Kain is here to ease my suffering from FFIII. Thanks Kain.
I was planning on writing my initial impressions sooner, but FFIV pulled me in right away and hasn't let go. I'm already about 8 hours into the game so I figure it's about time to put some thoughts down.
When I put on my headphones and first launched FFIV the music overwhelmed me. It was so much better than the last three games I played. I literally just sat there and listened to the title music for at least 5 minutes. I don't know if the music has been remastered or if Square just hit their stride with this one, but the music is top notch. This is where the work of Nobuo Uematsu truly starts to shine. So many of his compositions and arrangements are in my mind forever and I know FFIV will add a few tracks of it's own.
It's also immediately obvious that the story in FFIV is meant to drive the game. I'm invested in the saga of Cecil and his companions in a way that I never was with FFI through FFIII. This is still from the era of Final Fantasy games that I've never played before, so each twist and turn is a delight for me. I'm so excited to see where the characters end up. *Spoilers* I've already guided Cecil on his path to redemption and watched him find solace in his transformation from a dark knight to a paladin. I was touched when Polom and Porom sacrificed themselves so that the other members of the party could live. I was legitimately upset when Rosa was taken away because I enjoyed seeing the positive influence she had on Cecil. *End Spoilers* I don't know what the next twist will be, but I'm excited to experience it.
From a technical standpoint this is a better remake than FFIII. Quickly I realized the virtual analog stick controls much better than FFIII, which is something I was never entirely satisfied with. Character animations and models are given more attention, detail, and are used extremely well in cut scenes. There is actual voice work in the game and it's not bad. The game even has iOS achievements integrated well, if you're into that kind of thing.
I have a lot of other thoughts still bubbling in my head about FFIV, but I want to play more and see how things shake out. At this point I can already recommend this over the first three entries in the series. If you're looking for a classic Final Fantasy game to warm that old-school heart of yours you could do much worse than dropping a few bucks for Final Fantasy IV.