I’ve got to say, Final Fantasy didn’t start off with a bang. At least not in the same way that the Dragon Quest franchise did.
While this is a pretty damn good 8-bit RPG, it seems like it’s really lacking when compared to the first Dragon Quest a.k.a. Dragon Warrior.
Now this does benefit from having a party and not just playing as a sole character. However, managing the party is kind of tedious and cumbersome. It’s not clear which character types are more beneficial and which combos work best. But there are a good amount of options. The only problem, is once you choose your party, you’re locked in.
Additionally, the game design isn’t that great. Everything looks like a basic and watered down version of the original Nintendo Dragon Warrior games. It lacks color, vibrancy and is kind of dull after playing through four Dragon Warrior games in a row.
Also, you have to grind like a MFer. It’s not really clear what levels you need to be at, as you advance, but sometimes you beat a section really easy and then the next portion of the game can have an extreme jump in difficulty.
In the end, it comes down to fun factor and time invested. This wasn’t as fun for me as the Dragon Warrior games, which I also preferred as a kid. Also, this took a lot of time to complete and most of that was spent grinding, which really put a halt on the momentum of the story and my enthusiasm in trying to complete it.
However, this is the first game of many and like Dragon Quest, each chapter would improve things and become better balanced.
Pairs well with: other early Final Fantasy games and the superior Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest games of the era.