In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy, I am playing all of the main titles in order.
Final Fantasy I. It’s been a while. I picked up the PSX re-release as a PSOne Classic on PSN and ran through it on easy, fully prepared with FAQs and maps.
By all that is holy, did we really figure all of this out as kids? I mean, we must have had a Nintendo Power or something, right?
How do you play this beast?
Ask the locals. Clues as to what precisely you are supposed to be doing next are hard to come by. You need to talk to every last citizen of these poor monster-sieged towns to glean rumors and half-memories about abandoned caves, desert caravans, and civilizations long dead.
Look around you. On foot? Walk the perimeter. Got a new boat? Sail the perimeter. And so on. This is a game about exploration — forget this new-styled business where you can just hop from point to point along the plot and only need to wander if you want the cool stuff. Oh no. You will see ALL the things.
Fight fight fight. Just like 4e D&D, if you don’t like encounters you better play something else. This game is all about surviving long enough to find what you’re looking for.
Compared to the platformer-heavy early NES library, FFI plays like Grand Theft Auto III. I can go where I want? Just run around exploring and fighting? Radical! This was early open-world gaming, and banked on the concept that we would love the freedom too much to care about the difficulty. They were right, if I remember correctly.