Why This Game Ended Up Here
Make no mistake, Final Fantasy III did a lot of things right. The job system was revolutionary for the series, and the story was showing some serious signs of maturity. However, there are a few major things holding this game back from being ranked any higher.
Firstly, the job system pales in comparison to Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy XI (which we will get to in the future) that allow you to combine skills from previously leveled jobs. Any time I play Final Fantasy III, I can’t help but think of all the things I could do if I could use my previously leveled jobs. The main issue I have with this is the fact that when you obtain a new job, many of the old ones soon become obsolete and I never like the feeling that I wasted time in a game that already requires quite a bit of it. Not to mention, experimenting with different jobs is awful as well with the “job adjustment phase”. It’s hard to get a feel for a new set of jobs when they are gimped for a handful of battles (and even worse if a random battle happens to wipe out a party full of members that are adjusting). It’s a solid first attempt, but future titles definitely improved on this system.
Secondly, tiered MP drives me nuts. I feel like a big step backwards was taken from Final Fantasy II that used one pool of MP (magic/mana points) for everything. Considering there are very few restoritive MP items in the game, and you can’t rest in a dungeon, it becomes quite difficult at times to magic your way through one with dedicated magic users and forces constant Inn stops during leveling grinds because MP is drained from a critical tier.
Finally, lack of character development hampers the game. While the story did improve in my opinion from both previous Final Fantasy games, character development is still a common lacking factor. For me, story is one of the major factors in any Final Fantasy game and I can’t place this game above other games that have much better character development.
In the end, the job system places Final Fantasy III on a whole other level above Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II; however, knowing that better stories and better job systems exist in other games, lands this game just outside my top ten.
I’m sure now at this point, I must have people thinking that I’m ranking the games based on when they were released, but I promise that isn’t the case. The NES games just happened to land at the bottom, but I promise that it will not proceed in orderly fashion to SNES, Playstation, and Playstation 2 at the top of the list. In fact, tomorrow we will see the first of the “modern” Final Fantasy games on the list.
Which one will it be? Come back tomorrow morning and find out!