You may have guessed that I’m a huge SNES and Final Fantasy fan, based upon my previous posts. But even a lifelong fan of any series can admit there are some entries they would rather forget. In the case of Final Fantasy, that would be Mystic Quest.
Developed as an “entry-level” RPG, designed to be easy enough to attract new people to the genre, it is a toned down version of everything we RPG fans love. The gameplay is simplistic, the storyline dull, and the whole thing just feels like a mess. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s break it down and get on with the review!
The storyline of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest takes the basis of the original NES and SNES Final Fantasy games; you are a young man tasked with saving the world by finding crystals. Whilst that starting point worked brilliantly in Final Fantasy 3, 4 and 5, in Mystic Quest it just seems to fall flat on its face.
Rather than have a deep and meaningful story full of twists and turns, the game instead boils down to the following: “go and find the crystals to stop the big bad king and save the day”… Maybe I should have put a spoiler warning there, because that is 99% of the story in one sentence.
Where the other Final Fantasy games kept you guessing as to what was really happening, there are no such big reveals or world-changing events… There’s no “the bad guy actually destroys the world” moment like Final Fantasy 6, nor is there a big double switch of the antagonist like Final Fantasy 4. Instead, the one plot “twist” (if you can call it that) happens after you’ve beaten the final boss, and is such a negligible twist that you’ll be left wondering why they bothered with it at all.
Overall, compared to other classic SNES RPGs, the storyline of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest feels dull, tired and (to be honest) pointless.
Oh boy, where to start… So, as mentioned earlier, Mystic Quest was designed to be an “entry-level” RPG, so the gameplay was toned down to make it more accessible. Now, the idea of this is great! It could be a brilliant way to spur more interest in the genre as a whole. The execution, in this case, was not so great… In fact, it was abysmal.
Staples of the genre, such as random battles, specific save points, equipment management, and party management were all stripped out of Mystic Quest. Instead, what we got was basically a “go here and push this button” type of game. All of the strategy the genre was based around was lost…
But come on, if you are trying to create a game to introduce new people to the genre, shouldn’t it at least be somewhat reminiscent of said genre? Mystic Quest was not. In fact, it was so far removed from the RPG genre that many people don’t even consider it an RPG!
Sure, the very bare bones of an RPG were there, like leveling up your character, but even those were toned down. The whole game just felt so boring to play. In fact, there are free to play mobile games out now that are more fun that Mystic Quest!
Now, being that the game came out on the SNES, you’d be forgiven for thinking it could not have good graphics. It doesn’t, but it could have done… For example, if you compare it to the main Final Fantasy games, or other RPGs like Golden Sun and Chrono Trigger, it just fails. Where those games made the absolute best of the 16-bit colour palette to create beautiful locations, characters and more, Mystic Quest feels like something a 5 year old had put together.
The entire game actually feels flat. Now, all SNES games were flat, becuse they were 2D graphics, but they didn’t feel like it. Things like shading, perspective and overall artistic design helped make sure of that. With Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, all of that is missing. Instead, you get characters that look like they are made of paper, a world that feels more like you’re looking at a map.
There are some truly amazing works of art in the old SNES games. Mystic Quest certainly isn’t one of them. It actually manages to feel more outdated than a NES game, whilst having the colour palette of the SNES available.
And That’s All Folks
All in all, Mystic Quest feels more like the Final Fantasy equivalent of a movie cash-in game, rather than a legitimate spin off. I wouldn’t recommend it to fans of the series, fans of the genre, or people who haven’t played an RPG before. If you want a good entry point to the genre, then you could stay off with Paper Mario and enjoy it more than Mystic Quest!
Mystic Quest tarnishes the name of Final Fantasy even more so that Final Fantasy XIII, and that was just a corridor simulator! If you really want to try Mystic Quest for yourself, then pick one up from a car boot sale. Just, don’t pay more than £1… It’s not worth it…