling system and formation feature.
After the rollicking success of the original Final Fantasy, Square Enix (then called Squaresoft) released the somewhat experimental Final Fantasy II. By many accounts, Final Fantasy II has always been something of an odd bird as far as the larger pantheon of Final Fantasy games are concerned due to its bizarre approach to character growth, but it did kick off the tradition of evolving the game's various systems every few sequels or so. With the tricked out rerelease of Final Fantasy II on the PSP, very little has been changed outside of the updated graphics and music, so the aberrant leveling system (which doesn't actually allow your characters to gain levels in the traditional sense) is completely intact, for better or worse.
So where does this leave Final Fantasy II Anniversary Edition? For the diehard Final Fantasy completist, it’s great to have this game with you while you’re on the go, as it’ll definitely help you while you’re waiting in line at the DMV or whatnot. The addition of the Souls of Rebirth mode is a plus, but doesn’t make this one a must buy by any means. Any casual fan of the series or RPGs in general would be better off picking up a used copy of Final Fantasy Origins, which includes the first game in addition to this one at a fraction of the price.
It's hard to argue that the minor tweaks to FFII -- though improvements they may be -- really justify its being sold individually when it's previously been packed together with the original Final Fantasy so many times. After seeing the magic Square Enix worked last year with Final Fantasy III, it's difficult not to imagine what could have done to upgrade this PSP game to DS standards -- a statement whose sheer backwardness perfectly illustrates what's wrong with these FF "anniversary" titles. Refinements aside, this is still an NES game at its heart, which means you'll encounter plenty of ridiculously 8-bit situations -- NPCs lamenting the annihilation of their village or the deaths of their children while blithely behaving exactly as they had before tragedy struck.
Zuerst einmal: Gier ist keine Tugend! Okay, beide Spiele kosten jeweils nur 30 Euro, dennoch wäre es nicht nur sparsamer, sondern vielmehr verdammt sinnvoll gewesen, beide zusammen auf eine UMD zu pressen. Warum? Zum einen hat das schon vor gut drei Jahren bei Dawn of Souls wunderbar geklappt, zum anderen gleichen sich die Spiele zumindest technisch wie ein Oldschool-Japan-RPG dem anderen (was übrigens auch der Grund dafür ist, dass wir beide zu einem Test zusammengefasst haben). Beide sind zurecht Klassiker, die dezenten, aber stilvollen Verbesserungen sorgen für einen angenehmen Spielgenuss. Wie allerdings ein zeitgemäßes Remake auszusehen hat, hat erst vor kurzem Final Fantasy III gezeigt - den Anniversary Editions hängt ein unschöner »Jetzt nochmal schnell abgreifen, bevor's keiner mehr haben will«-Beigeschmack an.
Ein solider Port, von dem man sich aber vielleicht auch mehr erwartet hätte. Für Freunde komplexer Storylines eine definitive Kaufempfehlung. Die Bonus-Dungeons können durchaus bis zu 40 Stunden an die PSP fesseln ... genügend Ausdauer vorausgesetzt.
Let it be known that even with its noticeable tedium, FF2 is still a qualified RPG experience for dedicated Final Fantasy fans (especially if they somehow missed it when it was re-released on PS One four years ago or the GBA two years later). But for anyone who can see past Square Enix's flagship branding, there isn't any one aspect of Final Fantasy II that pushes it into the "must try" zone. Remove the FF logo and the historical importance (Chocobos and Cid made their debuts here after all) and you're left with "just another portable RPG." You may be better served to pick it up on the cheap (and bundled with FF1) as part of the GBA's Dawn of Souls collection instead.
FF2 is worth a play for people who want to see the evolution of the Final Fantasy series in action, and this is definitely the superior version of that game - it's just perhaps not worth full price for the effort that Square Enix put in.
Game Informer Magazine
Final Fantasy II was a nice bonus in Final Fantasy Origins for PSone, and again for the GBA’s Dawn of Souls, but the original Final Fantasy was always the star of the show. Now that the two games have been separated, it is all too plain why this substandard adventure has never been able to stand on its own legs. Pretty new visuals don’t make up for the pervasive defects inherent in the game’s leveling system. These problems lead to serious balancing issues that, though they feel improved in this version, still make this title stand out as the low point in the entire series.
The problem with Final Fantasy II is that it's the third release here in the states and it really doesn't add a whole lot of new stuff that you can't get in the GBA version: Dawn of Souls. The fact that you also have to buy this separately from Final Fantasy I doesn't help its situation any.
As much as I enjoy all things Final Fantasy, I find it hard to recommend this version of the game. It has already been released on two other consoles, and the game play has not been changed at all. A new coat of paint really doesn’t scream ‘BUY ME,’ especially when I can roll in to a game store and pick up both games used for a cheaper rate than just by picking up Final Fantasy II on PSP. Granted, if you have been living under a rock since 2003 then the prospect of this game may seem appealing, but at this point I think I will hold out for a full Final Fantasy compilation on one Blu-Ray disc. With the rehash craze that Square-Enix is on lately, it’s only a matter of time.
G4 TV: X-Play
There are tons of new Final Fantasy games due out on the PSP, so Final Fantasy II feels a bit like a stopgap for fans eager for to get their hands on Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions or the spin-off Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Players who haven't experienced the earlier entries should be warned: this reissue is old school in the extreme. Final Fantasy II is more a relic than a classic – a bit of history overshadowed by better, more effective executions of the Final Fantasy formula. Those looking to fill their PSP screen with gorgeous sprite-based could do worse. Like fast food lovers, Final Fantasy players know what to expect when they fire up their console. Final Fantasy II is the first to truly deliver that experience of being transported to a world filled with fluffy yellow birds and medieval flying machines.
Perhaps predictably, the game works best when it's not striving to be different. It's easy to admire the changes it made to the formula, but then you have to play through them and you realize that they don't work, at least not as executed here (perhaps that's why they were scrapped for later entries in the franchise). Everything else—from the beautiful soundtrack to the crisp sprites—is presented with charm and flair that is a joy to experience. When you're not grappling with an unclear objective (a pain that FAQs or a printed strategy guide can certainly alleviate) or obsessing over character development, Final Fantasy is a beautiful example of retro role-playing greatness. Educate yourself.
So how did Final Fantasy II's first chance to stand on its own do? The result isn't that bad. At its core, Final Fantasy II is still a port from a Game Boy Advance game, but unlike the last Final Fantasy, this one adds new stuff in the right places to help it feel fresher. Whether or not this one can stand up to comparably priced modern PSP RPGs is tough to say, but it does make more of an attempt to do so than just a contemporary visual makeover.
Digital Entertainment News (den)
Are you in to retro gaming? Try Final Fantasy II on PSP. It may just be the thing you need to trash that old NES and put that ol’ Colecovision in the trash compactor. Playing old games this true to how they were originally is the perfect antidote that’ll help you get motivated to run to the stores and buy anything new, like, now man!
Final Fantasy II: Anniversary Edition is a faithful remake of what was one of the most flawed games in the series. It's always fun to take a nostalgic look into the past, but the blemishes make this a tougher pill to swallow than its predecessor. If you haven't already experienced this bit of gaming history and can overlook the frustrations, you'll get some enjoyment out of it. But considering it's been packaged with Final Fantasy I in the past, it's hard to justify spending full retail price, no matter how dedicated you are to the series.
Es ist und bleibt das schwarze Schaf der ’Final Fantasy’-Familie. Zwar ist die Story gar nicht mal so übel und die musikalische Seite noch eine Ecke besser als beim Vorgänger. Doch die Idee hinter dem Auflevel-System ist schlichtweg keine besonders durchdachte. Wer entsprechend schummelt, indem er seine eigenen Recken zur Erhöhung der Trefferpunkte verprügelt, für den ist das Spiel viel zu leicht. Wer fair spielt, der wird sich aufgrund des viel zu hoch angelegten Schwierigkeitsgrades ärgern. Deshalb nur für ’Final Fantasy’-Fans, die wirklich jeden Teil mal gespielt haben müssen.
The game itself is short - around 15 to 20 hours without much hurrying. The extra dungeons brought over from the Gameboy Advance version as well as the new one included for the PSP version add about 5 to 10 hours playing time, if the initial 20 hour torture isn't quite enough for some people. The game has also been scaled down in terms of difficulty compared to its previous releases, so the game has been brought down from "unplayable" status to just "frustrating."
For better or worse, random battles pop up on the screen at a pretty high rate. While this will help in the quest to get stats and skills boosted, it becomes pretty tedious after awhile. When you are at a point where you are not so concerned with leveling skills up, and just want to get on with the main storyline, some might find it fairly annoying. Speaking of which, compared to the first Final Fantasy, the storyline shows some improvements. The characters actually have a back story and their own emotions, giving a bit more of a RPG feel. Of course, you can still expect many people in the towns wandering about, seemingly oblivious to the outside world.
Once in a great while, an RPG comes along that is so epic, so inspired, so moving and so innovative that people, even those not attracted to the genre, have to stand up and examine what makes the game so magical; unfortunately for Square fans, Final Fantasy II Anniversary Edition is not that RPG.
At the end of the day, this is still Final Fantasy II. Die-hards will play it and claim the leveling system is the product of a genius mind. Casual gamers may pick it up, merely for the nostalgia or because they want to say they played through all of the games in the series. Intelligent people should stay away, because spending forty dollars for a retread of a retread, especially one that is not the best version that exists, is foolish. This edition of Final Fantasy II seems as though it was made to repeatedly gouge gaming enthusiast's wallets rather than let them enjoy a classic. At forty dollars, Final Fantasy II Anniversary Edition should be avoided by everyone except the most ardent Final Fantasy purists. Even then, it's best to err on the side of caution; if you still have a GBA go play that version instead.
Même topo, même punition pour Final Fantasy II qui n'est finalement que l'ombre du précédent épisode. Aussi peu évolué techniquement et ayant relativement mal vieilli lui aussi, le jeu se laisse suivre sans convaincre. Proposé à un prix trop élevé, non traduit, Final Fantasy II entend bien se vendre davantage sur son nom que sur les maigres bonus dont il profite sur PSP.
That's the target audience here. It's the collection aspect that will sell the Final Fantasy remakes that we'll see in years to come, just as we have in the past. Final Fantasy 2 Anniversary is a grand game to pick up if you're intent on playing it in an updated format made solely for the PSP, but not a good enough value to warrant purchasing it on curiosity or the nostalgic magnetism that draws gamers to remakes in the first place. The game's originally flawed gameplay is tolerable thanks to a pretty face, but even that pretty face isn't attractive enough for me to recommend blowing the dough just to carry it around in your pocket. Squaresoft may have almost taken the plunge a couple decades ago, but they're doing more than well for themselves these days. I'm personally more interested in moving on than gaining some nerd cred.
There are many videogames from the late eighties that have warranted a graphical overhaul and reprint to introduce younger players to their enduring qualities. But Final Fantasy II was a poor videogame in 1988 and no amount of spit and polish will perform the necessary shifts to its foundations to produce a good one in 2007. Let's hope beyond hope that this is the last time Square-Enix repaint and parade this game on yet another platform, especially when there are so many wonderful videogames in their vaults that do warrant contemporary attention.
The Review Busters
Final Fantasy 2 is the odd-ball of the series. With no levels, having the ability to make any of your characters be magic wielding gladiators, this game won't make new fans to the series. Anytime I play this game just to try and raise my stats I get bored real fast, so I'll end up moving along in the game, only to die fifteen minutes later. If you like challenging 2-D RPG games then play Final Fantasy 2, but I think paying $29.99 is way too much. I recommended Final Fantasy 1 for the PSP, but this one is just a disaster, Square should have changed the mechanics of the game, that would have been a nice new feature.