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    Feb 24th, 2008 at 23:31:32     -    Final Fantasy (NES)

    GAMEPLAY
    Final Fantasy initially intrigues the player with its narrative: the world is enshrouded in darkness, and the player must control four avatars, or light warriors to save the world as we know it. This is the general plot line of the game, but as you begin to play, there are obviously many subplots involved. For instance, the light warriors initially appear in the kingdom of Corneria where a princess has been kidnapped. These subplots are beneficial; in such a large expansive game map, the plot gives you direction and an objective. In fact, the plot line is one of the most interesting parts of the game, it is really what keeps you playing. You want to see how everything comes together and resolves itself.
    The characters in the game have very little personality. The only real interaction you have with the characters is when you choose your initial four avatars, being either fighters or mages, and giving them names. The only interaction the rest of the game between you, the player, and characters in the game is characters in the game-world who you can talk with to obtain information about the plot.
    However, the game was a bit hard to play and a little bit frustrating. The monsters are very strong, especially when you first start since your light warriors do not have any experience. It is basically inconceivable to beat the game without your entire team of warriors being “killed,” or their hit points being brought to zero. Due to the overwhelming strength of your opponents, you are constantly forced to check into to an “inn” where you regain HP and save your progress.
    DESIGN
    What really impressed me about the design of Final Fantasy was the expansive game-world, especially for being on the NES game console. The game-world reinforces the plot line of Final Fantasy. As you wonder around, literally playing out your role in one sub-plot (such as fighting a band of pirates) you realize there are parts of the map which you are restricted from and which must be part of some future sub-plot. Seeing and knowing there are greater challenges to be met stimulates the player to complete the quest he is currently involved with.
    Final Fantasy also has an intricate reward system. The design of this reward system is essential to making the game fun to play. When you enter a combat with a band of monsters, you are presented with the option to fight or flee. If you run, there is the obvious relief of not being hurt, so no matter what you are happy. Yet, if you fight, there is a double bonus of gaining gold and experience points. Gold allows you to buy items for your players whether that is to improve your fighters arsenal or your magicians capabilities. If you gain enough experience points from fighting, your players graduate a level and increase their HP. Overall, the game is very well designed in rewarding the player and producing a sense of achievement in seeing your players develop (it even further rewards you because the developed players are the ones able to defeat more powerful monsters and fiends.
    The design of the actual combat is fairly bland and frustrating. Most of the time, you and the monsters which you encounter essentially just exchange blows. Again, the monsters are fairly strong in comparison with your own characters, and this can become extremely frustrating, especially if you have to revive one of your team members because he was poisoned as you were trying to flee. There really is not a lot of strategy involved in the combat, and consequently the game; you cannot buy certain tools that help certain players, the game is just not that complex.

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