Final Fantasy Anthology: European Edition - PlayStation

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Final Fantasy Anthology: European Edition (PlayStation)
Viewed: 2D Top-down, Multi-way scrolling Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Square Soft. Co.: Square
Publishers: Sony (GB)
Released: 17 May 2002 (GB)
Ratings: 11+
Accessories: Memory Card


Square’s interest in Europe became apparent when the company released Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation in 1997. But then Square began re-launching its older SNES games to the US and Japanese markets. Europe was completely overlooked, and hardcore RPG veterans had to resort to expensive import consoles to play their favourite retro games.

But in anticipation of Final Fantasy 10 in Europe, Square seems to have gone berserk, releasing a whole series of old Final Fantasy titles. Final Fantasy VI was released for PlayStation in March 2002, and just a matter of weeks later, the Japanese giant is releasing an anthology containing Final Fantasies IV and V. How about that?

Ardent fans of the Final Fantasy phenomenon will no doubt be pleased to see Final Fantasy IV hit British shores. Globally, this fourth instalment is regarded as the most challenging in the series. It was also the first game to include Square’s infamous ATB (Active Time Battle) system. Similarly, Final Fantasy V, also released in Japan and the US only, was hugely popular and sold millions instantly, despite the lack of a European presence.

Staying true to the series, both games consist of an epic tale of love, life and death that are interspersed with magic, wizardry and of course, fantasy. Like it or not, Final Fantasy thrives on its ‘random battle’ methods of gameplay, and the fourth and fifth instalments are no exception. However, the carefully crafted balance between player and enemy statistics makes it a necessary attribute to the two classics.

Final Fantasies IV and V, like Final Fantasy VI, have been filled with some lovely FMV introductions and cut scenes, thanks to the CG experts at Square HQ. And as unnecessary as this bonus feature may seem to begin with, it does tell the two stories much better than the SNES releases ever could. The old school Mode 7 graphics and 2D renders are still a pleasure to navigate.

It’s nice to see Square spending so much time focusing on European conversions. You never know, we might even see Final Fantasies I, II and III on Game Boy Advance. Now that would be sweet!