Thoughts on Final Fantasy 2

This game is often considered to be the “black sheep” of the Final Fantasy series for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the “leveling system” comes to mind: rather than experience points, as you all know, your stats grow according to what occurs in battle; receiving damage increases HP, casting spells raises intelligence, fighting raises strength, etc. While ideally this makes sense, most players found their characters very lacking in critical areas often throughout the game.

Second, the graphics; some characters’ sprites, such as Firioniel/Firion and Guy/Gus, were taken directly from FF1, as well as many tiles from scenary. The designers clearly didn’t put spend all that much time and thought making character models.

Third, but most likely not finally, the nuances that made the game incredibly annoying. The battle music, which wasn’t the best song in the game by far, played during the constant random battles. During random battles, many events, such as casting spells on the entire enemy party, took a long time to complete and are often not even worth the effort put into them. If you attack an enemy and it dies, other characters who have targetted the enemy will miss and waste precious turns in the process.

Do these things make it a bad game? Of course not.

As far as battle tactics are concerned, people who complain of the game’s difficulty have no idea what they’re doing. If you run out of MP, don’t cast spells and use items instead like you did in the original Final Fantasy. If your spells are too weak, use them more often instead of attacks while travelling back and forth between towns. The game wasn’t designed to be sickeningly easy like the sequels that have spoiled American gamers, such as Final Fantasy IV: Easy Type or Final Fantasy VII.

What could graphic designers do with a game that was released just a year after Final Fantasy? If I remember correctly, Final Fantasy was a “final” attempt by one of the game’s producers (thus the name), so chances are they weren’t working on the sequel immediately after the first game’s release. By using the same sprites as Final Fantasy, perhaps Square intended to carry over some of the previous game’s success to this title. This game was definitely not the only of the beloved Final Fantasy series that used sprite theft.

Finally, let me remind you that this game was released in December of 1988. The standard and capability for NES games definitely excuses any flaws in the simplistic plot, graphics, or music that most people complain about. We can’t expect the game to contain voice-acting, FMVs, or any other dazzling effects; all we could possibly expect of Square was to do the best possible job given the circumstances of the game’s release.

I think they did it.

Actually, I agree with your points. I’ve always thought FF2j was a really good game for it’s time. The plot, for a 1988 game, was actually quite good as well.

I’m one of the ‘insane’ players who played through it once without hacking, y’see.

Oh, and just because I’m picky, Firion and Gus’ sprites weren’t DIRECTLY taken from FF1, they really resemble Fighter and Thief, but there are some small changes.

I actually am replaying Final Fantasy 2 right now (just did the Deist Cave stuff, god I hate that place). Sure, there’s sprite theft, but that also happened in Final Fantasy 3. I guess there’s really only so much you could do back then, and they found a model they liked and stuck with it =P.

I love the leveling system. It’s more like the early SaGa games which is an automatic plus in my book. Plus it makes sense- even the stats occasionally (well, more like really, really rarely) going down. If all you’ve been doing is casting magic, don’t expect your strength to get better. In fact, you’ll probably become a bit weaker from when you previously trained and such.

The auto-targetting aspect was a bit frusterating, but in a way, it made you have to know more about your own characters limits. If you knew a character was going to slaughter a monster, you let that character do it and focus everyone else on other ones. It takes a while to get used to, but I always found myself later on never really having any problems with it except for the occasional critical hit causes the monster to die a faster than normal death. And yeah, the battle music did kinda get old after a while, especially due to the high, high encounter rate =P.

Overall though, I don’t find the game very difficult really. Usually, I’ll spend a few hours at the beginning leveling up, first near Altea, then I’ll head north of Phin where the harder monsters are so I can keep leveling. After that, I’m usually set for the game.

Oh, and the plot in Final Fantasy 2 was phenominal for its time. Unlike other RPGs released around that era, you’re not simply trying to destroy the mysterious evil menace or such. I’ve heard the rumor about it being the final attempt of a programmer, but I’m not sure if that rumor is actually accurate or not. It may or may be, but a sequel wasn’t really intended if I remember correctly until they saw how successful it was.

I think Square did an overall wonderful job of it. I bought Origins when they released it here too, and seeing the updated look of one of my favorite NES games made me very happy =P.

It was that hard? I may just have to play it. I agree with the point that recent FF games have been becoming much easier. I breezed though FFVIII-upwards whereas on 5 and 6 I got stuck as hell on some points.

Heh, no no it wasn’t THAT hard. But that’s the reaction I tend to get when I tell people I know IRL that I played through the game legit. It usually starts with a ‘jaw drop’ then a ‘Are you serious?’

'Course, around here that isn’t as phenomonal, but I live in Newfie Land remember :ah-ha!:

I played through it legitimately too, but not the first or second time through… I had to learn what I was doing first… for example, one of the most critical factors was making Gus a bare-handed fighter. In battles against Adamantoise or Spiketoise where weapons don’t do damage, his still does–and a significant amount, too. I also didn’t use any armor so that I would lose more HP, allowing me to cast more spells to raise my MP and spell levels. I didn’t need to attack my own characters or use the confirm/cancel cheat in any way.

[QUOTE=Kagon]I’ve heard the rumor about it being the final attempt of a programmer, but I’m not sure if that rumor is actually accurate or not. It may or may be, but a sequel wasn’t really intended if I remember correctly until they saw how successful it was.QUOTE]

I think the story went: Squaresoft was a small-ish company that made a lot of different arcade-style racing and games that that. They were going under, so Hironobu Sakagushi suggested an RPG. Since they had almost no money left, if it floppped they were dead, thus the ‘Final’ of the title.

Eh, that’s what I’ve heard. It may be it, either way, I like the results =P.

Also, any difficulty in FF2 can be countered with Shields + Blink. With 57 Agility, Shield skill of 13, and a Diamond Shield from an Adamantoise, Firionel has an Evasion of 4-99%. Blink makes it impossible for a physical attack to be landed against him. You don’t need a high Shield skill level either. About 7-8 does nicely. If you put a shield on everyone, you can be set against physical attacks =P

If you put a shield on everyone, you can be set against physical attacks =P

But then you never take damage and spells kill you instead because you only have like 30HP. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s why you level up near the Warlocks in the beginning since they throw those level 5 Spells around everywhere- those build up your HP really fast and help your Magic Defense too =P

Meh. I didn’t like it for the same reason I don’t like any game that requires me to spend hours leveling up. I just don’t like leveling up. 8p As for the stat thing, I don’t like any of the SaGa games either, so meh. While you could argue that it’s “not as bad as you might think”, I wouldn’t agree that it was a good game.

You don’t HAVE to spend hours leveling up. As I said a few times now, you just have to know what you’re doing.

Yeah, you really don’t have to spend hours leveling. I usually do in any FF game I play though. It’ll help if you spend a little bit of time, but it’s really not essential. You’ll easily gain what you need as you go if you don’t spend tons of time leveling.

I like it.
At least the WSC Re-Release.

I’m not too familiar with this, but you mean NES FF2 right?

Not the US SNES FF2 which had Cecil [or whoever in it], a mist dragon for a first boss, etc.

I still didn’t find myself liking it much. I even tried the leveling ‘exploits’ (such as hitting yourself to raise your HP and defense stats). Ultimately, the game was unenjoyable.

Though I actually kinda liked the battle music. Not the opening, but the rest of it. But thats just me.

And I played both the original NES version (fantranslation) and the FFOrigins rerelease. I still can’t find a way to like it.

Yeah, the NES FF2 is what we’re talking about =P

I quit playing it when i ran into a guard that automadicaly killed me if i touched/talked to him, and the fact that i hadn’t saved my game in a while. I didn’t mind the battle system, and leveling up and old games goes hand and hand, but it just didn’t really excite me

I’ve always had a thing for FF2. The leveling system was interesting, the story made sense, and the characters although not very deep, had their own personalites and made the game a lot funner than FF1 (where the characters had no reaction whatsoever in dialogues). All in all, FF2 was an enjoyable game with not so great graphics and music but with a cool story and gameplay.