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I picked up Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, and from the point of view of someone who thinks that Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VII are the high-points of the series...

This game is fantastic.

I love this game, and if it were available in any tangible, physical format, I'd be hugging it close to my heart as if it contained an epistle from Jesus Himself, since I'm an idiot and that kind of fan. ANYWAY...

Getting some of the non-awesome points out of the way first before I revert to gushing like a drooling fangirl: It is available for download only on the Wii (for now. Knowing Square-Enix and their penchant for re-releasing all of their old games on as many different platforms as possible, I don't doubt that an 'enhanced' version will end up on other consoles and/or iPhone within a year or two). Also, it's sold in bite-sized 'episodes' that will be released monthly, because the producers wanted to test the waters to see how many people would take them up on this nickle & dime nonsense wanted the game to have a similar feel to a favorite anime or manga where fans are kept waiting in anticipation for the next release (I HATE THIS!! If I find a game that I'm really enjoying, I want the whole damn thing so I can play nonstop 10 hours straight and only stop because my thumbs are sore and my eyes are burning from fatigue and I have to be at work in 30 minutes. Don't force me to play in 2 hour blocks every month ;O;)

Also, the episodes are not free, so if you want to play the entire game, you will be shelling out a certain amount of points every month for the privilege, and when all is said and done, you will have shelled out 3700 points ($37.00) for a 16 bit, non-portable, download-only game that you don't have the option of reselling once you're done playing it.

Having said that, the game feels exactly like I'm playing Final Fantasy IV on the SNES (despite a little video lag in certain locations) and is total catnip for an original fan. A few simple enhancements have been added to the battle system (Lunar phases now buff or de-buff various moves) and group combos similar to Chrono Trigger and the Suikodens are available once you discover them, and discover them, you will want to do: these combos do massive damage and the bosses hit like a ton of bricks at points in the game where you don't have the luxury of having a skilled healer along to save your ass. While Cecil and Rosa's teenage son (Cedore) is given main billing, the game really revolves around all the old Final Fantasy IV characters and how they eventually come together to react to a new threat to the world.


Kain gets (yet another) redemption arc (as does Golbez in a later episode) and this by itself is enough to sell me on the game. He shows up early in the game as a mysterious hooded blond hottie (sans dragoon armor and lance), and - like all the other FFIV alumni - has aged very well. He refuses to offer his name as he 'has abandoned it years ago'. He shows up out of nowhere to pull Ceodore out of a mess, and then becomes super-protective of him once he learns of the boy's parentage, so essentially Kain channels his unrequited feelings of love for Rosa into a much healthier mentor-esque*cough* relationship with her teenage son.

And perverts everywhere shouted out with glee.

Anyhoo, while Kain is traveling with Cedore trying to figure out what fuckery has been going on in the world, Kain's evil mirror image who defeated him in Mt. Ordeals was been running loose in the world, doing what he does best - stabbing people in the back, stealing crystals for some shady character, kidnapping Rosa and threatening to kill Cecil. And a Final Fantasy game is totally awesome again ^_____^

Of course not-evil Kain catches up to him in the final second before he does manage to reach Cecil, defeats his dark half finally and turns into a paladin-dragoon hybrid type of class along with shiny white armor that magically manifests himself on his body. And while I sat there and pondered this new chapter in the life of this endearing character, the end credits roll, signaling the end of Kain's chapter leaving me to wait for the final episodes to be released like 8 months from now to continue on with his story.

THANKS A LOT PRODUCERS. AND I MEAN THAT BOTH SARCASTICALLY AND SINCERELY ;O;

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Mahsa

October 2009

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