My first introduction to Final Fantasy 3 was at age 9. A friend was trying to show me how to get through a random battle. I kept on hitting “B” by accident and instead of initiating an attack ended up closing the menu. Suffice to say – Final Fantasy 3 did not hold my attention long. While I did get through Final Fantasy 3 during my teens on the Playstation, load-times made it unenjoyable.
Enter the original SNES version of Final Fantasy 3. I just recently finished the game and boy was I blown away. To start things off, the story is set approximately 1000 years after a giant magic war, where magic has all but ceased to exist. Overall, I found this story quite dark compared to other games in the series – death, loss, and redemption were repeated motives throughout many character arcs. Having said that, the game also had me laughing out loud at times 😛
You start off controlling Terra, a young woman with rare magic powers, who is under the control of an evil empire (duh-duh-duuuh). The story eventually leads Terra meeting a large cast of likeable (and downright evil) characters like Kafka and Locke (see above). The game develops these characters over the course of the game too, giving them a level of depth not often found in SNES RPGs.
Each playable character has special abilities that makes them unique and powerful in combat (some more than others), making it difficult to choose who to take on a particular quest. Luckily, there are certain parts of the game where you also get to control 3 full parties (12 characters total – see below for the full roster) so you don’t always need to choose.
Approximately 2/3 of the way through the story, the game becomes much more open-ended which brings about a sense of curiosity and exploration that I only tend to experience during Fallout and Elder Scroll games, making it very much ahead of its time.
Gameplay-wise, this is very much a Final Fantasy game – random encounters, lots of items and armour to equip, and turn-based battles. I felt that random encounters occurred more often than necessary at times, but never felt frustrating. I particularly liked the magic system and learning process for spells which really encouraged using all members of my team. There are MANY types of equipment to find which was really fun to discover and equip to my team. Overall I did find that the game was quite easy compared to others in the series – I rarely if ever felt threatened by bosses and could usually get through most battles just mashing the A button.
Graphically, this is a very beautiful game with many different locals (snow villages, to sand-castles, to mountains, to…death trains?!) As the game progresses, the spells and attacks just become more and more vibrant. The sound and music of the game is fantastic, as it was composed to series regular Nobuo Uematsu.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy 3 even though it was on the easy-side. It had a compelling story, memorable characters, and open-world gameplay in the later part of the game that made it a joy to play. The excellent music was icing on the cake. Taking all that into consideration, I give this game a 9/10.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10