Review – Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster (Switch)

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster

Final Fantasy was my first Final Fantasy. A rarity nowadays, where most people started with VII, XIV, XV, or even VII Remake. I even played it on the NES, not one of the later much easier remake/ports. And I beat it too, without a guide or anything. One of my greatest personal gaming achievements. So when it came time to divide and conquer the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters at WTMG, I knew which one was mine.

I have not played the original Final Fantasy since I was a kid, and I was both excited and terrified to revisit one of my core gaming memories. Fortunately, I found the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster to be downright magical. There’s a reason this game launched the biggest RPG franchise in gaming. Not counting Pokémon, because that’s just not fair. 

Final Fantasy Plot

You could say he JACKED her.

Everything about this game is simple, in a good way. The plot is as basic as they come. Four heroes, each bearing a Crystal, appear in the kingdom of Cornelia where they are prophesized to save the world. And then they do it. There are a few twists, especially at the end when everything goes trademark Final Fantasy bonkers (and this was made before Nomura). But largely it’s a simple plot, and in my opinion doesn’t need to be anything more than that. A simple tale of good and evil, heroism in the face of unending Chaos, with a heartfelt ending to tie it all together. We’ve all forgotten that as kids, we lived for this stuff. And the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster polishes it all up for the modern age. 

Final Fantasy Airship

I will legitimately never forget that moment I unlocked the airship, feeling the whole world open up before me.

Final Fantasy is a turn-based game, in the style of Dragon Quest. You create a party of four heroes, choosing between six classes for each one. This isn’t a job system however, and once a class is chosen, it’s permanent. You have Warrior, Thief, Monk, and Red, White, and Black Mages. No Dragoon, but surprisingly the game is still playable. Using weapons, magic, and usable items you engage in combat with everything from Goblins to Undead Dragons.

It’s all very Dungeons & Dragon-y, but with a distinct Japanese flair. As you defeat enemies, you gain experience and level up. While you explore the world you’ll find a variety of equipment and weaponry for your party, with usability defined by their chosen class. And that’s the game. And it’s enough.

Final Fantasy Bahamut

Bahamut, King of Dragons, no relation to the hundreds of other dragons you slaughter during the game.

There are aspects of the original that haven’t aged well however. Enter the Boost systems. As part of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, Square Enix added customizable boosts to XP and Gil gains as well as a button to turn off Random Encounters. Simple, yet stupidly effective. The original Final Fantasy was an incredibly grindy game, in the ways of the time. Likewise, Random Encounters could be especially egregious in later dungeons, especially if you had to backtrack for any reason. These additions solve all these problems. With boosts on, I completely circumvented the grind. And when I wasn’t looking to level and grind, I just turned off encounters to focus on the main plot. I got to experience the game free of all fluff and padding, and it was glorious. 

Final Fantasy Garland

All I see is a simple man who wants to kill Chaos and loves Limp Bizkit.

Final Fantasy was the game that literally saved Squaresoft. It transformed a no name company into one of the biggest Publishers in the industry. And the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster shows why, with it’s simple yet elegant plot and gameplay. Crystals, Warriors of Light, Airships, Bahamut, it all began here. Playing through the game was a bit like falling in love with the genre all over again. And all I could think at the end was that this should be the future of the franchise. Looking into the past and remembering why we all became invested in this franchise in the first place. Not endlessly chasing modern trends, hoping to strike gold. But regardless of the future, at least we finally have this phenomenal collection on consoles. Now we can all kill Chaos like it’s 1987. 

Graphics: 7.5

It’s not exactly 2D-HD but the Pixel Remaster is still gorgeous, the classic and authentic 8-bit aesthetic so many games fail to replicate.

Gameplay: 7.5

It’s simple and classic turn-based gameplay, no frills, no fat, simple yet addicting. 

Sound: 9.0

The soundtrack tickles every nostalgia bone in my body, a true gaming classic.

Fun Factor: 9.0

With boosts to smooth out the old-school level grind, Final Fantasy is an absolute joy that reminded me why I fell in love with the franchise. 

Final Verdict: 8.5

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is available now on Android, iOS, PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.