I believe that the older Final Fantasy games are the best of the franchise, and probably always will be. I’d love to be proven wrong with future titles, but it's hard to have faith with the direction everything is going in. The moment you first cross the bridge after the Garland fight in the original triumphs the concept of “scoring” an item in Final Fantasy X-2. Everyone has their own thoughts on this, and it's possible my own view is somewhat dated. To this day though, Final Fantasy VI is my favorite game of all time. If you’re a FF fan who’s never played it, fix that.
Final Fantasy VI is a perfect transition into Final Fantasy III. Why? Because the American branding can get awfully confusing. What we called Final Fantasy III in the US, is actually Final Fantasy VI by the Japanese stand point. So I’ll be referring to the Japanese standard since there is no overlapping, each game is actually separate. On to the review!
I played the version of Final Fantasy III that recently came out via Steam. While this version is a PC port of the DS version, as a PC gamer it’s nice to have the game on a preferred console. With that said, the game is optimized for a game controller so I strongly suggesting using one. The DS port allows for all directions of moving unlike the original version of the game. For $16, you can’t go wrong. An Xbox 360 controller, for example, has more than enough buttons to fulfill the simple button inputs for FFIII.
When I think of early Final Fantasy games, I think of four heroes, airships, warriors of light, and elemental crystals. Final Fantasy III delivers all of these things. You start out as an orphan boy named Luneth, you go on a mini adventure, talk to some crystals, get charged with saving the world, find some other orphans, became a warrior of light, and return balance to the world. This plot is as cookie-cutter as you can get for a Final Fantasy game. That’s okay though, since, well, this is one of those games that actually shaped the cookie cutter back in 1990.
If you enjoyed Bravely Default, and are looking for a similar game, you'll find a lot to like here. Apart from the four distinct characters, there's also a job system with many of the same types of classes. While the FFIII system isn’t nearly as detailed as the Bravely Default, it was one of the first job systems ever, so it’s like playing history! Jobs don’t have requirements like in Final Fantasy Tactics and they are unlocked through points in the story. Characters don’t benefit from multi-classing and only focus on one class at a time. You should not that a job level is different from a character level. So while this system is very simple, it basically paved the path for future job systems.
In case you’re wondering, yeah, FFIII is a difficult game. You’re not going to fly through the dungeons without a bit of grinding or finding the jobs that work best for that scenario. This can be frustrating and quite time consuming. Each job level is greatly beneficial and you’ll notice the difference after a few ground out levels. You'll want to start using new jobs as you accquire them, but keep in mind that you'll be weak for a while. In no way am I complaining about the difficulty, I’m trying to warn you that this is what you’re getting yourself into. There will be blood.
So if you’re feeling nostalgia, love old school RPGs, want to see where a lot RPG systems came from, or just like Final Fantasy games – definitely pick up the Steam version of Final Fantasy III. If you’re looking for a quick game, a detailed job system, or something simple, I wouldn’t suggest FFIII to you. This game paved the way for not only future Final Fantasy games, but basically any job-system RPG out there. If history is your thing, give this title a little love.