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Early Installment Weirdness / Final Fantasy

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Examples of Early Installment Weirdness in Final Fantasy:

  • The original Final Fantasy I is essentially an unlicensed Dungeons & Dragons product. It has almost the entire bestiary, including a Beholder (for those who don't know, it's one of D&D's original creations; this enemy was changed into a one-eyed skull monster for all releases after the initial Japanese Famicom version in order to avoid legal trouble), and depicts Bahamut as a dragon (the mythological Bahamut is a giant fish, D&D was the first to depict it as a dragon). The classes are suspiciously similar, and the magic system is almost lifted directly from D&D (with some elements lifted from the Dragonlance variations). This is especially hard to imagine nowadays, with releases like Final Fantasy XIII which are almost exclusively SciFi and feature Mind Screw plots.
    • It also has no Magic Points. Instead, spells are divided into different levels of magic, characters must buy each spell individually at magic shops, and they can only cast spells of a given level a limited number of times before resting, with the amount increasing as the characters' experience levels increase (much like the Sorcerer from D&D Third Edition). The GBA and PSP remakes remove the "X uses per magic level" system for the traditional MP.
      • Final Fantasy II introduced MP, but also featured a very primitive version of Stat Grinding rather than the Character Level system that most games in the series use. It had yet to be refined; attacking your own party members was the best way to develop.
      • Final Fantasy III used the same spell levels/number of uses system as the first game (albeit the number of charges was much more plentiful). It wasn't until Final Fantasy IV that MP became the standard.
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    • In the first game, characters are all chosen from character classes and have no individual personalities.
    • The first three games also featured rivers which could only be crossed by canoe.
    • The first two games lacked auto-retargeting; if an enemy is defeated but you commanded other characters to attack it, those other characters will do nothing. Final Fantasy III did have auto-retargeting, but only for regular physical attacks. Most, if not all remakes have "fixed" this.
    • The original split the battlefield into two separate windows, with the enemies in one window and your party in the other. Your characters' names and remaining HP were also displayed at the right side of the screen, rather than at the bottom. These were changed to what would become more the series standard interface in II.
    • The number of hits and damage were still displayed in text boxes until III which displayed damage (or healing) in red (or green) over the affected enemy or character. This became white text for damage in IV.
      • The change to numbers over the enemies for damage also allowed for faster pacing of spells; the first two games displayed damage after each enemy on a multi-target spell.
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    • The first game had the Dia line of spells that did massive damage to undead. This was replaced in II by implementing the Revive Kills Zombie mechanic.
    • Cid is completely absent from the first game. Remakes add references to him in dialogue as a Posthumous Character.
    • For a long time, the first game was the only one of the series to have separate music on the menu, until Final Fantasy XV featured the same cosmetic touch, twenty-nine years later.
    • In the Famicom version of Final Fantasy III, Moogles didn't have their iconic "kupo" Verbal Tic, instead meowing like cats. The DS remake replaces this with "kupo", for the sake of consistency with the rest of the series.
    • Bahamut started as a helpful NPC, before he became a strong summon and a recurring tough fight.
    • As stated above, the first Final Fantasy's bestiary was overwhelmingly drawn from Dungeons & Dragons. It wasn't until II that many recurring series staples, including Chocobos, Malboros, Adamantoises, and Behemoths, first appeared. Several other elements, such as moogles and summon magic, first appeared in Final Fantasy III instead.
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    • Final Fantasy IV introduced the series' then trademark "Active Time Battle System," although, while functionally more or less the same, it was a bit less intuitive than in later titles in the series. There was no gauge that filled up that would let the player know when it was their characters' turns to attack, so they just had to wait until an icon randomly flashed over one of them.
    • Though practically considered synonymous with Final Fantasy, Limits don't enter the gameplay until Final Fantasy VI, and they're not a fully fleshed out system with dramatically different types of abilities and special effects for each character until VII (in VI, they're more akin to a Desperation Attack), and even then they almost all do the same thing and are chosen from a menu. It wasn't until VIII that each character gained a unique set of mechanics for their limit breaks.
  • In a musical example, in the first three games, The Prelude was simply the same few bars looping endlessly, it didn't gain its second movement until Final Fantasy IV.
  • The Chocobo theme was also significantly shorter in its first appearance, Final Fantasy II. It didn't gain its second half until Final Fantasy III.
  • Final Fantasy XIV. Whoo, boy. Besides pretty much everything between Legacy and A Realm Reborn, there are a number of things that one would be shocked to see was not there before or was vastly different in the post-ARR era.
    • Up until Stormblood, players had to level up one class to Level 30 and another to 15 in order to get the Job offered at the first classes' Level 30. For instance, to become a Paladin, a player had to level up Gladiator to Level 30 and Conjurer to Level 15. The three new jobs offered in Heavensward, Dark Knight, Machinist and Astrologian, were the first not to require a class and when Stormblood launched, the secondary class requirement was removed.
    • Relic weapons doesn't exist for the post-A Realm Reborn Jobs. Ones for the Heavensward Jobs don't appear until the Anima line and they currently don't include the Stormblood jobs.
    • The primals Titan and Leviathan weren't brought in until ARR, owing to the 2011 Sendai earthquake.
    • There's a Duty Roulette choice unlocked after completing the 2.0 story, called "Main Scenario", which only plays the Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium missions, both strange Dungeon/Trial hybrid stages. There have been no others since then (and they've been in the game since 2.0) and only exists for Poetics farming.
    • A lot of A Realm Reborn is Fetch Quest-heavy and can really grate a new player. Once they get into Heavensward, those sorts of things are at an end. Early-game quests involving using an item to collect another item can also get annoying because the game seems to want to make every individual step of the collection process something you have to do manually - for instance, one quest to dump water on a drunkard requires you to collect a tub, set the tub in the stream out back, gather up water in the tub, then pick the tub back up. Later quests streamline things quite a bit, often giving you the container you need from the quest-giver and integrating all of the actions of opening the container, shoving the items in it, closing it up, picking it back up, etc. into one simple usage of "use container on item" before letting you go.
    • Interestingly, a few of the jobs actually had throwable weaponry - Gladiators/Paladins could throw knives, Pugilists/Monks could throw chakrams and Lancers/Dragoons could throw javelins. This has been somewhat modified later on, as while Lancers can still throw their javelins, and Marauders get in with the ability to throw their axes, Gladiator's ranged attack has been reworked into Shield Lob (the later Dark Knight goes for blasts of magic) and Pugilist has lost throwing weapons entirely in favor of long-range shoulder tackles; knives and chakrams have since been reworked into weapons for entirely separate classes, respectively 2.4's Rogue and 5.0's Dancer.
    • Relatedly, the Archer and Bard used to have an ammo limit for its bows and had to restock arrows regularly. For balancing purposes they were reworked to have infinite ammo.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is just plain weird when compared to the sequels:
    • Your strength was mostly determined by your Brave (physical) and Faith (magical) stats while armor and shields only affected HP, MP, and evasion stats. This was changed in later games to be the usual Attack, Defense, Magic Attack, and Magic Defense.
    • Characters could be Killed Off for Real if they weren't revived in three turns. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has a milder version of this where only certain areas can have characters die and only if they are not revived at the end of the battle. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 gets rid of the perma death completely in exchange for a "time out" if your party members have fallen in battle after you broke the law imposed on your clan.
    • Monsters could also be captured and/or recruited to your party and be controlled like a normal party member and they could also lay eggs to produce more monster party members. The later changed this by having the Beastmaster job control monsters and the Morpher job (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance only) having the user transform into a monster to use its abilities.
    • The game used the zodiac signs for both enemies and allies to determine how effective attacks were and genders were also thrown into the mix for further complication.
    • The Mediator job had the ability to turn enemy units to your side and have them join your party permanently. The later games don't have this, but they use the Charm status effect for a similar purpose.
    • The first game could have its camera rotated and adjusted as needed and would auto adjust if the current character was performing an action obscured by the scenery. The sequels have the camera fixed in one angle.
    • A character's MP didn't recharge after every turn, whereas it does in the sequels.
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