Yet another Final Fantasy makes its way onto Nintendo’s handheld. The last one I played was Final Fantasy III which was a couple of years ago now and I really enjoyed it. It only took a few years to finally get released in Europe, but it was worth the wait. So with Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, I was expecting more or less the same kind of game with a few minor changes, and I was right.
The story sees the young hero Brandt who has just turned 14 and has to go and see the King before he is seen as an adult. When he arrives, the princess is missing and the King asks Brandt to save her from the Witch of the North. Of course saving the princess is just the start of Brandt’s journey, and he is joined by three other heroes who must find a way to get along and save the world.
The main storyline is the same as earlier Final Fantasy games, where there are four heroes of light who set out on a quest to rid the world of the darkness that is suffocating it. It would have been nice for a slight change to the story, but all Final Fantasy games are about a group of heroes coming together, forming a special bond with each other and saving the day. It’s worked wonders for the franchise so why change anything now.
You’ll find yourself doing the norm as in previous Final Fantasy titles and search towns to find clues from its inhabitants, doing side quests to gain some money, going into dungeons and the like. Of course you’ll come to a point in the game where you have to spend a bit of time level grinding, which can be a bit of a pain, but you’d expect this from a Final Fantasy game.
As I’ve already mentioned, The four Heroes of Light uses turn based combat but it’s been made a lot simpler so if you’re new to the fighting method, you’ll be able to jump straight in, which is a good thing seen as though there are no tutorials.
When you find yourself in a fight, you’ll have three options available to you which are Attack, Boost and Item. The Attack button will make your character physically attack the enemy, Boost will increase your characters AP (Action Points) which you need to perform either magic or an attack, and using Item will allow you to use any items that your character is carrying.
Under the three main actions, there’s your characters’ list of magical abilities which makes it easier to select in battle rather than selecting magic on the battle menu and then searching for which spell to use as in the older Final Fantasy games. There’s the option of turning on ‘Auto’ mode just by pressing the ‘X’ button but I found this to be more of a hindrance than a help so I quickly turned it off and continued as normal.
The main storyline isn’t the only thing you’ll find yourself doing as there are plenty of side missions to be getting on with including a job system which you use to earn yourself some extra cash along the way that allow you to by better weapons, equipment and magic which you’ll definitely need to improve as the game progresses. There’s nothing worse than spending a good chunk of time getting through a dungeon only to face a boss and get a good whooping because your party isn’t strong enough.
There’s also the option of playing the game with up to four of your friends in multiplayer using the DS wireless play so you can battle your way through dungeons together, and use the Battle Points you accrue through the game to use in the single player.
Graphics & Sound
The visuals used in game are quite impressive and are presented in a picture book style which works really well on the DS. The art work is done by Akihiko Yoshido who was behind the art design for the DS version of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy XII. There are certain towns throughout the game which really do look stunning and is helped by the soundtrack which is superb.
Final Fantasy games are well known for their enchanting/magical soundtracks and it’s the same here. Not only that, but when you’re travelling the globe, the music will change at different points in the day whether it be morning, dusk, or night. The backing is the same, but the night time is a lot softer than the morning music and is used to great effect.
I really did enjoy Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but I would say that as I’m a bit of a Final Fantasy fan as you can see from my Final Fantasy XIII review. Those who have played previous Final Fantasy games will either love this or feel it’s the same thing again, just different characters and visual style. There are a few things in the game which could have been better, such as the menu system which can be a bit awkward at times, but apart from that, this is definitely a DS game that you should own.
3.5 out of 5
Danny ‘Ender’ Martin has been part of the Zath team from pretty much the very beginning since he met Zath himself at Leeds Met University whilst studying Business IT. He’s an avid gamer and a big film buff. Danny graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in Computer Animation and SFX and now currently works at one of the biggest UK games developers, which will hopefully see some of his ideas hit the gaming world.