Final Fantasy 1 on the Famicom is the game that got Squareâ€™s flagship series into the eyeâ€™s of gamers back in 1987. Since then, plenty of remakes of this game have been made for systems such as the NES, Playstation 1, and even on mobile phones. Now, twenty years later, an anniversary edition of this legendary title has been released, but unfortunately it isnâ€™t as desirable as it once was. With its aged gameplay and lack of extra features, you should really only check this one out if youâ€™re dying for some retro RPG action.
Basically, the anniversary edition isnâ€™t all that different from the original game. Remakes in the past, such as Dawn of Souls on the GBA, packaged FF1 and FF2 together to make the purchase worthwhile, but this is not the case here. On the PSP, youâ€™re paying $30 for FF1 with improved graphics and a few extra dungeons. There are five extra dungeons in total; four Soul of Chaos dungeons that appeared in the GBA version and the all new Labyrinth of Time, which challenges you to sacrifice abilities and complete puzzles. Add in a few CGI movies and some extra artwork and you have Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition on your hands. Needless to say, if youâ€™ve already played FF1 before itâ€™s hard to warrant a purchase solely because thereâ€™s not enough new gameplay here.
The sad part is that even if youâ€™ve never played a Final Fantasy game before, this release will more than likely turn you off. The difficulty on the PSP is much easier than in previous versions, but thatâ€™s the least of your worries. For one thing, random battles occur all too often. Sometimes every step you take in a dungeon will land you in a new battle, which can make it incredibly frustrating to explore. Not only does this discourage you from searching for treasure, but sometimes you can even forget what direction you were heading in and youâ€™ll end up going the wrong way.
The battles wouldnâ€™t be all that bad if the enemies actually put up a fight half of the time. Especially on the earlier floors of the Soul of Chaos dungeons, youâ€™ll be put up against pitifully weak monsters that grant you hardly any experience. As such, tons of time is wasted fighting unnecessary battles, which can grow tiresome real fast. Boss fights, on the other hand, can be quite fun because they actually require some sort of strategy. Whereas most of the random monsters can be defeated simply by melee attacks, bosses will require use of attacks, magic, and healing to add a welcomed change of pace to the game.
Above everything else, this game will be a turnoff to many simply because itâ€™s beginning to show its age. For example, the lack of a quest log makes it incredibly difficult to know where you have to go next. Because of this problem, you can spend hours flying around on the map because you didnâ€™t talk to a specific NPC, and the lack of any direction at all can be bothersome to say the least. In addition, the setup of the game itself leaves little to the imagination. For the most part, youâ€™ll travel to a town to buy new spells, and then youâ€™ll head off to a dungeon to defeat a boss. Occasionaly a side quest will be thrown in to keep you busy, but these merely involve running around looking for random objects. While this was certainly acceptable twenty years ago, by todayâ€™s standards gamers are likely to grow tiresome.
On the plus side, Square did an alright job at remaking the audio and visual effects. The tracks in the game were redone to be of a higher quality, and the change is definitely noticeable. Not only do your favorite boss tracks sound crisper, but the game as a whole looks very sharp. While still keeping the 2D setup, the enhanced sprites, environments, and attack effects all help contribute to a good looking FF1 title. The graphics wonâ€™t exactly blow you away, but playing FF1 in a high resolution environment is certainly a positive feature.
As a whole, Final Fantasy: Anniversary Edition on the PSP doesnâ€™t cater to a huge audience. Diehard FF fans will be disappointed by the lack of extra features, and newcomers can be frustrated by the simple design and overload of randomized battles. Still, Final Fantasy games in general are very alluring and can offer hours upon hours of gameplay, so those desperate for classic RPG action donâ€™t need to look any further. However, on the PSP there are still plenty of other better choices for the RPG enthusiast.