Final Fantasy II is an interactive game released on December 17th, 1988. It is the second video game in the Final Fantasy series, developed and published by SquareSoft. Due to the upgrade, the 2nd series is a refreshing new concept with excellent features. The game was created for Famicom, a peripheral for Nintendo’s video game console exclusively in Japan. Later it was re-released globally for the Game Boy Advance, Playstation, Android, and other devices.
Hironobu Sakaguchi directed the game, Yoshitaka Amano designed the characters, and Nobuo Uematsu composed the soundtrack. They worked together to develop compelling features within the game that kept it exciting and engaging. Also, a fun fact for players is that the original Final Fantasy gameplay is unrelated to the second series.
It features traditional turn-based combat as in the first Final Fantasy game, with added combat options for players and enemies. However, unlike Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II does not use levels. Instead, the playable character stats increase as they are used or required.
For example, a character who casts magic frequently would increase their magic competence faster. On the other hand, a character who often takes damage increases their maximum HP.
Although the game is a sequel to Final Fantasy, it does not feature any characters or locations from the original storyline. I prefer the new version as it is a captivating storyline, especially the new magical powers and quests. Final Fantasy II is about four youths whose parents were tragically killed during an army invasion during the Palamecian Empire.
Their Emperor Mateus attempts to rule the world with the help of Hellspawn. The protagonist of the story is Firion, a brave and heroic character. He joins forces with Maria and Guy to lead the Wild Rose Rebellion in combat. In this Final Fantasy quest, they encounter many allies along the way to eliminate the Emperor and save the world.
The Wild Rose Rebellion, initially led by Princess Hilda, is taken to Altair to be revived after the attack. She is a wonderful character in the game, as she is almost like a guardian angel that guides her fellow friends to a good path.
During this time, Leon goes missing, one of the orphaned youths. This leads the squad to look for him with the help of the Rebellion. Finally, they all return to Flynn, which is their hometown that the Palamecians attacked.
Upon their arrival, they find Prince Scott of Kashuan on his deathbed, which was tragic as he was heroic. Before his departure, he gives them a ring to bring back to Princess Hilda as his dying wish.
He also addresses them of Count Borghen’s betrayal, an imperious and power-hungry Mysidian nobleman. He is in favor of using slave labor for his own desires. Also, he tries to bring down the Mysdian royal family to gain power.
Scott asks the youths to encourage his brother Gordon to join them on their quest despite his fear. This part of the story shows that Gordon’s brother knows he can do better and cared for him. Gordon believes himself a coward but finally joins Firion to redeem himself against the Emperor.
Alongside his deceased brother, he was also in love with Hilda and wanted to show himself to be courageous to win her over. This was unexpected but a great tale usually has a romantic love story.
Princess Hilda sends the members of the Rebellion in search of Mythril. The metal could be forged into different weapons and armor and was highly responsive to magic. It is found inside the caves of Semitt Falls. Unfortunately, Josef’s daughter Nelly was kidnapped by Borghen during the quest.
The Emperor used this unexpected tactic to threaten Josef away from the caves. Therefore, Hilda decided to send Minwu, her right-hand man, and youths to Salamand. Their task was to collect the Mythril and save the daughter along with the enslaved townspeople.
After saving Nelly, the hostages, and Paul, they returned to Altair. Paul was a thief from Flynn and part of the Wild Rose Rebellion army. It seems ironic but he was a noble thief devoted to helping the team. Upon the youth’s return to Altair, they gave the Mythril to the Rebellion’s blacksmith Tobul. He transformed the strong metal into weaponry for the Rebel army.
The Dreadnought Takes Off
The Palamecian Dreadnought was constructed on the grounds of Bafsk. It is a small town where the enslaved residents built the powerful airship known as the Dreadnought. After Tobul makes the Mythril weapons for the resistance, the squad is sent to Bafsk. Their task is to destroy the Dreadnought before it can be completed. As the team approaches the enormous airship, the Dark Knight controls the airship and flies off to a remote area near Palamecia.
The Dark Knight attacks the cities of Paloom, Poft, Gatrea and Altair with the deadly Dreadnought. This was unforeseen and it felt like all was lost during this part of the plot. Astonishingly the secret base at Altair is left untouched. Next, Minwu leaves the rebels to care for the King of Fynn as he suddenly becomes sick. After, the rebels are sent to Cid, the owner of an airship, to help fight against the Dreadnought.
Hilda and the squad decide to seize the Sunfire. It is a weapon used to destroy the Dreadnought and is found in Kashuan. To claim the Sunfire they need the Goddess’s Bell or the voice of a Kashuan villager.
Josef comes to the rescue and guides the team to the Snow Cave using the snowcraft. Successfully the squad retrieves the bell. However, Borghen attacks the group and sends a boulder after them once defeated. Heroically, Josef holds back the boulder to allow the squad to escape.
Sadly, Josef is left crushed by the boulder. You cannot help but feel nostalgic and admiration for him, as he was willing to give up his life to save his friends. His sacrifice gave ammunition to the squad to avenge his death. The members make their way to the kingdom of Kashuan to claim the Sunfire. On their quest, they find Gordon, who helps them locate Egil’s Torch to carry the Sunfire. The squad defeats a Red Soul guarding the Sunfire to retrieve it.
As they plan to leave, the members see Cid’s airship taken by the Dreadnought. The team takes on the mission to save Cid and Hilda. They throw the powerful Sunfire into the enemy’s airship engine to destroy it.
The group ends up in the Dark Knight’s engine room and escape just before the ship explodes. This was an unnerving encounter as you didn’t know what would happen next. But thankfully, there was light at the end of the tunnel and everyone was left unharmed.
As the team returns to Altair, they discover an attack is to take place on the Empire to take back Flynn. The king demanded the fight take place before his death. I guess this would have given him peace knowing his allies killed their enemy and saved the town. Minwu travels to Mysidia to bring the magic tome, otherwise known as Ultima. It is a powerful spell that hits enemies and ignores reflections. Meanwhile, Gordon commands the rebel army to attack and take back Fynn.
Firion and his allies travel to the island of Deist to enlist the help of the Dragoons. They finally reach the island to find the Dragoons had fallen in battle, and only one Wyvern remains. It was a fascinating experience to get to this point and discover these wild beasts. As the creature lies dying, it gives the squad the last Wyvern Egg. The group takes the egg to the healing spring at the bottom of Deist Cavern to incubate it to help it grow.
As the members return to Altair without their catch, they are shocked to find that the Hilda they rescued was a Lamia Queen in disguise. What a shocking twist in the tale. In the Palamecian Coliseum tournament, the real Princess Hilda is held captive as a prize.
The team works together to defeat a Behemoth to earn their princess back. The Emperor observes the match. He captures the squad and tosses them into the dungeons. Paul comes to the rescue and unlocks their cell.
The squad claims Ultima and takes it back to Fynn. However, they soon discover the cities of Paloom, Gatrea, Altair and Poft have been up-turned by a dark force called the Cyclone. The enemy threatens to destroy the world unless Firion’s team comes up with a solution to stop it. Paul has a magical pendant that calls the young Wyvern from its hatched egg to fly to the Cyclone. The storm ended and the evil Emperor was defeated.
Their victory was short-lived, as news came that the Dark Knight is Maria’s long-lost brother Leon. He crowned himself as Emperor. I believe her brother was possessed or brainwashed to act in such a way. Maria tries to talk Leon out of battle, but he returns from hell now with more power than ever. Richard confronts the Emperor in a fight so that the team can escape. The squad attempt to save the world by earning the Excalibur. It is a special sword of the Dragoons, which helps the team fight through the Jade Passage. In the castle, the crew battles against the Emperor’s minions and an un-dead Borghen.
Firion and the crew defeat the Emperor, despite his power and wickedness. The squad returned to Castle Fynn and celebrated Hilda, Gordan, Leila, Nelly and Paul. Life returns to normal and the world is at peace again. However, Leon decides to leave the city as he feels nostalgic and thoughtful about past events. You cannot help but feel sorry for Leon as he was orphaned and now has to face his own moral standards.
Nobu Uematsu is a Japanese musician and composer. One of his best achievements was composing melodies for Final Fantasy video games. In Final Fantasy II, you can expect nostalgic and calming music in a few scenarios. In some scenes, the soundtracks are powerful and endearing. Some popular tracks include “Opening Theme” and “Matoyas’s Cave,” performed in an orchestral concert.
Furthermore, some of the music settings are not part of the game. But, they were used from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet. It sounds enchanting and fits well in the game. Uematsu composed three other themes for Final Fantasy II that were unused. The Airship theme wasn’t used as the music was too uplifting for the mysterious game. However, the Dungeon theme that was removed from the game was later used in Final Fantasy VI.
He is known as the warrior of light with his sword and shield. Firion is the story’s protagonist, who leads his allies into battle to claim back their village. He is the adopted friend of Maria and Leon, which I think bonds them together. His best childhood friend is Guy, who helps him avenge his deceased family.
Maria is Firion’s good friend and ally who helps him win the battle against the Emperor. She is Leon’s sister, and they were both orphaned. However, Maria is separated from the team at the beginning of the quest.
Guy is a playable character and he can speak with wild animals. He is a good friend of Maria and Firion. Also, he was adopted by Marias and Leon’s parents after finding him living with animals. Guy becomes Firion’s trusted ally and helps him to defeat their enemies. It makes him different from the tribe as he can communicate with wildlife.
Leon is the fourth party member of the crew who joins forces to avenge their parents. However, he betrays his fellow friends and becomes the Dark Knight. He later re-joins his sister and friends and atones for his actions. The players may have a love or hate relationship with Leon due to his evil actions. This scenario makes him understood by others and less trustworthy.
Minwu has served the Fynn royal family as a healer and mage for many years. He is accountable to Princess Hilda and follows her commands. Also, he joins the team at the start of the quest with his White Magic to aid them in combat. You can always feel safe when Minwu is around as he helps the warriors with his magic ability.
Josef is a heroic character who lives in Salamander and works as a miner. As a result of his attempt to retrieve the Mythril from the caves, his daughter Nelly is kidnapped. Also, he sacrifices himself to help the team claim the Goddess’s Bell. He is an admired figure in the game as his heroic actions have won him brownie points
She is the daughter of King of Flynn and the leader of the Wild Rose Rebellion. Her role is to guide the members on their quest to claim back Flynn. She also has deep feelings for Scott, but their love story ended when he passed away. This was a tragic love story as the players would have wanted her to be happy with Scott after she guided the quest.
Ricard’s skill with spears makes them his best choice of weapon. He is the last Dragoon of Deist and becomes a Firions’ crew member. He is a noble playable character in the Final Fantasy II series. He isn’t the most popular hero, but he becomes a major addition to the game with his unique skills.
Cid is a talented engineer and builds his own airship. He assists Firion and the crew in destroying the Dreadnaught to stop the Dark Knights’ evil plans. Cid comes out of nowhere in the Final Fantasy II series, and it was a relief to get help to complete the mission.
Leila is a pirate Captain who tries to rob the rebellion crew. However, after the members show her mercy, she has a change of heart and joins them in their mission. Unfortunately, she gets separated from the team during the attack by the Leviathan. Later, she finds her way back to Flynn Castle and reunites with the clan.
Paul is an infamous thief who is loyal to the town of Flynn. He lived in the southwestern corner of Fynn. His house had a secret room with mythical treasures hidden inside. Although Paul was not a member of Firion’s crew, he provided them with the gems they needed to combat enemies. Paul is not a memorable character in the game, but he was a great help to win battles with his treasure.
He is the prince of Kashuan and the elder brother of Gordon. He was in love with Princess Hilda, but he died in battle. Scott didn’t join the crew but becomes a playable character in the bonus game Soul of Rebirth. It was great to see Scott back in the scene with the bonus game feature.
He is the prince of Kashuan and brother of Scott. Gordon believes he is a coward after fleeing the battle for Flynn where his brother died. To redeem himself, he joins Firion and the allies in their fight against the Empire. It was awesome seeing him grow as a character and proving his loyalty once again.
Final Fantasy II is the only game in the Final Fantasy series not to use a singular experience value to increase the character’s strength. Instead, a participant’s stats increase organically based on their actions during the battle. Unlike the other Final Fantasy games, they do not earn experience points or corresponding rewards. Instead of earning points, the character stats increase based on what weapons they use, including swords, bows, and axes.
Also, characters that use magical spells frequently will increase their magical powers. This allows for casting more advanced versions of magic. When a character is in critical health after winning a battle, their hit points will automatically increase. The same rule applies to the player’s magic points during combat. Overall, it is harder to earn points. Personally, I didn’t enjoy this new gameplay concept.
The crusade party can be up to four characters. The fourth contender can be placed in the back during the battles to make them immune to most attacks. However, they can still get hurt with bows and magical spells. In total, eight opponents can be arranged in four rows of two foes each. Players can only target enemies in the front occupied row and directly behind it with physical attacks. This requires closer enemies to be eliminated before farther enemies are invaded.
You can view a character’s competence with each of the seven weapon types on the status screen. This will guide the player along the battles to choose the correct tools for the characters. In addition, the game’s battle system allows the player to input commands for all four crew members at once. Moreover, the player can reissue an order for any character in the line-up before issuing the final command.
The gamer can learn special words and phrases while the player speaks with non-player characters (NPCs). The new language is used in different game parts to unlock new features. In addition, special items are shown to NPCs to gain more resources.
Soul of Rebirth
Soul of Rebirth is a bonus quest that is unlocked after defeating the Emperor in Final Fantasy II. It is available on iOS, Android 20th Anniversary, and Dawn of Souls. This was a fresh of breath air as I loved seeing Scott again. He was a memorable character who was noble, and he had a good soul. Furthermore, the storyline tells the tale of the four crew members who had fallen defending Firion during combat.
Minwu finds Scott, the prince of Kashuan, after waking up in an enchanted cave. Then, the two of them find Josef after defeating a few guards. Josef was struggling to fight a monstrous version of Borghen. However, they manage to kill Borghen by working together. Next, they try to look for answers about their location.
The crew finds Ricard and helps him to defeat the Roundworm. After, they leave the passage together and discover they are in the afterlife. This was an unexpected plot twist, which adds a unique perspective to the storyline. The group finds Cid and other allies in the town of Machanon. They built a safe house for the trapped souls before the arrival of Minwu and the crew. Cid encourages them to explore the other two portals that recently appeared in Machanon.
Minwu and the crew enter one of the portals and end up in the Chamber of the Seal. Minwu is tasked to break the seal and miraculously does so without attaining catastrophic injuries. The members enter the chamber and retrieve Ultima. However, the guardian of the spell shows up to take back the power. They work together to defeat the monster and reclaim their victory as a team.
Finally, one portal is left to be discovered, and it leads to the Unknown Palace. It is guarded by vicious creatures and owns powerful tools to fend off unwanted visitors. The crew defeats the enemy and finds the Stardust Rod, the Wild Rose, and the Bracers as weapons. After their hardship, the team is reunited with their loved ones.
The Light Emperor asks for forgives for his sinister actions. He explains that he was split into two souls and that Firion defeated the dark half in Pandaemonium. The Emperor tells them they are in Arubboth and can rest in peace there. However, the souls of the crew’s living friends and family come to warn them that the Light Emperor will betray them. The party realizes he is the Dark Emperor and defeats him. The crew return to Castle Flynn and their souls fade away to Heaven, a genuinely emotional ending.
Un-released English version
Square Soft developed the classic version of Final Fantasy in 1990. After that, the northern American subsidiary started working on the English language of Final Fantasy II. The project was delegated to Kaoru Moriyama. He worked on script translations for the game series. Later, the game was advertised in a few Square Soft trade publications with the beta version. However, despite the release of the Super Nintendo System, Square soft decided to cancel work on the Final Fantasy II localization.
This happened because Square Soft favored the release of Final Fantasy IV. Square Soft renamed Final Fantasy II due to the jump in release dates to avoid confusion. Also, a retro poster was featured for the NES releases of Final Fantasy II and III. But they were never printed in the U.S. because of the canceled project. It was an uncertain time for the future of the series, but it has been amazing seeing it unfold to where it is today.
During prototype development, the game was altered from the original version due to the religious imagery policies Nintendo had at the time. The Star of David used in the design of dungeons was changed with a triangle. Also, the cross that replaced a character’s face on the pause screen was replaced with a gravestone. Of course, this change may have been done not to offend other faiths, but it seems a bit drastic.
Unlike the first Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy II was developed to concentrate more on the story. Therefore, the publishers created special characters to enhance the adventures in the game. In addition, they wanted it to be about nurture rather than nature. This means the player doesn’t select a character initially, but they can help them get stronger and grow into better versions.
Square Enix published and developed the game for the Family Computer in 1988. Since then, they have released the final fantasy series on different platforms. They have had a few setbacks and victories during the release of the games. Some of their games were canceled as better versions were released, which counteracted the older replicas. In addition, Square Enix wanted to improve the storyline and graphics on each sequel released.
There are various devices that Final Fantasy II can be played on. The updated version was released on May 3rd 2001. The noticeable changes were the sounds, music, and higher resolution. Here is a compiled list of the devices Final Fantasy II can be played on:
- PlayStation: in 1994, the PlayStation was released. Its high processing power made room for extra features such as full-motion video scenes and improved sounds. The game features Easy and Normal modes that allow the player to increase or decrease difficulty.
- Game Boy Advance: released in 1989, the retro device became popular as it was portable. The player is offered three files to save the game in any location in the scene. Character icons are used in a dialogue box while they are speaking. Additionally, the stat leveling system was changed to allow players to gain points for canceled moves.
- PlayStation Portable: released in 2005, the device had improved graphics with higher resolution. The storyline is the same as Game Boy Advance with the addition of 3 more dungeons in the new series. A Defend command was added to the battle menu, whereas the crew had to block using their shield before.
- Mobile Phones: the game was released for second-generation mobile devices. It was first available in Japan and later extended worldwide. This was possible with Namco and Java 2.
- iOS/Android: English and Japanese language versions of the game are available on both operating systems. Square Enix released Final Fantasy II with almost identical graphics as their Anniversary Edition. The game can be saved at any time and has an automatic quick-save feature. A new version called Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster was replaced on July 28th, 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the advantages of Final Fantasy II?
Answer: The fantasy game includes melodic music and sounds, which is calming for the player. Also, the storyline for the era is rather impressive and keeps the gamer engaged. The charming characters and the fable make the player want to help them succeed. Furthermore, the visual graphics are updated every time a new version is released.
However, the points system to build strength in the characters is known to be difficult. But with practice, gamers can master the skills to help the characters win.
Question: Is Final Fantasy 2 easy to play?
Answer: The game is easier to play than the original Final Fantasy series. However, the leveling system may be more challenging. The best way to build up your skills is organic as you fight. We suggest fighting monsters in challenging zones or dungeons to increase the stats.
Question: Can I play Final Fantasy 2 on Switch?
Answer: You can download Final Fantasy 2 and other series on the Switch device. The graphics, features, and music are the same as the original game. Of course, the best experience of the game is on PlayStation and PC due to the software. However, you can play the game on Switch when traveling.
Question: Is Final Fantasy II compatible as a 2 player game?
Answer: The Final Fantasy II game was created to play as a 1 player. However, 2 gamers can play on Super Nintendo as the controllers are plugged into the device. The second player can give commands to any characters during combat only.
Final Fantasy II Game Overview: Verdict
The Final Fantasy II game has a great storyline compared to the older version. The popular characters pull the player into the game. They motivate the gaming enthusiasts to complete the quest and move on to the other levels. Square Enix has made substantial improvements to the game’s graphics and audio.
You can expect a captivating adventure while playing and improve your gaming skills. In addition, there is a new version of the game called Final Fantasy II Pixel Remaster, released in 2021. It is worth a try as it has improved graphics and features. Overall, if you like retro games with a nostalgic and deep storyline, this game is for you.