Ah, Final Fantasy IV. You and your ten million re-releases. Time to add onto it with a Steam release, which is really a port of the mobile version which was a port of the DS version!
Much like with the release of Final Fantasy III on Steam earlier this year, Square Enix has released a port of the mobile version of Final Fantasy IV. Based on the DS version, it features the changes made though with one very nice change from DS – difficulty selection! You can now choose between either Normal or Hard mode. While I personally played on normal, I can only presume that hard is what the DS version difficulty was. Normal is definitely easier, though don’t let your guard down! Bosses still have their AI adjustments and will gladly kill you!
Thankfully, unlike the Final Fantasy III Steam release, Final Fantasy IV is no where near as bad off. While you can still count every horribly stretched pixel on a character sprite, you aren’t constantly staring at seams in the textures. It is also no where near as glitchy, but that’s not to say it is completely glitch free. While Final Fantasy III had game ruining glitches (such as progress getting randomly reset), Final Fantasy IV’s are a bit more subtle. While it’s possible I simply haven’t ran into the game breaking glitches, the ones I have ran into aren’t as bad. One cutscene seemed to have a weird sync between the voice and the subtitles which caused two voices to overlap at one point. The other seems to be some enemies will just randomly give Cecil a bubble effect (double HP) for no reason at all.
While it’s definitely nice to see that at least a port can be done mostly right, it still feels like it could have been better. The random glitches with no explanation are one of those things. Also, not being able to see every (horribly) stretched pixel when you get a character close up would’ve been fantastic. While on a DS these were fine as you weren’t on nearly as large on a screen, on a PC screen it’s another issue. Also, the UI is still setup for a mobile device. Trying to switch between characters in the menu is unnecessarily challenging. You also can’t rearrange your spell list, or at least I haven’t found a way to! There’s no memory option too, so have fun constantly scrolling through Rosa or Rydia’s magic lists every time you want to cast with them! Perhaps this was missing in the DS version as well and I just don’t remember, but I recall it being in the DS version.
For those without another way to play Final Fantasy IV, the Steam release is definitely an option. For those with the choice though, I would rather suggest getting either the SNES/Virtual Console version or the PSP version. Both of those are absolutely fantastic, with the PSP version even including all of Final Fantasy IV After Years AND the GBA bonus dungeon!
Final Fantasy IV Steam Release Review Score
I would like to thank Square Enix for providing me with a copy of Final Fantasy IV (Steam) for review. You can purchase the game through Steam now.