Released this week are 3 more chapters for Final Fantasy IV:The After Years on WiiWare. Costing 300 Wii points each, these mini adventures delve into other famous characters from FFIV and what they have been doing for the last 18-20 years. You can expect each scenario to last 2-3 hours. We have the length, but what can the Final Fantasy veteran expect from the future adventures of our heroes from part IV?
Yang's tale involves the master monk of Fabul and his daughter, Ursula. Ursula has always been just as willful as Yang, and has wished to train as a monk since she was 10. Yang strongly disapproves and does what he can to keep him from getting into danger. The sudden arrival of a meteor crash on the west side of Mt. Hobs leads to Ursula's disappearance. Yang takes off with his disciplines to find her.
Palom's tale finds the sage in training heading to Troia to train the newest Ephot, a guardian of the Earth Crystal, in the ways of black magic. A simple tale, but it was fun to see the kookiness of Palom back once again.
Edge's tale finds the now king of the ninja nation of Elban training his latest disciplines. I can't remember their very Japanese names, but they are all dispatched throughout the world to investigate the reemergence of the Tower of Babil. Then you follow Edge's personal investigation straight into the Tower.
Besides a new sprite for Ursula and some updated ones for Yang, his tale doesn't feature anything graphically amazing. Probably the best additions are Edge's ninja apprentices. All of their sprites are distinctive and helped them be memorable. I hope they return in future chapters. This came as no surprise to me, as it is merely part of the whole saga of the After Years. We all wish for new enemy sprites, but it was beyond the scope of this game. I'll just say one again: the graphics are... fine.
Music and sound effects have some new remixes. The new remix of Fabul is a bit jarring to my ears; I still prefer the original. Most of the other pieces are too similar to the originals. The theme of the Mysterious Girl is pretty kick ass: let's hope we see more pieces like this in later chapters.
There are no additions to gameplay in Yang's chapters. I guess you could count one of Ursula's abilities as new, but monks in Final Fantasy have had that for awhile, and it is just as helpful here. I've previously mentioned the Band system, so be sure to look for several of them in these new chapters, especially with Edge and his ninja cohorts.
Palom's mentorship of Leonara leads to some interesting ways of learning black magic. It is particularly story driven and not that complicated, but I was really drawn in by the spiritual nature of their quest. Gave their story some oomph!
Edge's quest is the most complex and fun of the new chapters and my favorite of all so far. Each of his apprentices has new abilities such as Heal Pill, cure magic. Ninjas so totally need such a thing! Edge has Smash and Grab, which works just like Capture in Final Fantasy VI. Good to see more of a reason to steal.
Zangetsu seems to have been taking lessons from Kain as well due to the ability "Human Kite" which works just like Jump. I don't remember if the other ninjas have unique abilities but they all have Ninja magic. Smoke is just as helpful as ever and the addition of a status-curing spell is great against those sucky enemies who retaliate with status effects.
These 3 chapters were not nearly as hard as the initial releases. This might be because there are fewer characters in your party at most times, but I didn't find myself having much trouble. Even the challenge dungeons only require some level grinding to deal with. There were not really any tricky enemies that you had to attack in certain ways to avoid deadly counterattacks. It's fine by me that the difficulty has evened out a bit, because some of the other parts were brutal and unforgiving.
Replay value continues in the same vein as the initial chapters. All the characters have the challenge dungeons, some of which has unique gameplay restrictions to them. Edge's tale also has some replay due to mistakes that the player can unintentionally make. If they find them having difficulty later on, it is wise to begin anew. I made sure to save all my progress at the end for importing into future scenarios; I'm really excited for August, especially due to the ending of Edge's scenario!
In summation, these new chapters continue to be enjoyable to any old-school RPG fan. I am getting really excited for the conclusion, as the story is getting full of neat moments and cool surprises. Every Final Fantasy fan should buy these additions because it will hopefully encourage Square to make similar content for more of their classic games. Hello Chrono Trigger!
Score - 9.6/10.0