I kinda feel like I'm walking into the lion's den with this one. More often than not, you hear how Final Fantasy II is such a horrible game. Yes, the stat system is crazy and the open world map can lead to you going to places you aren't even strong enough to be treading. The random encounter rate is crazy high. And despite those flaws, Final Fantasy II is not a game I hate. I do feel the game is a bit too overhated so I'm here to bring up four of the game's good points, some of which still affect the massive Final Fantasy main games to this very day.
01. A Sequel in Name Only
At a glance, Final Fantasy II may look similar to the original game, but the only thing this baby really has in common with the original is that they share a title. The Light Warriors, Garland, Matoya, all of the characters and locations from the first Final Fantasy are nowhere to be found in Final Fantasy II. The World of Final Fantasy II is similar to the first title, but make no mistake, the land of Final Fantasy II is different and as such, the crisis gripping the world is much different than knights turned traitors with millennia spanning vendettas. It was a pretty ballsy move to have a sequel that had nothing to do with the game that preceded it and this would become one of the biggest things the Final Fantasy franchise would be known fore.
Everyone's favorite flightless, adorable, yellow bird debuted as early as the second installment. Though they were only located in one forest, Chocobos gave players travel on the world map, free of random encounters. The iconic Chocobo theme was also present when riding the yellow chickens. OK, so it is a short looping theme and it can get very repetitive, but bottom line, one of the Final Fantasy series biggest staples came pretty early on.
3. The Music
OK, so this is kind of a given since Final Fantasy games always have good music, but since Final Fantasy II is dumped on so often, I feel that calling attention to the game's music is necessary . Where as the first Final Fantasy game had plenty of cheerful, upbeat music, much of Final Fantasy II's score is on the melancholy side and given the tone of the game, it is very fitting.
Battle Scene (NES) (PS)
Main Theme (NES) (PS)
Dungeon (NES) (PS)
Rebel Army (NES) (PS)
Ancient Castle (NES) (PS)
4. War Really Sucks
No matter how often any medium might try to glorify it, there is nothing good about war and Final Fantasy II manages to drive this point home without being anvilicious. The game starts out with the four main protagonists losing their home and their parents due to the emperor opening the gates of Hell and unleashing it on the world. The very first fight in the game is unwinnable and the emperor's soldiers leave the party for dead, found by members of the rebel army.
Your fourth party member slot is always changing, usually because that fourth person is war's next casualty. Many of the people that join Firion and company die because they went along to aid you and some of those members even have family. Josef is crushed to death by a bolder, trying to protect the party. The game does not skirt around the issue of death and loss either. Josef's wife and daughter can be visited after Josef dies and even his little girl is fully aware that her father is never coming back. One of the party's missions is to stop the Dreadnought from being completed and launched. Not only does the party fail to carry out this task, but much of the world's townsfolk are he one's the pay the price for said failure. So many of those towns you visited early in the game? The Dreadnought turns them to rubble. But it turns out the emperor was just warming up with the Dreadnought. He later summons a cyclone to completely obliterate these towns. You can't even enter them anymore.
Even when the emperor is finally defeated, the game doesn't end on a happy note. Since Leon willingly helped the emperor, he owns a good chunk of the misery that has befallen the world and its people. Knowing this, Leon parts ways with Firion and the gang. I have to give it to Final Fantasy II for tackling a pretty heavy subject in a frighteningly realistic matter.