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Final Fantasy IV the After: Tsuki no Kikan

ファイナルファンタジーIV ジ・アフター -月の帰還-


Matrix Software



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06/01/09 Square Enix
07/21/09 Square Enix
06/05/09 Square Enix

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Review: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

By MaxwellGT2000 15th Jul 2009 | 3,499 views 

Square makes classic RPG magic on Wii Ware.

After so many remakes of the original Final Fantasy IV, that Square Enix has finally delivered a new title in the series with Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. As the title implies, the game takes place several years after the original. Cecil is King of Baron, and he now has a son named Ceodore who is trying to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a member of the Redwings. That’s when all hell breaks loose and your adventure begins anew.

The After Years takes after its SNES counterpart, graphically. Rather than the 3D modeling of the DS remake that came out last year, it sticks to the 2D presentation of the SNES game as well as the same open world. All sprites have been updated with a bit more detail, and more animation has been added. Otherwise, the graphics are pretty much the same as the original Final Fantasy IV. It’s not the best presentation in a Wii Ware title, but the highly detailed artwork will keep this one from looking stale. It’s trying to go for a retro SNES style with a few improvements, much like Mega Man 9 did with its NES style.

Ceodore the prince of Baron

The music is the same soundtrack from Final Fantasy IV with a new song for the mysterious girl that appears in the story. While it is the same music for the most part it has been rearranged by Junya Nakano, the composer behind Final Fantasy X’s soundtrack. As far as the rest of the game, it keeps the classic menus, with the text a little sharper, and it supports widescreen. Overall it looks like an SNES game updated somewhat for today’s TV standards.

Battles in The After Years use the classic active time battle system, just like the original Final Fantasy IV did, but they change things a little with moon phases and band attacks. The new features add a bit more difficulty, with random battles that will happen very often, as well as some more strategy regarding how you approach combat. The band system allows two or more team members to combine power to attack, much like the Dual Techs in Chrono Trigger. You’ll learn these abilities as you go through your adventure, and they can dish out some serious damage. Each Band attack requires you to wait for the other partner to be ready to attack, much like twin power in the original Final Fantasy IV. The moon phases change each time you sleep in a tent, cabin, or inn. They also change after you have battled for a certain amount of time. The phases are a huge part of the strategy in The After Years since each phase will double or halve the power of your melee, your black magic, your white magic, or your special attacks. (For example, one may double your black magic but halve the power melee attacks.) These phases also affect the monsters; if your attack is doubled, so is theirs. It adds a lot to the strategy of the game – if you’re going through an area with many monsters with high attack, it’s best to sleep until the phase changes to your benefit.

The classic turn based fighting in action

You’ll want to use the two new battle elements to your advantage since The After Years is one of the hardest games in the whole Final Fantasy series. Players that love difficult RPGs will certainly get their fair amount of challenge in this game, and if you’re familiar with the harder Japanese difficulty of Final Fantasy IV, The After Years is more difficult than that. If you can rise to the difficulty present in this game, it’s a lot of fun, and you certainly won’t be bored. Most of that difficulty comes from the high frequency of the random battles, forcing you to be conservative with your items and magic points as you're dungeon-crawling, and if you're not careful a series of big hits (particularly at a boss) can wipe out your party pretty quickly.

This first in the episodic installments of The After Years will set you back 800 Wii points – so eight bucks – and will last you about eight hours. It is rather short for an RPG, but really you’re only buying part of the game. The rest of it is released in DLC for 300 points an episode, with eight episodes in all. It’s hard to judge the true “value” of the game since it’s broken up, but you will get a lot of enjoyment during the eight hours in the first episode, so it’s hard to say it's not worth it. Each chapter also has a challenge dungeon that you can complete by loading the chapter's clear data, spiking the difficulty up even more and adding some extra play time. Also one word of caution if you do go after the DLC - use a different save slot for the clear data for each chapter, so that when you get to the final chapter you can load in every previous chapter's clear data.

And that kids is why you don't mess with shady characters in hoods

DLC won’t take up much space on your Wii system memory so don’t fret. The DLC on average is about 5 blocks for each tale, as it probably just downloads scripts and reuses sprites and the content that would take up the most space (art and music) that is already in the main game. Each tale will add a few hours to the game and help flesh out the full story. With the base game, you’re buying the first three tales, and while square did make it one continuous game, there are a couple of oddities. When you go into someone else’s tale, it’ll present the title of that tale, show the title at the beginning, then show the two moons in the sky, and then end with the title. It’s all tied to the game's cell phone roots, with each episode being sold separately, which causes a couple of quirks.

Overall, The After Years is by far one of, if not 'the', best RPGs on the WiiWare service, with a really good story and a good battle system. The story in this episode will leave you at a cliffhanger and wanting more. Most likely, if you buy the first episode you’ll want the others, but everything leading up to that point is a very solid story that adds to the Final Fantasy IV universe. However, though it's overall a very good story it doesn’t stand quite as well on its own - this is definitively a title for the fans of the classic.

The main thing hampering this game from an outstanding score is the episodic route Square chose. With 300 points for each additional chapter, the first installment’s abrupt ending, and the final chapter not even available until at least September, it’d be fair to say that if everything came bundled together, it’d be much easier to recommend. In the end, The After Years is a great game to continue the series and any fan of Final Fantasy IV will definitely want this title.

VGChartz Verdict


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Opinion (12)

PeteyPeeps posted 18/04/2010, 12:16
3000 wii points? really? no way, that must be a mistake ... 500 max i thought
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joey123 posted 16/09/2009, 08:08
im a big FFIV fan but im more than halfway done with this game and i find it very boring and bland....
the band system is stupid... its like a watered down version of the tech system from Chrono trigger.
it cost over 3000 wii points... not worth it in my opinion. mabye i will finish it someday.
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Zuhyc posted 26/07/2009, 05:56
I was thinking of downloading this untill I read about the DLC. 3400 for the complete game is a bit too much for me.
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sc94597 posted 07/07/2009, 01:16
Oh this was released? Forgot about it. Goes and downloads.
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joey123 posted 07/07/2009, 04:11
final fantasy was first... and this game is wayy different compared to SF, play final fantasy tactics its alot like SF
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Quilex posted 05/07/2009, 03:38
Can anyone tell me did the shinning force series or this come first, they have an identical style. I love shinning force so I will have to give this a try.
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