Square Enix has finally made the third game in the Final Fantasy series available on the iPhone, and it's pretty damn good. Is it $15.99 worth of good?
Final Fantasy III was released in 1990 in Japan for the Famicom, not to be confused with North America's Final Fantasy III, which was actually Final Fantasy VI in Japan. Final Fantasy III introduced many new features to the franchise, including the job system, allowing characters to swap out their professions rather than be locked into one for the entirety of the game.
This isn't a re-release of the original Final Fantasy III, however. This is a port of the 3D remake of the game that appeared on the Nintendo DS. Matrix Software, also responsible for the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV and more recently Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light, lovingly brought the NES title up to date, with touch screen navigation, colorful characters, and a dynamic camera that added a sense of action to the game's random battles.
The port to the iPhone is simply gorgeous. Free of the lower resolution screen of the Nintendo DS, the game's graphics sing, coming to life with more personality than ever before. Since the original game afforded players touch screen controls, the transition to the buttonless iPhone is relatively painless.
This could be the best way to play Final Fantasy III, but there is a catch.
At $15.99, this is most expensive Final Fantasy game on the iPhone. It's still cheaper than the $19.99 Amazon asking price for a new copy of Final Fantasy III for the DS, though it's $6 more than the $9.99 GameStop is charging for a used copy.
Is the iPhone version $6 better than the Nintendo DS version? Without a doubt, yes. I've been absolutely hooked on the game since I started playing it on the iPhone. The graphics are gorgeous, the touch screen is responsive, and the story - well the story is Final Fantasy III.
My only regret is not playing it from the beginning on the iPad. Even stretched it looks amazing.
If you're a Final Fantasy fan that's yet to experience the third chapter, this would be the way to do it. It's pricey, but incredibly satisfying.
Final Fantasy III [iTunes App Store]