Welcome to the big leagues, folks. Final Fantasy IV saw the advent of so many new features and technology all at once, it blasted off to become one of the most memorable and compelling roleplaying games of all time. The Super Nintendo provided twice the power of its predecessor, allowing for the development team to go wild. The growing reputation of both Nintendo and Square created a powerful alliance that sold the console for Final Fantasy fans, and sold the game for Nintendo fans. Thanks to this, FFIV earned an unprecedented level of popularity. For the first time, a Final Fantasy title hit Western shores in the same year (under the guise of Final Fantasy II).
This time around, Square exponentially improved the narrative content, creating an intricate and inspired plot that truly takes players on a journey. Characters not only have pre-assigned names the likes of Final Fantasy II, but each member is also locked into a predefined job class. Some dislike the lack of freedom, but this factor gave each of the characters an immense amount of individuality and their traits in battle corresponded with their personalities—truly drawing the player in. The arrival of the now-legendary Active Time Battle system (ATB) forced gamers to think on their feet and presented a new level of challenge and excitement that other RPGs of the time had been lacking.
Nobuo Uematsu’s sublime musical score drives home the strong emotional material in the game. Love, Sacrifice, Death, Despair, Betrayal, and Redemption—Final Fantasy IV has it all. This installment raised the bar in all the departments for the series, striking fear in the hearts of competing developers. Squaresoft had established themselves as true big-leaguers to be reckoned with. In any of its many iterations or remakes, Final Fantasy IV stands the test of time impeccably, regarded by many as the best in the series and one of the top games of all time.
Content contributed by Red XIII.