Final Fantasy IV: The After Years Review
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years box art
System: Wii (WiiWare) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Matrix Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Square Enix 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jun. 1, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The After Years also introduces a new banding system that lets various characters in your party team up to deliver super powerful attacks. Band attacks must be uncovered through experimentation in battle with different characters engaging in different tasks simultaneously. Noodling around pays off if you do uncover a new attack, but failing to do so simply wastes your party members’ turns in combat. Also, certain characters come and go frequently, so it’s often tricky to remember to test out combinations when the plot fires up. This system will likely get a lot more play as the chapters continue.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years screenshot

Since the main characters focused on in the debut chapter are fighter variants, random encounters (of which there are many) quickly devolve into blind single-button mashing exercises. You’ll have some white magic spells and a few special abilities at your disposal at different times, but these skills are really only necessary during boss encounters and rare occasions where you bump into a tougher batch of baddies. This will hopefully be remedied in future expansions as different character types with special abilities and broader magic powers to draw from return.

Clocking in at about five to six hours with a minimal amount of level-grinding required, the core portion of The After Years progresses very linearly, driven heavily by the story. Being railroaded through the adventure without much freedom to deviate from the main path isn’t as much of an issue as you’d expect. Even though you’ll re-tread some of the same locations, similar terrain, and even tackle a few boss encounters from Final Fantasy IV, the strong plot progression makes it worthwhile. In the coming months, a series of shorter side quest chapters revolving around individual characters’ stories that tie into the main plot will be released, and completing them will let you import character data from each into the final lengthier chapter slated for release later this year.

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The After Years is an unusual experiment for the Final Fantasy franchise, but it’s one that’s already working its powerful magic on us. The story is smartly structured to tease you along, intermittently revealing important and interesting tidbits, before leaving you hanging. Rydia’s Tale, the first of the optional DLC chapter installments, is already available to ease the withdrawals that set in. This series is a must have for Final Fantasy IV addicts, though new players might be scratching their noggins trying to keep up. Stay tuned for our additional review coverage as the series progresses.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
Retro, SNES-era graphics are initially disappointing but grow on you.
3.7
Control
The classic Wii Remote control setup works, though you’ll be mashing a single button most of the time.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Repetitive chiptune tracks largely culled from FFIV are still upbeat and very enjoyable.
3.8

Play Value
This solid debut nicely lays the foundation for a slew of DLC and an eventual conclusion chapter planned for later this year. Overall, this episodic series shows a lot of promise.

3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Explore the ongoing saga of Final Fantasy IV’s characters.
  • New lunar phase system influences the outcome of battle.
  • Uncover new band abilities to unleash devastating attacks.
  • The first main chapter in a nine-part episodic series.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Final Fantasy IV: The After Years screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy IV: The After Years screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy IV: The After Years screenshot - click to enlarge Final Fantasy IV: The After Years screenshot - click to enlarge

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