Final Fantasy III

aka: FF3, Final Fantasy III (3D Remake)
Moby ID: 25469
Nintendo DS Specs
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Description official descriptions

In 2006, Final Fantasy III reached North American shores in an official update/remake for the Nintendo DS, finally bringing all of the main Final Fantasy entries to the United States for the first time.

Raised as an orphan by Nina and Elder Topapa in the village of Ur, Luneth, his shy friend Arc, the rebellious Refia and the brave soldier Ingus are chosen as the Four Warriors of Light to send to restore balance to the crystals, and save the world from imminent destruction.

Taking the original game which debuted on the NES, Square-Enix had updated the title with a new cinematic intro, improved graphics and a touch-screen interface to move characters and utilize selection menus. There is also Moogle Mail, a Wi-Fi feature that allows players to send messages to each other via their DS systems. The game has also some revised story elements, detailing the adventures of four friends who find each other, each with new backstories.

Final Fantasy III is a traditional turn-based RPG, which were popular back in the '80s and '90s, but introduced refinements to the genre, such as smarter battle AI. Final Fantasy III is also known for two major milestones in the history of the series: Its introduction of the cheerful Moogles, as well as the introduction of the job system, allowing characters to switch professions throughout the game for new abilities.

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Credits (Nintendo DS version)

295 People (278 developers, 17 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 58 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 2 reviews)

Painful at times, decent nonetheless

The Good
This is a fine, fine RPG. Only thing is, it's called Final Fantasy III. You know, like Final Fantasy II for the SNES, Final Fantasy III for the SNES, and so on. Those were great, great games. I know a lot of younger gamers loved Final Fantasy VII, and although I have played that for a few hours and I didn't take to it as much, I recognize that there's a lot of love out there for it.

But. This Game. BLOWS. Well, not really. it's just so frustrating compared to the better games in the series. Let's start with some minor concerns and move on to the more egregious problems...

The Bad
First: we'll be gentle. There's only four characters in your party, compared in five in Cecil's crew in FFIV. You'd think one can't be that much difference, but it is. The same goes for FFVI, but I'll deal with that in a separate review. Battles just aren't as interesting as with five.

Ok next: it's the same four characters throughout the game. Yeah, they change job classes, but it's the same four personalities. Moreover the secondary characters aren't anything to write home about. Villains are uninspired and NPCs aren't that great either. Cid makes a welcome appearance as usual, but there's few other friends your party meets on their adventure that have much to offer in the way of memorable interaction.

Next: this game is seriously cruel. I think there's about four or five instances in the game when you really have no chance against some insanely-hard boss encounter. There's no way you can know what he's going to do to you, and there's no way you can adapt your strategy in time. I suppose the game demands that you spend extra time levelling up in a dungeon before confronting the boss, but this is a relic of 1980s / early 90s gameplay that has thankfully gone the way of the dodo... except in this remake.

And, if you do have the guts to slug it through to the end of the game (while putting up with a mindless, silly plot), the last stretch of the game is really cruel beyond redemption. As you ascend toward the top of a crystalline spire, a random encounter called the Red Dragon will absolutely butcher you, even if you've fought him before, know his ins and outs, and spent a couple extra hours levelling up. You can try and run but even this isn't a sure thing. And if he does kill you (which is about a 60-70% chance), you'll have to reload and spend about half a tedious hour getting back to where you were before... perhaps to have him turn up again and do the same nasty number as before.

God help you if you don't give up after him though, because things get even worse from there on in. I will just say that it was a very traumatic experience for me, and I would not repeat it for all the tea in China. The last time I tried to finish off the game it ended up in the garbage. Yeah, I fished it out, but I'm going to see if I can sell it at Electronics Boutique.

The Bottom Line
This is a solid RPG -- not in the very top tier -- but respectable in its own right. Compared to later incarnations of the FF series, it's a little weak, but it did come out earlier, so it's understandable for it to be comparatively primitive. However, this is a remake, so it would have been nice if SquareEnix had given it a more thoughtful make-over, updating the gameplay and storytelling along with the graphics and music.

Nintendo DS · by Chris Wright (85) · 2008

Old-fashioned JRPG surpassed by its successors

The Good
The biggest strength of Final Fantasy III is the pacing: you usually don't stay too long in a single town or dungeon, there is not much exposition, even the boss fights are usually more about fast extermination than endurance. This is underlined by a fast progression of transportation: you frequently receive new ships, airships, etc. which all open up new places to explore. Because of a handy spell which shows all important places, I never had a problem finding the next place to be.

Since this is a remake of a NES title, I expected a lot of grinding, but in the end there were only two or three short grinding sessions - the rest of character development was organic. However, I have to admit, this is partly because I read up on the jobs (the game's classes which can be changed at will) beforehand. If you take the wrong job, you'll have to do some extra work because they are separately leveled for each character. I liked the system, but unfortunately there are way too many jobs with too much redundancy.

Even more of a surprise: I was not bothered by the lack of saving points in dungeons. After the first few hours I was sure this would be my number one complaint in this review. But because almost all dungeons are short and linear, there is never (exception: the last dungeon) the danger of losing too much progress. Therefore the only impact it had on me was some tension when facing a boss for the first time.

The Bad
The biggest weakness are the story and the characters. The four protagonists have the personality of leaf of wood and the NPCs are not much better. For the majority of the game this isn't too much of a problem because conversations are short, but towards the end the game assumes I'd care for certain characters. Nope, I didn't care, and therefore all emotional moments were only cringy.

This is the last Final Fantasy with a strict turn-based battle system. I think the system is fine, but I hated that the turn order is not predictable. This can lead to cheap defeats from full health when an enemy is the last to act in a round and the first in the next. This almost happened to me in the final boss fight which would have changed the tone of this review considerably.

The Bottom Line
Final Fantasy III is a short and sweet JRPG which is fun to play. But it also has nothing outstanding going for it and the JRPG master discipline, characters and story, is lacking. In the end it is only worth playing if you want a very classic JRPG experience without the need to grind.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (303331) · 2021

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Related Sites +

  • FF-Fan
    A fansite that offers all kinds of information on the entire Final Fantasy franchise, including walkthroughs, game media, discussion boards and fan art.
  • Final Fantasy III
    Official Square-Enix Site for Final Fantasy III

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Guy Chapman.

Windows, PSP added by Fred VT. Windows Phone added by Chris Jeremic. Android added by GTramp. iPhone, iPad added by CrankyStorming. Ouya added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: —-, WONDERなパン.

Game added December 16, 2006. Last modified May 29, 2024.