We could be 4 heroes

I was worried for a little while that I was going to be the only reviewer who actually enjoyed Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, but after posting the review today I happened to flip through the latest Nintendo Power and discovered that it scored high marks there, too. I figure if Casey Loe digs an RPG, I’m in pretty good company.

I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to stand up and praise a game that others dislike, though. Some titles earn their vituperation by being lousy, but sometimes they’re just a little too unconventional for most people. I’ve slagged more than my share of games that didn’t really deserve because I didn’t give them the fair chance they deserved, so I make a sincere effort not to do that anymore. It’s just a matter of being responsible, you know?

Not that I had to try hard to appreciate 4 Heroes. It clicked with me from the start. And I swear it wasn’t just because the game’s Black Mages wear top hats! I dunno, there’s something ineffable about the way the game feels that really appealed to me, and it didn’t take long for all the game’s odd little mechanics fall into place for me. Maybe you’ll hate it, I dunno. But I hope you’ll give it a shot. It’s one of the more unusual but thoughtfully designed RPGs to come along in quite a while — not as universally appealing as a Dragon Quest IX or as bold as a Mass Effect 2, but like, whatever, man. It’s good, in its weird way. The end.

15 thoughts on “We could be 4 heroes

  1. I just started Etrian Odyssey III argh! I’ll have to be swapping out cartridges now! Can I marathon through 4 heroes and put of EOIII for later? What to do?

  2. I intend on buying 4 Heroes of Light, the overall aesthetic, the music, and the thrust of the design–to make a modern, oldschool gameplay-centric rpg–are all too appealing.

    I just won’t play 4 Heroes of Light until Etrian Odyssey 3 is completed.

  3. I’ve been yearning for an old-school FF RPG for so long, you would not believe, and hearing that 4 Heroes is quite a bit better (and quirkier?) than reviews have been letting on is a huge relief. Between this and 7th Dragon (import, of course), it’s looking like October is the month of the RPG for me. :)

  4. The problem, at least for me, with a game like this is that there really isn’t a way to “give it a shot” outside of GameFly or piracy. Perhaps this is a symptom of me not reading enough reviews and preview coverage to get a better sense of whether or not I’ll like it, but it still strikes me as the kind of game I’ll either love or hate and I won’t know that until I try it for myself.

    Hmmm I guess this was an uninteresting, solipsistic comment. Sorry!

  5. Isn’t praising games that others dislike sort of your thing?

    I mean, I think you were talking about FF8 in largely happy tones a few months back, and that writeup on MGS2 was pretty positive.

  6. Man, I’d be all over that if it hadn’t dropped between Etrian 3 / Pokemon and Rock Band 3. My budget is all tied up!

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Some title aren’t for everyone. And if you like something, even if it is generaly dispised, showing your love has even moer meaning. It is part of what I’m doing to the very maligned Other M, that although i don’t love, i think a lot of the hate is uncalled for.

    I will try to get this, but with EOIII and Layton, not forgeting about Kirby later this month, there is a lot to buy and play.

  8. I am still completely confused about this game. I thought (forgive my only paying half attention) that Mr. Parish had mentioned that the job system is dealt with in terms of hats the characters wear? Anyway, whatever description I read made me think that my usual power-gaming/break the system sort of style wouldn’t quite work or would be severely curtailed–not a bad thing, in and of itself, it just made me lose some interest. Now, reading the review, I can’t tell if that’s the case anymore, but it’s a bit of a moot point. I am with most everyone else–I still haven’t picked up EOIII, and that’s probably the next purchase. Thanks.

  9. I am so sad because the equipment the little top hat black mage is equipped with looks nothing like the stuff he has on his model. Dragon Quest IX has spoiled us all. -_-;

    That said, he looks adorable too, and I’ll definitely be playing this Final Fantasy (after Shantae). Even with a few of the more annoying regressions, it’ll be nice to revisit simpler Final Fantasy times where things weren’t padded out with 573 berskillion hours of non-interactive cutscene flair.

  10. “there ain’t no way that a B+ is “high marks.”

    I hope you were being facetious. An A- is 90-92%, which in many places warrants an Editor’s Choice. Being just a bit below that certainly is still rather good, just not suggest-to-everyone-and-their-mom excellent. Remember, C is average, and B+ is way above that.

  11. You forget that this is the Internet, where anything below a 9 out of 10 or A is considered a failure and a piece of crap. Hence why people still hate Jeff Gerstmann for giving Twilight Princess an 8.8 out of 10.

    There’s an interesting discussion to be had about games/movies/books/etc. that one considers likes a lot but would put in the, say, 4 stars out of 5 or B categories, but maybe this isn’t that place. Or time.

  12. So, from the 1up review, and this article, my mental composition at this point is some mix of FF NES, FF X-2, and Crystal Chronicles.


  13. Man, that’s a weird font. It took a while before I could hash out that it reads ‘Unyielding Shield’ – I kept reading it as ‘Unwielding Shield’ and getting more confused every time.

  14. “There’s an interesting discussion to be had about games/movies/books/etc. that one considers likes a lot but would put in the, say, 4 stars out of 5 or B categories, but maybe this isn’t that place. Or time.”

    To be honest, the only place I’ve seen this so pronounced is in the gaming/online world. I rarely see, for instance, Robert E. Howard fans showing up en masse to grief reviewers for not giving the “Conan” stories there due. Given where you’re posting (and its subject) I don’t know a more appropriate place to discuss this issue.

    I agree with Mr. Parish (although I cringe at the description of Mass Effect 2 as “bold,” considering how much it panders to a generally dense audience of fanboys) that sometimes a game’s mechanics just feel right to you (even if nobody else likes the game). It’s good to see FF: Four Heroes of Light getting some unbiased critical attention. There’s been a highly negative attitude towards it since it debuted in Japan last year. Parish compares its battle system to Riviera in his review on 1up.com, and I can’t help but think that if this were coming from Sting instead of Square-Enix, the general tone surrounding it would be wholly different (granted, because the tone would be relegated to a much narrower variety of outlets).

    Please forgive any spelling/grammar errors; I am drunk.

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