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Dawn of Souls was a remake of the original first two Final Fantasy games. They were redone graphically and technically although the gameplay and story remained the same.
In the first game, you play as the four mysterious Warriors of Light (who you choose at the beginning from six job classes) as they travel the world trying to stop the evil knight Garland from acquiring the four Orbs of Power and taking over the world.
The second one was a bit more character based, and was about three heroes - Firion, Marion and Guy as they join the rebellion - formed by Princess Hilda when her country was taken over by the evil Empire. The heroes travel the world in the midst of war to put a stop to the Emperor's madness.
This review might get a bit complicated here, as I'll be essentially reviewing two games at the same time, but here goes anyway.
The basic gameplay of the two games are pretty similar - you travel the large (and highly scaled down) World Map, going from town to town, encountering creatures along the way and levelling up as you battle. Anyone who's ever played any Final Fantasy game will know how this works. As you do so, you meet new characters and the plot thickens, the enemies get harder, but you also get more armour and spells to use.
As far as gameplay goes, there are four modes in the game- the World Map, were you travel and have random battles with creatures stalking the land. Towns and dungeons where you can run around , buying things, resting and, if you're in a dungeon possibly encountering more creatures. There is the Battle Screen, where you fight enemies and menu mode, where you can access character information, equipment, spells and so on.
In both games, battle is turn-based and your attacks are based on a factor of time - you can only attack once your ATB gauge has been filled. Battle is based on menus - when it is your character's turn, you can choose to fight with your weapon, use an item, or a spell or run. When you deal damage, you wait until your opponent does something, and then you attack back. It's the system Final Fantasy games have always used, albeit with variations on the theme.
As far as plot goes, while neither game has a particularly deep plot, unlike later FF games, they both do a pretty good job of telling their story. Both are pretty "classic" fantasy style plots, especially the first one and although you never really connect with the characters (especially seeing they're only given names at the beginning, by you) it doesn't matter much. Later Final Fantasy games rely on much deeper storytelling, but these two focus on the fantasy elements of it and it works quite well.
Both games are really good and I can't really compare or say which I thought was best. Both have really good soundtracks, too, composed by legendary composer Nobuo Uemastu and the games feature the Dawn of Souls bonuses, which weren't in the original or PS1 releases of the game. The first one has a few extra additional dungeons with optional bosses once you've finished the game and the second game has a really interesting second storyline which you can do once you finish the main game. While neither are fantastic additions to the original games, they do add something else. I did particularly like the bonus storyline in the second.
Overall, with the better graphics, sound mastery and gameplay, this package is definitely worth getting. It brings retro gaming to a new generation and in more sparkling light than ever. A tribute to the great fantasy games of the 80s, Final Fantasy 1 and 2 Dawn of Souls is definitely worth playing
Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls (DOS), a collection of remakes of the first two games in the Final Fantasy series, is said to be pretty similar to Final Fantasy Origins for the PlayStation; so there have been changes to make these old skool RPGs appeal to a broader audience. On that note I felt they done more with the story as sometimes the direction was not clear.
Whereas Origin offered an "easy" mode along with "normal" for Final Fantasy I, there's no such choice in Dawn of Souls, and it's not difficult to believe that DOS FFI is equivalent to "easy", what with such quick levelling up (without setting aside time to battle, my characters were around level 70 for the final fight). Unlike FFI, FFII does not have an experience point levelling up system, instead, character statistics increase or decrease depending on how they fare in battle - in DOS FFII these stats can only improve, which was muchly welcomed. What also made these games not so hard as their originals is being able to save anywhere outside of battle, and there are three files in case of not escaping a dungeon. It makes you see how daunting these games must have been! However, in DOS FFII, there is now only one Blood Sword, and not two as in the original - not that I needed them to complete the game!
There's an option for fast walk, and with this turned on, such a need for speed might have players wishing the random rate encounter were relaxed. As for battle, whilst it has become a standard that, when a character is removed, any moves targetted towards them are automatically switched to another of their party, such modernisation for DOS I'm not that fond of (even if, in old, characters attack thin air), as it can mean many a battle where the player can simply hold down the A button to have their characters attack while the system takes care of the rest.
It took me around forty hours to finish both games. Of the extras, they're not bad, there's a neat music player, though the sounds effects in the game are not great. FFI and FFII are not the strongest entries of the series. As such, despite being a decent package, it would be difficult to recommend DOS to the modern RPG fan when there are many interesting alternatives on the GBA. As for those who loved the originals, the reduced level of difficulty would be a turn off.