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Final Fantasy III (DS) (Nintendo DS) Preview

The Final Fantasy series has trundled over to all territories now after its turbulent existence on the NES and SNES, with no Final Fantasy games coming to Europe at all. Now, though, the only remaining true FF RPG to not have been translated for the West is coming exclusively to the Nintendo DS in a remade format that will take your breath away!

The way the story goes is that Nintendo desperately wanted Square Enix to resurrect Final Fantasy III for the GBA originally, but the company stone-walled Nintendo saying that it wanted to put out Final Fantasy I & II on the handheld first and would only then consider remaking the never-before-Westernised NES game. Of course what has happened now is that the two companies have become so close that we have already seen Final Fantasy IV revived on the GBA (due in June across Europe) and will be getting updated ports of FFV and VI as well for the 32-bit portable. As for Final Fantasy III, it has now become more of a priority for Square Enix, not only moving to the Nintendo DS, but becoming more important for the time being than its other DS Final Fantasy, the Wi-Fi enabled Crystal Chronicles.

In fact, so important is Final Fantasy III that it demanded a full-blown remake, rather than minor update, which is why the DS platform was selected. Gone are the flat, personality-lacking sprites of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System original and in their place are solid three-dimensional characters that easily match, if not even surpass in places, those of the legendary Final Fantasy VII from the PSone! Who would have believed it? After the first generation of DS titles, not many that is for sure...But along with Tales of the Tempest from Namco's Tales Studio and Nintendo's own Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the DS is really showing why it was originally touted as being more powerful than the Nintendo 64.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy III (DS) on Nintendo DS

So, let us start at the beginning, shall we? The storyline has always been an integral part of the Final Fantasy experience, driving the games into the hearts of gamers around the world and whilst the tale for Final Fantasy III may seem slightly basic in comparison to the vast, winding yarns that are weaved nowadays, there is still definitely enough to keep you gripped throughout this epic journey. Plus, each of the characters' backgrounds and personalities have been developed to deepen the sense of immersion even further. But the main point to focus on is that the original tale has not been tinkered with, and the general 'feel' of FFIII on the NES has not been messed around with. So FF purists can straight away breathe a sigh of relief...If anything, it has been ADDED to in order to help build upon the greatness already present. Therefore, via new episodes and events will be used as platforms to develop the characters and their background stories. So we will definitely get to know the three main men and leading lady that form your main party of four!

Screenshot for Final Fantasy III (DS) on Nintendo DS

But what can we expect from the only Final Fantasy game in the main series to have not been localised for the Western world? Square Enix clearly wanted to do something special with it, so what have we been treated to? Well, for this third instalment, praised by the Japanese as being one of THE finest in the entire series, the Nintendo DS is being pushed much harder than anyone else, bar NST/Retro/Nintendo for Metroid Prime Hunters, has managed to do so far. Originally when FFIII was announced, Square Enix went on record to say that the graphical style would be similar to the revamped GBA ports, which made so many of us nearly break down and cry. Thankfully, though, it turned out that SEx was merely filling our behinds with smoke. Looking at the final result from the direct feed shots that recently emanated from Japan, the game is looking as hot, if not hotter, than the PSone's classic Final Fantasy VII. Cast your minds back to when the concept renders of FFVII were released for the proposed N64 version (before Sony 'stole' the game)...they looked quite amazing, right? Well, that is the level of quality we are getting here on the DS.

Square Enix treated gamers to wonderful FMV footage in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on the humble Game Boy Advance and now it is set to push the envelope even further as it turns up the heat on the Nintendo DS. This version of FFIII has been confirmed as being fully three dimensional, complete with a moveable camera that activates during events (inside buildings, with a static zoom in / zoom out for in towns), and it will take full advantage of both screens of the DS. The bottom screen will be the one where all the main action takes place, mainly because Square Enix wanted to ensure touch-screen capabilities were incorporated to the fullest extent possible. Gamers will be able to select items, navigate the various menu systems, select various battle commands and so on, all with just the simple touch of the stylus. It has also been stated that whilst in the midst of dungeons, we will not have the benefit of having a map on display, in order to make exploration much more interesting.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy III (DS) on Nintendo DS

The Producer of Final Fantasy III, Hiromichi Tanaka, recently told Japanese publication Famitsu that the work going into this new project is so different to the GBA FF ports due to the effort being poured into it to make the experience the best possible for us all. He stated that the original NES game was a technical wonder back when released and only now with the power of the DS can justice be done with an update. If players want to play through using just the touch screen they can, and now the even the job system has been reworked for our benefit. There will be twenty-three job classes for the characters to gain, with more balancing in place. For example, in his interview he specifically fingered the role of Viking as being an unpopular choice back in the original. So this time round more thought has gone into how it works. For instance, there will be capacity points that are required to change to certain jobs.

And of final note is that gamers can now save anywhere they want because of its portable nature, and there are plans to incorporate wireless features, even using Nintendo's online Wi-Fi Connection service, although details of the plans are currently unknown.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy III (DS) on Nintendo DS

Worth waiting for?

Whilst it seems like we know so much and have seen so many aspects of the game so far, we really are still very much in the dark until the curtain is drawn back on this at E3. But since the original is a very fine game and this is to vastly improve upon it, Final Fantasy III surely is a must have DS title already!

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08.05.2006

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Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (106 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

Brilliant preview. I need this game!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thanks Calum, I really tried to piece together every shred of information I've found to bring the ultimate preview of the game :Smilie

This is by far my most anticipated DS game right now...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

This is amazing, thanks Adam. No doubt you will get this on its Japanese release date, Smilie.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

What I'm going to do is wait until Square Enix announces the worldwide release dates. Thing is that English screens have already been released, so my spidey sense gives me the impression that we won't have to wait too long...we shall see. Children of Mana, Mother 3 and Magical Vacation are proving tough going considering I don't speak a word of Japanese! :sarcy:

:Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I agree with you jesusraz. This is also my most anticipated DS title.

Working like a fiend isn't very fun... and surprisingly isn't very fiendish either.
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Good to hear, Hawk! Square Enix seems to be advertising this, at least in the US, as the only FF NOT to have been Westernised. That's definitely a good tact to take I reckon, making gamers really feel like they shouldn't miss out on this experience.

The Japanese certainly don't need convincing, as this is already the second most wanted game in the country! And I reckon it'll take No.1 after E3...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

ME WANT!
Yeah they need to clear up a bit of the confusion between FF6 and this game, it would be a shame if it was ignored because of that.
I just hope it's here in time for Xmas.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Lovely preview mate. A BIG MUST HAVE!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thanks JB :Smilie

Blade, you're definitely right. The fact that forum dwellers, even some of the staff here, have been confused by the numbering is not a good thing at all...and it's all Nintendo's fault, unfortunately. Hopefully, though, the fact that FFI - VI (minus III) have been or are being re-released on the GBA will help matters...that's a big 'hopefully', though.

Let's hope Nintendo let SEx handle the promotional work!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

OH MY GOD!!! I have been scouring the net for every single detail and picture i could find for this game! I am so freakin excied!! Is it coming out this year or next year?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's set for a July release in Japan and, as mentioned above, is already well underway in the translation process. Square Enix has stated '2006' in its US Press Release, so if it doesn't make November at the very latest it would be a huge disappointment. You'd hope they'd get it out before FFV and FFVI on the GBA.

By the way, tiamat, do you think I missed anything? Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

"hankfully, though, it turned out that SEx was merely filling our behinds with smoke. "

LOL. Take that the wrong way if you will. (SEx = sex)

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

People tend to call them Squenix, but I much prefer sex...I mean, SEx...*ahem* Smilie

Square Enix is far and away my favourite gaming company as well, with Nintendo just behind.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The Japanese certainly don't need convincing, as this is already the second most wanted game in the country! And I reckon it'll take No.1 after E3...

Doens't say too much though; Mother 3 was the most wanted game last time wasn't it? After just one week it fell 5 places.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Low stock supply, though. It sold ~205,000 in its first week, with only ~300,000 units shipped and looks to have sold ~50,000 in its second week, which isn't a bad fall at all. Should have decent legs to reach 500,000 at least.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

What I'm saying is, these most wanted lists are no guarantee for phenomenal sales/strong legs, like we've seen with Animal Crossing. I believe AC was only at number 15 or so on the most wanted list from Famitsu?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ah, I don't remember that...but with AC I think it's more of a case that non-gamers have mainly been buying it in Japan, and the legs have come from great word of mouth.

I don't know, but it's generally a decent indicator. I know what you mean, as it's not exactly a flawless system, especially considering the No.1 game normally has between 1,000-2,000 votes normally (with 205,000 sales for Mother 3, clearly there's a huge difference!). Anyway, Final Fantasy is huge in Japan...just look at how fast FFXII hit the 2 million mark! And that's with the PS2 on its last legs over there...(even the latest Winning Eleven has so far underperformed, and will struggle to reach a million units it would look like).

FFIII could well be the second Third Party game to reach a million on the DS (after Tamagotchi).

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Just going by the visuals alone looks enough to get this game! Nice work.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Much appreciated Robbo (unless you meant Square Enix has done good work! Smilie)...

Looks very tasty indeed. I'm so glad they didn't stick with the suped-up 2D graphics for this one. After the gorgeous Crystal Chronicles on the GC, I'm so glad the team's squeezing the DS like this.

And if it sells well, then that's going to be a huge temptation to re-release FFVII on the DS rather than completely re-work it for the PS3!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

It is a great game, however, there are only three save slots and if you get a previously owned version of it, you're stuck.

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