Originally released in 1988, this Final Fantasy did not see a Western release until Squaresoft delivered Final Fantasy Origins which was released on the PlayStation in 2003. Outside of Japan, Final Fantasy II was the English localization of fourth installment in the series. At the time of their releases, Square opted to skip releasing the second and third games to outside audiences.
Among fans of the series, Final Fantasy II is often described as the worst entry of the franchise. Although the plot is more fleshed out than the first and third titles, the lack of a true experience leveling system still baffles newcomers of this game to this day. In all honesty, it is just not as fun as other games in the series. However, the game does have its own merits and this version of the game is a much less time consuming adventure.
Available on Steam and Mobile.
Reviewed on the latest Apple iPad Pro 11-inch model.
Despite being a very faithful remaster of the original game, Final Fantasy II Pixel Remaster does feature quite a few changes. Most of the changes that are present in this remaster apply to all of the Pixel Remasters released by Square Enix. To date, the first four titles have now been released to Steam and mobile platforms. The first three titles have been out since July of this year. A mini-review of the last title in this trio will be coming soon! Since many of the changes apply to all three of the these games, please check out the review for Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster for a deeper look. Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster was just released this week and may warrant a more in-depth review as it is a deeper game.
An Entry That Doesn't Soar
As described earlier, Final Fantasy II does not use a true experience leveling system like most entries in the franchise. In order to increase HP, the player must take damage. To increase the potency of a spell, the user must continuously cast the spell. To increase the damage dealt by a weapon, the party member must attack with that weapon type. Yes, each weapon type has its own levels as well. This applies for all stats, weapon types, and spells in the game. It is rather tedious trying to improve your party before taking on the next stage of their adventure.
Other stats are just flat-out broken. With the right equipment, even at the start of the game, the party can battle while rarely ever taking damage due to the insane evasion stats assigned to certain equipment. Since the party members often dodge damage, their personal evasion stats skyrocket quickly throughout the game. The combination of grinding to increase certain stats and often never being hurt in battle, leaves little to no challenge to complete this game. The best way players can challenge themselves in this game would be to try to complete it as quickly as possible with early equipment and limited spells.
Final Fantasy II does introduce a few of the series traditions. Chocobos and chocobo forests make their first appearance in this game. Riding chocobos is an excellent way to avoid enemy encounters if the player is looking for more challenge. This is also the first title in the series that introduces a character named Cid. Cid runs a transport business from his airship and can take the party to different locations in the world. This is another effective method to limit enemy encounters.
Personally, we would have a hard time recommending Final Fantasy II Pixel Remaster to anyone. All of the problems of the original are present and it just is not that enjoyable. Albeit, it is a much faster adventure due to the quality of life improvements seen throughout these remasters. If you have never played the original and want to play every entry in the series, this is certainly the definitive version to play. All of the pros seen in these remakes are here: they are beautiful, the remastered soundtrack is wonderful, the quality of life improvements make the experience more enjoyable.
- Beautifully remastered!
- Quality of life improvements and no loading times.
- The remastered soundtrack is wonderful on the ears.
- Many of the original gameplay elements retained. (Depending on the player, this is also a con.)
- This is the best version to experience the second Final Fantasy.
- Mobile does not support controllers.
- Very easy due to easily accidental grinding and insane evasion stats.
- None of the additional content from previous remakes.
- A little expensive for a title that has been remade numerous times.
- All of the problems with the original are retained in this remake.
- The leveling system is even less fun after not playing this title in years.
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