Hikari no 4 Senshi: Final Fantasy Gaiden
A teaser leading up to TGS first put this game on our radar, which is commonly being translated as The Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden (no official English title has been given, however). We spent a short span of time with Gaiden last week, blindly navigating through Japanese dialogue boxes and menus. Many of the game’s details are still a mystery, but what we were able to discern is below.
The DS title will feature four youths on a grand adventure led by the will of a crystal. The story starts on the morn of a young boy’s birthday, when he is tasked with traveling to the castle as part of a coming of age ritual. Here he finds out that the princess has been kidnapped by the “North Witch” and embarks on a journey to rescue her. Along the way three friends join him.
In classic Final Fantasy fashion, our heroes start out in a small town. After chatting up local residents, we left the city limits and entered the overworld where the battles began. Basic gameplay held true to other turn-based battles in the Final Fantasy series, a fact that helped to alleviate some of the guesswork stemming from being unable to read Kanji.
Combat came relatively easy, broken down into basic attacks, magic and item commands. All commands use a set amount of AP points that are gained each turn, meaning players can opt to sacrifice a turn and bank their points for a more powerful attack. We did just fine against an assortment of monsters, until wandering into a cave and encountering an overpowered boss. Then we died. Small town > grassy field > cave > overpowered boss. Yep. It’s a Final Fantasy title.
Gaiden employs a job system, allowing the player to swap their specialty at any given time. Called the “crown system,” jobs affect your character stats and are represented by a small hat icon via the menu. The characters dutifully wear the hat and new ensemble with each occupational change. These “crowns” can be modified by inserting jewels, increasing the player’s level or making available new abilities. In the TGS demo seven different jobs were presented, but we were told such a high number won’t be unlocked at the start of the retail game.
Hikari no 4 Senshi: Final Fantasy Gaiden isn’t yet confirmed for the United States. With its nostalgic gameplay and the large DS install base out West, we expect the announcement to come soon enough. Gaiden will hit Japanese retail October 29, 2009.