Final Fantasy Retrospect: FFII

Final Fantasy II was first released for the Nintendo Family Computer back in 1988. It is credited to have one of the first intense story lines for the NFC and was the starting point in what would be staples in the Final Fantasy Franchise. Thing such as Chocobo’s and Cid first appeared in FFII and would continue on throughout the series. Final Fantasy II was actually designed by Akitoshi Kawazu, rather than series creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Final Fantasy II is unique in it’s game play as characters don’t earn experience points after each battle to level up. But rather they develop skills depending on what the character does more frequently in battle. For example a character who spends more time casting magic spells will deal greater magic damage. The same applies to someone who uses weapons and special attacks more frequiently. This let player customise their own characters so that every battle required specific strategies.

Parties consisted of up to four characters three of which stayed the same at all times but the fourth could be rotated at any time. Characters could also be positioned in either the front or the back during battles. Characters in the back are immune to most physical attacks but prone to arrows and magic. This allowed defensive and offensive strategies to be put in place to ensure that weaker characters took less damage and the stronger characters took the most hits.

Final Fantasy II was the frist in the series to have a full party of cast with backstories and personalities. The first three characters, Firon, Maria and Guy could never be changed from the party but other characters such as Leon, Minwu, Joseph and many other could be switched in and out at any time during the game.

The game begins with the four main characters Firion, Maia, Guy and Leon as their parents are killed during an invasion by the army of The Emperor of Palamecia who have summoned deamons from hell to help them conquor the world. Left for dead, Firion, Maria, and Guy are rescued by Princess Hilda of Fynn who takes them to her rebel base in Altair. Eager to seek revenge, the three team up with Hilda to defeat the Palamecia forces and also find Marias missing brother Leon.

It’s made clear the significant changes that were made in Final Fantasy II to the original Final Fantasy. For one FFII was much more story based rather than combat. While changes were made to the combat system they still mainly kept to the sam ATB guage like in every other Final Fantasy Game. The main difference was that players could no longer pick their starting line up of characters. In FFI players could choose betweeen Fighters, Thives, White Magicians etc and decide how many they wanted to take up their four spaces. This was changed however to give the player set characters but who they could develop in their own way through fighting. The characters this way became more realistic and three dimentional so that the story was much stronger.

The First remake of Final Fantasy II was in May 2001. In this remake the graphics were improved and smothed out and backdrops such as forest and dungeons were made much clearer. North America first gained acces to the game through Final Fantasy Origins which also featured the original Final Fantasy Game. Graphics were improved once again and the musical score was updated and changed. It was later released on the Game Boy Advanced as Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn Of Souls.

As part of its ongoing Final Fantasy 25th anniversary celebration, Square Enix will release a novelization of the first three Final Fantasy games. The novelization is tentatively titled “Novel Final Fantasy I, II, III Memory of Heroes”

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