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Final Fantasy II

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 Consoles and Releases
NES: 1988-12
Wii: 2009-06-16
Wii U: 2013-12-11
Nintendo 3DS: 2014-02-12

 Developed by
Hironobu Sakaguchi
Masafumi Miyamoto

Yoshikata Amano

 Music by
Nobuo Uematsu

The Paramekian Empire decided to take over the world. Its soldiers and Dark Knights persecute innocent people, burn whole villages, hunt down brave warriors. Now Phin, the homeland of the four heroes, has been destroyed by the evil empire. Only four young warriors could escape, three men and one girl. On their way to a neighbor town Altea, they were attacked by the Dark Knights. Three of them were brought safely to Altea by the order of the rebel army. But one has not yet been found...

Final Fantasy II (not to be confused with Final Fantasy IV, released in the West as "Final Fantasy II"), like its predecessor, is a top-down role-playing game where the player-controlled party travels through the overworld, fighting enemies, buying weapons, armor and magic spells in shops, and resting in town inns. Combat is round-based: the player selects commands for the whole party, and then watches the combat round unfold.

The game has an unusual character-building system. The three main controllable characters and a few others who may join the party can be fully customized by the player, without restrictions of classes or abilities. There are no character levels in the game: characters grow stronger by performing the same action repeatedly, which might increase one parameter but decrease another. For example, sustaining damage gradually increases the character's hit points; casting spells raises intelligence but lowers physical power, etc.

Weapons and spells, on the other hand, can be leveled up. The more a certain type of weapon is used in combat, the more proficient the character who uses this weapon becomes in this particular type. The power of a magic spell also gradually increases when used repeatedly in battles.

The cover of the game by Amano-sensei shared a lot of similarities with his work on a cover of the Guin Saga novels.

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Not as good as the first one, but still very good
By Gruic on July 21, 2018

It was very creative, back in 1988, to have a progression system basing on how we use our characters and weapons. It was the first step on what will become the "skill" years later.

Of course, that system brings some problems with it, but I liked how the Square team tried new things instead of just recycling the classic level system. Square tried something new and added some background and storyline to the characters. In the first FF, characters symbolised the player, like in a classic pen-and-paper RPG. In Final Fantasy II, we follow a story and we are a part of it. Both approaches are fine and after that, the Final Fantasy saga will switch from one to another.

On a video game scale of one to ten, FFII deserves a 7, but on a FF scale, I will give it a 6/10 to enjoy more nuances on my Final Fantasy rating.

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