Final Fantasy IV remake to appear on PSP

Original game and sequel to be included in Final Fantasy IV Complete

Final Fantasy II was my first Final Fantasy. Back in 1991 when it was on the Super Nintendo and still called Final Fantasy II, anyway. Today it's Final Fantasy IV, because it was actually fourth in Japan. And for its 20th birthday bash, it's getting a "complete" treatment -- an updated and upgraded PSP version of the original and its recent sequel set to ship this spring.

Recall that when Final Fantasy IV (nee II) emerged on the NES back in 1987, it was up against more complex and thematically sophisticated PC roleplaying games like Ultima IV. I gave Final Fantasy a look and a pass (until recently: See 'I Blew Off Final Fantasy, True Story'). Ultima IV involved a quest for spiritual enlightenment inspired by Hindu mythology. Final Fantasy had a kiddy villain who said stuff like "I, Garland, will knock you down!"

Final Fantasy IV was something else. The story was still juvenile but also idiosyncratic, kind of Godzilla-meets-Victorian-era with airships, robots, and off-world sorties. In Ultima VI, you were still exploring a mostly classic medieval world. Final Fantasy IV started medieval, introduced realtime battles, switched to Japanese-weird, then threw you off the planet entirely.

A couple years ago, Square Enix released Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, a sequel that extended the story and added a few new features without changing the underlying "explore, fight, level up" mechanics.

Final Fantasy IV Complete for the PSP packages the original game and its sequel as one, upgrades the 2D sprite-based graphics (higher-resolution, widescreen), folds in "bonus game features," and includes "a new arrangement" of the soundtrack.

What it won't include is the 2008 Nintendo DS remake, which both changed the way the game played (dual screens, higher difficulty) as well as how it looked and sounded (swapping 2D for a full 3D engine and adding voiceovers).

Look for Final Fantasy IV Complete on April 19, and here's the announcement trailer.

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Matt Peckham

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