Announced back in July, Final Fantasy Gaiden is a retro, DS-only take on the series with an absolutely adorable art style and simplified controls. Instead of being a remake of an older title, this is an all-new game inspired by those classics of days gone by, specifically the NES entries in the series. Details revealed thus far include a “hat-switching” job system, a quick, screen tapping control scheme, and a rocking 8-bit soundtrack. You can also probably expect a guy named Cid, some spells that end in “-ga”, and probably a chocobo. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy game, eh?
Let me start off by saying that I love, love, love the art style. The big-heads-on-tiny -bodies and pastel, cel-shaded graphics add a whimsical feel and suggest that you shouldn’t take the game too seriously. The characters are all young boys and girls, on a grand, but not too dire adventure (at least in the demo) and to be frank, a whimsical entry in the series, even if it is a Gaiden, would be a nice change of pace.
As the TGS demo begins, your main character, named whatever you like is woken up by his mother. This gave me a little chuckle as many fond memories of my misspent gaming youth began the same way. I gripped the DS stylus began the demo very excited about playing it, completely charmed by the presentation. I finished sadly disappointed, but I’m not sure if it is the game’s fault or my own.
The demo kindly thanks you for playing in a dialogue with another player quickly after you begin and then informs you through another dialogue that the concept of FF: Gaiden is “an RPG with a nice tempo.” What this means in practice is that your options in battle are pretty limited. Each character can initially choose from only three actions: Attack, Charge, and Item. Using Attack costs an action point (represented by bubbles on the character’s info tab) but the others are free actions. In order to use magic or more advanced commands you’re going to have to use a free action and then wait until the next combat round, or sufficient rounds to charge the necessary bubbles. You select each of your warrior’s actions before the combat round begins much as you do in Dragon Quest IX. The actions are then carried out and the enemy performs theirs. You cannot choose your target specifically (only the row on which you perform the action) but generally your party’s attacks will focus on the enemy with lowest HP until it is dead and then move on the next target.
[*].disqus.comto your security software's whitelist.