Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 14.12.2021 4

Review for Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster on PC

Pushing aside much fan disgruntlement, Square Enix has been steadily releasing its Pixel remaster Final Fantasy series. These remasters offer updated sprite work and music, while retaining the styles and exacting designs of the original titles. With the Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster, it is well on its way to totally releasing the old games on PC. Many are holding out for ports on consoles, but Cubed3 is ready to dive into the PC deep end and check out this remaster in all its pixelated glory.

Final Fantasy IV has one of the strongest stories of the older generation Final Fantasy games. It follows the Dark Knight Cecil and his entourage as they face a series of emotional encounters. Beware of spoilers for the prologue. There is a lot of intrigue at the beginning of IV as it opens with an airship returning from battle with obviously shaken soldiers aboard wondering why they'd been ordered to kill innocent unarmed people and steal the crystals. This boils to a head when Cecil confronts the king who then demotes Cecil and sends him and his friend Kain on a journey to deliver a package to another town.

Obviously, this stirs up lots of internal conflict in Cecil and he has a moment with another character Rosa. Naturally, the king's plan is more sinister, and the package destroys the town killing all but a little girl. This setup positions him against the king and his own kingdom. There is a lot to love about this story. Obviously, the pixel remaster has none of the voice acting found in the 3D remake from the past, but it does have fantastic music to back up all the emotional moments.

Now, it's only natural with this type of game to address the visuals. What is on show here is a very polished pixel aesthetic. It not only retains the feel of the original sprites, but does a great job of making the title closely resemble how players will remember the original looking. Every tile has had a touch-up and now benefits from added detail and more background animation. Water and fire especially look amazing with lots of animation and effects layers to accent the environments. One thing that lets down the visual design is the choice of font. It's a little too horizontally squashed looking and it lacks an accessible appeal. It can on occasion be hard to read. Finally, there is one technical flaw which means that even though the game should be running at a consistent frame rate the screen tears horrendously on vertical movement - it was actually nauseating at times. This isn't a small tear near the top or bottom, it exhibits screen tearing across the whole play view.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster on PC

This is best played with a controller but the keyboard layout is good. The grid-based movement pattern locks characters to vertical and horizontal movement only - this is a non-issue as the old games were like that, and the levels are designed around it. The gameplay itself is still the good old cornerstone that is active-time battling. This is a system players should recognise from every mainline Final Fantasy title from the original IV through to IX. Basically, during battle time runs normally, and every character and enemy has a wait time between actions. During action selection time still runs so payers have to think on their feet, even though it's not a reaction-based system. Battles are still random so there are no enemies on the map to avoid; the game just goes "PWSHHHHHHH" and the battle begins on any square that isn't a town. Exploring towns and purchasing equipment has the same trappings as it did in the past. Sometimes this is the best kind of game to play!

As ever with Square re-releases there is a new feature in the form of auto-battling. This is a well thought out system that will battle for the players allowing for a very smooth and less cranial gameplay experience. The biggest question lies in, why is this feature there. It adds very little and most of the fan base will be wanting the full experience. Perhaps for mindless grinding of levels, however, this would be best paired with a fast forward function like in the Bravely series. It's decent but without any other options feels a little bit like a non-sequitur.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster is a stunning update that sings with the bells and whistles of a more modern pixel rendering style. Hindered only by bad font and a small technical issue this is an experience Final Fantasy fans need to have. The story of Cecil is easy to get sucked into, it is backed by some insanely sublime music and the gameplay is a joy, even if it is dated. Only a fool would pass this up!

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

Why only a 7 then?
Regardless, as a HUGE ff4 fan, I find the graphics disappointing.  Unless they are going to truly redraw them (which would be awesome) to cal this a 'pixel remaster' feels disingenous.

A Cubed3 7 is like a 9 everywhere else. We're one of the only publications to use the full scale correctly. 

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What he said

Many of our readers have an issue with 7s whereas this is a score that's basically one step under classics and most don't realise that.

( Edited 16.12.2021 17:06 by Ofisil )

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Exactly, I actually hold the DS remake slightly higher than this Smilie

( Edited 16.12.2021 20:05 by Sandy Wilson )

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