I have made a series of rules for my challenge:
I must play and complete 50 games.
I must play these games to the ending.
Once I have finished I must stop playing video games for a year.
For the first week I played a game I have been wanting to play for a long time, a game considered to be the best instalment in its 20+ year history.
I should use the American boxart but I like the original more.
Though the name suggests otherwise Final Fantasy III is actually the sixth game in the series, this is because earlier instalments were never released outside of Japan, to avoid confusion in the west VI was changed to III.
Final Fantasy III follows a group of unlikely heroes who are bought together by circumstance and a common enemy. This being a Japanese RPG each team member has a unique skill and a personality trait which makes them stand out, you have the thief, the steroid freak, the old bloke, an artist, a Sasquatch and half a dozen other characters who are special in some way.
This being Final Fantasy awards were never going to be won for the gameplay. I can't say there is a great turn based battle system in games but there is a lesser of evils. With JRPG games there are three common types of turn based battles, the really long ones, the balanced ones and the ones where you die all the time. Final Fantasy falls into the middle, the battles are never longer than they should be with many battles being incredibly brief. Some may be disappointed by easy boss battles but an easy boss is still better than a tedious boss.
The turn based combat may be more balanced than in most JRPG's but it is still turn based and sooner or later you will get bored of it. Once you have the skill system down beating the game boils down to repetition, using the same attacks over and over until enemies drop dead.
Outside of the battles though you have a large open world adventure filled to the brim with secrets. If I had to walk down a corridor for 50 hours while stopping every now and then to kill something I just wouldn't bother with the game. I want a sense of freedom, I want to see a world where I can go anywhere at any time and easily backtrack to objectives. Final Fantasy III lets me have all of this.
The narrative is one of the stronger ones I have experienced in a JRPG, the narrative wasn't focused purely on spectacle and drama but a good sense of humour, Final Fantasy III finds the correct balance of Drama and Comedy needed to make the story interesting and fun.
Though there is a lot of good to be said even the positive features eventually outstayed their welcome. Come the end of the game the difficulty balance had gone and I had to resort to tedious level grinding, even with high level characters it was still a chore to finish the last area. The only thing stopping me from quitting was the promise of an epic finale, I got my epic finale but I still left the game behind disappointed about those last 5 hours.
It took a large amount of time from me but I have no regrets over Final Fantasy III, in the end there was enough positives to outweigh the negatives. The game is easily one of the best instalments in the series.