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Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) artwork

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) review

"You got your cake, why don't you like it? It's delicious!"

Iíd rather not float this review on the differences between two versions of one of the industryís greatest Role-Playing Games, so I wonít. Final Fantasy IV, released in 1991 in North America as Final Fantasy II, is a seminal title. By the time of the Pixel Remaster release, its tropes are well traversed and perhaps even mundane. Is it worth your time now?

Perhaps. This from-the-ground-up rebuild of FFIV is based heavily on the Game Boy Advance adaptation, though it lacks any of the extended content. Thatís no loss at all; said content was padding and failed to add anything interesting to the story. So what are the improvements?

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) image

Itís amazing what happens when creators listen to the fanbase that popularized their franchise. The most obvious change is to the visuals, which have been tweaked to improve their overall look, as though this was the version they wanted back in the day, including a couple of extra frames of animation here and there. All the sprite work in the game has had time poured into it so as to refine the aesthetic into something cohesive, especially when patching in artwork from different platforms. I canít say for sure, but my impression is that the developers looked over the popular SNES mods and took a lot of notes. The result is beautiful and easy on the eyes, for the most part. There is some strangeness concerning the old Mode 7 graphics where object scaling is involved, but I think itís not reasonable to expect more without overhauling the game entirely.

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) image

The music, well, I frankly love the new orchestrations. Everything gets a new coat of polish and is sweet to the ears indeed. I noticed some influences from Celtic Dreams, and Iím guessing also The Black Mages, but nothing so frantic. For someone whose first RPG experience was FFII on SNES, the arranged music is performed beautifully and doesnít seem to be embarrassed by its origins. The music player introduced on the GBA is back, so by all means, dive in. The audio quality is a treat.

The Pixel Remasters are light on extra content, featuring a Bestiary and Gallery of official artwork alongside the previously mentioned Music Library. If you want to delve into spawn locations of monsters and their minutiae, have fun. I found the Gallery worthy of a once over, but as Iím not much of a fan of Amanoís style, Iím glad its there for those who are.

Technically the Pixel Remasters largely execute on their goals. FFVI PR runs smoothly enough on the Switch, but I admit to being puzzled as to why they run less than 60 frames per second. Itís less of an issue compared to the mobile versions, but if this is supposed to be the definitive version, why skimp? This is the one comparison point that bothered me enough to warrant mentioning, because the relatively low framerate is noticeable and frankly annoying. I noticed some uncharacteristic slowdown as well, perhaps a product of being on the Switch. I find it hard to be believe a game with so few demands would struggle so much on Nintendoís premier hybrid console.

Thankfully, there is a lot of love here. Retro fans coming back to experience their childhood memories anew will be thrilled by the care and attention that has been put into this update. The game has never looked better, and visual effects are authentic to their originals while using fancy new sprite generators courtesy of Criware. Controversial content, such as certain character abilities, have carried over from the GBA adaptation. I found the combat system to be perhaps slightly more challenging than previous released, but the balance is perfect, thanks to the ability to enhance rewarded Gil and Experience. You can boost them with configurable multipliers, or even skip random encounters. Story battles play out as normal. There are plenty of other creature comforts, like being able to see who has what equipped in stores and if theyíll be worth buying.

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) image

The only thing that bothers me about this release is that itís priced the same as its beefier cousins. It has a short run time, even if you donít mess around with the Boost settings. I canít avoid the feeling that this game is really only going to be entertaining for a single run through, maybe twice if you want to turn off encounters just to explore everything. The story is solid, but there are so many games now that do things for less that this game never will, and shouldnít be modified to do. This remaster is a fine and fair tribute. You might want to pick it up along with the others, because if youíre into these titles, itís a cheaper way to go if youíre going to be playing them anyway.

This accomplishes what Square-Enix set out to do, and how often do we get a title that delivers everything that was promised? Yes, early adopters were used as beta players, and whether that was right or not is outside of my consideration, as they did apply feedback from their players and fans. FFVI is every bit as entertaining as it always has been and remains a top notch RPG.

If you think youíll enjoy it, get it. You wonít regret it.

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hastypixels's avatar
Community review by hastypixels (May 20, 2023)

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