Final Fantasy 4 Steam PC Review
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is tired of seeing Final Fantasy rehashes and rebirths, particularly when previously console-exclusive versions make their much-appreciated way to PC release. After all, just how many classic-style RPGs are available for the PC gamers among us? Too few, sadly.
Final Fantasy 4 appeared suddenly on Steam, with very little warning, much to the surprise and awe of many an RPG fanatic. While I’d welcome nearly any Square classic on the PC, the earlier entries in the Final Fantasy series are held in especially high esteem for their genre-pushing stories and characters that would remain fan favorites decades later. I wondered if some of the magic might be lost as the loading screen appeared; I wondered if nostalgia was coloring my anticipation. Yet, despite the port’s issues, I slipped quickly into that peaceful, zen-like experience point grind so iconic of early RPGs, complete with bursts of euphoria whenever some new spell or skill was learned.
Final Fantasy 4 has aged well. While role-playing games of late have certainly pushed the narrative platform they’ve been given, the operatic tragedy of Cecil and Golbez remains a unique and captivating experience, never dulled by repetition. Rydia’s loss, Tellah’s death, Edward’s growth and ultimate ascent to the throne – epic moments I witnessed with renewed fervor while realizing the dramatic elements of theater and poetry missing from the game’s descendants. The Steam PC version of Final Fantasy 4 was a glorious return to a world I’ve missed.
That said, there are elements of the game that stood out particularly among those executed with such skill. The port to PC very clearly gained little refinement from its origins (as far as the 3D incarnation goes) on handheld platforms. To say the sound and graphic qualities of Final Fantasy 4 are subpar is an understatement, the former manifesting as scratchy, synthesized audio particularly noticeable in battle and narration, the latter impossible to ignore during close-ups of characters with textures of exceedingly low resolution blown up to PC standards. The result is a pixelated mess of shades and sharp edges that jar the eyes and even gave me the occasional headache during gameplay, especially combined with the naturally low FPS.
Despite the obvious edges of a handheld-to-PC port, I still enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy 4. Here’s to hoping that this is just the start of a huge library of classic RPGs coming to the PC.