"Final Fantasy Origins is an absolutely great way to take care of all that free time that you’ve been hoarding lately..."





Platform: Playstation

Genre: Role-Playing 

Developer: Squaresoft Enix

Publisher: Squaresoft Enix

ESRB: T (Teen)

Released: Q1 2003



- The original Final Fantasy reworked? Friggin’ awesome

- The addition of the “dash” system makes this game worth buying it again



- You are going to spend a lot of time building levels   

- The saving system is freaking annoying, you can only save in the overworld

Related Links:

Review: Final Fantasy X (PS2)

Action Figure: Tidus (FFX)

Action Figure: Kimahri (FFX)


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Final Fantasy Origins

Score: 9.0 / 10


final fantasy origins playstation review          final fantasy origins playstation review


With the emergence of Final Fantasy Origins, now all Final Fantasy (FF) games are out except FFIII (the original Japanese version, not the North American version, which was really FFVI…. confused yet?). The Origins collection gives you a beautifully remastered FFI and FFII, but it’s not as though we’d know any better without ever having seen it before (except for those that pulled off a mod on their Nintendo or bought a converter and had a copy shipped from Japan… all of which sounded too freaking involved for me, despite my rabid otaku status on the Final Fantasy series). Both games now include some snazzy new CG scenes, especially the new openings for both games that look freakin’ cool.


Starting off with Final Fantasy I. For the uniformed, this game revolves around the Light Warriors, a quartet of holy warriors that are tasked with solving the problems with the world as well as returning the elemental glow to the four crystals that they carry. Once that has been, done they must defeat the vengeance of evil that is Chaos… who is probably one of the most difficult final bosses in a RPG. Unlike all other FF games, you don’t get characters dumped into your lap, all of the adventurers are with you from start to finish and you can choose your party.


Six classes of adventurer are available: the Warrior (if you don’t know what he is, you may want to put something easier like Barbie’s Adventure), the Thief (think slightly weaker fighter but with some flexibility… can use some weapons, isn’t as strong as the warrior but is more accurate), the Monk (like a Shaolin monk, can kick ass but is a pain to find weapons for), the White Mage (healing wizard), the Black Mage (attacking wizard, can’t fight well, can’t take damage, but with his spells can kick all sorts of ass), and the Red Mage (can use some of the weaker white and black magics and can fight a bit). Unlike later FF games, all spells are bought from in-town stores so you don’t learn spells through experience, however, they have blunted the possibility of picking up an awesome spells ahead of time by putting limits on spell casting (instead of mana points, you have a number of times that you can cast a specific level spell – so buying a level 8 spell early isn’t going to do much because you probably aren’t going to be able to cast it for a while). Remember that you start out the game without any weapons or armor so don’t start walking around outside until you visit the armory and weapon master and buy some gear. The real trick of the party management is to find some balance so that you can level up quickly and not have to worry too much about running into an enemy that no-one can defeat. (Although, I do know some sick bastards who have finished the game with intentionally bad parties, like four black mages or four warriors.)


FFI starts off with this sort of physical approach where brute force gets you through every battle, the game can suddenly shift to a cerebral one where you end up in battles against wizards or magic enemies and a direct attack will get you killed quickly. This game is a long one – it will take most first time FFers around 60-90 hours to complete the game and less for those who have played before (and even less for those like me who were able to find their original Nintendo Power Final Fantasy Strategy Guide and figure out which weapons and enemies were which with the name changes and corrections). Most of the time spent will be in trying to level up outside of a dungeon before you enter it – or because you’ve died a bunch of times in the dungeon and you think that you’re going to need to be stronger in order to survive. Best rule of thumb, get at least 3 levels of experience between bosses – more is definitely better in this case.


Final Fantasy I has experienced a drastic rebuild over the old Nintendo cartridge that pretty much every NES gamer had a copy of. The game story, characters, weapons, dungeons, spells, and skills are all the same but with much better translations than the original version (Gil instead of GP, and now all of the spells are named the newer way) and of course all of the animation looks much better in high resolution rather than 8 bit graphics (but all of the characters and villains look similar to their old namesakes; it would have been horrible if they were completely reworked). Unfortunately, they also managed to keep the mangled save system… you cannot save the game unless you stay at an inn or use a tent, sleeping bag, cabin, or house in the overworld. You can however use a memo note whenever you aren’t in a battle, but you can’t hard save unless you go out of your way to do so.


The most intriguing additions are the support add-ins to the game such as the dash function, which allows you to sprint through dungeons and towns instead of that slow saunter that the old version used (Thank you Squaresoft!) as well as Auto Target (if a target is dead, the target will switch automatically) and Battle Support (you can now use Life1, Life2, Stona, and Gold Needles in battle – so you don’t have to survive a battle with only some of your party if people die in a long battle). For those gaming purists, these features can be turned on or off, as you like.


Now to Final Fantasy II; FFII uses rotating characters, much like most of us have been accustomed to in the Final Fantasy series. The story is as follows: The emperor of Palamecia starts summoning fiends from another dimension, and is now trying for world domination. As with all despots, rebels collect in the kingdom of Fynn but with the attack and domination by Palamecia the rebels are defeated and scatter away from their home including our 4 main characters.  


final fantasy origins playstation review          final fantasy origins playstation review


Unlike the later games, Final Fantasy II showcases the most involved learning and experience system of the series – all weapons, shields, and spells have some associated skill level in using them. As you use a weapon for a while, you become more proficient with it and therefore more dangerous with it, so it may not be in your best interest to switch to newer weapons right away because it will take a while to learn the new equipment and you don’t want to use something that you’ve never fought with before against a boss or else your character won’t be as effective as they could have been. This becomes more complex when you factor in character development, which is summarized below:


Action : Attribute Developed : Result

Attack : Strength : Higher Attack Accuracy

Lose HP in Battle : Endurance : Higher Max HP

Use White Magic : Spirit : Greater Success and Potency for White Magic

Use Black Magic : Intelligence : Greater Success and Potency for Black Magic

Lose MP in Battle : Magic : Higher Max MP

Attack With Weapons : Accuracy : Higher Attack Count and Accuracy

Targeted by Physical Attacks : Evasion, Agility : Higher Evasion Rate

Targeted by Spells or Special Attacks : Magic Defense : Higher Evasion of Special Attacks


Now the caveat, some developments cripple other categories: Intelligence decreases when Strength increases, Endurance decreases when Intelligence increases, Strength decreases when Spirit increases. As you can imagine, you don’t so much increase “levels” like you did in other games, you just develop character statistics over time that match how that character acts. The other addition to this game that is different than other FF games is the Word Memory System where you keep useful phrases that you collect during the game (such as code phrases or descriptive words) and can then ask other people about. It certainly makes you life more annoying if you forgot to save a phrase and then you need to go get it.


With the graphics not being as sharp as the rebuilt Final Fantasy I, most will develop more nostalgia with this game because they look decidedly more 8-bit than the higher resolution Playstation. However, just because of the new experience, most will find this an acceptable trade-off.


All in all Final Fantasy Origins is an absolutely great way to take care of all that free time that you’ve been hoarding lately and that rested appearance as well. Highly recommended for those RPGers or nostalgia gamers out there.


- Tazman

(September 7, 2003)


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