The beginning at their end. Nobuo Uematsu the head composer for many of the series’ soundtracks said there were to reasons for choosing the name Final. The head developer, Hironobu Sakaguchi would have quit the game industry had the series not sold well and the more notable story, Final Fantasy could have been Square’s last production. There is no doubt however that the actual series is now one of the most recognizable series in the history of the industry.
Heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons, the developers incorporating western aspects that traditionally weren’t in Japanese RPGs at the time; elemental strengths and weaknesses. It consisted of light and dark, magical crystals and races such as elf, dwarf and other common fantasy tropes. It also allowed for a selection of different classes which made the game more for individual choices. As you could only have four characters but six classes to choose from.
Story oriented gaming and some of its true origins next to titles at the time such as Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest as it was know in Japan.) Today Final Fantasy has evolved into a real time active combat system that grew from a turn based menu selection. For anybody who has played Dungeons and Dragons or many other table top game, combat is turn based, starting with an initiative roll to determine order and than each person takes their turn when their number comes up. In Final fantasy, each turn, you select from a menu of possible actions per that character and their class all at one time and then the round plays out, each character taking their action, plus the enemies get their action. Compared to the models of today the system is simplistic in nature and fulfills the tropes of the genre if calls from.
Since the original release, the series installments have evolved, to different worlds, different characters and different mechanics. For the most part, humans are at the center of the game, but in the original Final Fantasy, traditional fantasy elements were not as foreign, such as races like elves, dwarves, lich and princesses.
As four orbs that govern the elements powers start to go dark, and soon the arrival of warriors of light show with darkened orbs in hand. While the overall story is pretty straightforward, template characters with exploration to guide you, today’s stories are evolution to story driven content. After saving the princess the begin their journey around the world, restoring order in traditional tabletop fashion of journey and quest combine into a arcing story of restoring the power of the elements.
In comparison to later installments, the one thing that I always had a problem with was combat. When fighting multiple enemies, if two characters are set to attack the same target and the first one kills it, the second member attacks empty air. In later installments, the second character would default to another living enemy preventing their attack from going to waste. The game is balanced enough that it’s not a glaring problem, but it did grow to be a pet peeve. Even so, at the time the game started a revolution that continues today and for that period the game was a breath of fresh air that we give an 8/10.