I credit Square Enix's Final Fantasy IV as being the first game to really make me see the wonders of the role-playing genre. Just as FF4 ushered in the golden age of 16-bit RPGs on the SNES, it also began an interest in me that continues to this day. Thus, one could imagine my excitement when we found out a few works ago that Square Enix would be porting over the DS version of Final Fantasy IV to iOS. Just as was the case with Final Fantasy III [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] when it debuted in 2011, FF IV [$15.99] for iOS should be considered the definitive version of a classic title and is a must-have for any RPG aficionados.

Following the trials and tribulations of the Dark Knight Cecil, Final Fantasy IV is the first game of the series heavily driven by narrative. The story is also pretty engaging (for its time) with themes of genocide, betrayal, atonement and sacrifice, along with a few twists. While the game does offer the opportunity to deviate from the storied path set before you with side quests and optional dungeons, those adventures are few and far between. Still, I'm a huge fan of the epic tale weaved in Final Fantasy IV and I'm glad to see it stand the test of time and succeed even on iOS.

Meanwhile, FFIV employs the same, classic turn-based random battle that has been a staple of the series. Rather than the customizable job-based system found in FFIII, each character in FFIV has a pre-defined class that can't be modified. However, characters that come and go from your party can impart augments, items that can bestow that particular character's special ability to another character. While this offers some ability to customize, the augment system in general is rather unnecessary and feels tacked on (which it is, considering augments didn't exist in the original SNES version).

Similar to the iOS port of Final Fantasy III, FFIV enjoys a number of improvements over its DS predecessor. For starters, the visuals are nicely improved, taking advantage of the higher graphical and processing prowess of iOS devices. The music has also been upgraded, with each remixed song of the classic Nobuo Uematsu soundtrack sounding exquisite. The difficulty has also been tweaked, with two difficulty modes available (a pretty unique addition for classic FF games). I'm particularly pleased with the changes to difficulty, as the game seems to require less grinding than previous versions. This change goes hand-in-hand with the ability to auto-map dungeons, a feature sorely missing from the original and a welcome addition to this version.

In addition, FFIV also employs the same touch-based revamp of the menu system found in FFIII, allowing for much easier touch-based navigation. Despite these improvements, menu navigation can still be a bit cumbersome, especially during battles with characters that have a large amount of spells. Still, the inclusion of an 'Auto-battle' mode (along with some simple command customization) alleviates most of the annoyance.

While we've mostly focused on what has and hasn't changed in this port, what's more important is the simple fact that Final Fantasy IV is still an amazing game to play. The overall story, character development and pacing are excellent. The modifications to the core gameplay, whether they were changed from the US SNES version to the DS version or created exclusively for the iOS port, make the game more accessible to a wider audience. While the 3D visuals don't illicit the same feel as the original sprites of the SNES version, they still do a great job preserving the look and feel of the overarching tale (iffy voice acting notwithstanding). With so many RPGs feeling unfinished or superficial on iOS it's nice to actually play one that hits all the notes and demonstrates why it was, and still is, a classic. Sure, there's a lot of nostalgia in play here, but there's a reason why Final Fantasy IV is so memorable. I'd suggest checking it out to see why.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.facebook.com/stephenmwalls Stephen M Walls

    Not going to lie - the hard mode is pretty challenging. Having so many mobs counter attack was unexpected!

  • vic_viper_001

    I just wish the graphics weren't so.... pixelated. I mean, I could understand them being pixelated on the DS because, well... its a Nintendo DS, but considering the iPhone is MUCH more powerful, it would have been nice if the textures were a LOT more smoothed out.

    • TGMzero

      You realize that since this is a port, that it simply wasn't possible to 'fix' the graphics.

      It takes time and money to bring such a game up to par.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        They're charging more than enough to compensate for the interest to improve graphics. They're also not a small company. They have the time.

      • batreyud

        They're also charging $15

    • Dustrick

      I just hope it runs smoothly on my iPad 1. My BF and I were watching a small play-through on YouTube and it was so clear and crisp! But I don't know which iPad they were playing on...

      • http://www.facebook.com/link6616 Rowan Idris Carmichael

        I've been playing on my iPad 1 aswell, had the same concerns but since I had an Ipod Touch 4 I felt safe it would run well on that at least...

        Anyway, it runs fine-ish on the iPad 1, the odd slow framerate here and there, but nothing to be too worried about, generally keeps a better framerate than FFIII did

    • mclifford82

      I'd be happier if they were more pixelated, i.e. the original freaking game and not the 3D remake.

      • vic_viper_001

        I would've liked to see a port of the PSP remake myself, and get the best of both worlds. Slightly better graphics than on the SNES, but still nice and 2d... but it's not like polygons are bad or anything.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        This, exactly. I wanted a port of the version of the game that made it popular. When people talking about the legacy of the FF games they aren't thinking of the 3D remakes and this is doing those who wanted the originals on their mobile devices (legally) a disservice.

      • NPeart

        I thought the DS versions 3D look was originally made pretty fittingly, but the iOS versions resolution jump without touching textures makes it look awfully bland.

        And expensive.

  • jindofox

    "Elicit," not "illicit," please. :-)

    I'm glad it's Universal. Is there iCloud support? This seems like it would be nice to punt between phone and tablet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andy.charalambous.714 Andy Charalambous

      'The Grading Game' was made for you. But I wonder how many errors you'd spot when the pressure's on..
      :-)

    • ExcaliburEdge

      No iCloud. Maybe Squeenix will include it in a future updat... but probably as a $4.99 DLC.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        Baby steps. They ripped everyone off with TWEWY not being universal.

  • Dailion Ando

    I think 15€ is so expensive.

  • Krikaoli

    I think IV has the most interesting story. I'm a huge fan, but this is a 3 star game. The game lacks graphic and voices. Too much expensive for what it offers. And the person who is telling you about that, me, is a huge fan!

  • swatbot

    Fun game, no problems running here. A few minor issues with the UI and other things too, but really, I'm enjoying this remake quite a lot. The hard mode is probably closer to the original difficulty level I imagine, and it's definitely challenging! The price? Nothing. I can blow that on lunch. Glad to see games in the $10-20 range now on tablet, it just means better games are on the way. By the way, I just saw the stats for FFIII in the google play store, looks like I'm not the only one who feels that way, as on Android in the past 30 days there was somewhere between 100 000 to 500 000 installs. The market is there, release more jRPGs and I will buy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

      I can spend $4.99 on GTA:VC and get more content, with less issues, AND still have lunch! So if $14.99 is nothing than what is $4.99? Less than nothing? Doesn't even make sense.

      Square doesn't understand how mobile ports work. Rockstar does.

      • snipyro

        You dislike, Square's pricing - we get it. You don't have to bring it up so many times, including the GTA post. For the record, I gladly paid full price for FFIV, and I have no qualms with the pricing. With Square still investing heavily in the console and 3DS/Vita market, I can see why lowering the game's price to iOS's low prices is undesirable. Just because Rockstar is willing to sell a great game for 5 dollars, doesn't mean every other dev has to do the same thing. Rockstar's great, don't get me wrong, but low pricing for a console-like game is what leads to so many people unwilling to shell out more than 99c for any app. Who can blame them when so many great apps like GTA3 hit 99c regularly? I'm not surprised Indie developers find it harder and harder to survive in the App Store. Square has a long way to go in terms of optimising iOS ports, especially at this price, but FFIV is already a whole lot cheaper than when it came out on DS so I'm happy enough. I'm sure there are plenty of people still willing to buy it at this price, me included.

      • swatbot

        I think if you were interested in finding out where I got the statistics from you would have simply gone to the google play store, the stats are available on the page. Likewise, I'm curious to see your credentials and experience in the industry, as you seem to be very knowledgeable about everything that goes into porting a game.

        In the end, I propose we let the market dictate rather than making long winded (and boring) accusations regarding developers merely because they charge what would be reasonable prices for content on any platform. Sure we've finally got a shining example to harp on now with VC, but in the long run expecting high quality titles for $5 is a pipe dream.

        The circular 'logic' of some iOS gamers: iOS can't have games as good as consoles. $5 is too much for a game on iOS because iOS doesn't have games as good as consoles. Refuses to support the market and buy full games that cost more than a few bucks, most dev's have to cut corners and make lower quality titles.. causing the gamer to declare that iOS can't have games as good as consoles.

    • Krikaoli

      I don't agree there was no new creation to justify this lvl 99 price... This just a port...

  • http://www.yepi2.co/ yepi

    I tried to play it on the iphone and ipad, it runs pretty well, I think that no matter what

  • gtadem

    For the amount of money they're asking for, they should include the original 2D as an option alongside the existing 3D.

    • airwa1k

      And perhaps give us real 4" screen support. Not this misleading stretched out lazy gimmick. Ill just boot up my DS. Better version then this one.

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

    I have to disagree with this being an "excellent port".

    For iPhone gamers (and especially iPhone 5 gamers) the aspect ratio is horribly distorted. Add to that the poor frame rate, super blocky unfiltered textures (would it really have been that difficult to turn bilinear filtering on?), 8-way character movement, and lack of iCloud sync... and it's far from an excellent port.

    I'd say it's a typically shoddy Square port.

  • Guest

    just a question, are the CGIs present on the DS on the IOS version?

  • http://www.yepi-yepi.com/ Yepi Friv

    Okay, we've one example now to harp on with VC for $5, but in the long run expecting high quality for $5 is a pipe dream that will drag down

  • http://www.y8u.org/ Y8

    If I had to pick the best content on this subject, it would be your article.

  • http://www.frivgame.co/ Juegos Friv

    Nice graphics, online play and players know the games out there which is why I loved FINAL FANTASY games

  • http://www.kizi-friv.info/ kizi friv

    New players must try to know, I'll wait for version released

  • http://www.fri-v.com/ Friv

    it runs smoothly on my iPad.

FINAL FANTASY IV Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4