After the unexpected explosion of Final Fantasy in Japan and the rest of the gaming world, Square came back from the brink to produce a sequel—Final Fantasy II. The development team wanted to go even farther with this game, and really show the world what narrative in an RPG could be. The gameplay system in FFII got a complete overhaul from the first installment. The job class system, leveling up, and drone-like heroes were all wiped away to be replaced with more intricate and unique concepts.
Though often considered to be a bit of a black sheep of the series by some fans, Final Fantasy II broke far more ground in the gaming world than its predecessor. More focus was placed on the narrative, with a much more complex story arc being driven by dialogue and the password system. Players had to pay more attention to what was going on in their world to advance the plot, rather than just hacking through anything that stood in the way.
When the Paramekian Empire attacks the small village of Phin, four young friends hope to escape with their lives. With evil hot on their heels, they are overtaken, and only three youths are saved by a rebel faction. Firion, Maria, and Guy must now search for their lost friend, Leon, by enlisting the help of others that they meet in their journey. While Final Fantasy II sports its share of glitches and flaws, it paved the way for the future of the series’ narrative. Square proved to us all that the graphics, music, and characters could all work together to create a truly compelling experience.
Sakaguchi’s sophomore effort is truly a testament to the tenacity of the early Squaresoft team. These guys had heart, a dream, and something to prove. With the wild success of the two games, the Final Fantasy series was truly born and the world took notice.
Content contributed by Red XIII.